Season 1 Episode 6: Towards an African Technological & Scientific Imaginary

In this episode, edna bonhomme is in conversation with Dr. Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at MIT and the founder of Research || Design || Build, a village-based institute in rural Zimbabwe.

Image: “Technician in biotech laboratory” by IITA Image Library is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In this episode, edna bonhomme and Professor Chakanetsa Mavhunga discuss the history of the African continent with relation to scientific, technological, and medical innovations. A central element of this conversation is the role that philosophical traditions and space have in shaping the epistemology of knowledge. They also examine Africa’s colonial history, the power of historical narrative, African women scientists, and the future of innovation on the African continent.


Chakanetsa self-identifies as a critical thinker-doer, who deploys historical research in service of problem-solving. Chakanetsa is a tenured associate professor of science, technology, and society (STS) at MIT and the founder of Research || Design || Build, a village-based institute in rural Zimbabwe dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary problem-solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship among Africa’s rural poor. He is the author of three books on science, technology, and innovation in Africa, viz.: Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe (2014); What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? (2017, editor); and The Mobile Workshop: The Tsetse Fly and African Knowledge Production (2018), and is working on the fourth, titled African Chemistry: Science with an African Totem. He has given numerous talks, including at TED and Google.





Interview and post-production by edna bonhomme
Music by ispeakwaves (384935, Attribution License, Creative Commons), pryght one (27130, Sampling+ License), scotcampbell (263709, Creative Commons 0 License), X3nus (450539, Attribution License, Creative Commons)