In Africa, conflicts between protected areas for fauna and flora and their surrounding human populations continue despite years spent trying to find an accommodation between the needs of both parties. Creating Africas investigates the roots of the current conservation boom, demonstrates that it is part of a struggle over definitions of realities, and examines the global effects of this struggle.
Creating Africas discusses the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa, the Isimangaliso (St Lucia) Wetland Park. Here, conservation interests are pitted against those of industrial forestry, commercial farming, and the local communities struggling to have their land returned to them. They all seek to define and create their own realities but do so with very different resources at their disposal. These realities are treated not as different representations but rather as multiple, often competing, realities that involve a wide range of actors, both human and non-human. Creating Africas argues that to avoid being accused of neo-colonial land grabbing, the conservation lobby will need to find a way of imagining nature and protection that includes people.
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Knut G. Nustad has written about urban policy, informal processes and development policy, as well as the anthropology of state formation and conflicts around protected areas in South Africa. He is Associate Professor at the University of Oslo and Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).