Prof Simukai Chigudu

Associate Professor of African Politics

Simukai Chigudu is Associate Professor of African Politics at the Oxford Department of International Development and Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford University. He is broadly interested in the politics of global health and epidemics, race and identity, citizenship and activist movements, with a regional focus on Africa and the African diaspora.

Simukai is the author of The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe (Cambridge University Press, 2020), an examination of the social and political causes and consequences of Zimbabwe’s catastrophic cholera outbreak in 2008/09, the most extensive in African history. This monograph won the Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award from the American and International Political Science Associations. He has conducted research in Zimbabwe, Uganda, The Gambia, and Tanzania, and has publications in several leading social science and medical journals.

Simukai is currently writing his first book for the trade, When Will We Be Free? Living in the Shadow of Empire and the Struggle for Decolonisation, which will be published by The Bodley Head and Crown in 2024. This book will combine memoir, political history and cultural criticism to show how colonialism continues to shape politics, society and culture in Africa and in Britain and to explore what it really means to decolonise.

Prior to working in academia, Simukai was a medical doctor in the UK’s National Health Service. He holds a DPhil in International Development from the Oxford University for which he was awarded the biennial Audrey Richards Prize for the best doctoral thesis in African Studies examined at a UK university.

Simukai teaches on the MPhil in Development Studies and supervises DPhil students.  

Teaching & Supervision
In the media
‘State of Emergency’: The politics of Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak, 2008-2009

Dr Chigudu teaches on the MPhil in Development Studies where he convenes the ‘Core Course in Development Studies’ and offers an advanced option course on ‘The Political Economy of Epidemics in Africa’. And he welcomes inquiries from prospective doctoral students in any of his areas of interest.

Research Students supervised

Laura Ballerini
Research Student
Vyoma Dhar Sharma
Research Student
Joshua Parker Allen
Research Student
Biruk Terrefe
Research Student

Books and monographs

Chigudu, Simukai (2020) 'The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe', Cambridge University Press

Journal articles and special issues

Chigudu, Simukai (with David Mccoy, Taavi Tillmann) (2017) 'Framing the tax and health nexus: a neglected aspect of public health concern', Health Economics, Policy and Law 12 (2) 179-94
Chigudu, Simukai (2016) 'Health Security and The International Politics of Zimbabwe’s Cholera Outbreak, 2008-09', Global Health Governance X (3) 41-53
Chigudu, Simukai (2016) 'The Social Imaginaries of Women's Peace Activism in Northern Uganda', International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (1) 19-38
Chigudu, Simukai (with U d’Alessandro, T Corrah, A Demba, M Jasseh & J Balen) (2014) 'The Role of Leadership in People-Centred Health Systems: A Sub-National Study in The Gambia', Health Policy and Planning
Chigudu, Simukai (2012) 'My Journey Towards Self, Identity and Purpose in the African Diaspora', Feminist Africa 17 122-8
Chigudu, Simukai (with S Siascia, G Kaur, E Melhem, S Khaniyev & A Ouedraogo) (2010) 'Prioritisation of Health Research', The Lancet 276 (9740) 513-4

