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The Faculty of Graduate Studies
The University of Guelph
In partial fulfilment of requirements
for the degree of
Master of Arts
O Catherine Phillips, 1999
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SOUTH AFRICAN PERMACULTURE: a political ecology perspective
Catherine Phillips University of Guelph, 1999
Advisor: Professor A. Winson
Permaculture has been introduced as a means of dealing with poverty in South Afn'can disadvantaged
h e application, usefulness and challenges of these pemacuhre pm@Ascommunities. This thesis questions t
Using a political ecology framework, four primary questions were posed: has there been increased food security?; has regeneration of t h e environment occurred?; are participation and efficacy evident?; and what are common project challenges and their possible resolutions? To this end, four cases of applied permaculture and two non-governmental organisations that promote petmaculture within South AFn'ca were investigated through participatory methods. Although there are many obstacles to success, permacuiture offers a productive way
to increase food security and environmental regeneration while facilitating participation and efficacy in
disadvantaged South African communities. In the final section suggestions are made to improve the projects and create a more conducive atmosphere for their success. Recommendations encompass three broad areas: ideological change, improved capacity-building, and stronger networking.
Professor Peter Stoett and ProfessorAnthony Winson. My final thanks go to Anita for being such a wonderful friend and to Scott for his constant love. 1 would like to thank my thesis committee. Ewald and Jeannine Viljeon.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canadian International Development Agency. for their wisdom and guidance. Additionally Ithank Professor William Graf for providing such inspiration and encouragement. and for their support and faith in me I thank every member of the Amort family.Additionally. Robeena Mccurdy. without which this project could not have occurred. for the fun and enthusiasm that they inspired. Joy Nightingale. Specific thanks go to Thoko Shabalala. For their support during the field research portion of this study I acknowledge Trees for Africa and Abalimi. Dave Golding. support and patience- . and Beauty Moore. I thank my mother and father for their strength. Thank-you to each of the people involved in the case studies for spending the time and for being willing to share a part of their lives. Iwish to express my appreciation of the school children I had the privilege of sharing time with. in particular thanks to Debby Ryder and Landy Wright for their friendship and guidance. Chris Zondi.
. ........-.....r+--r-rr-r-rrrr --rr--rrr---r+rtr-rrrrrr INTRODUCTION ----................ ... ...... . ....-162 APPENDIX Ill: SAMPLE SURVEY QUESTIONS FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN ...... .......... ....... ...W ..-..........-....... W ..... .........-..... ...--. 161 APPENDIX It: SAMPLE INTERVIEW OF NGO EMPLOYEE ....-..... ..138 .... ... . .... ..-.. .~ .. 163 APPENDIX IV: SAMPLE SURVEY QUESTIONS FOR NGO BOARD AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS.........---....CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUSION ..----------------------------------------------------................ .-.. ..... ... --. 128 ..... .-. ....-........... .... .... ............--.... ..164 APPENDIX V: QUESTIONSFOR PERMACULTURE APPLICATION ASSESSMENT.. ... -....-...... ...... ......H ..........-. ..... .....---------.. ...........~~~~~------~--~-~-~--~-1 ~ 28. . ....... .... 165 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY.... 167 APPENDIX I: SAMPLE PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW iii ... .....~ FOOD SECURIW. 132 ENVIRONMENTAL REGENERATION ---...... ........ -..... . ..------------~ ~ 135 ~ PAR~CIPATIUN AND EFFICACY -....... . ........... . .... .-.. .. -..... ........ .... .. .. . . ......... ... .------------------------------.-. ..-.. ..............-. -.. ..... -....-........ .............. .... ... .... ....W ......... .....
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Figure 6: The Viljeon Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Figure 3: Map of South Afiica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Figure 7: Harding Special School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I12 Figure 10: Bongolethu Community School Plan . . . . . . . . .LIST OF FIGURES . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Figure 8: Location of Case Studies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Figure 2: Levels of Analysis Diagram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 . Figure 4: Autonomous Black States of South Afiica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Figure 1:Proposed Levels of Analysis for Political Ecology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Figure 5: Location of Case Studies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110 Figure 9: Tusong Youth Centre. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
unemployment.Ecological degradation and limited control over decision-making exacerbate these conditions of poverty. (1993: 25) The complex issues of food insecurity. housing. Ofparticularconcern in disadvantaged communities is the issue of access to resources such as food. 1993). Sustainable development is often lauded as providing this type of perspective as i t purports to balance the concerns of development with those of the environment Although development agencies are currently making efforts to integrate these principles in their plans. nor does it simply require 'people's participation' in projects. income. Several individual and community projects are attempting to follow permaculture's principles and methods that endorse holism and .Neither poverty nor ecdogical destruction has been mitigated by previous efforts to develop regions or localities in South Africa. food insecurity. It does not simply require an additional column on the balance sheet to account for natural resources. Ecological arguments are never socially neutral any more than sociopolitical arguments are ecotogically neutral.A change is necessary in the very way we think and behave in and about society and nature. ecological destruction. As Harvey notes: All ecological projects (and arguments) are simul!aneously political-economic projects (and arguments) and vice versa. Sustainable development is inadequate in its 'holism' and the 'resolutions' generally endorsed by sustainable development advocates ignore the changes necessary to properly address issues of true sustainability (Sachs. disempowerrnent and environmental degradation in South Africa are being addressed with the use of 'permaculture'.It is increasingly clear that a new approach offering a more integrated and participatory analysis is necessary. not simply revising governmental policies. access to resources. Looking more closely at the way ecology and politics interrelate then becomes imperative if we are to get a better handle on how to approach environrnental/ecologicalquestions.INTRODUCTION The 'new' South Africa faces a multitude of challenges in the post-apartheid reality. and lack of popular participation all remain largely unresolved problems. The black majority in South Africa suffers high levels of poverty created during the previous decades of apartheid. and education. Its citizens are in the process of reevaluating and reforming their entire society.
Given the degraded state of ecology in most disadvantaged communities. Issues of access become the main focus in this debate. which are culturally acceptable and promote an active and healthy life. regeneration of the surrounding ecology refers to some obvious improvement in the environment that . In order to investigate this possibility. The first twm questions ask whether or not tangible benefits are offered by permaculture applications. Ecological regenemon is the second tangible benefit that is examined in this study. access to resources. In theory. political. urban or rural. Although this definition is a somewhat limited reflection of the evolution permaculture's meaning. this is a vital issue. food security is defined as a household having consistent access to nutritious and adequate amounts of food. Permaculture is also being promoted by non-governmental organisations and community based organisations throughout the country as an approach to alternative community development Permaculture was defined in 1988 as 'the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity. and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way' (Mollison. In this research. energy. suggesting that there is adequate amounts of food for the population. 1988). For t h e purposes of this study. evaluates whether ecological regeneration has occurred. four primary questions are addressed in this research. while the second. food security is considered primarily on a local level. stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. shelter. and economic restrictions. This definition brings the discussion of food security to a local level and allows a discussion of social. It is not enough that South Africa as a country is a net exporter of food. p a r il c t The question becomes whether this theoretical improvement is evident in the c implementation of permaculture in South African disadvantagedcommunities.interconnection as paramount to social and productive systems. permaculture would provide increased popular participation. Thus. and regenerate the environment in community projects. The first enquires whether food security has improved for participants in the study. it provides a useful beginning to understanding permaculture's applicability. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food.
However. in S addressing these concerns. (Fitzgerald et al. It is ako necessary to investigate the level of understanding of environmental issues and their overall perceived importance within the project Food security and ecological restoration are not the only tangible benefits offered by pemacultureon a o u t h Africa permaculture projects have been promoted primarily on the basis of theoretical level. influence and opportunity. it is important that these questions are considered in context Although food security and ecological regenerationare both related to technical and social relations within the projects. and obstacles to . The third question asks whether permacultureprojects are participatory and whether the general use of participatory methods is promoted through the projkts. which were previousIy closed. Thus.has r e d u d or reversed the cycle of degradation. the present relations of power. Thus. swing open to allow access to information. One of the aims of these perrnacuiture projects is to create 'spaces of control' where individuals and collectives increase their ability to make and control decisions by altering influential relations of power. Cook states: an individual becomes more powerful (the essence of empowerment) when she grows in the subjective sense of feeling able to do things hitherto out of reach. 1995: 288) The definition of what constitutes participation and efficacy within a project. it is the third question of this study that is meant to more directly address social relations. and when doors of opportunity. The level of efficacy experienced by the participants is also examined since it was determined that a major goal of these projects was to allow for empowerment of participants. an analysis of methods employed to deal with this degradation. The question of whether ecological regeneration has occurred in the projects allows for a more thorough investigation of the level of degradation in areas using permaculture. community or organisation requires that the views of the participants themselves be taken into account. and discussions of various alternatives for improving this process. an investigation of the possibilities of shared knowledge and action. along with accepted theoretical conceptualisations. when she develops the ability to do things which were not previously within his or her competence.
There has been a redefinition of 'environmenf by disadvantaged communities in South A h . to reflect a broader meaning. As this theory has concentrated on local level case studies based on the livelihood struggles of communities. it does imply this through its principles and it is logical to assume that strong invoivement and commitment on behalf of participants are necessary conditions for t h e successful creation of a sustainable system. However. as well as finding means of dealing with these challenges more effectively. In order to address these research questrons properly.change need to be examined to begin to understand this question. issues especially pertinent at these levels of analysis formed the foci of this deliberation. as benefits only become real when the participants recognise them as benefits. it was necessary to use a multidisciplinary and layered theoretical framework that mncentrated on the complex relations between society and nature. how to duplicate the successes of case projects is also asked. As a supplementary discussion. Political ecology was chosen as such a framework. Access to resources and relations of power within society are extensively explored in works by political ecologists and relate strongly to the questions posed in this work. Swift defines political ecology as the investigation of the dialectic between human relationships in communities and their natural and social environments (1993). it seemed especially relevant to this research. The ability. Enquiry into these questions requires examination and reinterpretation of the biophysical and social relations within and influencing the projects. As this study is predominantly concerned with the local and national contexts. Although permaculture does not explicitly insist on equitable relations between people. along with their social identities. national and international levels were also considered as possible inffuences on the levels of participation and efficacy- The final research question seeks to discover the common challenges of the projects. will and conditions of choice of participants. This definition refers not only to ecological concerns but also . are significant in forming an understanding of this question. and elsewhere. Participation and efficacy in these projects are predominantly concerned with a focal level analysis.
After a brief history. Thus. there is no alternative offered. the relations between levels of analysis remain vague. This redefinition allows social justice issws that had previously been neglected by some environmental discourse and a c v its im to be amounted for in a more comprehensive manner. leaving the option open for almost any relationto be explanatory. The levels of analysis used in the theory are explored. as is the concept of a 'chain of explanation'. Permaculture seems to fit within this interpretation as both a strategy and discourse. i of sustainable livelihoods through participatory and integrated processes. the branch of 'Third WorM' political ecology is pursued to provide the framework used in this study. However. wok and play'. Issues of access to resources. Through t is realistic to assume that any viable alternative would involve the construction interpretationof the framework. In reference to this final point. Most irnpof?antly. the discussion of theoretical relevance is elaborated at these levels. leaving the urban context largely unexplored and connections between the two areas iu t c ie r ignored. and although there is a strongq of the dominant politicaleconomy. there are several limitations to the use of political ecology. This study has focussed on the exploration of local and national levels and as such.encompasses 'the places where people live. Within political ecology environmental justice has received particular attention in recent years. political ecology does state that radical change is necessary. Since this is a growing interest in South A h . The emphasis on environmental justice is increasingly reflected in theoretical debates in political ecology through the debates over the relations between ecological integrity. the concepts involved are . despite the many limitations of political ecology it was deemed most appropriate to determine the usefulness (or lack thereof) of permaculture in South Afn'can disadvantaged communities. social idenbty and dkcourse each factor into this analysis and are reflected in this treatment of political ecology. This fact strengthenedthe applicability of a political ecology fiamework to this particular study. Chapter Outlines The first chapter begins by offering an elaboration of the theory of politicalecology. social empowerment and basic needs. there is a strong rural bias.
The final section of the chapter deals with the methods used and limitations experienced during the course of this research. h each case. The first organisation. They have also had contact or influence in the cases of implementedpermaculture that are investigated. The first of these three chapters explores the role of non-governmental organisations in promoting alternative development Two nongovemmentai organisations (NGOs) are studied in detail to provide a better understanding of the atmosphere faced and created by NGOs. While the second case. In order to gain a strong understandingof the broad applicabilityof permaculture both rural and urban projects were investigated. The case studies are the subject of the next three chapters. During the field research period it became clear that schools play a significant role in the use and promotion of . The second component of the chapter concentrates on providing a basic definition and understanding of what exactly permaculture is. At some points analysis and summation proved quite difficult since revisions to these policies and programmes are occurring constantly. and social realities. Trees for Afn'ca. Abalimi. environment. and relevant statistics were not always available (or consistent) for post-apartheid years. and that alternative developmentstrategies should be more persistently expiored. Implemented permaculture projects at four different locations were studied. focuses its work locally in the townships of Cape Town. functions on a national level.explored in slightly more detail than some other pomical ecology issues. economics. Both of these organisations are involved in the promotion of permaculture methods and principles thtough various campaigns and projects. It is generally concluded in this chapter that the situation of poverty faced by a majority of the black population has not been substantially altered. efforts by the government to address the problematic areas through policies and programmes are considered. that more assertive approaches to legislation are necessary. The second chapter attempts to provide a summary of the situation faced in South Africa as it might relate to permaculture issues This discussion concentrates on the national level and addresses politics.
on national and local levels. The second urban case is a community primary school in Philippi(a settlement outside of Cape Town). in some cases more than others.permaculture in South Africa so two schools were included in the site selection. substantial improvement could (and need be) made. It is concluded that the use of permaculture has been beneficial in each of these areas. In all three case study chapters. The final chapter deals more generally with the applicability of permaculture to the South African context The research questions regarding the tangible improvements of food security and ecological regeneration and the levels of and potential for participation and efficacy are discussed. and a primary school for s a p le c i needs children. The two urban cases are detailed in t h e next chapter. These cases form the substance of the fourtfi chapter. . Chapter six also identifies common challenges to the proiects and offers more general proposals for promoting the use of permaculture. a section that makes obsewations and specific proposals for the improvementat each location fbllows the descriptionsof each of the cases. or other alternative development strategies. although t province. The first of these cases is located in Alexandra (a township outside of Johannesburg) and involves young offenders from the area. Four cases in all are detailed. Two are situated in rural contexts: a privately owned farm where the managers are attempting to establish a permaculture institute. Recommendations for ideological change. improved capacrty-building and stronger networking are detailed. However. Bdh of these cases are located in the h e first is in the northeast while the second is in the southwest of the province of KwaZulu Natal.
