I am a History Ph.D. student writing a dissertation that analyzes a migrant community in the Mazoe district of Zimbabwe in Africa. The Capstone project I am working on is a flow map that will become a part of my dissertation. Integral to the dissertation thesis I am developing are discussions of relationships between the communities where the migrants come from and the people of the Mazoe district, which stems from pre-colonial interactions. The migrants I discuss come from districts in Malawi and Mozambique closer to the three countries’ borders. I am mapping the districts migrants come from to show the proximity of the place of origin and destination. Showing the apparentness of the proximity of the districts helps drive the points I am building in my chapters. My discussion hinges upon analyzing connections within the Zambezi River escarpment. The districts and communities I discuss are all part of the Middle Zambezi basin; they are from opposite riverbanks. So, my map shows the Middle Zambezi basin as it cuts across different countries; the Zambezi River acts as an area where borders of the different territories are formed. So, while the migrants can be considered as coming from Malawi and Mozambique, they all come from an area of confluence and have close linguistic, cultural, and economic relations. This information helps to analyze their adjustment and development of migrant culture over time in Mazoe and their interaction with the Mazoe residents.
I made plodding progress in the beginning months of the project timeline because I was working on completing a dissertation chapter and teaching a git course for the first time. However, the flexibility of my adviser Prof Jay Bowen and the Studio capstone experience relieved much pressure. It allowed me to make some meaningful progress bit by bit. I have worked with my adviser to divide the tasks of my project into steps. I had to decide and narrow down on specific districts, look for the best shapefile versions of specific districts, and then look for the best shapefile versions to use. The most significant task for my project is locating shapefiles for the four districts I am working on. The districts I depict on the map are Mazoe in Zimbabwe, Nsanje in Malawi, and Mwanza and Zumbo in Mozambique. The districts are remote, which makes it quite a task to find existing shapefiles. As mentioned, all these districts fall into the middle Zambezi basin and experience similar climate conditions. The next step I worked on was getting acquainted with the Qgis tools and importing my shapefiles on Qgis to develop the flow map.