Linda Musariri

Affiliated member


Linda Musariri is a recipient of the AISSR-administered starter grant that she is using to support her research on climate change and sustainable development more broadly and ‘just’ energy transitions in Southern Africa in particular. The ‘just’ energy transition has been commonly presented as the needed transition to usher the world into environmentally sustainable economies and just societies for all. However, in southern Africa where some of the materials needed for energy transitions are extracted the quest for justice is complicated by the longstanding need to accelerate economic development while adapting to the devastating effects of the changing climate. In addition, some of these places are plagued with fragile ecosystems, conflict, and extended climate vulnerability, where any change through excavations, or deforestation would escalate geopolitical and climate disruptions and consequently undermine planetary security. Furthermore, those most affected by such transitions and climate change more broadly are often institutionally and intellectually excluded from academic conversations and global discourses, yet they are often portrayed as the purported beneficiaries of the interventions. This has resulted in a disconnect between dominant frames of climate change/sustainability and oral traditions and the lived realities of affected communities. As such, questions remain who gets to decide what is just and for whom? Furthermore who is benefitting and who is paying for this promised future? More importantly, who is included/excluded in such visions of a green and clean future?

To answer the questions above Musariri is currently running two research projects, lithium mining and hydrogen in Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively. She has established an ecology of knowledges lab (EOK Lab) that brings together various researchers and knowledges including the often-excluded indigenous knowledge systems to explore what justice means for indigenous communities in Zimbabwe and South Africa.


In Zimbabwe, Musariri is focusing on lithium mining situating it within the global discourse around renewable and clean energy and within the national development discourse. Mining plays a pivotal role in Zimbabwe’s economy contributing more than a tenth of the GDP and more than three-quarters of the exports dominated by platinum group metals (PGM), chrome, gold, coal, lithium, and diamonds. In addition to having the largest reserve of lithium in Africa and the seventh largest in the world and the second-largest platinum deposit and high-grade chromium ores in the world, Zimbabwe is also pursuing the extraction of oil and gas recently discovered. Despite riding on the global discourse on renewable and climate-neutral energy, the Zimbabwean government sees lithium mining as an opportunity to position itself as an emerging and competitive player in the global lithium market and boost its ailing economy. Therefore, as a resource-rich, albeit deindustrializing country, Zimbabwe provides a good case study to examine the paradox of committing to decarbonization while pursuing economic development.


Linda Musariri is an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam in the Anthropology Department. Before this, she was a Junior Fellow at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development in Amsterdam and a post-doctoral fellow at the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She completed her PhD in Anthropology at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam. Her current research explores the unequal distribution of costs and benefits in the production and consumption of ‘carbon-free’ technologies which disproportionately affect the global south. Using a critical development lens Musariri specifically focuses on power dynamics in knowledge production intending to cultivate pluriversal and decolonial framings around sustainable development.

Previous publications

Musariri L. (2023). Whose crisis? Development interventions and the politics of representation of masculinities and migration in Africa Special Issue on ‘Uncomfortable truths in international development: approaches to the decolonization of knowledge from development practice, policy and research.’Knowledge Management for Development Journal17(1/2):127-144

Musariri L. and Moyer E. (2022) Hunting Treasure, Gathering Trash: Politics and precarity in the plastic recycling industry possible publication Etnofoor