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Harald Mueller-Dempf   -   about me


Born 1944

Studies in Electronic Engineering in Aachen and Berlin

Sales engineer in Munich, Rio de Janeiro, Lagos, Baghdad and Cairo

Africa crossing with own vehicle in 1980/81 and 1985/86

Since 1981 studies in social anthropology in Berlin, PhD 1989

1989 Post-doc studies in Paris, MSH (Maison des Sciences de l'Homme)

1990 until 2004 employed by GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, now GIZ) in Djibouti, Eritrea and in Headquarters

From 2005 until 2019 associate to Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale




Since 1982 I have conducted research among the Toposa in southeastern South Sudan and the Turkana in northwestern Kenya; from 1982 to 1989 for the Free University of Berlin and from 2005 to 2019 for the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.


In the 1980s I explored the socio-political structures of the Toposa and Turkana which at that time were little understood by academic research: generation- and age-sets, a form of organization which, in varying manifestations, is common to all those ethnic groups in the area which have a common origin (Toposa, Turkana, Karimojong, Jie, Dodos, Nyangatom, Jiye).


From 1990 until 2004 I worked for GTZ, first in Djibouti for IGADD (Intergovernmental Organisation on Drought and Development, now IGAD) as an information and documentation expert, then as a team leader of a food security project in west Eritrea, and finally as a project manager in GTZ headquarters, responsible for parts of North Africa and Jemen.


From 2005 until 2019 I was an Associate to the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. My research project "In the Aftermath of War and Development Aid: Toposa und Turkana" spans a period of more than 25 years and documents the differing developments which both ethnic groups have made during this period.


Since 2005 my research was accompanied by filmic documentation, in co-operation with my assistant and friend Peter Muzee, who has also shot some sequences.


Turkana in North-east Kenya watch one of my films on Turkana west of Lake Turkana.

With my assistant and friend Peter Muzee

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