ROAPE's Ruth First Prize - ROAPE
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ROAPE’s Ruth First Prize

ROAPE’s Ruth First Prize

This year the Ruth First prize for the best article published by an African author in ROAPE in 2016 was shared between two contributors. Namely, Grasian Mkodzongi for his article entitled, ‘I am a paramount chief, this land belongs to my ancestors: The reconfiguration of rural authority after Zimbabwe’s land reforms’ and Steven Rogers for his article on ‘Rethinking ‘expert sense’ in international development: The case of Sierra Leone’s housing policy.’ Both articles are available to access for free by clicking on the titles above.

According to the prize committee Grasian Mkodzongi’s paper “provides a timely and important analysis of the shifting role of chieftaincies in relation to land in Zimbabwe. What is particularly refreshing is the way in which the author offers original empirical insights to offer an under-studies insight into local contestation over land and other resources.”

In turn, Steven Rogers’s paper was praised for providing “a nuanced analysis of the urban political economy of a post-conflict state; it also challenges the traditional conception of the location of power by focusing on the unique position of the local elite or ‘glocalised expert’. The choice of the housing sector is particularly interesting given the history of displacement in Sierra Leone and its remaking under a neoliberal policy making apparatus.”


Dr Grasian Mkodzongi was born and grew up in Gokwe, a rural area in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. He is an Executive Director at the newly formed Tropical Africa- Land and Natural Resources Research Institute (Tropical Africa LNRRI) and Research Fellow at the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies in Harare Zimbabwe. Until 2015, he was a Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Western Cape and A.C. Jordan Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town. He obtained his PhD from the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom). His current research focusses on the interface of agrarian change, mineral resource extraction and rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe and the southern African region. He can be contacted at

Steven Nabieu Rogers, PhD is originally from Sierra Leone and is currently a Senior Research Fellow and lecturer at the Development Finance Center (DEFIC) at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa.  His research interest adopts a critical view of neoliberalism in sub-Saharan Africa. Much of his current research work focuses on the impact of neoliberalism on public policy (particularly in the housing sector) in post-conflict and other developing countries, mainly in Africa. He is also interested in the changing socio-spatial configuration of urbanization and its impact on low-income populations in urban cities on the African continent. Steven obtained his PhD in Urban Planning and Public Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington, USA. He can be contacted at or


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