Humanities Research Fellow – Sinoxolo Musangi


Sinoxolo Musangi

Sinoxolo Musangi

Sinoxolo Musangi is the Humanities Research Fellow at the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Musangi holds a Masters of Arts (African Literature) from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg and a Bachelor of Education (English and Literature) from Egerton University, Kenya. Musangi is currently completing the PhD in African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In their thesis, entitled “Mediating the Archive in Transit: The Ngqoko Cultural Group”, Musangi examines the processes of meaning-making in ‘traditional’ Xhosa performances in present-day South Africa with a particular focus on the intersections of gender, nationalism, historical memory/heritage, tourism and intellectual property rights regimes within a global cultural marketplace.

Before joining the BIEA, Musangi taught in the School of Literature and Language Studies (undergraduate, Honours and Masters) at the University of the Witwatersrand in various modules particularly on gender and modes of African self-writing, East African popular culture and the media, Carribean literature and the Black Diaspora, urban geography, the novel and criminality in Kenya.

Personal Research Projects

My foundational disciplinary formation emerges from literature and language studies. However, my later work has increasingly taken an interdisciplinary approach in the use of research methodologies that include ethnography and archival research. While taking cues from feminist theory/ies, postcolonialism, queer theory and discourse analysis, I seek to interrogate historical events, personal experiences and cultural phenomena in a social lifeworld prescribed by normative orders and a general homogenous set of sociality.  My research interests include, but are indeed not limited to, gender and sexuality, popular culture, heritage and tourism, postcolonial memory and African national imaginaries with an emphasis on South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Currently, I am working on several independent and short-term projects in these areas:

  • (Co)convener (with Prof. Ambreena Manji) Women studies at the BIEA; a feminist reading group, seminar and lecture series.
  • “No preachers, hawkers and herbalists allowed on this bus”: Rethinking urban space and ‘quack’ culture in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Why was Jesus in Nairobi?: Mary Akatsa, Historicity and Subjective Political Pluralities in Kenya (1988-1999)
  • Trans(a)gressions, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Audrey Mbugua: The Maputo Protocol, 2003.
  • “The Cat that Got Trapped in a Jerry-Can”: Imagi(ni)ng News in Kenyan Prime Time Broadcasts

External responsibilities and Memberships

Senior Research Associate at Know Africa, a South African research consortium specializing in tailored research, analysis and training for those doing business in African countries.

Co-founder and Advisor at Iranti-Org, a Johannesburg-based queer media NGO working on training, media reporting, and advocacy for gender and sexual minorities in Africa.

As a social activist and performance artist, Musangi stages interventions for social change through impromptu performances in public spaces in Nairobi and Johannesburg.

Selected Publications

“A Zimbabwean Joke is no Laughing Matter” e-Humour and Versions of Subversion” Chiumbu, S. & Muchemwa, M. (eds) Crisis! What Crisis? The Multiple Dimensions of the Zimbabwean Crisis. Cape Town: HSRC. 2012

“From Communal Practice to Intellectual Property: The Ngqoko Cultural Group, Political Claim Making and Judicialization of Performance” in Mamadou Diawara and Ute Röschenthaler (eds). Staging the Immaterial: Rights, Style and Performance in Subsaharan Africa. Wantage: Sean Kingston Publishing (forthcoming).

“Recensions” in Kambala, Lisa Mushidi (2011). Gender and Asylum Determination in South Africa: Understanding ‘Gender’ within the Refugees Act 130 of 1998. Germany: LAP [Lambert Academic Publishing],

“Review: The Everyday Wife”. Scrutiny 2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa, Vol. 16:2, 2011, pp. 77-80 ISBN 9781920397050

“Amos Kwito” and “Gone are the Days” in Mboya, Tom (ed). Counterpoint and Other Poems. Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN 978 019573480 5

Ayoba, Ama Kip Kip, Ayoba”: The t-shirt cult in the forging of a Black urban youth identity in Johannesburg”. Scrutiny 2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa. Vol. 14 (1), 2009, pp. 49-56.

“Only a Few Skirmishes Here and There”: Interrogating the ‘Truth’ of an Election in the Kenyan Blogosphere”. Africa Insight. Vol 39 (1), 2009, pp. 86-97. 

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