This type of study is often referred to as the investigation of the 'politicization of environmental concerns' (Hershkovitz. economic. Two broad types of political ecology have evolved. Peet and Watts suggest that 'a renewed institutional concern with the consequences of high rates of demographic growth' in 'developing' areas of (he world during the 1980s influenced political ecologists (1996: 5). 1993: 328-329).It attempts to offer a way to understand environmental issues as well as a programme for change .CHAPTER ONE: THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Political Ecolonv History Political ecology has evolved as an interdisciplinary approach used to analyze the connections between social. According to Atkinson this version of political ecology provides 'a steady . 1993).Political ecologists used an interpretation of Marxist and neo-Marxist theory to investigate the global political economy with an explicit focus on local level analysis and environment This created a bias toward investigating peasant and agrarian communities. and their pursuit of political power within the established institutional framework. It was first articulated in the 1970s in response to the lack of theory offering an interdisciplinary analysis focussed on integrating land-use practices and political economy. their translation into political parties.some using ethics as a basis for argument and others avoiding that precept. parties andlor movements (see Roussopoulos. Concentrated largely in North America and European countries. this type of political ecology often focuses on 'green' platforms. Additionally. the emphasis of political ecology studies remains largely based on rural localities. Although this focus has expanded to include other communities. The first school deals primarily with the analytic and strategic study of environmental movements. The growth in interest in environmental issues and the politicization of those issues during the 1980s (especially in the form of Green parties) was also a fundamental factor in political ecology's literary development. political and ecological realities.
and the technical and development alternatives' (1992: 375). different levels of political economy. This integration allows an emphasis on relations that have been neglected in previous natural resource management schemes. stating that environmental discussions regarding the Third World have generally disregarded the historical and economic realities through emphasis on the relation of conservation and development. l988). Zimbabwe (Bebbington. Hetcht and Cockburn agree.Due to this inappropriate framework and the desperate living conditions of much of the populace in the Third World..This interest has manifested in a large number of case studies focussed in 'developing worfd' localities.growth of ideas and initiatives that can be interpreted as -and are certainly understood by those involved to be . as well as the larger philosophical issues. It is this second area of study that Bryant has identified as 'an emerging agenda for Third World studies'. which is defined in a wide sense to include social arenas as well as ecology. These cases generally concentrate on communities in a local context.. 1991: 21). . Referred to as the study of 'human-environment relations' this political ecology attempts to gain understanding of specific situations faced by land users in their lives. 1988). the Ivory Coast (Bassett. their struggles for livelihood. Questions are increasingly focussed on 'resource distribution and access. including Amozonia (Schmink and Wood. the distribution of resources and how the local reality is influenced by. Portugal (Black. The second type of political ecology is concerned more with the relations of land users and their environment. 1996) and Honduras (Stonich. 1WO). The integration of social justice issues and ecological concerns is generally referred to as environmental justice (see later in this chapter for a more detailed discussion). 1995). political rights and processes. and influences. organisations and movements are moving toward defining environmental issues in a more general manner. 1987).pointing toward radical changes in the political and social settlement as a whole' (Atkinson. Mexico (Sheridan.
Bryant suggests that although Blaikie and Brookfield's definition is a useful starting point. the reasons why adequate steps are not taken to counter the effects of degradation lie squarely within the realm of social science' (Blaikie and Brookfield. rural deveioprnent administration. research funding. IMF. Multinationals. tribal authorities. [ Marketing control boards. subsidies. land use and property relations. especiaIIy if 'land' is changed to simply 'environment' (1992: 13). Regional investment. land tenure and reform. taxation. labour and produce. This definition is offered in their attempt to analyze 'the constantly shifting dialectic between society and land-based resources. aid- I I Sourcc: Wulsohn. agricultural extension Agricultural and Coriservation planning. interactions with other land/resource users. impinge on decision-making at the local level and how these relations change over time.aencv (who determines the parameters of choice) Land/resource manager Co-ops. World Bank. In their book Land Daradation and Society. they also emphasize the importance of investigating how 'external' structures. UnitIA. a fuiler description is necessary. According to these authors. / World markets. these authors attempt to establish an integrated framework to analyze human and physical approaches to land degradation. Scale Local Regional National International - Increasing commodification of land. I 9 9 1 :499 as derived tkom Blaikic and Brooktkld ( 1987). especially international capital and the state. National I government policy. fuelwood use. the importance assigned to the social sciences in dealing with land degradation remains undisputed by political ecologists. Creditor nations. NGOs. Figure I : Proposed Levels oFAnalvsis for Political EcoIow - Social Relations/Issues Crop Rotations. 1987: 2). sensitivity and resilience of biome. This revision would 'revolve around a clarification of the impact of unequal power relations on the nature and direction of . However. and also within classes and groups within society itself' (1987: 17). Third World debt. They begin their 'levels of analysis' model with 'land managers' on a local level (see Figure 1). Although the implications of this point are debatable.The articulation of this second branch of political ecology is perhaps most associated with Blaikie and Brookfield (1987). local environmental variables Settlement history. They argue that 'While the physical reasons why land becomes degraded belong mainly in the realm of natural science. political ecology 'combines the concerns of ecology and a broadly defined political economy'.
'political ecologists emphasize that the Third World's environmental problems are not simply a reflection of policy failure. the arguments made by Bryant seem validly applicable to other contexts. the sheer scale of the problem in the Third World stands out Such poverty. First..if mussing] on the interplay of diverse socio-political forces.human-environmental interaction in the Third World' (1997:8). He emphasizes that these areas are inter- . ensures that environmental conflicts in the Third World are predominantly livelihood-based.. Bryant focuses on evolving a specific political ecology applicable to the Third World and how this version differs from political ecology analysis that might be done in other parts of the world. in turn. And second. although poverty elsewhere is not to be denied. this is evident in two basic beliefs of Third World political ecologists. disputing the claim that a separate theory is necessary. In his work. at least in part. Third Wortd political ecology explores the connections between poverty and wealth. Indeed. conditions and ramifications of environmental change. In defending his belief in Third World political ecology.. Bryant even whether t argues: A colonial legacy of global economic integration and dependency.or h i s would be desirable. environmental degradation. environmental degradation and politics that are neglected by the mainstream literature. that 'the oniy way that the Third Worfdrs environmental problems capitalism' (Bryant.. Bryant argues that political ecology 'may be defined as an inquiry into the political sources. perhaps just less obviously so. but rather are a manifestation of broader political and economic forces associated notably with the global spread of ) . and central political control conditions environmental use and conflict in postcolonial times so as to distinguish the Third World from elsewhere. However. It is questionable whether a separate political ecology can be developed for the 'Third World' . In can be resolved is through radical changes to the local and global political economy' (Bryant. 1997: 8 essence. He suggests that 'Third World political ecology' is differentiated from other political ecology study. 1991: 165). 1997: 8 ) . by its radicaI character.According to Bryant. (1997: 10) This suggests that the difference may be rooted in both the local conditions of the cases as well as the theoretical approach of the researchers. and the relationship of those forces to environmentalchange' (Bryant. Bryant offers a simple version of the research areas of political ecology in his 1992 article "Putting Politics First: the political ecology of sustainable development".
and it is only through political means that a solution to those problems will be devised' (1997: 9). Peet and Watts (1996) offer a slightly more differentiated version of the themes of political ecology. 1993. The first division offered is the attempt by various scholars to refine Marxist and neo-Marxist versions of political economy within political ecology. and may well reinforce prevailing socioeconomic inequalities' (1991: 166). 1996). The final area of investigation analyses the 'effects of environmental change on socio-economic and political relationships'. 1993. and global capitalism'. interstate relations. although obviously overlapping (as were Bryant's). Moore. the inherent recognition of various levels of analysis. Low and Gleeson. 1998.The first area of study suggested by Bryant is an examination of the general and contextual 'environmental impacts of the state and its policies. 1998) as well as being applicable to local level case studies. Bullard. advocacy of environmental or ecological justice (see Hetcht and Cockbum. 1985). and need for inter-disciplinary study becomes quite clear. Scott. provide a more useful means of separating the vast amount of literature included in political ecology. Peiuso. Part of t h i s category is comprised of the works discussing how 'disadvantaged' people or communities defend their environments and livelihoods (see Pulido. suggesting six related subject areas. Studies in this vein are reflective of the increasing impact of 'globalization' in national and transnational contexts (see Stonich. 1995. This category of literature discusses the social relations of production and the impacts on unequal patterns of accumulation within . 1992.political and In their recent book.The second thematic area deals with the regional effects of a changing environment and conflict over access in these regions. 1996: Bebbington. Liberation Ecolwies. This theme would be reflective of critiques of sustainable development (see Sachs. 1996). Faber. Escobar.related and overlap. If each of the areas identified are fused into a single framework of political ecology. inter-relations between these levels othenivise. 1994. Their divisions. . 1996. Bryant suggests that this theme is particularly relevant to Third World studies since it deals with the fact that 'the impact of environmental change is rarely neutral. Bryant suggests that 'The development of the Third World environmental problems are linked to political processes.
1997: 29). In both cases. 1996). However. The journal Capitalism. This division includes gender focussed analysis. 1993: Pulido. 1990: 42). the focus on civil society linkages and discourses will hopefully bring these questions to the fore. at focal or global levels (see Broad and Cavanagh. The question of how to ensure that local knowledge and opinion give rise to sustainable options has yet to be adequately addressed by political ecology. rather than just a cursory statement about urbanization's effect on rural areas- i t h political The second division of the literature is referred to as the further integration of politics w ecology. however. This critique suggests that political ecology assumes that there is a consensus of actors within the struggles. they derive material benefit from such linkages' (Black. this assumption limits the potential to understand local initiatives and obscures dynamics that political ecology claims to address. Here the focus is on how different groups within a society are affected by changes in the broadly defined environment Political ecologists argue that 'environmental change not only signifies wealth creation for some and impoverishmentfor others. which also coincides with political ecology's interests.societies. generally focussed on Third World case study evidence. In particular this has been done through a n a y n z lig political action. it also alters the ability of actors to control or resist other actors' (Bryant and Bailey.Much of this literature focuses on rural societal relations. 1990: 44) and the 'romanticization' of local struggles may lead to a misunderstanding of real intents. not least because individually. such as that offered by eco-feminists. According to Black 'most of the world's peasantry would not wish to withdraw from the market. Nature and Socialism provides a venue for various discussions of this type. . 1996). if the analysis is to move forward it will be necessary to more adequately deal with urban dynamics (Hawey. This second area of study attempts to address the critiques of political ecobgy that its account of local politics is inadequate (Black. as well as investigation of organized political parties or environmentaljustice movements.
The challenge here is to find a balance between different levels of analysis without romanticizing the unity of movements or the motivationslgoals of participants. Escobar makes the importance of n his statement that 'social movements and communities are increasingly faced social movements clear i with the double task of building alternative productive rationallty's and strategies on the one hand. Sachs. In many of the works in this category the applicability to and inclusion of local people and knowledge bases in institutions is emphasized. the journal of Environmental History). through its reinterpretative focus and historical analysis. their methods of articulation of demands. However.The third focus involves the discovery and articulation of the linkages between political ecology and the institutions of civil society. 1996. 1998: 137). These works offer alternative views of history that more adequately take into account perceptions and biases affecting nature and ecology (see Merchant. The fifth area of study consists of attempts to link discourse theory with political ecology in challenging definitions and use of knowledge (see Escobar. 1992). 1992. provide political ecology with an otherwise missing depth. Ghai and Vivian. and the changing local and global contexts are popular topics for these efforts to reinterpret in a historicaicontext Peet and Watts suggest that this theme of study. The proliferation of these institutions in recent years has made questions of how they evolve and why. 1995. the advent of colonialism. 1 992). and of resisting culturally the inroads of new forms of capital and technology into the fabric of nature and culture' (1996: 327). The fourth theme is referred to as environmental history. The various interpretations of nature. Critiques of sustainable . and links to local knowledge bases especially pertinent (see Escobar. it has also been noted that 'local livelihood struggles are not unproblematic.1996. the evolution of industry and capitalism. and the enthusiasm to embrace local movements in many cases appears to have glossed over important internal contradictions and differentiations within local groups' (Walker.
the line between many political ecologists and managerial environmentalists is not that easily detected. western science and technology. This quote suggests that actions of communities must be accounted for within studies of discourse and that romaticizationof practices or knowledge is inappropriate. talk about and construct the natural world . Aside from critiques of the mainstream. this area discusses contesting views of meaning and history in the debate over resource access and control. teach. and conse~ationism are typical of this area. In fact.is as important a terrain for struggle as the land itself (as in Hannigan. is required to be part of the process. including belief systems. Whether this 'reformist involvement lends credence to mainstream discourse or whether it will be the long-term solution is debated within this fifth focus of political ecology. However. challenging established meanings and use of knowledge systems has contributed significantly to the usefulness of political ecology and should not be discounted. particularly 'environmental management'. Mental conceptions.Hawey cautions porn-cai ecologists who might be too automatic about their support of local initiatives in discourse. or too focused on discourse in general: 'indigenous or pre-capitalist practices are not. morality. necessarily superior or inferior to our own [western views] just because such groups possess discourses that avow respect for nature' (1996: 189). and law. 1995: 127). therefore. In an earlier publication Schmink and Wood argue that 'Ideas are never 'innocent'.the ways we think. either reinforce or .development. Wilson states that 'me culture of nature . although he focuses on their critique of 'mainstream' movements and approaches. philosophy. These critiques are often complemented by an advocacy of learning from and incorporating local knowledge systems through accepting a plurality of opinions in analysis. he suggests that since many 'radicals' are involved in 'reformist' measures in attempts to change the current situation. expert knowledge. Blaikie argued that 'by the act of viewing our environment we interact with it and bring to our view our own social construction' (1995: 204). Atkinson also cautions discourse theorists. This forms a major link between political ecology and discourse theory. He argues that this critique of the mainstream cannot go too far since in the future 'environmental management' will retain an important role and thus.
