Research Lab: The Princes of Mpfumo
On Thursday August 19th, APC welcomed Dr Lindsay O’Neill, Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Southern California, who presented a lab titled “English Sources and African Lives: Finding the Princes and People of Mpfumo (1715-1723)”. The lab was attended by 22 APC associates, a mix of students, postdocs and researchers. This paper, which forms an early part of Dr O’Neill’s current book project, offered an account of the travels of two high-ranking men from what is now Maputo. These men, who boarded an English ship to “see England”, would be enslaved in Jamaica, free themselves, and reach London, where they became minor celebrities. One would find his way home. A lively discussion followed Dr O’Neill’s presentation of her paper, broaching questions of sources, broader regional connections, and of the varied ways different British agents understood and sought to make use of these men’s value.