During apartheid, Transkei, present-day Eastern Cape Province, was a so-called homeland in South Africa, a sort of reservation where portions of the black population were forced to move to. The image of the province is still predominantly that of a problem area, both environmentally and socially speaking. This was also the image that Flora Hajdu had with her when she started her field studies there. As a doctoral candidate at Theme Water, she planned to study the environmental problems created by the presumed overexploitation of the natural resources there.
For a period of three years, with the aid of local assistants, she performed several rounds of interviews with individuals from all households in two villages in the coastal region of Pondoland in the Eastern Cape. The picture she conveys is considerably brighter than our conventional image. The people make their living largely in local occupations, often in the informal sector, and she has not been able to confirm any general environmental damage.
The conventional picture says that people here most often find their livelihood from small farms, animal husbandry, or fishing. In fact, these sectors contribute only a tiny percentage of household income. Instead, people work on tea plantations, in nature preserves, as teachers, or with tourism, commerce, handicrafts, or transport. The informal sector is also severely underestimated as a source of income, according to Flora Hajdu.
There is a great gap between the national and local levels, she points out. A series of concrete examples show how lack of knowledge about local conditions is leading to an ineffective policy. While programs for combating poverty often involve the creation of temporary work, the people themselves identify entirely different needs, such as the fact that good roads would dramatically increase their capacity to create their own jobs.
Flora Hajdu also highlights an idea that is being discussed more and more: simply giving poor people money that they can use as they see fit, rather than investing in expensive and perhaps ineffective programs. This is also a hot topic in South Africa: How can the country afford to provide all its citizens with a sum corresponding to USD 20 per month, without requiring something in return?
Flora Hajdu is cautious about overgeneralizing and is reluctant to do so from her own findings.
“The general conclusion is that those in power must learn about the concrete conditions at the local level before they decide what should be done,” she says.
Anika Agebjörn | alfa
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences