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International Student Team

 

PhD student, Social Anthropology, Smuts Research Grant recipient

Telling Tales: Exploring the penetration of English fairytale books into rural Malawi

For the fieldwork component of my PhD in Social Anthropology, I will be spending fifteen months living in a rural Malawian village. There I will be studying the penetration of English language children's fantasy and fairytale books that are being brought into rural Malawi through Early Childhood Development and Literacy projects. I hope to use this books as a lens to unpack power/knowledge relations in development work, and to explore ideas around the child's imagination and witchcraft practice.

Impact of the funding received

The Smuts Fieldwork funding will be used to provide for my malarial medication, a life-saving precaution. More significantly, the funding will support the costs of language training in Nkhata Bay, where I will spend time learning Chitonga, the language of the Tonga people of northern Lake Shore of Lake Malawi. In any fieldsite, learning the local language is of utmost importance, both for the quality of work produced, but also for the respect and integrity of one's interlocutors.

In my own work, looking at stories, I hope to use this language training to explore and record the local oral tales of the Tonga people.