This theory of ecology suggested that ecosystems were wholly cooperative and indivisible systems (see Cockbum and Ridgeway. he adds that although 'it is clearly true that in the final analysis it doesn't matter what we think but what we do that will bring about or obviate the ecological denouement' it is inappropriateto think that well-thought out theory is unnecessary to appropriate analysis (1991: 39). However. This approach would also be more reflective of the attempt of political ecology to investigate dynamics of change.And they do so actively. there i and Watts suggest that it might be seen more as similar areas of inquiry instead of a coherent theory. He recommends that 'the theoretical approach of the approach should be more rigorous and tightly defined1Atkinson suggests that this disinterest in theory may stem from 'a common view amongst some political ecoiogists that we are less in need of theory than effective action'. and the s an observable vagueness to the theory. without negating the possibility of usefir1analysis. rather than static relationships. 1977). Each of these quotations exemplifies the importance of meaning. Pehaps investigating a balance between the dichotomy of chaos and order would be more appropriate than a total revamp of the conception of ecology since it appears that both versions have something to contribute to analyses but neither can account for the complex reality alone. such as chaos theory. 1994. Black agrees that at this point political ecology falls short of providing the 'rational generalization' of theory. as biased participants in sociopoliticat intercourse' (1987: 51). Worster. Peet resulting attempt to include so much in the analysis. clarification . interpretation and perception in analysis and research. In recent years there has been a questioning of the theory prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s. Having said this however. Newly developed theories. The final division offered by Peet and Watts refates to the revision of the 'ecology' of political ecology. 1979).challenge existing social and economic arrangements. suggest that a revision of the conception of ecology may be necessary for more appropriate and relevant study (see Zimmerer. The reality is that a complete and universal theory is not viable or acceptable and there must be an allowance for flexibility in analysis. The major criticism of political ecology is that due to its multi-disciplinary approach.
In the case of the divisions offered by Peet and Watts. which provides a normative context for many of these livelihood struggles- Ecological Justice As mentioned earlier. Communities and activists have employed environmental justice as a means of providing a more realistic definition of environment The concern of Third World governments and people with economic development. With these parameters the following discussion focuses on the political ecology approach to livelihood based struggles. However. In the latter analysis of the research then. most relevant to this study are those that address livelihood based struggles to create alternative development projects. previous definitions of the environment and issues of concern are perhaps not relevant to the majority of Third World inhabitants. although some discussion of category of political ecology i discourse is necessary for this study. The next section provides a more complete discussion of environmental justice. inappropriate structures. lack of capacity. and environmental degradation all point to the usefulness of a discussion of environmental justice literature. what the reconciliationadvocated by environmental justice literature will require is disputed . 1998: 41) and the other demanding radical reconstruction (Fabet. The categories. . as the total literature of political ecology is simply too broad to be covered in this effort For this study the focal chain of analysis is that between national and local conditions and decision-making. 1998). The fact that much of the literature has evolved in the context of the United States with a strong tie to civil rights advocacy also causes confusion when attempting to address similar concerns in other contexts.one side arguing for reform of the current system (Sandweiss. the discussions of the politics of political ecology in relation to political action and the n relation to civil society are most pertinent.and elaboration of some of the key relationshipssuggested by polka1ecology would be helpfirl in providing a more unified and consistent approach to the studies. especially in the 'developing' world. and accompanying literature. these categories of thematic study will provide the focus.
it is reflective of permaculture principles and would provide an interesting progression. This struggle became not about traditionally defined 'nature'. For example. which is centred on people's relations. While it is not argued that 'white middle class' communities do not suffer from ecological destruction. policy formation. In some cases an extension of the argument for justice is made to non-humans. and in the minds of the advocates. Although this argument has yet to be extended in the South African context. 1994). safe jobs for all at decent wages. The definition of environment broadened to include 'the totality of life conditions in our communities . justicef (Southern Organizing Committee for Economic and Social Justice). education. In the movements' beginnings there was a definite focus on the equalization of the negative impacts on the environment using the experiences and language of the civil rights movement in the United States. environmental justice movements attempt 'to address environmental enforcement. housing. health care. It is argued that 'coloured communities' suffer more environmentally damaging conditions than other communities and demands are made for the rectification of this situation. Bultard offers a simplified version stating that the term environment encompasses all the places 'where people live. However. and decision making' (Bullard. they emphasize that these two concepts 'are really two aspects of the same relationship' (1998: 2) since it is unrealistic to expect justice in human society if it is not considered what the implications might be for non-humans. equity.air and water. 1994: 11). it is stated that the burden falls unjustly . humane prisons. work and play' (1994: 11). compliance. but of basic rights of communities to a healthy environment (Bullad. more applicable understanding of the reality faced by disadvantaged communities.The ethical and political questions of the uneven distribution of resources and its affect on the environment are the central focus of environmental justice literature and activism. and ecological justice which evaluates the relationship between humans and the rest of nature. Keeping these broad definitions of environment in mind. This revision of definition created a more acceptable. Low and Gleeson distinguish between two concepts within the politics of justice and environment: environmental justice.
As polka1 ecologists.These communities are generally economically impoverished and less politically powerful. Unhealthy working conditions and increased susceptibility to weather variations and disasters (Faber. environmental justice advocates critique mainstream environmental policies and perceptions. Additionally. This statement suggests that although the future is important.ignoring much of the differentiation of society- The second critique relates to 'moderate' policy solutions more generally. Along these lines Harvey argues: . making them an easy target for private corporations or government to exploit (Bullard. This accounts for much of the environmental justice. it is impossible to reconcile it before we deal with the current uneven development and distribution. The first common critique deals primarily with sustainable development literature. Although it is acknowledged that the environmental situation would be worse without these efforts at reform. critiques of the mainstream movements. which are believed to inadequately assess the impact of their suggested policies and represent the ecological challenge too simply . 1998: 15).on the working poor. the poverty of such communities leads them to be more likely to ignore the prospect of environmental deterioration if economic growth is likely (Bullard. and political ecology. 1994). 1994: 55)Once industry is established in an area it is more difficult to have it removed. by using the methods offered by the current system we 'perpetuate the current production system that by its very structure is discriminatory and non-sustainable' (Faber. 1998: 5) further complicate the situation. 1998: 29). and if the community is benefiting economically it is also less likely members wiIf protest destructive industry practices. Low and Gleeson bring this particular critique to light with their comment that 'However important is the question of the distribution of environmental goods between present and future generations. even if people are suffering. a seemingly simpler choice has yet to be confronted: the just distribution of the wealth of nature and environment wifhh the population now livingr (1998: 19). Additionally. it is argued that these types of solutions are becoming less useful and more contradictory as time goes on (Faber.
... the fundamental problem is that of unrelenting capitat accumulation and the extraordinary asymmetries of money and political power that are embedded in that process. Alternative modes of production, consumption, and distribution as well as alternative modes of environrnentai transformation have to be explored. (1996: 401)
Recently there has been a growing belief that the goal of movements must be extended to promote access to positive environmental consequences as well as the prevention of production of environmental risks. Afterall, how useful is a movement that results in having:
all Americans poisoned to the same peritous degree, regardless of race, color, or class (as if this were even possible)? The struggle for environmental justice must be about the politics of capitalist production per se and the elimination of the ecological threat, not just the 'fair' distribution of ecological hazards via better government regulation of inequities in the marketplace. (Faber. 1998: 14)
This stated change in focus is reflective of broader discussions in political ecology and shows the growing questioning of current structures and processes of countries, the global capitalist expansion, and the formation of viable alternatives.
Proponents of environmental justice argue in favor of democratic process, saying that 'those communities of people suffering ecological injustices must be afforded greater participation in the decisionmaking processes of capitalist industry and the state (at all levels), as well as the environmental movement
itself (Faber, 1998: I). Of course, greater participation is inadequate to properly address the divisions in
society if the choice for communities is simplified to environmental destruction or economic development It is thus necessary to investigate the relations of power and conditions of choice apparent in the mmmunity. As is suggested by Faber, 'The weight of the ecological burden upon a community is dependent upon the balance of power and level of struggle between capital, the state, and social movements responding to the needs and political demands of the populace' (1998: 4). Political ecologists would add that the responses of the community to these 'ecological burdens' and the discourse used should be considered as factors in the analysis.
Environmental justice literature has also begun to recognize the importance of discourse (Sandweiss, 1998). Sachs mentions one aspect of the discourse debate when he says mat 'the key to working toward environmentaljustice, then, may be ensuring that the people in power can not monopolize
the right to determine what it [equity/iustice] means' (1995: 8 ) . Faber goes further than this in his statement
that 'environmental inequalities in all forms, whether they be class, race, gender, or geographically based, are socially constructed features grounded in the systemic logic of capitalist accumulation' (1998: 5). Wallace notes:
One's social location - urbanlrural, richlpoor, btacklwhite, and so forth - largely determines the appropriate response to the ecocrisis. 'Nature' is not me special preserve of wilderness activists alone; nature is the lived environment common to humankind and otherkind alike wherever both kinds live and work and love and eat., Thus ffie environmental orientathns of both groups groups whose core philosophy is similar but whose organizational approaches are often different are equally legitimate and equally dependent upon the social, economic, and ethnic locatedness of the different participants in the common stnrggle for ecological wholeness and balance. (1997: 306)
These statements gives credence to the idea that there must be a confluence of social justice and ecological integrity within a multi-level analysis of social, economic and political conditions.
Levels of Analysis
Throughout political ecology literature there is what Blaikie and Brookfield termed a 'chain of explanation' (1987: 27). Although there are different approaches offered by the various studies, this chain
Figure 2: Levels of Analysis Diagram
consistently begins at a local level with the 'land manager' and the environment (see
) . The land managers' perceptions Figure 2
of the problems they face are considered
key to understanding the degradation of the environment. The following link at a focal level discusses the relations present in the community land managers live in, and how these relationships impact on resource use. Successive links
relate regional, national, and international dynamics to each other and to local conditions and decisionmaking. This chain of explanation alIows for spatial differentiation between actors as well as a more thorough discussion of different levels of power and actors in the case study. Bryant suggests that 'how these contextual actors deploy such resources in location-specific struggle is among the more crucial questions' addressed in political ecology (1992: 23). One of the critiques of political ecology is that the explanations at the 'higher' levels in the chain, national or intemational levels are conjectural. However, Hershkovitz maintains that'although the reciprocal links and modes of articulation between the Iocal and the global may be difficuit to specify, it is here that the clues to solving some seemingiy intractable environmental problems may be found' (1993: 351).
The chain of explanation model contextualizes the livelihood struggles being studied in political ecology, ensuring that the influence of the wider society and global arena is not lost in microanalysis. According to Hershkovitz:
The challenge presented by the regional political ecology approach is to integrate the physical dynamics of environmental degradation and the technical approaches to its mitigation with the political-economic factors that structure the choices about environmental management available to individuals and institutions. To do so requires the researcher to develop an understanding of how regional, national and global forces interact in both those spheres, without losing sight of the original object of inquiry: locat decision makers and the local environment (1993: 329)
However, a problem is posed in being able to adequately link each of these levels as well as dealing with the various perceptions and definitions of environmental problems evident at each level, and between different actors. Indeed, one of the major debates regarding political ecology, is how to adequately address the need for context, while still being realistic in what can be analyzed. Bassett argues that it is this attempt at providing a more thorough context within the national andlor global political economy that distinguishes political ecology from other frameworks discussing environmental issues, such as human ecology (1988). However, a differentiation and contextualisation of the dynamics of a case study can become too confused and complex to be of use. Some limitations must be established to ensure realistic expectations and interpretations are advanced through political ecology's investigations.
several communities or range across an entire nation. or even adequate sanitation facilities. it is this 'intersection of circumstances and strategiest (1987: 3) that is the main concern. changing the ability of localities to make decisions and earn a livelihood (Bryant and Bailey. may be forced to use resources for specific purposes. clean and adequate water. yet again changing the circumstances for decision-making. but may involve other resources such as plants. In any of these scenarios the decision-making power of the users of the environment are d e tcirts e r in various ways and these restricted decisions. conflict over access may be isolated within a community. unpolluted air. Rapid change is often cited as creating unclear situations and facilitating resource abuse ) . Obviously. animals. or simply face an altered market or societal demand. Individuals and communities frequently find that their responses to social. Access conflicts are not solely about land rights. (Little and Horowitz.The Local Level Any change in the political. in turn. at times people may have restricted access to resources. . social. affect the local environment. have to respond to governmental policies. or economic circumstances is likely to have an effect on the local environment. Access to resources is one of the main themes of political ecology studies done at a local levelResearch thus investigates the relationships between rights to access and control of resources of various interested actors. 1987: 9 political and economic realitiesand resulting use of resources contradicts what decisions might otherwise be made if only local conditions were influential. such as cash cropping. 1997: 29). Blaikie and Brookfield suggest that for regional political ecologists. involve the total community. local struggles and the changes in the ecology and political processes of the region. This seems a valid point at which to begin an analysis of resource use and access and this is reflected in most political ecology efforts. For example. This complex feedback loop forms the level of local analysis for political ecology. fertile and uncontaminated soil.
In some cases these livelihood based conflicts give rise to the formation of organizations within civil society's various levels. in contrast. especially when combined with non-agricuItural income. but wage employment is too uncertain and poorly compensated to provide for household reproduction on its own' (1987: 8).In these examinations understanding the historical and current contexts is key. The other factors to consider are the social. In one such effort it is suggested that . must be investigated as influences in the examined cases. adapt. such as the ability and willingness of these poor communities (and their individual members) to address their situations. This literature generally argues that the poor are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to ecological degradation. However. particularly in the context of the situation faced by women. 1992:25). Blaikie has suggested that. With the focus of many studies falling on the livelihood battles being waged against states or corporations. it is easy to encounter a problem with relating and understanding divisions within communities. but of power divisions within society between various actors. Bryant reminds political ecologists that questions about the differentiation within and complexity of societies of the poor in the Third World. Horowitz and Salem-Murdock argue that the 'diversification of livelihood strategies puts local producers in a bind: they are unable to property manage their production activities because they have to divert labor and other resources to wage employment. Some authors go so far as to argue that the combination of environmental degradation and poverty 'form a trap from which there is little chance of escape' (Adams. However. are also important to understand the true situation being faced in a locality (1992: 24). such as tenure. there is division among political ecologists about the effects of poverty. and protest. political and economic institutions regulating access control and use of the land and its resourcesThus. even degraded land can provide for 'sustainable livelihoods' (1988). This difference of opinion suggests that other factors. there are questions not only of access involved. 1990: 87 as in Bryant. However. The complexity of this debate is only partially based on land issues. Examining the formation. functioning and reasoning of these organizations is one of the previously mentioned themes of political ecology analyses.
