Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Image of misery in South Africa moderated

18.09.2006
Eastern Cape Province in South Africa is often described as a problem area, with severe poverty and extensive environmental damage. This is an image that needs to be qualified, according to a new dissertation at Linköping University in Sweden.

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
Further information:
http://www.liu.se
http://www.diva-portal.org/liu/abstract.xsql?dbid=7235

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>