Dr. Blessing MaAfrika Karumbidza

Researcher and Development Facilitator. Post Doctoral Fellow, Public Management
Jonoka Development Associates
South Africa


I am an economic historian and development sociologist by training with interests in sustainable human, social and economic transformation as well as institutions for development. I have held fellowships at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Institute for Economic research on Innovation (IERI), the Institute for International Development at Oxford University. During these fellowships I researched, wrote and taught on rural development, local economic development, climate change and rural economic revitalisation through public investment and community empowerment. My academic (research and teaching) work is complimented and supported by active community engagement on human, social, economic and environmental sustainability causes. For example, I have been part of the Timberwatch NGO coalition and other environment movements (holding various positions); founded and coordinated the Co-operatives & Rural Enterprise Support Initiative (CRESI) for advancing the efforts of rural women and youth in enterprise development, food security and economic empowerment. This passion for rural economic development is informed by my rural upbringing in Zimbabwe where I witnessed the potential for development through land and agricultural innovation and investment, subject of my PhD thesis. As such, I do not only read, write and talk about development but engage in projects with communities to advance the convictions and views about development I hold strongly. In line with this, I operates a small market gardening venture, Green Acres Farm, in the Qadi Traditional Area (Mzinyathi) located close to Inanda Dam outside Durban. My ten years of work in South Africa involves appointments as a lecturer at the then University of Natal, Durban (later University of KwaZulu-Natal) and the Workers College while pursuing Masters and PhD studies. I then joined the Non-Governmental Organisation world serving as a Researcher, Outreach Officer as well as at Director level. Recently, I directed the newly formed African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) based at the Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban since leaving the Social Economic Rights Institute (SERI) where I was a researcher. Prior to joining SERI, I had a short stint as Director of the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA) based in KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg. I am passionate about human, social and environmental sustainable development. I am into ethnographic and action research and have a drive for education. Area of special interest: community development, teaching, research, advocacy, stakeholder liaison, managing donor relations, corporate social investment, encouraging community participation and environmental issues