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 Engineering cooperation
05.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

nachricht Research project: EUR 3.3 million for improved quality of life in shrinking cities
02.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>