Winner Africa Thesis Award 2023: Rachel Dubale: “They think we can eat the condominium”. Chronicles of Economic, Social and Political Practices in Addis Ababa’s Condominiums

The Jury of the Africa Thesis Award is very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2023 Award is Rachel Dubale, a graduate from the Research Master in African Studies at Leiden University, with her thesis “They think we can eat the condominium”. Chronicles of Economic, Social and Political Practices in Addis Ababa’s Condominiums. Rachel investigated inner-city renewal in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and in particular the impact that relocating from inner-city informal dwellings to newly-built condominium dwellings in the outskirts of the city has had on inhabitants. Her research explored the strategies relocated people executed to make the new environment ‘familiar’, and the role played by their networks and that of local government in this process. 

Read the abstract of Rachel's thesis (pdf).
Read Rachel's thesis (pdf).
Read a blog about Rachel's fieldwork.

High-quality master theses

For the 2023 edition of the award a total of 24 high-quality master theses were entered to compete for the prize. The submitted theses were all based on research related to Africa, and represented a diverse range of disciplinary fields. All submitted theses will be made available fulltext online via the ASCL’s library catalogue.


There are two runners-up (ex aequo) this year. In her thesis Critiquing prescriptions of place and belonging in neoliberal post-apartheid Cape Town: An ethnography on the politics of abjection in language, policy, and practice, Angelique Olivia Michaels (University of Stellenbosch) presents an ethnography of ‘homelessness’ in Cape Town to make a strong case concerning the everyday agency of homeless people who are often discursively rendered as ‘abject’. The other runner-up, Karabo-Maya Rodwell (University of the Witwatersrand), explores the experiences of and contributions by Black women in the Black Consciousness Movement and the impact these women have had on the movement and the liberation struggle in her thesis entitled In Search of Blackwomen’s Voices: Engendering South African Liberation Movements.

Read the full Jury report (pdf).

The jury of the Africa Thesis Award would like to thank all the master students who have entered their theses for this prize. A special word of thanks also goes to their supervisors who have guided them through the trajectory of conducting and completing their master work, and for having supported them in participating in the competition.


The Award consists of a prize of € 500, publication of the thesis in the ASCL’s African Studies Collection and an invitation to present the thesis at an award ceremony in 2024. The date for the award ceremony will be announced shortly on this website. 


The ASCL would like to thank the members of the Jury for their careful reading of all theses: Margriet van der Waal (chair, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and University of Amsterdam), Marnix de Bruyne (journalist international affairs), Agnieszka Kazimierczuk (independent researcher and thinker), Tanja Hendriks (KU Leuven), and Mandipa Ndlovu (African Studies Centre Leiden).