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Tariro Mutongwizo


Tariro Mutongwizo photo 1Tariro Mutongwizo is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) in Cape Town, South Africa. Having worked as an Intern and then Research Associate at the CJCP between 2008 and 2012, she returned as a Senior Researcher after receiving her Doctorate in Criminology from the University of Cape Town in June 2014. Her research interests include, but are not limited to comparative criminology with a particular focus on African state and non-state governance, governance through violence and disorder, victimology and child and youth justice. She has over five years experience in crime and justice research and has published monographs with the CJCP on these issues. Her PhD dissertation explores how states, through their levels of service delivery, shape people’s lives and consequent non-state governance patterns. In a comparative study of urban Cape Town and Harare, Zimbabwe, encounters between these states and individuals and non-state groups were investigated. Themes emerging from this research include local level urban politics and associations, xenophobia and displacement, social (in)security, the use of violence as a tool for governance and resultant conflicts in different communities. Tariro has a passion for researching issues of crime prevention and peace and security in the African context and she has worked on numerous projects which explore state and non-state governance, community and social development, victimisation and xenophobia, offender reintegration, and crime prevention and reduction. In 2013, she was awarded a University for Peace - International Development Research Centre (UPEACE-IDRC) Doctoral Research Award. She is currently a member of six person comparative research network funded by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). This project is aimed at a comparative exploration of gendered identities in negotiating urban life in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lagos. 



Informal Networks as Formal Barriers to Risk and Violence: Cases from Urban South Africa and Zimbabwe

Underprivileged communities are organised, albeit informally. Yet, the manner in which they are structured is unnoticed because of strict formal-informal categorisations. The research comparatively explores the nature of urban associations relied on by residents of Du Noon, Cape Town and Mbare, Harare to reduce vulnerability and provide physical security. Surveys and semi-structured interviews conducted among 200 residents in each Du Noon and Mbare between 2010 and 2013 are relied on. The various networks and the manner in which they emerge, evolve, are constituted and function are explored. Findings demonstrate that the underprivileged in these two sites have informally organised themselves around the state’s inadequacies by forming associations for their protection. These networks are devised around friendships, kinship, ethnicity, religious beliefs and other such attributes. In some cases, these associations transcend and disregard these attributes. Additionally, findings illustrate that the networks developing from social capital are in most cases instinctive and emerge as the need arises rather than being institutionalised and formal. However, these networks have their own rules which are also exclusionary to others. Networks are shaped by various factors such as the purpose of the group and the threat which each arrangement seeks to ward off at a particular time. The differences in rules of entry and types of initiatives seen in Du Noon and Mbare lie mainly in the diversity of ethnicities and nationalities in Du Noon which breed divisions that result in fragmented networks and closer-knit ties among those with similar backgrounds. The research demonstrates the factors that influence networks and the barriers which the underprivileged encounter while supplementing the inadequacies of the state in reducing crime and violence in these two settings.