Black History Month Lecture 2023: watch the recording
Simukai Chigudu previews a chapter from the book he is currently writing, When Will We Be Free? Living in the Shadow of Empire and the Struggle for Decolonisation.
The book is a work of literary nonfiction that combines memoir, political history and cultural criticism. Chigudu interweaves his personal and family story with the history of Africa’s anti-colonial struggles from the 1950s to the present, with the hopes and frustrations of African independence, and with Britain’s public whitewashing of its colonial history in order to provide an intimate and nuanced account of colonisation not merely as a historical or political phenomenon, but as something that inescapably affects a person’s heart and mind, a person’s sense of identity and home—and he investigates what it would mean to be truly free of it.
Simukai Chigudu is an Associate Professor of African politics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. In 2022-23, he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. His monograph, The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship Zimbabwe (Cambridge University Press, 2020), won the prestigious Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award from the International and American Political Science Associations. Before coming to academia, he worked as a junior doctor in the UK’s National Health Service for three years. He holds a medical degree from Newcastle University, a master of public health from Imperial College London, an MSc in African Studies and a DPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford. His doctorate won the Audrey Richards Prize, a biennial award from the African Studies Association for the best PhD thesis in African studies examined in the UK. He was a founding member of the Rhodes Must Fall movement in Oxford and he spends too much of his free time learning rap lyrics.