Africa in Our Lives: Tinashe Hofisi

Tinashe Hofisi recently won the Racial Justice Award from the African Studies Program for his project titled, “Governance and Law Enforcement in the Era of COVID-19: African Lives Matter.”

Tinashe is a human rights lawyer from Zimbabwe whose studies explore institutional variation in constitutional adjudication. He worked on constitutional litigation with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for seven years and graduated with an LLM from Loyola University, Chicago. He is a Mandela Washington Fellow under the Young African Leaders Initiative and an IFES Manatt Fellow. He holds certificates in Constitution-building in Africa and Strategic Human Rights Litigation from the Central European University in Hungary. Tinashe is currently a doctoral candidate with the law school at UW Madison and his research examines the emergence and effectiveness of constitutional courts in common-law Africa, with a focus on Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Tinashe’s work under the Racial Justice Award uses online platforms to analyze the COVID-19 pandemic as both a health and constitutional crisis. Legal and constitutional frameworks are used to highlight the disproportionate effect of the response to the pandemic on poor and marginalized communities in Zimbabwe. Tinashe’s work shows the links between the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA and the Zimbabwe Lives Matter equivalent. It also reveals the impact of the pandemic on elections in the context of emerging best practices. Tinashe hopes that his work will influence governance practices in the fast-changing world of the COVID-19 pandemic. He says, “I hope my work can highlight the dangers of regulatory measures which may seek to avert a health crisis, but also have the effect of entrenching authoritarian practices and democratic backsliding.”

Tinashe is also a recording artist who enjoys playing African rhythms on guitar and mbira. You can find Tinashe’s work through the following links: