When I left AGI in July 2005, I went to The Gambia to rejoin my family; a long-suffering husband and an eight-months-old daughter who cringed from me as a puppy recoils from a dangerous thing. I also returned to The Gambia – the ethnographic field site for my doctorate research, to complete fieldwork about sexualities of youths. I picked up from where I left, my hefty task of juggling roles of motherhood, wife-ry, international doctorate research degree student, academic scholar running chasing hard after passing deadlines for submission of coherent papers to peer-reviewed scientific journals, sole schemer of research funds, long-distance daughter-cum-eldest-sister, etc. I kept plodding on, a day at a time. And I stopped to exhale.
In October 2005, I returned to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with my husband, our baby, a laptop, several field-notes, un-transcribed interviews safely encased in plastic jackets on long frail brown coloured ribbons – 90-minute audio cassette tapes, and heaps of scribbling. I returned to London to write-up, submit and defend my thesis. Then, it was the end of my second year of enrolment as a PhD student under the supervision of a die-hard social anthropologist. As a result, my nose has mostly delved into the depths of writing, thinking about, reading for, discussing, presenting towards my thesis. I hope to submit it by the end of this year. During this time, I gave two public seminars; one on the importance of Islam in the scripting and enacting of sexualities and sexual wellbeing in The Gambia, the other one about the politics of sexuality research in sub-Saharan Africa (I can provide electronic copied of the abstracts).
Albeit the doctorate studies consuming a huge chunk of my person, I have also had time for other things. Under the membership a CODESRIA/ SIDA initiative called ‘The social sciences and HIV/AIDS network, I obtained a research grant to study the role and place of Islamic guides/ healers called Marabouts in the fight against HIV/AIDS in The Gambia (see www.codesria.org for details). Two volumes from the bulk of our work, as well as several policy briefs are in the process of publication and will be out at the end of this year.
Some of the articles I worked on during the AGI associateship have been published. A paper that attempts to unpack the complexities of the sexual meanings drawn from narratives and enactments of the everyday lives of beach-boys locally called bumsters, who engage in a myriad of sexual liaisons with both foreign and local women was published in Culture Health and Sexuality (Publications\Bumsters 2005.pdf). The time at AGI facilitated speedy revision of a paper investigating the roles and contributions of traditional birth attendants in rural The Gambia. This paper has been accepted by African Journal of Reproductive Health and will soon be published.
The main paper that I worked on is due to be published in the journal Africa. This one focuses on ritual sex practices among Baganda in Masaka district, and how they are transforming in the light of HIV/AIDS.
The publications I have listed below are from work I did prior to the AGI associateship. I have got electronic copies of each of them, or addresses at which they can be downloaded.
The African Gender Institute/ Gender Studies section
Harry Oppenheimer Institute Building
Level 2 & 4
University of Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 650 2970
Fax: +27 21 650 4840