When Race and Social Equity Matters in Nature Conservation in Post-apartheid South Africa

Current academic literature examining race and nature conservation in South Africa has relied mainly on secondary data analysis while neglecting the voices of local communities. This article draws on empirical experience to assess the extent of the impact of race and social equity in conservation, with the aim of promoting sustainable and more inclusive conservation practices in South Africa. Empirical results are drawn from different cases to examine racial equity in conservation. The findings suggest that conservation practices in post-apartheid South Africa are still exclusionary for the majority black population. Promoting more inclusive conservation is complex and requires a broader conservation agenda for more inclusivity and to genuinely tackle issues of poverty. There is a need for conservation groups to also include the previously marginalised in leadership structures and to incorporate indigenous knowledge systems. This will assist in changing the perception of marginalised people that particular persons dominate conservation. The paper further makes specific recommendations on how conservation can become more inclusive across social and race lines.

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