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Title:Images of Africa: agency and nature conservation in South Africa
Authors:Draper, MalcolmISNI
Spierenburg, MarjaISNI
Wels, HarryISNI
Book title:Strength beyond structure: social and historical trajectories of agency in Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:nature conservation
community participation
Abstract:Despite the dramatic political and economic changes in southern Africa, notably South Africa, over the last ten years, European primitivist and colonial images of 'wild' Africa(ns) have shown great resilience. This is particularly evident in nature conservation. Although the new (black) political and economic elites entered this domain in the 1990s, and in spite of an internationally endorsed narrative of the need for community participation, representations of Africa(ns) remain firmly based in essentialist notions of the African wilderness. This chapter shows how the new elite in South Africa has bonded with the old (white) elite, which formerly controlled nature conservation, in an attempt to obtain a share in lucrative tourism enterprises and other conservation-related economic activities. It argues that the stereotypical images of the African wilderness seriously limit options for local communities to benefit from nature conservation and that there is a need to situate and distinguish agency at various levels of society, including that of formerly oppressed groups. The case of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is discussed as an example. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Book abstract]