South Africa is one of the most industrialized countries on the continent. Yet, not far from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan centers such as Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, underdeveloped rural communities continue to struggle for a better life. Under successive colonial and apartheid governments, the mass relocation of black people to poor homelands and underserved townships formed the basis of today’s challenges.
The end of apartheid ushered in new hope. As Nelson Mandela said in 1995: “With freedom and democracy, came restoration of the right to land. And with it the opportunity to address the effects of centuries of dispossession and denial.”
And yet, some 25 years onwards, South Africa’s rural communities remain underdeveloped and many reclaimed farms have failed.
So, what is the way forward – could it be a new development model rooted in conservation?
And can black South Africans overcome the injustices of conservation’s colonial origins to embrace the concept and make it their own?
NATHI GUMBI FOUNDER, SOMKHANDA COMMUNITY GAME RESERVE
PHINDILE XULU COMMUNITY CONSERVATION COORDINATOR, EZEMVELO KZN WILDLIFE
OSCAR MTHIMKULU ACTING HEAD OF OPERATIONS, EZEMVELO KZN WILDLIFE
DR ANDREW VENTER CEO, WILDTRUST