Temitope obtained his PhD at the University of Oxford in the Department of Computer Science. Before that, he studied in Pavia, Italy, where he grew up. Since arriving in Oxford, in 2014, Temitope has been an active member and organiser of the Oxford University Africa Society and has developed a keen interest in the history of the Society, its members, and the African continent in the 20th century.
His previous projects include organising the 60th anniversary of the Oxford University Africa Society, and ‘200 Days of Lumumba’ a mixed-media production that explores the final days of Patrice Émery Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of Congo DRC.
‘‘The awareness of how our predecessors lived their lives, both the heroic and the mundane, gives me grounding. This is especially important in Oxford, whose halls rarely house images of people of African descent. I do not mind. I have halls and corridors in my mind filled with our ancestors, and they keep me constant company. HOPIA is an attempt to communicate a d inspire this sense of grounding in current and future residents in Oxford, within and outside of the university.’’
Cynthia Kwakyewah is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Oxford, undertaking research in business and human rights in Ghana’s extractive industries. Her doctoral study seeks to uncover the factors that drive changes in companies’ human rights practices. In addition to her research focus on business and human rights and corporate social responsibility, Cynthia also takes great academic interests in sustainable development, management of natural resources in the Global South, governance and politics in Sub-Saharan Africa and issues of social justice. Before commencing her doctoral studies at the University of Oxford, Cynthia completed a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, specialising in Business and International Human Rights Law from York University (Canada). She’s the recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal (2018). Cynthia is an active member of the Oxford Africa Society and was the speakers’ manager for the Africa Conference in 2019. ‘‘What drew me into HOPIA is the lens the project uses to study people’s history from below and how it highlights marginalised communities, particularly women in Ghana. I am glad it will feature matriarchs like my own grandmother, who has impacted our lives significantly.’’
David Damtar recently completed his doctoral studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies as an ORISHA DPhil Scholar, and he is now the Turpin Junior Research Fellow in History at Oriel College.
His research focuses on extractive industries and communities’ relations in sub-Saharan Africa by exploring the various ways and levels under which diverse socio-political actors seek benefits and contest existing forms of resource wealth (re)distribution.
Before joining Oxford, he read for a bachelor’s degree in history at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana and an MA in Applied and Interdisciplinary History ‘‘Usable Pasts’’ from the National Research University-Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia.
‘I am passionate about the essence of inclusive voices and diverse perspectives in historical production. This project about ‘ordinary’ people in Africa is interesting because it will take our‘inquiry’ a step further in searching for the truth and uncovering the unknown about Africa and Africans.’’
Naa Adjeley Mensah
Naa Adjeley Mensah was born in Tema Newtown in the Greater Accra region, the sixth child of her mother and the twenty-second of her father. She is a nurse by profession and currently a first-year DPhil student in Sociology at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, University of Oxford. Her primary research interest is family demographic issues, particularly family formation, dissolution, power, and gender inequalities.
A colleague shared information about the HOPIA call, and its goals motivated me to join. I consider the project an opportunity to celebrate a great mum who has known no boundaries in caring for her family. I spotlight my mum because of her passion for ensuring all her children were educated even though she had no formal education herself and the countless self-sacrifices she made to push us all to where we are today. She is both a mother and entrepreneur who gave her all to support her children in school, a noble deed worthy of attention.”
Isaac Agyiri Danso
Isaac Agyiri Danso is a PhD student in law at the University of Oxford. He has research interests in law and development, good governance, fiscal policy, and public financial management. For his PhD research, Isaac is exploring why inclusiveness in international tax law matter under the supervision of Professor Tsilly Dagan. Outside of his doctoral work, Isaac is a Lawyer, Chartered Accountant, and Chartered Tax Practitioner with significant expertise in commercial law, accounting, finance, and international tax law. Before his PhD, he worked as an Assistant to the Minister of Finance at the Ministry of Finance, Ghana. He previously served as a Senior Counsel at the Volta River Authority and as an Associate at the Accra-based law firm Mercer & Company. In 2017, he co-founded Audit Partners, Africa.
Isaac obtained a Master of Public Policy (with Distinction) from the University of Oxford as a Standard Bank Africa Chairman’s Scholar.
Thomas Duke Labik Amanquandor
Thomas Duke Labik Amanquandor is a doctoral research fellow at the University of Oslo’s criminology and sociology of law department. Labik Amanquandor is a University of Oxford Eni Scholar. He holds an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Sociology of Law from Lund University (Sweden).
His publications and research areas include anti-corruption studies, legal pluralism, and the politicisation of history. He joined HOPIA out of his enthusiasm for African oral history and the crucial role of “ordinary” people in its preservation and propagation. Thomas is also an upcoming novelist, with his debut novel titled “The Half-Moon” set to be released in August 2022. In this historical fiction novel, Labik Amanquandor fictionalises parts of oral history within his clan (Kugbeni Gurma) passed to him by his grandmother, who features in this HOPIA project.
Emmanuel Mawuli Abalo
Emmanual Mawuli Abalo is a White Rose Doctoral Scholar in Social Research (MSc candidate) and Human Geography (PhD Candidate) at the University of Hull, where he researches the governance and politics of plastic waste management in Ghana. Previously, he studied for the MSc Environmental Change and Management at Linacre College, Oxford, as a Commonwealth/Norman & Ivy Lloyd Scholar. He is a social scientist.
“I agreed to be part of the History of Ordinary People in Africa (HOPIA) project because of the opportunity it affords me to share the extraordinary story of my aunt, Tashi. She is one of the silent voices and support behind my educational growth, and I feel that this is another platform to honour her.”
Sylvester Atta Andam
Sylvester Andam graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana. His undergraduate thesis focused on the impact of patronage politics on political participation in public universities. The study qualitatively revealed the importance of patronage as an instrument that motivates political participation among young intellectuals. However, he found the subject of civil- military relations in Africa fascinating after his undergraduate studies. Thus, for his dissertation, he intends to investigate the nature of Rawlings’ engagement with the military before, during and after the democratic transition.
‘The sense of participant familiarity baffled me a bit. However, I was fascinated by the depth of knowledge I obtained assuming the position of a researcher in the HOPIA project. Besides, the idea of telling the history from below is a very interesting approach.’’