Webinar hosted by Scaling Business in Africa (SBIA).

Thursday 12 August 2021
Dr Penelope Muzanenhamo, University College Dublin


Individuals can react to violence in multiple ways that include resistance and fleeing. However, why and how might multi-ethnic individuals ‘tolerate’ continued marketplace violence in particular, and still sustain peaceful socio-economic interactions at a national level?

By analysing market actors in Zimbabwe, this research explores the motives behind such 'tolerance', and the coping mechanisms adopted by extremely deprived individuals as they attempt to survive in face of constant marketplace violence.

We find the following mechanisms:

  • Precarious work (self-created work)
  • Poor-to-poor giving
  • ‘Outsourcing’ political action to ‘God’

Allows individuals to continue functioning as an essentially peaceful social collective, despite constant subjection to the social injustice generated by marketplace violence.

We also uncover paradoxes inherent to the 'tolerance' of marketplace violence, and 'outsourcing' political action to 'God'. Primarily, our research demonstrates that, contrary to the depiction of Africans as 'helpless' and 'donor-dependent', much of the effort that sustains peaceful interactions among, and the survival of impoverished multi-ethnic individuals are conceived and implemented through actions on the ground.

The significance attached to 'superior intervention', as exteriorisation, is far from being an ignorant collective strategy for sustaining peace and livelihoods across Zimbabwean (African) generations.

About the Authors

Dr Penelope Muzanenhamo (PhD, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick)

Penelope Muzanenhamo is an Assistant Professor in the Business in Africa at the University College Dublin (UCD) specialising in Marketing. She is also the Africa lead within the Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS) at UCD College of Business, and Co-director for the research theme 'People, Work, and Society' within the UCD Earth Institute. She is also a Fellow with SBIA at the University of Edinburgh.

Her research is around Vulnerable Market Actors and Brand Africa within the broader context of Sustainable Development. As Vulnerable Market Actors, Penelope considers Black scholars, African consumers, and African entrepreneurs/informal traders traditionally located at the margins of global networks. She is particularly passionate about integrating Black voices and African business contexts into mainstream Business research and curricula.

Dr Rashedur Chowdhury (PhD, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge)

Rashedur Chowdhury is an Associate Professor at Southampton Business School, University of Southampton. He is also, a Batten Fellow at the Darden Business School, University of Virginia.

Rashedur’s thesis, “Reconceptualising the Dynamics of the Relationship between Marginalized Stakeholders and Multinational Firms,” received the Society for Business Ethics Best Dissertation Award in 2014.

He has been a visiting scholar at:

  • University College Dublin
  • University of Virginia
  • HEC Switzerland
  • University of the Western Cape
  • Peking University
  • University of California, Irvine and Berkeley

His recent works focus on the Rana Plaza collapse and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh.

Further Information