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The water crisis in Harare: Historical antecedents and contemporary consequences

When: Tuesday, 28 September 2021 - Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Where: Online Event
Start time:17:30
Enquiries:

rechelle.tsunke@wits.ac.za 

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Inaugural Lecture by Professor Muchaparara Musemwa

Professor Muchaparara Musemwa from the Department of History, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities will deliver his inaugural lecture titled, The water crisis in Harare: Historical antecedents and contemporary consequences.

The matter of ownership and access to land has dominated Zimbabwean politics and history for many decades. However, lost in scholarly debates as well as in political and economic policies has been water, a vital resource of equal importance. Its significance in urban areas, especially in the capital city Harare, is of growing and urgent concern. Many cities in the developing world confront the same situation as does Harare, where the urban poor lack access to clean, adequate, and affordable potable water as well as any proper sanitation infrastructure. In the case of Zimbabwe, the challenges of supplying water have been exacerbated by the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, but there are also many other factors that require understanding. It is the purpose of this lecture to counter what I believe to be a growing tendency in current scholarship to attribute all water scarcity problems to climate change and the absence of proper sanitation to contemporary political decisions. Instead, I contend that the recurrent and serious water crisis now evident in Harare can only be understood within the context of a complex, contentious and long history of water politics in the colonial and postcolonial periods.

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