Thanks to the James Pantyfedwen grant, I had two great years studying international development at St Antony's College, Oxford University between 2019 and 2021. Despite the big changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a fascinating and satisfying experience.
As part of the course, I had the opportunity to write a dissertation which was a development on what I had studied during my undergraduate course, namely the political motivations of the relationship between countries in Africa and China and specifically, China's relationship with the party who rules in Zimbabwe, ZANU-PF. The work focused on plans between Chinese state-owned companies and the party to build a $4 billion coal-fired power station. The station was marketed as Zimbabwe's solution to the energy shortage problems affecting millions of people and businesses, but with research it became clear that the station was linked to the lucrative (and corrupt) trade of the minerals and natural resources within both countries. The work also argued that the relationship between ZANU-PF and China in the field of natural resources is part of the party's aim to re-direct the mindset of voters in Zimbabwe towards a new ideal of collaboration between developing countries in the twentieth century.
I would nor have had the opportunity to study the course without the kind grant from Pantyfedwen - I will be forever grateful for their support. The course improved my ability to start a career in international development, but more than that, it was an experience that changed the way I look at the world and enabled me to learn along with amazing classmates and tutors.