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Social Anthropology: Research


Godfrey Maringira


Godfrey has a Masters Degree in Forced Migration Studies from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Currently he is doing his PhD in Sociology with the Department of Soical Anthropology and Sociology in the Research in Anthropology and Sociology of Health (RASH). His own PhD thesis looks on the Life of exiled Zimbabwean Soldiers living in South Africa: Coping with the Repressed Memories of War and Political Violence. Godfrey is also a Fellow and Researcher in the Center for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape doing the Violence and Transition Project which seeks to understand how South African ex-combatants have understood violence overtime and different responses to it. He is also interested in understanding the lives of survivors and  perpetrators in the aftermath of war and political violence. How healing is achieved and what really constitutes healing in the aftermath of war and political violence in Africa today? Much more interesting to him is also how traditional healers and healing has been defined and constituted in post-colonial Africa.


(Re) claiming the Military trained Body in Exile: Exiled Zimbabwean Soldiers in South Africa

Godfrey Maringira

Following mass desertion of soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army in 2003 and their ultimate migration to seek refuge in South Africa, there has been no research that seeks to understand how these soldiers retain the military body to earn a living. This group has been trained in the army, their bodies have been trained to fight, and most of their jobs in SA are as security guards. This explains the ways in which they re-claim and use their militarily trained bodies in South Africa to survive. However, they can not speak freely about their past, they find it difficult to say " I was a soldier" to other civilian migrants for fear of vengeance, but their trained bodies are a testimony of that past that they use now in South Africa to earn a living.    Studies on migration and health have focused on both  institutional and non institutional support helping migrants, this paper dwell on how exiled Zimbabwean soldiers retain their trained military bodies as a survival strategy and the ways in which they stick together to  share their frowned experiences of war together within the group as an ‘army in exile’. Even what they share can be viewed as traumatic, drawing closer together and reclaiming the trained military body gives them hope and social strength. The meanings they attached to their military body and group provide an insight to understand the ways in which the trained body and shared memories of war can reclaim the heroism and recognition they had lost in exile. Their past has not only shaped their present life situations but has shaped a community with social ties and shared experiences in exile.



Freshers 2013