In her work Peluso also argues that less conventional means of resistance. However. In both examples it is not only being suggested that there are contesting views of reality but that different actors within economic. social and politics[ arenas will attempt to convert other actors to embrace their view . such as theft and arson. 1995: 213). and plants. This type of response has obvious consequences on civil society's choice of protest method and organisation type. The struggles over language and action aspects of 'discourse' have become key in the discussion of the plurality of views and uneven power distribution issues. This commonly results in both international and 1993: national conservation policies being seen as illeglmate and inappropriate on a local level (P~uso. Although these measures are generally seen as advancing common interests. can not be disregarded as inconsequential influences on 'higher' levels of analysis (1993). the policies of conservation that have been encouraged in previous years have come under close scrutiny by political ecologists. 201). Secondly. 1993: 201). commercial tree plantations cases examined by Hirsch and Lohmann (1989) and Agarwal(1992) show that the opportunities for local communities were limited by the use of land. with or without resorting to violent methods. Scott cautions that these types of resistance should not be over-stressed since they are not likely to significantly alter the conditions of exploitation faced by poor communities (1985).when protests such as those mentioned occur against 'superimposed management strategies which change who has access to and control over resources.'by any means at their disposal' (Blaikie. in some cases the projects are seen as a 'justification of external intervention' in the affairs of states or communities. which were previously available to residents. it is argued that the state (or other relevant actor) may resort to using the language of conservation in order to regain control over areas or resources. a state may use violence to exercise control' (Peluso. The difficult conditions faced by communities are not restricted to what are normally considered negative changes to the environment such as soil erosion or drought Literature has suggested two clear examples where local communities are negatively impacted by changes in the environment that might be considered an improvement FirstIy. Peet and Watts suggest that 'The notion of .
a major part of this type of discussion centers on the government as it is the usually the dominant institution in a national context. as well as struggles over the redefinition of the boundaries between nature and culture. the relative ability (and will) of the state to impiernent them must be considered.This is a collective task that perhaps only social movements are in a position to advance. This level of analysis can encompass any institution or organization that operates at a national or global level. Governmental policies are key to contemporary relations between society and ecology.. These boundaries will be reimagined to the extent that the practice of social movement succeeds in reconnecting life and thought by fostering a plural politics[ ecology of knowledge. or even tax policies (Hershkovitz. Not only do they determine the practices and priorities of the state. as evidences of environmenta1 resistance. In addition to the conflicts between policies. Of course. through its chalienge to perceptions and advocacy of selfdefinition has advanced the applicability of local level analysis and struggle that might have been more easily ignored otherwise. Escobar argues: we need new narratives of life and culture. 1993: 332).including their origin. land tenure. The task entails the construction of collective identities. they will arise of the modifications that local cultures are able to effect on the discourses and practices of nature..' (1996:34). A wide array of popular statements which often appear only at local level can be read. the lack of coordinating bodies and the lack of governmental capacity compounds the . Political ecologists examine the state and its policies . content. (1996: 341) Thus discourse theory. These narratives are likely to be hybrids of sorts. 1992: 18). implementation and impact . for example. and has influence on events within the local context of a case study. capital and modernity. trade and investment priorities. they also strongly influence the discourse of environmental and political change (Bryant. process. In many cases.everyday resistance may be cornbined with a poststructural interest in discourses of power. The National Level Political ecology's emphasis on political economy's influence and relationship with local communities demands an examination of the national level of analysis.in order to create a clearer picture of power relations and changes in the environment It must also be made clear that the analysis of policy can not be confined only to environmental policies but must relate instead to a broader context of issues such as industrial policies.
and policies designed to restrict and repair the damage were both put in place and practiced' (Blaikie and Brookfield. Blaikie and Brookfield suggest that the 'state commonly tends to lend its power to dominant groups and classes. In addition. concepts and values developed under European tutelage and dominance. The institutional and attitudinal changes that occurred during colonialism are stilt influencing local communities and the methods by which they are dealt with by government: The Afn'can systems of land-use had their own protective devices against erosion. which allows governments to deflect criticism with limited protection policies but still promote growth (Hannigan. they evolved devices in no way inferior to our own anti-erosion practices. 1995: 21). and thus may reinforce the tendency for accumulation by these dominant groups and marginalization of the losers. economic dependency and massive political and societal change..This is a particular challenge during times of sociai andlor political upheaval or rapid change.-' (1987:17). This view is supported by R e d d i who argues that 'environmental managerialism' is often the result of states attempting to be both the promoter of economic development and environmental protector (1987). When the necessity of cultivating steeply sloping land was forced upon a people in me past.. 1987: 106) it is thus imperative that historical relations are considered as well as those of current observed behavior in order to provide a better view of the national contexts and the situations faced by local decision-makers. That modem Afn'cans do not react in this way to their more pressing land problems is symptomatic of a loss of group initiative and self-reliance. Hannigan modifies this line of reasoning slightly by suggesting that 'it is perhaps more accurate to view politicians and civil servants as representing a variety of policy options that are not always compatible' (1995: 23).. . Colonialism is often cited as an extreme example of contradictory state direction that led to environmental degradation. 1987: 102).confusion over environmental issues. 'Policies conducive to expfoitation and to the 'rape of the earth'. (Allan. The complexity and vagueness of governmental policies may allow governments to say that environmental obiigations are being met but still allow exploitation of areas by capital. and of new attitudes. 1965: 386 as in Blaikie and Brookfield. as it was in the refuge areas...
and the global community.The national level influences on environmental and societal changes must. David Holmgren and Bill Mollison first used the term to describe 'permanent agriculture' and attempted to integrate methods of organic agriculture. the naturai environment . be contextualized. The interstate relations of a region. there are common themes. it should be made clear that the existence of such linkages is not in question. through conflict or cooperation. and preferably regenerating. is to create sustainable and integrated living systems for peoples' use without damaging. only how to properly conceptualize. This confusion extends in both directions of relations -from local to global as well as global to local. In basic terms. since this initial conceptualization.Thus. it is necessary to investigate the complexity of these situations in order to achieve the apparent goals of political ecology through alternative means such as perrnacult~re~ What is Permaculture? Since Bill Mollison coined the term in 1978. principles and methods that are generally considered to be key in understanding the concept of pemaculture. The analysis at this level and relations to local systems and action become somewhat difficult in some cases and has been labeled as one of the shortcomings of political ecology. a more socially and politically relevant definition has evolved to include 'permanent culture'. 1993: 348).It remains unclear what the exact linkages are between global forces and local forces of environmental and societal change. assess their impact. However. these actors and their relations to national and local levels must be addressed. permaculture's aim. the various responses to the question of 'what is permaculture?' can at times create confusion and be counterproductive to permaculture's conceptualization. many definitions have been offered regarding the meaning of 'permaculture'. in turn. and alter them (Hershkovitz. also have impacts on the local level. systems planning and 'common sense' obsenration. However. each of them slightly different In fact. However. application and analysis. Given the reach of transnational corporations. international organizations and institutions. however defined.
there are several chapters suggesting methods for various climates and geography. This seems like a tall order to fulfiI1. Thirdly. Each of the principles contributes to a framework that. Finally. and encompass the designer's (or designers') knowledge of the area. allowing for unique applicability within the guidelines of established principles and basic methods. These methods include water harvesting from roofs or tanks. shelter. This principle is meant to apply to living and non-living elements of nature. and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way' (1988). The first deals with caring for the earth. organic food production.However. i t is expected that the development of these systems will evolve through time and within local context In Mollison's Permaculture: A Designer's Manual. is possible to translate to any locality or project. which stand on ethical and philosophical bases that are meant as guides to implementation of permaculture. The fourth principle is the sharing of surplus. which is complemented by the fifth principle of reducing consumerism. or design tools. address individual (or community) needs. certain methods. Along with the integration of these principles. preservation.The second principle is referred to as caring for people. Methods of design are varied and completely open to evolution in detail. permaculture promotes the cooperation between all participants of a system. however. ecological conservation. This flexibility i s one of the major strengths of permaculture. energy. ensuring that the people involved in a system are ensured a useful and healthy life. seed saving. there is a belief s maintained for each in the intrinsic and instrumental worth of all living things. There ate six basic uniting principles of permaculture. . solar technologies. ensuring that the ecological aspect of systems is not ignored but actively defended and 'cared for'. This principle is promoted by aiming for self-reliance and community responsibility. throughout the 'manual' Mollison stresses that the suggestions made are limited and the system's design should be creative. alternative economic systems based in the community. and rehabilitation. although rooted in ethics. are used to accomplish the goals of creating sustainable lives. ensuring that respect i participant in the system.According to Mollison permaculture 'is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing food.
Research Methods When deciding the methods to be used in this study the key consideration was how to overcome certain limitations and collect useful data in a relatively short period of time.human and ecological . This is one of the reasons that political ecology provides a decent starting point of theory to examine permaculture in South Africa. and its practical approach to creating sustainable alternative development (1992:4). Since the subject matter dealt with both bio-physical and theoretical issues it wzs necessary to find methods capable of dealing with both . and the wider applicability (or lack thereof) of these types of projects in South Africa -or elsewhere. with a mind to global solutions. these methods are meant to create more than what is normally considered 'gardens' or on a larger level 'agricuIturer. it only makes sense to examine the different leveb of South African society that affect these communities and their endeavors to improve their lives. In this way. agriculture. This approach to analysis promotes a more thorough understanding of Me projects. useful in South Africa for three inter-related reasons: the logic of its methods.on several different levels. As perrnaculture and all of the elements involved in Me cases involve examining several different aspects of the communities.As suggested by Auerbach. The methods and principles of permaculture are meant to build communities with improved relationships between all aspects involved in the community including buildings. the principles which build upon local customs. sewage systems. amongst others. and creating space for wilderness. permaculture becomes more than an exercise in design but an effort for individuals and communities to take responsibility and create viable local systems. economics.biological pest control. and is. However. The key to perrnaculture does not lie in its methods but in the relationships between the components of the system . water supply. he goes further to argue that permaculture will be. there is little doubt that permaculture will be regarded as idealistic and/or unattainable. culture. the participants. people and nature. Obviously.
For this research four primary methods were used. Participatory research methods provided the best opportunity for collecting useful data for the researcher. workshops. Aithough using participatory research methods can be a constraint to the objectivity of a study. and their challenges and successes. The interactive nature of permaculture projects was also an issue in deciding what methods were suitable. as was the multi-level approach to analysis offered by political ecoiogy. At the end of the day's activities more thorough observations were made from the preliminary notes and diagrams. the University of Guelph. interviews. tours. archival research was conducted for various relevant academic. Video footage was taken in only one case as a video camera was lent to the project and the researcher was asked to take over this duty during the study period. The libraries of Abalimi and Trees for Afn'ca were also included in this exercise. and suweys. In South Africa several research centers and government offices also provided useful documents. audio-visual creation and populartheatre (1993: 215 ) . NGO and government publications. Participatory research uses traditional and innovative techniques in gathering data. Van Vlaenderen suggests that such activities vary From self-surveys. fact-finding tours. and photography were used. This type of research requires a researcher to be particularly mindful of maintaining a balance between the need to be a productive part of the community and retaining the ability to observe and understand the situation. To supplement the data gathered through the case studies. During daily activity basic notes and diagrams were made. and the University of Toronto libraries. develop relations within the community. and photos and limited video footage were taken. the projects. group discussions.concerns. These included participant observation. workshops. and build the capacity of the community in some way. This required being involved in the everyday activities with participants while observing activities and dynamics. it seemed that in this case it provided the most realistic and defensible means with which to establish participants' views of themselves. . meetings. Additionally. as were those of the participants if applicable. Participant obsenration provided the primary means of collecting data. Witswatersrand University. This research was done at the University of Cape Town.
. At each site the interviewees were allowed to pose questions and were assured of confidentiality. in the case of Bongolethu Community School it became clear that several of the students were uncomfortable with their skill at drawing. the interviews were taped.There were a few exceptions to being able to perform this function.Personal notes were included in an attempt to limit the effect of biased observation based on mood. These intewiews were loosely structured and targeted to various groups of actors (see Appendix I and II for examples). although some were similar to provide consistency.For example. The maps were meant as supplementary data that could allow for data collection avoiding problems of language differences.When interviews of project participants were complete it was requested that they draw a map of their project. To ensure proper transcription.All of the notes were organized to answer questions regarding the sites that were developed to provide consistency and to provide a check for other data collected. In the case of Harding Special School. schoolteachers answered some questions that were different than those asked of students. Only sparse notes were taken during the interviews in order to ensure confidence and comfort of the interviewees. in some cases so much so that the exercise was simply not completed. additional interviewees were chosen by two teachers for their ability to communicate and understand the intenriew due to the limitations of many of the students at the school. although t what is commonly referred to as the 'snow-ball' technique provided the means of choosing other interviewees. This allowed for a stronger sense of trust between the researcher and interviewee. The looser structure allowed interviewees to explore areas that might not have been addressed or that they felt were more important It also allowed for some discussion of the questions in order to deal with language differences. in which case the more elaborate notes were made the following evening. To supplement the data gathered by participant observation formal and informal interviews were done. certain key actors were selected for interviews in each case. However. as well as allow for observation of body language and behaviour. After a period of observation. Every scheduled participant h i s option was never taken. Availability and was allowed the option of refusing to do the interview.
In order to gain a better understanding of group dynamics and levels of knowledge, workshops were held at each of the schools- Four workshops were also held at Eduplant, a Trees for Africa permaculture competition, with finalists fiom schools across the country. These exercises comprised of games to allow for easiness of the participants, but were targeted to deal with relevant issues, participants' comprehension, and group dynamics. At the schools studied as cases, 10 (Harding) and 20 (Bongolethu) willing and available students were included, while at Eduplant workshops were part of the programme and comprised groups of teachers and students varying in numbers between 15 and 32-
Finally, surveys (see Appendix 111 and L V for examples) were used in some cases for three primary reasons. Firstly, the sunreys provided another option for participants to express their views in their own language and in written form. A translator was hired to interpret the surveys written in Zulu and Xhosa. Secondly, the surveys were to provide another means of comparing other data collected- Third!y, the surveys allowed the collection of views from more people than could be scheduled for interviews in the limited time of the study. The surveys were a combination of specific and loosely defined questions and were distributed randomly to participants and other influential actors in the projects- Some of the surveys also included a map drawing exercise. However, problems have arisen with some of the surveys. Since their translation was not complete at the end of the study period, some were left for completion and have since been misplaced, causing some data to be unavailable for analysis.
