Mavhunga uses “innovation” to mean the act of introducing something new, be it a method or a thing, either from scratch or from outside.(8)
Mavhunga introduces and refers to vaShona and maTshangana epistemologies to think about technology and telling African stories about innovation (19).
Mavhunga historicizes poaching as a historical example of the means and ways with which ordinary people engage in creative activities directed toward solving their problems and generating values relevant to their needs and aspirations. (7)
Mavhunga leverages a “capacities” approach to pay attention to the capacities people already have that enable them to import and deploy innovations.
Mavhunga frames an ecological topic (poaching) with innovation and design literatures and STS works. He notes that he is “starting from African vernaculars to establish dialogue with the designer-user interfaces explored in the works of Pinch and Bijker (1984), Woolgar (1991), Oudshoorn and Pinch (2003), and Edgerton (2007).” He flips the typical narratives about Western designers and African users to pay attention to African agency (8).
Mavhunga draws on postcolonial scholars like Fanon, Njamnjoh, Mbembe, etc. to situate his work against narratives about Africa as dark chaos (10)
Mavhunga in some ways is responding to informatics and development work on “users” to point out that instead of being “mere users” Africans are designers. They are not just appropriating technology but actually making it. (16)
Mavhunga cites Hecht and builds on her concept of nuclearity and its multiplicity of meanings in different contexts to argue that technnology also is not the same for everyone and at different moments in time (16).
Mavhunga leverages vaShona and maTshangana epistemologies to think about mobility as a “methodology for exposing technologies of everyday innovation and the productive value and role of movement.” (20)