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Of ancestors, mining companies and invasive species

When: Tuesday, 06 February 2018 - Tuesday, 06 February 2018
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building
Start time:16:00
Enquiries:

njogu.morgan2@wits.ac.za 

Dr Emilie Guitard from the French Institute of Research in Africa in Nigeria will present this seminar.

Guitard studies the relationship between urban African societies and their environments.

The town of Hwange, located in Matabeleland North, North-Eastern Zimbabwe, has historical roots in coal mining. It is also located on the border of the country's biggest protected area, the Hwange National Park. The 37 500 inhabitants of Hwange thus live in a paradoxical ecological context, caught between coal mines, mango trees, natural species introduced under British rule, and wildlife from the nearby Park.

This seminar presentation is based on the first analyses conducted on ethnographic and ethno-scientific data collected during a two months fieldwork in 2015, with city-dwellers and authorities of Hwange. The research reveals that the city-dwellers pay close attention to their natural environment and to the changes affecting it, through leisure activities (gardening, hunting, fishing), close relations maintained with their rural “homesteads”, but also through a great number of ecological phenomena imposed upon them such as water pollution.

Hwange inhabitants, along with local resource managers and municipal authorities, also produce diagnostics to explain these environmental changes. These diagnostics are built in complex causality chains, associating ecological causes with economic, political or religious causes. This specific case could serve to open a discussion on how to address urban governance and urbanity through relations to nature in urban settings.

 

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