skip to primary navigationskip to content


The Cambridge Migration Research Network

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Zoe Groves

Dr Zoe Groves

Faculty of History

University Lecturer in African History

Social and cultural history of central and southern Africa


Zoe Groves is a Lecturer in African History at Cambridge University and a Research Associate at Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Her research explores histories of migration and urbanisation in southern Africa, with a particular focus on social and cultural identities and transnational movements during the 19th and 20th centuries. Zoe has published articles in the Journal of Southern African Studies and African Studies and is currently preparing a monograph on the social, cultural, and political lives of ‘Nyasa’ (Malawian) migrants in urban colonial Zimbabwe, tracing their experiences through a period of rapid urbanisation, profound social change, and the emergence of mass nationalist politics. This research draws on official government archives supported by oral histories, newspapers, magazines, missionary and church-based records, and colonial ethnography to capture the experiences of everyday men and women. Zoe’s next major project concerns mobility between South Africa and Zimbabwe from the late 19th century onwards, with the aim to highlight both the historical and contemporary significance of regional networks of labour, religious and political movements, and popular culture.

Research Interests

My research examines the social and cultural history of central and southern Africa, with particular interest in migration, transnationalism, and urbanisation in Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa.