The changing post-apartheid city
Annika Teppo is the new leader of NAI’s urban research cluster. Her research deals with the post-apartheid city. It consists of three lines of research, which are related to race, urban culture and symbolisms and economic changes after apartheid. Having initially studied poor whites in a suburb in Cape Town for her post-doctoral work, Teppo moved on to study New Religious Movements and traditional religions in Cape Town. She was particularly fascinated by the increasing number of white South Africans who started exploring traditional African beliefs after the end of apartheid; some of these people even trained as sangomas (traditional healers).
Recently, her research has focussed on new public spaces and township malls in Cape Town. Teppo studies the opportunities and limitations that the new public spaces, such as the Waterfront Mall, offer as well as the spread of neoliberal practices in the African townships. At the moment, she is busy writing an article on the rapidly transforming township of Gugulethu.
With a background in teaching and research, she is a strong believer in learning and in sharing knowledge. She thus favours NAI’s open access whereby research is also made available to African students and universities with only modest means. Teppo wants NAI research to be widely read and used. She expects her cluster to produce useful research – not only for policymakers or academics, but for all people interested in expanding their knowledge base.