There were several limitations to conducting research on this topic and in the area chosen. Some were anticipated before arriving in South Africa but others were discovered along the way. The most obvious limitation was that of language difference. As the researcher did not speak Zulu or Xhosa, it was necessary to deal with a language barrier. In some cases, this was not an issue as some of the participants spoke English very well; however, in other cases communication was limited. This limitation was addressed
in three different ways. First, a translator was hired for formal interviewsand some of the surveys. Although this did provide a solution to the language barrier,
it also caused problems. The time for the interviews
became substantially longer and there was a possibility of inaccurate interpretation. Second, for casual conversation the researcher learnt several key phrases in Zulu and Xhosa. Obviously, this effort was severely limited by time; however, it did provide a more open atmosphere by showing a willingness to communicate in the participanfs own language. In some cases, people felt eased enough to attempt using their broken English to communicate. At the very least, laughter ensued from the efforts creating good feelings between people. Third, both participants and the researcher were able to communicate through gestures, limited common language, and drawings. This effort also aided in creating an atmosphere of trust and friendship. Of course, had the method of participant obsewation not been used, this method of communication would have been virtually impossible since it required time and common activities to devebp acceptance within the group to be able to communicate at all. The language barrier was not as problematic
as initially expected since the relationships that developed with many of the participants was friendly and
trusting. Language became less of an issue while we worked together to get things done and got to know each other.
The second limitation for this study was that of time. Again, this was anticipated previous to
departure and efforts to mediate this limitation were made. Initial contacts were made and projects were recommended as starting points even before the field research began. Unfortunately, there were
uncontrollabledelays at some points of the research making time a limitation again. For example, there was confusion at the host organisation when the Executive Director was on vacation during the beginning of the study period and other members of the organisation were uninformed of the researcher's arrival. Transportation delays also occurred throughout the study period. Although in some instances information gained during these revised travel plans were quite useful, in other instances it simply limited the time that could be spent elsewhere. The time restriction also affected the documentation that was available as some of the surveys and documentation had not been translated at the time of departure and seem to have been
lost in the meantime Although their loss is not fundamentally damaging, the fact that this data cannot be included despite its collection is problematic. The final aspect of the limitation of time is more appropriately referred to as timing. The season posed restrictions on what had been accomplished at some of the gardens and some of the projects were only available to be visited at set times- These schedules then affected the time available for other interviews and research, leaving some interviews to the final stages of
the study period. As this time was also the year's end, the availability of several officials and academics that
had been previously scheduled for interviews had to be cancelled-
It was also anticipated that there would be problems with suspicion of the researcher due to racial, gender and language factors. However, the extent and variability of this limitation were unexpected. In some cases, such as the Viljeon farm, there was a strong suspicion of the intent of the researcher that was only cured by time and association. It was suspected by labourers on the farm that the researcher was 'a spy' and would relate any incriminating comments to the owners, thus much information was held back until much later in the research period at the farm. In the other cases, the openness of the participants was surprising. For example at Bongolethu there was very little suspicion and comments were freely expressed. The exception, as stated in the case studies, was the children who were initially quiet and uncritical. Again,
it took time to gamer the trust of the children and assure them that their comments and ideas were
welcome, and would not place them in any awkward situation with teachers.
A fourth limitation for this project was the lack of research done previously in this area, particulady
in South Africa. Although there has been quite a bit written about relevant topics, most of this work has not been approached in an integrative or multidisciplinary way and none have involved permaculture projects specifically. However, there was a plethora of material that might be related to the subject and it was difficult to limit this literature since it was necessary to deal with several different areas of concern that were not generally considered related. This limitation is also evident in the choice of theory for this study. Although political ecology is not fully developed theoretically, it seemed to be the most applicable theory that
Given the confluence of the concepts of permaculture and participation this flexibility seemed the . is the question of how to evaluate the level and success (or lack thereof) of the development of these projects given the nature of permaculture to encourage variance. In these cases both interested parties decided that potential alterations or effects would comprise at least part of the evaluation. the projects were meant to provide a more complete picture of the variety of South African permaculture applications. This approach of a flexible definition. General guidelines (see Appendix V) established by the input of two permacuituralists and archival research on the topic were used. For example.was open to multi-level and multi-disciplinary research beginning with local level analysis. It was also decided that two schools. as well as providing the flexibility necessary for this research- The final two limitations are linked in that they both relate to the level of development of the projects. This decision provided some ability for comparison of projects that might be affected by some similar factors. The variance of the cases' stages allowed the research to take account of various parts of and approaches to the integration of permaculture into South African reality that otherwise might have escaped attention. the institute had yet to be formed at the Viljeon farm and both NGOs were undergoing restructuring. a decision to deal with two uhan and two rural cases was reached. which reflects the beliefs of the participants as well as the researcher. were examined. was also applied to the elusive concept of participation levels and efficacy. Second. Even these decisions were not sufficient though. First. Due to miscommunication some of the projects that were recommended for study were not at a point which was most conducive to the initial proposed study.In this context. there is a variance within the case studies regarding their stage of development and the type of project that has evolved. in conjunction with the definition of success according to the participants themselves as stated in conversations or intenriews. botf~primary. Their stages of development led to restrictions on what could be studied at these sites and required a reevaluation of purpose.In order to deal with this inevitability.
would provide the basic conceptual framework for this research. form the core of this study. giving a grounding to the . the actions of interested and influential actors in their daily context. Issues of access to resources and equity. along with their relation to ecological integrity. n some cases this proved inadequate to redress the problem. which is the theoretical framework being used for this research. Political ecology does provide a stating point for this type of analysis with its focus on local studies within a larger context with an emphasis on ecological issues. Any framework used to analyze the current reality must take account of three essential elements: the plurality of perceptions of various actors. Although it should be added that however. either in academia or in the field . with an emphasis on environmentaljustice. it was decided that political ecology. social. its flexibility and attempt at holistic analysis does allow a freedom in investigation that is lacking in many other theories. and this does limit its usefulness as a framework. rather than relying on a set definition that would likely not refiect the reality i t would be applied to. This interest stresses the evolution of environmentaljustice in South African communities and within the discussed literature. For this reason.most logical approach. The most fundamental limitations were anticipated and thus. i each limitation added to the understanding of a reality that is faced.and in some cases in both. and the various levels and relations of power within society in economic. Conclusion This chapter has provided a basic outline of political ecology. Although political ecology is not fully articulated as a theory. did not impact the research as negatively as they might have. political and ecological realms. Most of the limitations were dealt with sufficiently by adjusting the research methods or schedules. The many limitations of this study made the field research and analysis a challenge. This discussion focussed on the levels of analysis and emphasis of local level study.
approach that is lacking in other 'development frameworks. and debates over access to knowledge and its use are also addressed within the theoretical literature. . There is also a confluence of interest on the local level in both political ecology and permaculture. ecological integrity and social empowerment and reflect on the integration of these factors in permaculture application. it is perhaps this vagueness that allows so many studies. and the various levels of analysis proposed by political ecology serve to contextualize local decision-making in a way which otherwise might have been neglected. to use political ecology as a base foranalysis- Political ecology. Although there is vagueness in the articulation and explanation of these relations and infiuences within the theory. Debates over access to resources and the ability (and willingness) of people to apply knowledge in their dynamic environment are central to this study of s dealt with at least partially by political ecology literature. Political ecology with an emphasis on environmental justice provides the conceptual basis for this analysis of the situation being faced today in South Africa. Permaculture draws on both traditional and modem knowledge bases. particularly with respect to research of alternative development schemes such as permaculture. The critique of permaculture and each i mainstream environmentalism is also useful to this study as the conservation movement has been largely discredited in South Africa and efforts in this vein are generally considered inappropriate impositions by local communities. with its multi-leveled anaiysis seems to address the challenge of dealing with both the 'politics of place' and globalization trends. Through using a politicaI ecology framework it is possible to investigate the relations between basic needs. including this one. The emphasis on social justice issues and their links to ecological conditions is especially appropriate to environmental debates occurring in South Africa. The reiations between these locat actors and others within the levels of analysis provide a link to national and global inffuences that is necessary in a world where such intluences are so strong.
Most of the limitations of the research were anticipated and dealt with through changes to methodology or structure of the research. participatory methods would be most useful. In forming the methods for this research it was felt that due to certain anticipated limitations. seems to reflect political ecologistsr objectives. Escobar has argued that the 'creation of spaces in which to foster local alternative productive projects is one concrete way to advance the strategy' (1996: 339). surveys and archival research supplemented the participant observation component of the research. In addition to the theoretical basis provided in this chapter. proposed as such a strategy and discourse.Political ecologists argue that the problems evident in the world are not a simple reflection of a s necessary to address established and problematic failure of policy but rather that a radical change i political economic relations. lack of previous research in the area. and the level of development of the projects. it seems logical that local and sustainabte livelihoods anived at through democratic processes and cultural pluralism would form its core. Interviews. time restrictions. suspicion. Although proponents of the theory have not yet decided on an alternative. Although it is not possible to address all limitations. workshops. How reflective it is of South Africans' objectives remains to be seen.The question has been asked of how disadvantaged communities defend their livelihoods and environment Permaculture. each provided challenges and opportunities toward adaptive research into the realities of the South African context. the methods and limitations of the research have also been discussed. . These limits included language difference.
and education. health. and the case studies investigated for this study. languages. water issues. but the process wili be long and difficult. For the purposes of this study though. These sections include: the state and government. housing. In view of this. It will be necessary for the government and society of South Africa to take an integrated view of the multitude of problems they face and use their strengths in the most productive and responsible way possible. this discussion provides sufficient context through the discussion of political. Each section explains various facts. as this would be impossible to provide in such a short section. This era and its policies conditioned the poverty experienced by a majority of South Africans. land settlement patterns and reforms. this chapter is dedicated to providing a basic background in various areas to provide a context for the discussion of South Africa and permaculture. The chapter is divided into several sections for ease of relating relevant material. including land degradation. the legacy of apartheid remains embedded in every aspect of South African life. however. energy. the environment. It is by no means an exhaustive discussion. A great opportunity to remake South Afnca exists. and natural regions make Vlis challenge all the more complicated. economic. The post-apartheid government faces the challenge of redressing the political and economic inequities created through decades of apartheid while at the same time creating the conditions for economic growth and environmental improvement The country's diversity of cultures. the economy. and pollution issues.CHAPTER TWO: THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT The 1994 election of a democratic government in South Africa marked the end of official apartheid rule. figures and government policy initiatives relevant to this study- . environmental and social situations within South Africa.
8. Xhosa.co. the judicial capital is Bloemfontein and the legislativecapital is Cape Town. There are eleven official languages including. and Namibia and Lesotho is completely Fieure 3: Map of South Afiica surrounded by it. The urbanization of the country is approximated at 70% and this figure increases daily with city growth that is approximated at 3-5% annually. The executive capital is Pretoria. most urbanized and highest contributor to GDP in the country while KwaZuu Natal is the most populated.5% indian/asian (1996 census estimates). Afn'kaans. 12. Ndebele.uk~southafr. Swati. Tsonga. and especially concentrated in the black population. and Zulu. These categories break the population down into: 76. Venda. in order of predominance. Aug 9 groups and although the taw forming these divisions has been repealed. based on 1995 data.The State and Government The Republic of South Afiica is the southern-most country in Africa (see Figure 3). Mozambique. The population of South Africa is estimated. Tswana.3% black. Zimbabwe. The province of Gauteng is the smallest.This area is divided into nine provinces. The area of the country is 1 219 080 square km. Sotho. The population growth rate is approximated at 2-4%. Pedi. while the Indian Ocean forms the West Coast South Africa's land borders are shared with Swaziland. The population has been divided into four racial Source: www-t~l. at 41-2 million. .7% white. and the population generally sees themselves as belonging to one of the four categories.5% coloured and 2. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the west. Botswana. The government is now encouraging people to learn at least two of the official languages -especially English. English. statistics are still gathered according to these categories.
the dismantling of the apartheid regime began- Negotiations for a new political structure began at the end of 1991 with the Convention for a Democratic South Africa. the government declared South Afn'ca a republic. The trade union movement argued against the low-wage policy of apartheid. The anti-apartheid struggle reached a summit during the 1980s through organized resistance by black civil society. 1994: 194). South Afica 'may well reflect the most extreme combination of affluence and impoverishment of any country in the contemporary world . three specific issues were focussed upon . following the growing opposition to institutionalized racial repression. to prevent resistance to its policies. In 1961.wages. retaining political and economic control in white hands. education and housing. forcibly resettled. and various political groups. and tenure (Stedman. representatives of the 10 Bantustans (black homelands). Through various legislative acts blacks were disallowed voting rights. After years of domestic and international condemnation of the system. 1994: 1 various international sanctions. as well as the poor working conditions.and one that is especially explosive politically because it coincides with a racial. The apartheid government also endorsed 'destabilization' through military means of its domestic population and the surrounding countries. and exploited as cheap labour.In 1934 South Africa became an independent state within the British Commonwealth. this was not so much the beginning of a new era as it was an 'intensification of a process which had been going on for three hundred years' (Ramphele. and thus highly visible. which was held by the government. while the student'youth movement demanded the elimination of Bantu education and other civic movements protested inadequate housing and lack of land 9 4 ) . 1991). Although the election of the National Party in 1948 is often chosen as the advent of official apartheid policy. Until the early 1990s the country was governed through a system of apartheid that allowed the non-white majority few rights. divide' (Stedman. This process involved separating of races as much as possible. Aside from the demand for political voting power. The constitutional talks resulted in an agreement signed in 1993 . dispossessed of land. specifically Angola and Mozambique.
The Parliament is bi-camera1cunsisting of National Assembly and National Council of Provinces representatives. while political parties in the provincial legislatures appoint Council members. and may be re-elected once. During this time an interim constitution allowing for democratic government. 1996. Aceording b this document. sewes a five-year term.for a five-year power-sharing arrangement and the installation of a transitory Executive Council. ANC r e p r e s e n t a t v ie Nelson Mandela. reintegrating them into nine revised provinces- In April of 1994 democratic elections were held. The post-apartheidgovemment continues t o face the daunting task of redistributingwealth while at the same time reforming institutions and policies to foster growth and equity. Much of this strategy is outlined in ~e 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). although the central govemment retains the ability to impose national standards and intervene regarding state security and economic policy. The ANC-led govemment replaced the 1993 Constitution on December 10. the president is chosen by the political party with the most National Assembly seats. ending minorw rule. Members of the Assembly are elected through proportional representation. the ANC has set a number of development priorities for the country. Provinces are vested with exclusive powers in several areas. Provincial govemment assemblies are also elected by proportional representation. To these ends. including roads and provincial planning. resulting in the inauguration of the country's first Source: South A6ican Embassy km 3 ~ 1 black president. an independent judiciary and guaranteed individual rights was established. This document also abolished the homelands (see Figure 41. Since 1996 this programme has encompassed the .
