What's at stake in the fake?

Indian pharmaceuticals, African markets and global health

Fununu kuhusu vitu feki – ‘rumours about things fake’

Dr Fatima Bapumia

Fatima Bapumia is a research fellow at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health. She is a sociologist, having received her PhD from the University of Leipzig. Her PhD addresses the dynamics of cultural boundaries among ethno-racial minorities in Tanzania. As participant observer, Fatima worked with high school youngsters identifying themselves as South Asian, Arab and Balouch in their everyday encounters with their African classmates, friends and neighbours. The verbal expression of ethno-racial othering stood out in Fatima’s doctoral research.

In the project What’s at Stake in the Fake, Fatima looks into the use of language as symbolic interpretation of anxieties around ‘fake’ drugs in Tanzania. Fatima works with ethnographic field work methods, to understand how fake-talk circulates in, and animate, local contexts, and influence peoples’ interactions around pharmaceuticals. She is particularly interested in how the notion of ‘fakeness’ is verbalised in Gujarati and other South Asian languages popularly spoken in Tanzania, and how the local (Tanzanian-Indian) vocabulary around fakeness connects or disconnects with that of the Indian Pharmaceutical representatives