What’s next, Mr. Kamal Donko?
Kamal Donko, now BIGSAS alumnus, successfully defended his thesis on 24 January 2020. After his Master’s degree from University of Cologne and some time back in his home country Benin, he decided to move back to Germany and start a research on the “African frontier”. During his time in Bayreuth, he made good friends and enjoyed great support from his supervisors and the administrative staff at BIGSAS. Even though Bayreuth compared to Cologne is quite small, he has only positive thoughts about this upper Franconian city to share.
“I know I am leaving some part of myself here”
When he thinks about the past years and his doctoral project, he describes his time as exciting, challenging and happy. This looks like a great outcome – so we ask: what was the most exciting part? The day of my defence! This makes sense, especially as a defence marks an important step towards a new chapter. However, the excitement arose particularly around the time of the examination. The alumnus thought, why early in the morning, especially 8:30 am. While he had problems sleeping, due to being nervous, he was also able to keep his calm. On the next day, he presented professionally and engaged in nice discussions. After that, his friends were there to congratulate him on his achievements.
The biggest struggle: Running for a visa
Even though Kamal Donko has successfully handed in his thesis named “Territory, identity and politics in a frontier zone: the case of central Benin” and will soon be a Doctor of Philosophy, there have always been struggles around his visa. He makes a good point: academia is about thinking, but how can one think, while always running around in a jungle of bureaucracy? He proudly made it, and it is not to forget that even just starting a doctorate can be the first battle to fight.
What is next?
It was only five days after his defence that Mr Donko left Bayreuth. But, here comes what a lot of students are aiming at: Based in Parakou, the third biggest city in Benin, the alumnus will be part of a the research project “Migration control, forced immobility and violent mobilization in the border triangle of Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger” as a postdoc. Being part of the Research Section “Mobilities” in the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, he will keep his ties with Bayreuth even after his doctoral studies at BIGSAS.