According to the constitution provincial governments have control over many of these domains and recently the central office for the RDP projects has been closed in order to allow provincialfacilitation of the projects. The RDP aimed to create economic growth in an equitable and sustainable way. However. while only 5% cited peaceful mass protest (Anon as in Percival and Homer-Dixon. There have been problems with civil sewant corruption scandals and the high crime rate in the country. now where is my land and house?. a macroeconomic approach based on the International Monetary Fund austerity guidelines. For example.Even during the campaign for the election in 1999 the ANC was dear in stating that their commitments were strong to equity and growth. There has been concern expressed about several aspects of the post-apartheid government over the past five years. 20% cited violent action. 1995: 168) and thus. during a conversation with a woman from a township outside Durban the question was asked 'we voted the ANC into power. For example: A poll conducted just after the 1994 election shows that 58% of the population expect the government to provide ready-built houses and enforce minimum wages. education and nutrition. . When asked what their reaction would be if their expectations are not met. Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy. nonracial and non-sexist' future.At least 17 million people are surviving below the Minimum Living Level (May and Rogerson. a goal that is also stated within the GEAR platform. these projects deal with issues of water. but appealed for more time to complete their plans. the major problem expressed by the black population is that the reforms are taking too long.Growth. It is quite evident that conflict has occurred between resource allocation and relative needs have been assessed in accordance with economic realities. during the last year Mandela has on several occassions made statements that the reforms will take time and that too much should not be expected right away. while 71% demand that the government provide work to all unemployed. 1998: 295) Or pefiaps more clearly. As such. coherent socio-economic policy framework' to inspire t h e 'building of a democratic. sanitation and fuel provision as well as unemployment.The RDP was designed as 'an integrated. housing. many of the programmes of the RDP are meant to alleviate the situation of poverty of many of the country's citizens.
the intemational sanctions and unrest were major factors and the need to maintain apartheid structures and policies further complicated the economic situation. although some parties hoped to make gains in the election in order to limit the power of the ANC . nabo Mbeki. The reinstitution of the ANC to power was expected.However. On a regional level South Africa joined the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and President Mandela even served as its chairperson.especially with respect to being able to alter the constitution. in both regional and global relations bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements have been signed for trade and aid. since the mid-1970s it has been suffering. The Organisation of Afncan Unity has also provided an important regional connection -especially in its endeavor to establish an African Economic Community and manage conflict in the region. The ANC was reelected and as Nelson Mandela has retired. has been inaugurated as President The results of the past election were not surprising. and was re-instituted as a member to the United Nations. previous Executive Deputy President. The Economy The South African economy is considered the most diversified and devetoped in Afnca.5% (Stedman. joined the Non-Aligned Movement. South Africa has also become a signatory of several intemational treaties and of course. these attempts have failed as the Since 1994 the South Afn'can government has involved itself extensively in intemational affairs. However. South Africa became a member of the British Commonwealth. Growth dropped from 4. Of course. became active in the World Trade Organisation.In 1999 the second democratic elections were held.9% annually (from 1946 to 1974) to 13% and during the 1980s no new jobs were created in non-government sectors while the economy expanded at only 1. On an intemational level. ANC gained over two-thirds of the vote. There were severe shortages of skilled workers due to losses to emigration and a lack of education allowed to . 1994: 30).
The decline evident in agriculture's contribution to real gross domestic product has continued at 1% in 1998. a large group of professional and technical manpower. a favorable credit situation (due to international sanctions). although this funding went largely to non-governmental organisations resisting apartheid policies. 1994: 33) and abandon previous arguments for nationalization. the budget deficit projection was revised for 98/99 from 3. However.5% in 1998 .7% growth in GDP and the lack of any meaningfd growth of the economy proved disappointing in 1998.blacks (Stedman.5% to 3. Domestic savings remain low and have become even less sufficient for the development needs of the country in comparison to . high inflation. although perhaps these are not as high as was initially projected or hoped. Since the elections this aid dispensation has shifted to government projects. while mining and manufacturing have decreased %% (from 1%growth in 1997) and 1 %% (from 3 '/z% increase in 1997).following the decline of 1% in 1997. The infrastructure and economy remained largely intact with the strengths of large mineral reserves. in using these strengths it became necessary for the new government to 'pay far more attention to business confidence and property rights in order to reassure the private sector than it had anticipated' (Stedman. the economy suffered from slowed growth. Since 1994 the economy has made gains. In 1997 the growth expectations were not met According to the South African Reserve Bank. 1994: 31). the conditions under which the ANC gained power allowed it to draw on significant advantages of the South African economy.7%. However. a limited 1. and an increasing regional market for manufa~t'dred goods (Stedman. This has substantially improved the government's ability to pursue reform and social service projects. Additionally. It is estimated that the real gross national product per capita declined by 1. growing unemployment.However. especially in relation to tourism. tertiary sectors managed to maintain their growth at 1%. 1994: 191). South Africa was already one of the greatest recipients of foreign aid. There is great hope in the country that this sector will continue to grow. poor investment levels and international pressure on the exchange rate and credit The 1994 election placed the ANC in control of a skewed and distressed economy.Overall.
The decline in the economy is also evident at the household level. Additionally. with the steepest decline being in the mining sector. Obviously. This .7% in 1996. However.8% of that sum. although many believe these estimates are too low.particularly with respect to mining activity as it constitutes 61% of export revenue. Despite the fewer available jobs. the openness of the South African economy suggests that some of these i t h i n the worfd market in relation to the 'Asia crisis' and since declines are symptoms of the difficulties w there are signs of recovery there. many in South Africa are hopehi of a quick recovery.6% from 35. 1988).previous years. there has been growth in the remuneration per employee.5% in 1997. In 1998 private and public sectors reduced job opportunities. In 1997 the gross national product (GNP) totaled R579 7f 4 million. The balance of payments has changed from an average surplus position (as late as 1993) to a deficit of 1. The high level of inflation (8.6% in 1997) in South Africa has given n'se to a more restrictive approach to monetary policy. The higher taxes collected from households and inflation may also be factors in increased thriftiness at household levels. This indicates weak demand for exports as well as in rise in imports of capital goods. In 1997 the 'expanded unemployment' rate increased to 37. There are indications that consumers have less money to spend or save with decreases in consumer expenditure on durable goods and low personal savings ratios. the group with the highest unemployment rate (Van Zyl and Vink. A major problem in South Africa is the increasing rate of unemployment The inability of the supply side of the economy to respond to labour availability by creating more jobs points to a structural weakness that must be addressed. agriculture has reduced its employment of black unskilled labour. this implies the importance of world economic trends in the functioning of the current South African economy . The cost of homeownership has increased such that 'the equivalent of almost two months' disposable income of the average household is absorbed by debt-servicing commitments' (South African Reserve Bank. March 1999: 7). with foreign trade constituting almost 55.
There are of course.although fewer) in which wage payments were the major issue. Not only is the availability of employment a problem but the distribution of income and jobs is also an issue in South Africa. Women are one of the largest suffering gmups of unemployed and frequently they are relegated to the informal sector. Aside from this. It has been argued that this is the preferred option for women. 1994: 53). During apartheid a certain number of blacks were allowed access to power and the economy in order to quell protest about the unfair system. 1998: 287). by age and by gender.increase is reflective of the high number of strikes in 1996 (and 1997 . 1996: 2). Aside from the racial divide. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has strongly rejected the idea of making sacrifices in order to increase employment in South Africa (Stedman. the union movement has conbibuted to Me asymmetry within the black workforce. The province of KwaZulu Natal. 1994: 40). For blacks the rate of unemployment is nearly ten times the rate for white South Afiicans (Karaan and Mohamed. suffers from severe unemployment . The youth in South Africa are particularly vulnerable to unemployment it was estimated that up to 90% of the unemployed are under the age of thirty and that during the 1990s of first-time work seekers 95% will be under the age of 25 (Stedman. 1994: 41). differentiations between blacks as well. further dividing the line between nonmembers and trade unionists within the economy.it was estimated that only 25% of the urban population and 16% of the rural population had formal (Percival and Homer-Dixon. Fifty percent of domestic income goes to 10% of the population while only 25% of the income goes to the bwer half of the population (Kotze and Van Wyk. distribution of employment and income varies across the country. The membership of these unions played a fundamental role during anti-apartheid protest and in the post-apartheid South Africa exerts much power in political and economic realms. as it might allow for more . for example. It is possible that the higher payment of current employees may be resulting in fewer opportunities for unemployed.
time fiexbility and seasonal variance. 1994: 10). approximately 92% of electricity is generated this way. The coal resemes are the MLh largest in the wodd and expo* of the mineral make it the second most important mineral export aside from gold. four times that of Japan and only surpassed in the case of oilexporting and certain centrally planned countries (IDRC. Oil and natural gas are both generated using coal. 1995: 62). use it for fuelling household heating and food preparation. which in 1996 produced 96% of the electricity used in South Africa. Coal is also used in the generation of electricity. Industry is the largest consumer of electricity. Many poorer South Africans. relying on electricity for 87% of its energy needs. Generation is predominantly done by ESKOM. at approximately 38% less than North American prices. restructuring of the economy presents a complex challenge to South African society that must be approached in an integrated way taking into consideration less obvious ways that outcome is influenced. and the incredibly l production activities (1995: 62). Budlender argues that entering the informal economy i s less a choice than an act of desperation. . Although this ratio seems to have improved somewhat with encouragement of conservation. 1991: 97). According to the IDRC. the heavy reliance of the South African economy on resource-based industries. its reliance on coal for electricity o w energy prices have all contributed to very high uses of energy for production. As these example illustrate. However. - South Africa's main energy source is coal and approximately 80% of primary energy comes from this source (Cock and Koch. the total primary commercial energy consumption to GDP is twice that of the United States. especially in urban areas. and that even in this sector they earn less than men are (as in Stedman. South Africa produces about 60% of electricity in Africa and it is the cheapest available electricity in the world.
only 30% of the population has access to electricity. compared to Britain's 4 000 (Ramphele. even in poorer homes that have been equipped with electricity it is frequently not used.However. South Africa offers nuclear power as an alternative for future generation when coal reserves run out or for the purposes of cleaner energy production. wood. 1995: 62).1 5% of KwaZulu Natal could produce all of its electrical needs (Ramphele. The effects of using these fuel sources include massive air pollution.despite the time women spend in gathering (estimated at an average 8. installations covering just 0. Since 1992 the South African government has been attempting to improve the electrification percentage the aim for 2000 is approximately 70%. and in the case of paraffin an increased incidence of fire . Solar and wind energy are both very promising in the South African context. increased incidence of respiratory diseases. 1991: 123). paraffin and coal senre as substitutes. Wood is the most popular option. 1991: 123).Despite overcapacity production (IDRC. For example. 1991: 130) while investigations of the potential for wind power are proceeding on the West Coast.In 1991 domestic consumption of electricity was estimated at 9 000 kilowatt-hours a year. Currently. Ironically.3 km in KwaZulu Natal).which spreads very quickly in the townships close settlements. . only one nuclear power plant is operating and new plants have not been pursued due to public pressure and finance constrictions.The over-consumption in industry can be paralleled with domestic consumption. Regardless of the future of the program it is clear that the waste from the previously operating plants must be dealt with for years to come and perhaps other options are worth pursuing as environmentally responsible alternatives.For those who do not have access to electricity. especially in rural areas as it is perceived as being free . This results in some township residents having to pay 50% more per unit than white areas (Ramphele. part of the reason may be due to - cost since newly electrified areas must pay for installation as well as the power.
This 'ethnic spatial engineering' was legislated by the Group Areas Act (1950) and Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act (1951). The homelands served to provide white-owned farms. housing construction limits. Legislation was even introduced to prevent white farmers from selling off sections of their land to anyone. separated from the white. industry and mines with cheap labour while keeping the races separated in daily life. economic pressure and legislation since the mid-seventeenth century. leading to oversized commercial farms. treaties. Of course. Four of these homelands were given 'independence' and the other six were considered to have 'self-governing status'. In 1894. fn 1936 this amount was raised to 13%. coloured and indian populations. The Land Act of 1913 advanced this pattern of restricted land ownership by allowing blacks to own only seven percent of the total land area of South Afn'ca.Settlement Patterns The black population has gradually lost possession of their land through armed baffle. 1990: 41). 1991: 92)- . it was impossible to prevent all blacks from settling near cities so areas were set aside on the perimeter of the city for blacks. 1991: 3). 1989: 208).5 million people were forcibly removed from one place and moved to another (Ramphele. 1991: 3). and destruction of black communities (Wilson and Ramphele. ostensibly as compensation for lost voting rights (Ramphele. This period marked the beginning of what is referred to as 'apartheid' institutionalized by the Nationalist govemment- Over the next three decades massive forced removals of blacks to the homelands occurred. The Pass Laws and Urban Areas Act furthered these ends by limiting access to urban areas. for example. Between 1960 and 1985 it is estimated that over 3. The land set aside for blacks consisted of fragments throughout the country and in 1948 these fragments were used as the basis for establishing 'bantustans' or self-goveming homelands for blacks. the Glaen Grey Act restricted land holdings of black farmers to a maximum of four hectares (Auerbach. In Cape Town this resulted in the destruction of inner city settlements and massive forced moves to sprawling townships and the eventual prohibition of any development to control influx from the homelands (Dewar. Primarily three kinds of techniques were used in restricting black presence in cities: pass laws.
was often inadequate -even for subsistence. Not only has this resulted in inappropriate land use. This pattern of settlement has had a strong effect on resource management For example. and those like it. where traditions of sounield pastoral management are not applicable' (IDRC.in some cases tribal authorities enforcing the policy required assistance by the armed forces (Cock. but also much traditional knowledge has been lost in the process of forced adaptation to the new circumstances. The betterment programmes. 1991: 34).Since the chieftains of the tribal system had largely lost their legitimacy due to their status as paid employees of the state. these lands were deserted by many in favour of providing migratory labour to South African white-owned industries. grazing and arable sections. disregarded the origin of the overcrowding of the homelands (apartheid policy) blaming black residents for the degradation of the environment through their ignorance or use of inappropriate farming practices.Thus. during resettlement 'cattlekeeping people from the highveld have been resettled in Maputaland. 1991: 5). The remaining land. The Tomlinson Commission was appointed by government to investigate the carrying capacity of the homelands and to recommend alternatives to make the areas economically viable. Regardless of the official reasoning for the policies. . However. 1991:7). 1991: 13-14).12 members) were present in the homelands raising approximately 72 600 cattle (Wilson.In the 1930s a programme referred to as 'betterrnenf was instituted in the homelands to address soil erosion concerns and improve the viability of the homelands as economic units. villagization allowed government greater control over the rural populations. which facilitated the implementation of apartheid (De Wet. In 1954 this Commission stated that the area could carry approximately 2 100 families and 17 400 cattle (Wilson. for those villagers who were not iandless. legislated by the Bantu Authorities Act of the late 1950s.Lands were divided into residential. 1995: 44). This 'villagization' and stock reduction programme was strongly resisted by the homeland population. In some areas 'betterment' policies resulted in people losing over half their land (De Wet. 1991: 34). its recommendationsfor revision were ignored w i t h 10 and by 1980 approximately 14 000 extended families ( .
