Due for Publication: February 2020
About the book
Zimbabwe’s catastrophic cholera outbreak of 2008/09 resulted in an unprecedented 100,000 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths. Cholera, however, was not only a public health crisis; it also signalled new dimension to the country’s deepening political and economic crisis in 2008. This book is about the political life of the cholera epidemic. The book traces the historical origins of the outbreak, it examines the social the pattern of its unfolding and impact, and it analyses the institutional and communal responses to the disease. Across different social and institutional settings, competing interpretations and experiences of the cholera epidemic created a series of charged social and political debates about the breakdown of Zimbabwe’s public health infrastructure and failing bureaucratic order, about the scope and limits of national and international agencies in the delivery of disaster relief, and about the country’s profound levels of livelihood poverty and social inequality. In the aftermath of the epidemic, questions of suffering and death and of rescue, relief, and rehabilitation have persisted in on-going processes of meaning-making through which people come to terms with the epidemic as a ‘man-made’ disaster.
About the author
Simukai Chigudu is Associate Professor of African Politics, University of Oxford, and Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. He was awarded the biennial Audrey Richards Prize for the best doctoral thesis in African Studies examined at a UK university. He has several publications in leading academic journals including African Affairs, Critical African Studies, and Health Policy and Planning. He worked as a medical doctor before becoming an academic.
‘Chigudu has captured perfectly the political trajectory of a tragedy that formed not only political discourse but political subjectivities - reflected in the rich testimonies he has gathered. It is a book rich in its detail, ultimately bleak, and helps us understand the political condition of Zimbabwe.' Stephen Chan, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.