Public Events

From Donkey Cart to Mercedes in one Generation


Botswana has long been regarded as a successful model of development in Africa. Its economic achievements are most notable in its capital, Gaborone, which is today home to numerous shopping malls, imported luxury cars and other indicators of affluence. Gaborone is also characterized by extreme poverty and widespread socio-economic inequality. Consumer behaviour represents some of the most conspicuous, and contested, aspects of urban living.

In this public lecture, global urbanist Stephen Marr examines the implications for politics and citizenship produced by tensions over consumption. Borrowing from the work of AbdouMaliq Simone and James Holston, he suggests that consumption by those on the margins can challenge dominant narratives of space, class and urban modernity that have divided Gaborone since its founding. He argues that consumption can facilitate a politics of presence enabling citizens on the margins to assert a place for themselves in a city from which they might otherwise be excluded.

Stephen Marr, guest researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, draws from his research on Botswana’s capital Gaborone. Discussant: Erik Trovalla.

TIME:  Wednesday 8 June, 15:00-16:30
VENUE: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Villavägen 6, Uppsala

COME HALF AN HOUR EARLIER and join us for fika / coffee at the monthly book display in the NAI Library at 14:30 – welcome!

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