Black women in particuiar have suffered under this settlement pattern. In 1986 the Pass Laws and Urban Areas Act were abolished. Population densities of 0-1 hectares per person were noted in five of the homelands. 1994: 35-36). jobs. lack of land or employment. By 1990 63% of the population in South Africa was urbanized (Kotze and Van Wyk. O areas . and had less control over their lives and land use decisions. In the apartheid system. the move to nucIeated villages within the homelands has not helped the black population. Pretoria and Port Elizabeth) within the decade (IDRC: 1995: 80).Generally. and services.approximately 80% have remained in the homelands (Thorgren. while in the former Natal and Cape provinces this figure rose to 2. .5 ha per person (IDRC.8 million homeless people drifted from rural to urban locations. 1991: 9).Many have less land with poorer qualities than before. In 1994 it was estimated that over 7 million were already living in squatter communities (Stedman. 1995: 44). Under customary law women were never allowed land tenure or the right to participate in decisions regarding land use. 1998: 25).The homeland inhabitants were further from natural resources. It is estimated that South African cities are growing at a rate of 3 . Durban. Cape Town.dominantly women and children . Additionally. and generally poor conditions.5% a year and the Urban Foundation estimates that 75% of the urban population will be centralized in five metros (Johannesburg. they were not allowed to own property due to their race and the use of men as migratory labour has left many women without many optionsWomen in rural areas constitute approximately 80% of the population but they are still are not accorded decision-making authority. 1994: 35) and it is expected that by 2021 about 80% of the f the population that remains in the rural population will be urbanites (Kotze and Van Wyk. governments were unable (or unwilling) to provide 'improved services and agricultural assistance. Motivated by drought. opening the floodgates of urbanization of black populations from the overcrowded and impoverished homelands. masses of people moved from the rural areas to what were perceived to be better situations in the city. even in the economically and bureaucratically stronger South Afncan context' (De Wet. 1994: 55) and that 7.
and grows. waste collection. rather than allowing government to play a more substantial role (Keegan. . in KwaZulu Natal both the mral and the urban populations are growing but the 'growth rate in urban areas is about three times as high' (Percival and Homer-Dixon. resulting in high and increasing levels of poverty. For example. This land reform approach has placed responsibility for development in the private sector. 1998: 9-10). transportation . This raises the question of whether.housing.Although much of the poor population remains in the rural areas . This is despite the lack of any basic amenities . unemployment and inequality within the cities' (1991: 92). The newIy urbanized population persists. 1995: 47). land redistribution and land tenure reform. water. The redistribution section of the programme targets the poor. 1998: 389).particularly the former homelands . and allows househoIds to apply for a maximum R15 000 SettternenV Land Acquisition Grant in order to purchase land in the market. It is unclear how the role of chiefs and customary practices of allocating land will be affected by these policies. Dewar suggests that the 'dominant demographic tendencies are faster. Despite the ANC's previous 'socialist' arguments. in the belief that urban areas are better than what would be endured in m n l areas and that the potential for finding a job is better. The Land Reform Act of 1996 and the folIowing White Paper on Land Policy (1997) are based on three components: land restitution.May and Rogerson suggest that there has been a 'shift in the geography of poverty' due to increasing rates of urbanization and the high natural population growth in these areas (1995: 168). Land Reforms The Land Reform Programme of the ANC government commits to redistributing 30% of the land over a five-year period (IDRC. especially farmers. younger and poorer. It is also important to note that the greatest growth is within the poorest populations. 1997: 14). sewerage. since gaining power they have adopted a programme 'which respects existing propew rights' and will use the 'market in order to redistribute land' (South Africa Communication Sewice.in the informal areas and the high rates of crime. 1998: 288). although it is suggested that things can only improve due to the corrupt behaviour that has been demonstrated by chiefs in previous periods (LAPC.
education. 1987: 12).as is evidenced by the sad history of villagization schemes throughout Africa . people (especially able-bodied men) may chose to pursue other employment. This argument seems inadequate. even with land. and lack a 'culture of entrepreneurship' (LAPC. In the meantime established farmers are attempting to limit the ability of tenants to claim tenure by no longer allowing grazing or farming rights. or even refuse the offer for land entirely (LAPC. but many have lost the skills and the resources needed to succeed' (LAPC. This is based on the fact that newly established farmers. This need is extreme in the case of labour tenants since they rely on farmers for housing. While it is true that the primary object of landless South Afncans is to gain secure tenure. It has been argued that the programme will not likely serve to viably and sustainably establish current farm tenants as farm owners. De Wet emphasizes that land reform must be considered part of a larger package of reforms including everything from changing local government mechanisms. If this is the case. processes and policies to revising land use patterns to be more flexible to ensuring services such as legal aid and credit access. the state will be able to achieve its goats in a relatively short period of time. lack access to other resources. In some cases. even with land. 1997: 15).given the poverty of many of its citizens. 1998). are responsible for domestic tasks. 'Most of the people say they want to farm. However. which frequently earns these taborers the title of the 'most socially oppressed' (EDA. .15). 1991: 14 . it has been suggested that the output of farms will suffer and might eventually fail since the women who have taken on the role of farming do not own the land. Khumbane believes that women and children especially are committed to working on the land (December 17.and of Betterment planning in South Africa in particular' (De Wet. but not necessarily to farm. will need to find further funding to meet family expenditures and the costs of farming -especially in the beginning.He argues that unless the approach is more holistic. 1997: 14). sell or rent the land for profit. illegal evictions occur. health care and employment. 'land reform is more likely to hinder than to promote agricultural development . 1997: 13).
1995: f 57).it is unlikely that f a n s like this will ever compete with commercial (white-owned) agriculture. have the right to a decent quality of life through sustainable use of resources' and that 'environmental considerations must be built into every decision'. This is reinforced in the RDP that states 'government must ensure that all citizens. due to settlement patterns beginning in the 18" and 19ficentury. such as Kruger National Park. and are mostly confined to mountainous valleys of the Great Escarpment and the southern coast around Knysna. Approximately 5. present and future.25% of the total area. covering about 0.5% of South Africa's area is protected by some sort of conservation measure. However. however. the management of these areas has been isolated. referred to as fynbos. the usefulness and potential of small-scale farming should not be discounted- The Environment Natural vegetation in South Africa varies widely from desert to savanna to sub-tropical. in attributing women who continue to provide for their families. Most of these areas were established during the apartheid years.however. despite the odds and lack of support from men-folk. but efforts to explore more integrated approaches are now being explored (IDRC. Most of the indigenous wildlife is now constrained to the natural reserves and game parks. Naturally forested areas are very rare. The Western Cape province is home to one of the sixth recognised floral kingdoms in the world. it might be suggested that these guidelines could lull the population into a false sense of security against environmentat destruction since they do not lie out the grounds of implementation or consequences. The constitution of South Africa guarantees the rights of its citizens to a healthy and clean environment. In fact. These areas serve as major attractions for tourists and are a good source of foreign exchange. these assertions are inadequate in addressing the need for environmentally sound policies.It is often the countries with . The government has expressed interest in developing this sector of the economy. Generally.
housing dilemmas. It has been associated with white elite interests. conservation does not have a good reputation with much of the South African population. In the past state consenration measures have forced dislocation of communities and loss of access to valuable resources such as fuel.environmentai provisions in their constitutions that have the worst records of environmenta1 degradation despite the ability of these provisions to provide guidance for future legislation (Ramphele. This dislocation has resulted in another loss as we11 -that of traditional knowledge and cultural values. and economic restrictions. . South Affica faces numerous threats to its environment including land degradation. A quote from a rural community worker suggests the general resentment of such conse~ationprojects: 'If conservation means losing water rights. There have been recent attempts to unify legislation and ensure departmentai coordination but the co-existing challenges of development growth and ecologicaI rehabilitation faced by South Africa have. 1991: 6-7). require hard decisions on behalf of government and the population. water quality and quantity. and accused of emphasising saving the rhino over providing for the needs of the population. game. fish or medicinal plants. this can only promote a vigorous anti-conservation ideology among rural communities" (Ramphele. It has been agreed by most natural resource planners and environmental activists that the population is unlikely to comply with exclusionary policies restricting their access unless there are obvious benefits. It has also been suggested that black involvement in conservation issues was constrained since often their time is taken up with suwival strategies and the benefits of long-term environmental planning are not visible on a day-today level (Ramphele. losing grazing and arable land and being dumped in a resettlement area without even the most rudimentary infrastructure. and will continue to. The legislation regulating environmental concerns is fragmented and implementation is under-funded. atmospheric pollution. 1991:153). and inappropriatewaste disposal that result in health problems. 1991: 7).
struggles for better housing. In 1991 Wilson estimated that the desert was advancing at a rate of 2. The frequentiy cited case of the protest of importation of toxic waste by Thor Chemicals is an excellent example of this type of approach. The homelands have been the most damaged: where 'dongas (erosion gullies) have become small valleys which split the hillsides. Land Degradation The soils of South Africa are quite varied. land degradation in these areas .6 km every year (1991: 30). however. access to land. economic and political lines that black South Africans generally do not see conservation measures as a priority. 1991: 10).might be considered more serious (Cooper. education. According to the IDRC: . 235). However. since white farmlands occupy 87% of the land. Black peasant fanners. ecologists. 1991: 34). freedom of information. work and play. in recent years a new attitude toward environmental issues has begun to evolve relating to environmental justice. It has become abundantly clear that 'unless carefully managed. However. In KwaZulu Natal the high rainfall and steep slopes make soil erosion particulady problematic. health care. many parts of the country's land can be easily damaged' (Cooper. Rainfall is irregular and periodic droughts do occur. et cetera all become part of a battle for the environment and sustainable development (Cole. 1991: 53). 1991:54). generally they are quite fragile with low organic content. As in the American case.although not as severe . the environment in this movement has been reconceived to encompass areas where blacks live. soil has given way to a crumbling gray shale. and students all united in protest and succeeded in halting certain operations (Cock and Koch. Of the entire land area only 3% is high-potential agn'cultural land. Only about 12% of the country's area is considered arable while 65% is considered serni-and or arid. In this way. worker's rights.It is not surprising to find that in a country deeply divided along racial. stonebuilt huts squat in a scene which is almost lunar in its desolation' (Wilson. of which 86% is already cropped. unions.
the detrimental effects include a loss of bio-diversity through the elimination of beneficial insects in the process and the need for increasing doses in order to combat the continually escalating problem. already a concern due to coal-use induced acid rain. 'It is estimated that 8. 1991:185). such as fertilizer and pesticides.1 million hectares has been moderately degraded' (IDRC. creating a higher risk to people and land. monocropping. while contributing in large part to meeting the food needs of SA. such as DDT. inappropriate ploughing can also be a problem -especially in western regions where government subsidies promoted mechanized maize growing despite the dryness and erodibility of the soils (Cooper. In the case of pesticides. In areas that are not grazing land. Excluding the former homelands. Currently. approximately 500 million tons of topsoil per year are lost in South Africa. Generally crops are treated with at least three different pesticides in addition to fertilizers used (Cock and Koch. 1991: 56). (1995: 142) It was estimated in 1991 that South Africa as a whole was about one-third overstocked (Cooper. intensive irrigation. can also be promoted by the use of .Commercial agriculture. 1998: 285) .1 million hectares of commercial rangeland has been severely degraded through overgrazing. 1995: 143). The use of these chemicals threatens the quality of the soii (Percival and Homer-Dixon. The decrease in nutrients in the soil due to over-farming and mono-cropping practices are compensated by a heavy reliance on ago-chemicals by commercial farmers.and by extension of the food and meat produced. have been banned in many other countries. High levels of inputs. 1991: 56). There are also problems with the use of hormonal herbicide on sugar plantations in KwaZulu Natal since the spray drifts to adjoining fields negatively affecting vegetables. Chemicals are frequently applied without proper equipment or training. Some of the chemicals used are carcinogenic or even mutagenic. and 22. and some that continue to be used. 1994: 38). has often used methods that have led to land degradation. Soil acidification. and some small farmers. This figure can be compared with the estimates of 1994 at 400 million and to the 233 to 363 million in 1981 (Kotze and Van Wyk. and the use of heavy machinery have slI contributed to soil degradation and fufierdependence on high inputs.
