Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon


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Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon is a Writing Fellow on the Migration and Health Project Southern Africa, based at the African Centre for Migration & Society at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits).

Matthew holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford, which was ethnographic study of HIV/AIDS treatment programmes to displaced communities in northern Uganda. Over the past five years he has conducting research in inner-city Johannesburg on themes of migration, religion, health and housing. He is beginning new research looking at African migration to Brazil.

Matthew has published widely in different books and journals including Medical Anthropology, Critical African Studies and the African Cities Reader, and a number of newspapers and journalistic publications including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Chimurenga Chronic and the ConMag. He is presently completing a narrative book about unlawfully occupied buildings in inner-city Johannesburg. He is the lead editor on the forthcoming book 'Routes and Rites to the City: Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg' to be published by Palgrave-MacMilllan.


Posts by Author

Meaningful Engagement, Not Militarisation, Is The Way Forward for Mashaba’s Johannesburg

Anthropologist Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon shares his insights on Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s visits to so-called “hijacked buildings” in the city.

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Colonialism and Medicine

Eusebius McKaiser of 702 fm interviewing UCT’s Dr Carla Tsampiras and Wits University’s Dr Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon on the fascinating/shocking global and local history of colonialism in relation to medicine:

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Asylum as a Form of Life: The Politics and Experience of Indeterminacy in South Africa

According to the United Nations, in 2003 South Africa had the highest number of asylum seekers worldwide. Based on interviews with applicants or former applicants to refugee status as well as officials, adjudicators and activists, the authors propose to analyze asylum as a form of life, rather than as bare life.

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Zille’s Tweets and History’s Miasma

Helen Zille, the former leader of South Africa’s opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and premier of the Western Cape, casually invoked, in a series of tweets, one of the continued liberal myths of colonisation – that Europeans brought advanced and widespread medical care to the colonies.

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Routes and Rites to the City: Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg

This project is exploration of the ways religion and diverse forms of mobility have shaped post-apartheid Johannesburg, South Africa. It analyses transnational and local migration in contemporary and historical perspective, along with movements of commodities, ideas, sounds and colours within the city.

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Searching for HIV Harmony in SADC

Panashe is a twenty-six-year-old Zimbabwean women living with HIV. She works in a restaurant in the old mining town of Roodepoort on the west rand of Johannesburg.

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Love and Truth in Arts-based Research

The #artsmethods 3 Symposium held at the 10th to 11th November in the Worker’s Museum, Newtown mined the unstable territory of images and ‘collaborative arts’, and the conditions of their creation.

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The Future of Artisanal Mining is Clouded in Dust and Smoke

The future of artisanal small-scale (ASM) mining in South Africa rests on a legal and existential precipice; its very definition is clouded in dust and smoke.

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Crossing the Borders of Humanitarianism: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Inner-City Johannesburg

This paper is an account of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Brussel’s projects in Johannesburg from 2007 to 2013, drawing on the ethnographic research of an external researcher (Wilhelm-Solomon) and MSF health worker and project leader (Pedersen).

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Decoding dispossession: Eviction and urban regeneration in Johannesburg’s dark buildings

In January 2012 the residents of an inner-city tenement building in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, were evicted on a court order. This paper documents how a group of blind Zimbabweans experienced threats of violence and accusations of betrayal, as they were offered alternate accommodation by the evicting company because of their disability.

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The Double Stigma of Migration and Sex Work

“From a migrant’s perspective from another country you face a double stigma as sex workers first because you are from another country, second because you are a sex worker in a country where sex work is criminalised” said Lindah

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The Struggle Against Silence: Media Responses to Decriminalising Sex Work in South Africa and Zimbabwe

In March this year, Cyril Ramaphosa – the South African Deputy President – publicly indicated support for the decriminalisation of sex work when launching the first South African National Sex Worker HIV Plan.

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The Limpopo River and the Mediterranean Sea: Asylum Seeking and Migration Policing in South Africa and Europe

How is policing and securitising of refugee and migration policy in both South Africa and Europe creating new social divides and exclusions and exacerbating insecurity?

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