Conference papers

Chigudu, Simukai (2016) 'Disease, Disaster and Denial: Cholera as the Site of Political Contestation in Zimbabwe', Paper presented at the Britain Zimbabwe Society Annual Research Day, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, 2016
Chigudu, Simukai (2016) 'Rhodes Must Fall and the Politics of Historical Consciousness', Paper presented at Decolonizing the Academy, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, 2016
Chigudu, Simukai (2016) 'Hountondji Revisited: Cosmopolitan Intellectualism and the Study of Africa', Paper presented at Academic Freedom in Africa: 25 Years after the Kampala Declaration – Issues, Challenges and Prospects, Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Lilongwe, Malawi, 2016
Chigudu, Simukai (2016) 'The International Politics of Epidemics in Africa: The Case of Cholera in Zimbabwe', Paper presented at the 6th Annual Researching Africa Day, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, 2015
Chigudu, Simukai (2015) 'Hountondji Revisited: Cosmopolitan Intellectualism and the Study of Africa', Paper presented at the Social Order in Africa Workshop: Filling Pails, Lighting Fires, Oxford Department of International Development & African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, 2015
Chigudu, Simukai (with J Balen) (2013) '“Globalisation, Governmentality, and Local Leadership in the Gambian Health System', Paper presented at The Global Politics of National Health Systems, University of Sheffield, 2013
Chigudu, Simukai (with E Hunter, J Kibiki, A Jusabani, E Aris & R Walker ) (2010) 'Prevalence, phenotype and treatment gap for epilepsy in rural Tanzania: initial findings of a door-to-door survey', Paper presesnted at the European Congress on Epileptology, Greece, 2010
Chigudu, Simukai (with E Hunter E & R Walker) (2009) 'An Epidemiological Study of Epilepsy in a Rural District of Northern Tanzania', Paper presented at Research in Progress 2009, Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, London, 2009
Chigudu, Simukai (with C Ferraro & G Tan) (2008) 'Global Health Education in the Newcastle MBBS Curriculum', Paper presented at Research in Progress 2008, Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, London, 2008
Chigudu, Simukai (2008) 'Youth Perspectives on HIV/AIDS in South Africa', Paper presented at XVII International Conference on AIDS: Community Dialogue Space, Mexico City, 2008
Chigudu, Simukai (with H Chigudu) (2008) 'Tackling HIV/AIDS in resource-poor settings', Medsin Global Health Conference, University of Oxford, 2008
24 May, 2022
Simukai Chigudu wins BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship to work on new book
04 October, 2021
The Bodley Head buys rights to literary memoir by Simukai Chigudu
28 June, 2021
Simukai Chigudu wins 2021 APSA-IPSA Theodore J Lowi First Book Award
18 February, 2020
New book by Prof Simukai Chigudu explores the political life of cholera in Zimbabwe
11 June, 2019
ODID academics and students presenting at ECAS2019
07 February, 2019
Jocelyn Alexander, Simukai Chigudu give evidence to UK parliament committee on Zimbabwe crisis
22 January, 2019
New article by Simukai Chigudu explores state-society relations and Zimbabwe's 2008/9 cholera outbreak
17 September, 2018
Simukai Chigudu wins Audrey Richards Prize for best African Studies doctoral thesis
23 May, 2018
Simukai Chigudu appointed Associate Professor of African Politics
24 April, 2017
Four ODID staff shortlisted for five OUSU Teaching Awards
21 Jul, 2020
'Beyond the culture wars with Owen Jones: slavery, statues and racism'. Simukai Chigudu is interviewed in a Guardian video about Black Lives Matter and Rhodes Must Fall
15 Jun, 2020
'Oxford professor Simukai Chigudu talks racism and iconography'. Simukai Chigudu was interviewed on South African radio station 702
12 Jun, 2020
'As one of Oxford's few black professors, let me tell you why I care about Rhodes'. Simukai Chigudu writes for the Guardian about his involvement with the Rhodes Must Fall movement
11 Jun, 2020
'"It was intensely painful": The Story of Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford'. Simukai Chigudu interviewed by the New Statesman
30 May, 2020
'How Colonialism and Austerity Are Shaping Africa’s Response to the Coronavirus'. Simukai Chigudu is interviewed by Jacobin magazine
18 May, 2020
'Pandemic Narratives and the Historian'. Simukai Chigudu took part in an interview with leading historians of public health, epidemics, and disaster science about history and COVID-19 for the LA review of books
28 Apr, 2020
'Global health security and pandemics: Africa and COVID-19'. In an online video panel, Dr Simukai Chigudu and Prof Sophie Harman discuss how Africa is not a blank canvas in which the pandemic will play out in a uniform fashion
26 Mar, 2020
'From cholera to corona: The politics of plagues in Africa'. Prof Simukai Chigudu discusses the lessons for coronavirus response that we can learn from the 2008 cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe
03 Sep, 2018
'Simukai Chigudu: The politics of epidemics'. Simukai Chigudu interviewed by the British Medical Journal
22 Nov, 2017
Zimbabwe's public health crisis. Simukai Chigudu interviewed on BBC World
Research interests:

African politics; modern African history; international development; medical humanitarianism; global health; history and politics of public health