Albert Tibaijuka – it feels like a homecoming
Receiving a postdoc fellowship from the Oumou Dilly Foundation to join the Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel, feels like a homecoming. I was in Basel between 2012 and 2016 for my PhD studies. My stay in the city at the time was a great honour and a tremendous experience, which broadened my horizons in a very remarkable manner. Back in Tanzania, the nostalgia followed me all along like my own shadow. I was thousands of miles from Basel but still cherished the mind-blowing life in that town; and you see? I’m back!!! I am deeply grateful to the Foundation, the Centre, and the St. Augustine University of Tanzania for making this return possible and offering yet another academic research opportunity. A special thank you goes to Barbara Buser and Max Honegger for receiving me back to their family. I simply cannot explain how thankful I am to you all.
My return to Basel has indeed been a privilege because it allowed me to attend weekly seminars like the Colloquium for Research in African Studies and the course Quantitative Analysis for African Studies, both offered by Prof. Elísio Macamo. Similarly, I participated in the weekly Colloquium in Social Anthropology organized by Prof. George-Paul Meiu, as well as in the African Politics Research Group convened by Dr. Michael Aeby. I had the opportunity to present my research project in the Methodological Challenges workshop, jointly organized by Prof. Elísio Macamo and Prof. Rose Marie Beck (Leipzig) and received valuable feedback. Likewise, I benefitted from a second workshop they organized under the title „Is Methodology the Only Way?“ These academic gatherings offered me deep understandings of methodological approaches and challenges, and also allured me to thought-provoking debates such as the (geo)politics and hierarchies of knowledge; reversing the gaze; decolonizing African studies; the problems of scientific knowledge production and a call for non-academic research; just to mention a few.
The opportunity to return to Basel, once again, has not only exposed me to the intellectual eagerness and enthusiasm prevailing at the University of Basel, but also allowed me to indulge in the city’s attractions: the hills; the bridges, ferries and barges on the river Rhein; the Zoo; the incredible precision of the weather forecast and of the public transport; the Saturday flea market on Peterplatz; and the food market at Markthalle. Do you think I was to forget mentioning the fondue, raclette, ravioli, roesti, asparagus, and the ‘Unser Bier’? No. I am in Basel.