It’s done – finally

In March 2020, I submitted my PhD. It’s has been a long walk to freedom…

Thanks to my colleagues, friends and family! Here you can read the acknowledgements, the most important page in the entire dissertation. 😉

Foremost, I want to thank my supervisor Ian Taylor for his advice and support during my PhD journey. Not only have I enjoyed our exchanges of views, your impressive academic output, firm political beliefs and personal humility have inspired me, as the combination of these qualities seems rare in this industry. Thanks for having the confidence in me that I myself was lacking all too often. I also want to thank Vassilios Paipais for his thoughts in the initial stages of the research. Needless to say, the countless shortcomings of this study are my own doing.

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Reflections from London

Earlier toady, I witnessed the most beautiful act of loving kindness. I was sitting in a Victoria line train when a woman entered the coach and asked people to help her with some money. Clearly, the woman was not in a good state. She looked pale and exhausted.

The usual situation unfolded – one that is probably best described as collective neglect fused with individual embarassment about the same. No one turned one’s attention towards the woman. Some stared at the floor, others onto their phones. The ones with their 160 pounds Airpods pretended not having noticed the woman’s plea for help.

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“Fixing” Africa’s infrastructure: But at what price?

TIM ZAJONTZ, Pambazuka News

8,500,000,000,000 Ugandan Shilling. This is roughly the volume of a loan, which the Ugandan government currently negotiates with China’s state-owned Exim Bank. The sheer number of digits is impressive, even when converted in less inflationary currencies. The concessional loan of over US$2.3 billion is earmarked for the construction of 273 kilometres of rails between Kampala and Malaba at Uganda’s border with Kenya. The project constitutes the next stage of East Africa’s new standard gauge railway that is designed to link Mombasa at the Indian Ocean with Uganda’s capital and, if plans materialise, will extend to Juba, South Sudan and Kigali, Rwanda in the future. The first stretch of the line between Mombasa and Nairobi has been inaugurated in mid-2017 and celebrated as another milestone of Sino-African development cooperation.

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Cosmic Lottery

Zainab Magzoub writes about the ‘cosmic lottery’ she won as a refugee child.


When my mum informed me we would be relocated to Scotland at age nine, I wasn’t too happy. I hadn’t heard much about the country apart from it was very cold and that boys there wore ‘skirts’. Back home in Sudan, people refer to anywhere in the UK as London. I still frequently overhear in my mum’s conversation with friends and family in Sudan; ‘How’s life treating you in London?’ She has given up correcting them.

We arrived in the UK and claimed Asylum at the Croydon Home Office. Subsequently we were placed in a B&B in Margate for a month. Each day we would search for our names on the notice board to see if or when we were going to be taken to one of the dispersal cities. Luck of the draw found us on the eleven-hour coach trip to Glasgow. Looking back I feel both sympathy and admiration for my mum for making this journey with three young kids in tow and keeping an unwavering composure throughout. She had, after all, been through a lot worse.

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Africa’s transport infrastructure boom – empowering whom and for what purpose?

TIM ZAJONTZ, Invited talk at the 4th St Andrews Africa Summit, 24 February 2018, Hotel du Vin, St Andrews

Thanks for this warm introduction. As it was mentioned, my name is Tim Zajontz, I am a PhD student at the School of International Relations here in St. Andrews. I am also a research associate and guest lecturer at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, where I did my Master’s some years ago. I have been working in German politics as well as in the European Parliament, before I came back to University. My PhD research deals with the spatial political economy of the TAZARA Corridor, that economic space connecting landlocked Zambia with Tanzania’s port of Dar es Salaam. As you have heard, I am also the chairperson of a Germany-based, non-profit organisation called Freundeskreis Uganda which is partnering with social projects in Uganda.

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“SolidaritĂ€t made in Geislingen”

Seit zehn Jahren unterstĂŒtzt der Freundeskreis Uganda e.V. eine Klinik im lĂ€ndlichen SĂŒdosten des afrikanischen Landes. In einem Spendenmarathon ĂŒberbrachte der Vorsitzende des Geislinger Vereins, Tim Zajontz, nun ein gelĂ€ndegĂ€ngiges Ambulanzfahrzeug von SĂŒdafrika nach Uganda.

koi – Das neue Geislinger Stadtmagazin, Ausgabe 93, Februar 2018 Continue reading ““SolidaritĂ€t made in Geislingen””

Vom Freiheits- zum Überlebenskampf

Die TAZARA auf der Suche nach der Erfolgsspur

TIM ZAJONTZ, Afrika SĂŒd 1/2018

„Die Tazara von heute ist nicht mehr, was sie einmal war”, erklĂ€rt mir Robert (Namen geĂ€ndert), den ich zufĂ€llig an einem BahnĂŒbergang nahe Ishitu in Sambias Norden treffe. Er arbeitet seit 25 Jahren fĂŒr das binationale Bahnunternehmen. Unsere Blicke richten sich auf die verrosteten Überbleibsel eines entgleisten GĂŒterzuges. Mein GesprĂ€chspartner berichtet, dass Entgleisungen in den vergangenen Jahren immer hĂ€ufiger wurden, genauso wie teils monatelang ausbleibende Gehaltszahlungen fĂŒr die 2.797 Tazara-BeschĂ€ftigten. Robert erinnert sich aber auch an die glorreichen Zeiten der „Uhuru Railway” – zu Deutsch: Freiheitsbahn. Continue reading “Vom Freiheits- zum Überlebenskampf”

Eine besondere Reise auf einem faszinierenden Kontinent

Von SĂŒd- nach Ostafrika – im Krankenwagen

TIM ZAJONTZ, koi – Das neue Geislinger Stadtmagazin, Ausgabe 92, Januar 2018

Seit vielen Jahren zieht es mich regelmĂ€ĂŸig auf den afrikanischen Kontinent. Meine letzte Reise von Kapstadt ĂŒber Namibia, Sambia und Tansania nach Uganda unterscheid sich allerdings von vorherigen Trips. Ich hatte entschlossen, einen Forschungsaufenthalt im sĂŒdlichen Afrika zu nutzen, um fĂŒr den Geislinger Verein Freundeskreis Uganda e.V. ein Fahrzeug fĂŒr dessen Partnerprojekt, die Musichimi-Klinik, zu ĂŒberbringen. Und so fuhr ich in sieben Monaten vom sĂŒdwestlichen Zipfel Afrikas bis zum Viktoriasee – in einem kĂŒnftigen Krankenwagen. Continue reading “Eine besondere Reise auf einem faszinierenden Kontinent”

“SolidaritĂ€t made in Geislingen“

Das Fahrzeug wird kĂŒnftig den Patiententransport der Musichimi-Klinik im SĂŒdosten Ugandas sicherstellen. Der Freundeskreis Uganda aus Geislingen hat es ans Ziel gebracht gebracht. © Foto: Freundeskreis Uganda

Geislinger Freundeskreis ĂŒberfĂŒhrt ein Ambulanzfahrzeug von SĂŒdafrika nach Uganda. Die Freude bei der Übergabe des Fahrzeugs in der Musichimi-Klinik ist riesig.


Seit zehn Jahren unterstĂŒtzt der Geislinger Freundeskreis Uganda die Musichimi-Klinik im SĂŒdosten des afrikanischen Landes. In einem Spendenmarathon ĂŒberbrachte der Geislinger Tim Zajontz nun ein gelĂ€ndegĂ€ngiges Ambulanzfahrzeug von SĂŒdafrika nach Uganda. Bei der offiziellen Übergabe mit GĂ€sten aus Geislingen war die Freude groß. Continue reading ““SolidaritĂ€t made in Geislingen“”