Professor Tinashe Nyamunda

UK Host Institution: University of Liverpool
Project status

Rethinking African Economics: Reparation Payments, Spirit Beliefs and Non-Standard Notions of Value/Exchange

The project contributes to ongoing north - south conversation on decolonizing Economics and Economic History. It focuses particularly on reparation payments in African communities and the challenge they pose to mainstream economic concepts of value exchange. Using (Ngozi) avenging spirits reparations in traditional justice and reconciliation practices in Zimbabwe, the study suggests that orthodox forms of currency and economic conceptions have limited value in spirit encounters. Yet reparations of victims or victims’ ancestors not settled by conventional justice systems but traditional ones are deemed unorthodox in mainstream economic practice. However, appeasement ceremonies for avenging spirits or, for example, bride wealth payments, healing of spiritual afflictions and bad luck, demand unorthodox forms of payment and are valued differently. This nuanced approach to spirit money and unorthodox economic thinking challenges conventional approaches to exchange in specific Zimbabwean contexts.

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