The increased exposure of the land and the removai of the 'sponge effmt' of trees have affected erosion rates. the few lakes or rivers. The removal of vegetation in infbrmal settlements can lead to floods. are being considered (IDRC. while South Africa receives on average less than 500 rnm per annum. with its industrial base. and sink holes if the settlements are sited in water catchment areas (Lawson as in Percival and Homer-Dixon. This results in the loss of topsoil and vegetation.artificial fertilizers and salination of rivers is worsened by polluting effluents from mining and agriculture (Cooper. . such as desalination and iceberg importation. The removai of vegetation has also contributed substantially to environmental degradation. 1998: 289). and lack of water sources is such a recipient Water transfer agreements are also being developed with neighboring countries Lesotho and Swaziland and unconventional methods. Water In South Africa the available quantity of water is a major concem. Large areas of land are arid and semi-arid receiving less than 250-mm rainfall a year. Since groundwater supplies are limited. The availability of water varies regionally and in some cases water transfer is practiced. 1995: 85). are an important source of water for much of the population. especially sand mining in the Western Cape province have also become a concern due to 'poorly rehabilitated areas [that are1often left bare and exposed to strong winds and sand erosion' (CMC Engineering Services. large urban population. biodiversity and water supplies. Mining activities. mud slides. Gauteng province. For largescale water needs. 1995: 51). The country also periodically experiences droughts. 1997: 6). and an increase in erosion' (IDRC. 1991: 57). although small.The methods employed in building housing are also problematic since 'an area of land zoned for low-cost housing is cleared of all vegetation and graded Rat before construction begins. dams are used.
availability and cleanliness. the use of water for forestry remains controversial . Here again there is a division within the population between races. Oewar estimated that in the Eastern Cape poorer black South Africans daily use approximately 201 of water per person. Increased flooding. silting of riverbeds. price remains the primary determinant of water consumption. In both cases apartheid settlement and economic policies have been fundamental to forming structural blocks to water access. their local impact is substantial. and this percentage may grow if the South African economy further develops the tourism industry. presently use about 15% of water consumed. afforestation constitutes 7% of use. In rural areas the removal of vegetation. 3 % respectively). In 1995 approximately 70% of the rural population lacked safe water supplies and 63% lacked adequate sanitation (Fitzgerald. and poorer health is the result of vegetation removal's relation to water. however. While mining and power generation are relatively minor uses (2. .especially when the reduction in water s not accounted for. availability in local catchments i The poor population sorely feels the iack of water supplies in both urban and rural South Africa. which account for a total of about 5.4% of South Afn'ca (IDRC. 1995: 145). Irrigation is the largest use of water in the country.Despite the restrictions of water quantity there is a general iack of management of its use and very little recycling. done for clearing for farming or fuel collection. The lack of local supplies also results in women and children having the added obligation of gathering water from distant sources. 1995: 556). As an example. 1991: 36). Domestic consumption accounts for approximately 12% of water use.7% and 2 . comprising about 52% of the country's consumption. resulting in their spending 'no fewer than three hours every day fetching and caving water' (Wilson. has resulted in the water supplies being less regulated and springs drying up. wealthier white residents use closer to 300L (1991: 95). It is hoped that this demand will decrease with time and use of more sustainable water consumption methods. Finally. Conservation areas. Although the government introduced a 'wise use' conservation campaign in 1995. and is expected to grow substantially as more South Africans gain access to water. Although this figure seems relatively low.
not in white suburbs Chronic poliution results quickjy when water access is limited. which was build on the water catchment. In many cases the 'bucket system' of sanitation is still used in townships and collection is irregular leaving overflowing buckets to be emptied wherever is convenient . concerns are now being expressed that even the water table has been contaminated and 'black water' from taps is common. For example. gastroenteritis. Women from a near-by settlement using the river's water to wash clothing simply dug holes meters away from the banks. Of course. and serve to threaten millions of people. coal mine seepage of high levels of acid released to the Brugspruit River. The 1996 constitution states that all residents have the right to clean water. dysentery.96) and in Mngweni River in the Valley of a Thousand Hills mercury concentrations were recorded at I 500 times the levels considered toxic by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EJNF. 'Pollution from industrial sources and seepage from coal. such as Khayelitsha. typhoid and bilharzia increase dramatically.In urban areas about 33% of the population lacked safe water supplies and 31% lacked adequate sanitation (Fitzgerald. The former homelands are particularly vulnerable to these types of pollution since environmental controls were not implemented during the apartheid years and it is a continuing baffle for residents to prevent pollution. In pursuit of this goal. 1995: 556). However. the target population was . Under these conditions the possibility of cholera. west of Witbank in Transvaal.usually natural waterways. parasitic infections. In some cases. The contamination evident in some of South Africa's water systems can not however be blamed only on poor township or rural residents.a [eve1akin to battery acid (Dewar. In many cases this also includes sanitation facilities. especially in the case of sanitation facilities. gold. 1995: 12). 1991: 95-96). 1998: 286). believing that this would filter the 'poisons' from the water (Dewar. The Water Services Act (1997) is being implemented and in 1997 approximately 2 million people formerly without water now have access to approximately 25 t per day available at a maximum of 200 m away from their residence. 1991:95 . and other mines threaten the quality of both river and ground water' (Percival and Homer-Dixon. resulted in levels high enough to destroy clothing . most of this lack is situated in poor black areas.
In one region of Cape Town the lead levels in children were so high that they were threatening mental and physical development(Dewar.2 million tons of sulphur dioxide and 400 000 tons are also problematic. A large part of the problem is car emissions. The government faces challenges of not only providing services to its population. but also managing demand and allocation. mesothelioma and lung cancer in near-by communities.4. Industry emissions t was approximated that 1. 1991: 97). since personal transportation is the only option for many people and until phasing out began in 1996 petrol was completely leaded. which has limited the ability of communities to access information on these destructive practices. there is a lack of capacity in government to ensure the standards are met (IDRC. Even workers were not legally permitted to know what they were handling and any effects that their work might have on their health (Slachmuijlder. and ensuring water quality with pollution controls. which are the second highest cause of infant mortality. 1995: 12). . Until very recently South Africa was without freedom of information legislation. In 1990 i of nitrogen oxides were released by industry per year (Duming as in Bromley. mine workers and households using the material for roofing (IDRC. Asbestos fibres from mine dumps have also polluted the atmosphere causing asbestosis. The atmospheric pollution has led to increased numbers of respiratory diseases. 1993: 112). In Soweto for example. At the time of writing a National Water Bill was being formulated in the attempt to deal with this mu[tidimensionaI problem. f 995: 109). 5 time higher than anywhere else in South Africa and the children there suffer more frequent and serious incidents of these diseases (Cock. pollution levels were found to be 2 . Although there is plenty of legislation regulating these emissions.7 million during the 1997198 period and this indicates the difficulty in implementing and administering this endeavor. Other Pollution There is a serious problem with atmospheric pollution in urban areas. 1995: 117). 1991: 15).
In Cape Town for example. and the unstable ground of Duduza. . Rampheie suggests that increased numbers of birth defects in babies is related to the use of dangerous chemicals in industry and toxins in dumps (1989).Waste in South Africa is not recycled but simply thrown away to be placed in landfills with little control by municipal authorities. In response to this crisis. The dumping areas become wasted land and in some cases contaminate groundwater.As noted earlier. the shadows of mine dumps of Soweto. In the 1960snOs the development slowed even further increasing housing shortages. These areas were situated on poor or unsuitable land such as the sand dunes of the Cape Flats. as already mentioned in the 'settlement patterns' section. Settlement. Township development took place on the edges of cities. black residential areas children play in the waste and many residents. 'site and service' plans were initiated in the 1980s. or within. was segregated by race and involved massive rehousing of communities in the 1950s. In the case of sewage. who had been responsible for housing since the 1920s. especially blacks. but were inadequate to the task of providing adequate housing or sewices for the population. There is no separation of industrial or household waste so these dumps are filled with various hazardous and non-hazardous solid and liquid wastes. the removal of waste and sewage from informaltownships is irregular or non-existent contributing to this waste problem- Housing In 1971 central government regained control over public housing from local authorities. 1995: 88). particularly women. and in some cases illegal dumping is practiced by industry (IDRC. These programmes targeted poorer populations who lived on the peripheries of cities. Since these sites are frequently close to. housing for blacks was stopped with the Coloured Labour Preference Policy of 1964. far from work areas and amenities requiring residents to travel long distances with inadequate (or no) transportation available. there i s no recycling of organic matter and no separation of industrial and sewage waste. scavenge through the landfills for everything from food to wasted metal for crafts. Women are particularly affected by these waste disposal methods.
since 1995 subsidies up to R15 000 per project have been available to institutions creating affordable housing. create the conditions for a 'lose-lose situation. children play areas and scavenging grounds. With the increased freedom for blacks. These subsidies do. In the public domain this has meant implementation of housing subsidies to promote individual ownership. The previous housing shortage has only intensified with increased urbanizationAny lot with extra space is filled with makeshift shelters that are built for relatives or rented out There are major problems with badly built structures with no insulation or ceilings. or that are flooded a few months of the year. such as Hillbrow. resident proximity and housing. .a 'staggering burden' for the post-apartheidgovernment' (LAPC. asbestos roofing.amounting to millions of households . are also being overpopulated and services are being overstressed (IDRC. 1997: 13). areas that were previously white settlements. What few open areas there are combine to provide waste dumping grounds. 1991: 135). These individual subsidies are offered to first-time home buyers whose household income is less than R3 500 per month and may be used to buy units within provincial housing schemes or purchase of private property. There is also a severe lack of any recreational or private space.In 1991 it was estimated that one in every five black citizens was without formal housing (Ramphele. 1997) to solve the related dilemmas of environment. There has been a new emphasis on the joint responsibilities of private and public sectors to provide adequate quality and quantity of housing. however. with the grants inadequate to answer the needs of the recipients. cattle grazing area. Urban planners in the Cape Metropolitan Region have argued that this type of situation is unnecessary as pockets of vacant and underutilized land exist and could accommodate affordable housing at high densities and mixed land uses (CMC Engineefing Senrices. and the cost of issuing grants to all who are eligible . Housing policy of the 1990s has been slightly different than previous approaches to the crisis. The loss of agricultural land and the encroachment upon environmentally sensitive areas has also become a concern of late. Additionally. 1995: 83).
many South Ahicans continue to practice unsafe sex. Women are particularly vulnerable due to cultural norms and familial beliefs. The superstition and fear of this disease has had frightening results such as the rape of small children and babies in the . This is reflected in higher incidence of mental illness and curable disease in black populations (Stevens and Lockhat. Children suffer from high levels of respiratory diseases. although there are private hospitals and practitioners. that 2. it is estimated. which invariably affect their level of care and the facilities available to them. Despite the fact that South Africa is usually a net exporter of food. however it does not seem likely that this legislationwill adequately address the housing needs of the population- Health Medical services are generally public. The health of most black South Africans is quite poor. parasitic infections and malnutrition. Although there have been several educational campaigns regarding HIV and AIDS infection. and other projections suggest an infection rate of 1 in 10. blacks still encounter inferior care. and gather more accurate information on the housing situation. and establishment of guidelines for further housing development Its implications have yet to come into evidence. 900 000 people have full-blown AIDS. 1997: 251). 200 000 of these being children (South Africa Communication Services. these numbers are believed to be severely underestimated. largely due to their economic positions. A Housing Act was introduced in 1997 that reversed related race-based legislation and called for a national housing code. The incidence of HlV infection is also a major concern as numbers of infection increased sharply during the 1990s. However. Despite the end of segregation.These housing subsidies have been complemented by various programmes to make mortgages more accessible.4 million South Africans are infected with HIV. Of these cases. Until the early 1990s hospitals were segregated and blacks were inadequately sewiced. 1998). phasing out of subsidies. based on clinic infection reports. many children go hungry and there is a very high prevalence of malnutrition. improve urban township conditions.
.at least R2. These problems have only been exacerbated by the high incidence of administrative error and fraud . improved attendance and decreased dropout rates. with reported benefits inciuding increased concentration and alertness. infrequent delivery. education was simply not available. By 1997 4.As a result. In some cases. many schools are seeking alternatives to the government-feeding scheme such as setting up soup kitchens through the community or growing produce on the school grounds.This practice may be related to the doubling of child abuse rates (based on reported cases) in the last bur years. Since June 1994 children under the age of six and pregnant women have been entitled to free medical care. 1998). For black South Africans education was controlled by the Bantu Education Act (1953).8 million was expected misappropriated in 1997 (South African Communication Services. 1994: 53). There have been significant problems with this programme including lack of community involvement.hope of purging the disease with their innocence. and low quality of food . This act specified that black education should reflect the lesser status of blacks in society (Stedman. Education Separate standards. The government has built numerous clinics and doctors are now obligated to do one year of community service. sometimes resulting in the death of the children.8 million children were being fed at school with this scheme.such as bread with lam for lunch. once they have graduated. This resulted in the black population having poorly trained teachers managed by a corrupt administration and an overall desperately poor learning environment in 'homeland' areas. The issue of malnutrition in children has received special attention with the creation of a national feeding scheme administered through the schools. facilities and resources for each race characterized apartheid education approaches. usually served in rural areas.
Despite the official guideline for teachers to have at least three years of post-matriculation teaching training this is often not the case.In the 1980s the education crisis came to a head with poIitically motivated student boycotts. about 24% of schools do not have water within walking distance. although in some cases not to the same extremes. Students are now allowed to choose which language they wish to be schooled in.26% and 47. and 25% of all dropouts are from grade 1 (1994: 54). Across the country. 59% do not have electricity (in the Northern Province this percentage raises to 79%). 1995: 169). however.Although this population is concentrated in former homelands areas. and are expected to learn at least one other official language. is being phased into schools as an effort to link practical skills and education through 'outcomes based education'. 13% do not have toilets (and 50% rely solely on pit latrines) (South African Communication Services. 1998)- All of these conditions persist. is restricted by the ability of schools to meet these obligations and in many cases this simply does not occur. referred to as Cumculum 2005. Education has now been made to be cornpuisory for children aged 7 15 or until the ninth grade. it is also evident in townships such as Khayelitsha and Nyanga where 45. By this time any belief in the system of education was largely lost Dropout rates soared. It is estimated that some 15 million black adults are illiterate and lacking in the basics needed for skills training (IDRC. while those students who remained in school dealt with increasingly limited educations. but most blacks are prevented from attending previously 'white' schools due to high fees and capacity limits and most private schools also remain inaccessible to a majority of the population. Segregated education - was abolished by the constitution.5% of GDP and the many programmes that have been . This choice.38% of the residents had no or less than grade 5 education levels (Central Statistical Services. 60% do not complete primary schooI. despite the expenditure on education that is approximately 6. whichever comes first. Dilapidated buildings and lack of resources is common in several regions. A new curriculum. Stedman reports that only 5% of black children who enter school reach matriculation. 1991). Schools continue to be plagued by poorly trained and inadequate numbers of staff.
This chapter has provided a basic background to the situation faced in South Africa. provides a guideline to this type of re-evaluation. Britain. and improve resource accessibility. . A great opportunity exists for South Africans to remake their society. and ecological concern. the infrastructural.International support for developing the education system in various ways has been received from many sources including Canada. and the population. The revisioning of this society requires that as integrative an approach as possible is taken and an inclusionary process is used. international organisations. The demand from black communities for education has only increased in recent years. Japan and the United Nations Educational and Training Programme. build new schools. Conclusion Redressing the past tendencies of exploitation and inequity in South Africa will require time and diligence on behalf of government.undertaken to improve teacher training. the United States. including as many interested actors as possible. governmental and societal changes will be neither quick nor easy. However. which illustrate efforts to explore alternative development through the use of permaculture. through its focus on community involvement. NGOs. This allows the discussion to proceed to a more in-depth discussion of the specific case studies of this research. equitable distribution of power. putting further pressure on an already massively inadequate system. Environmental justice.
although this sentiment seems to be subsiding as the key role of NGOs is revealed. Valley Trust. housing. opting instead to work with govemment. Trees for Africa. other organisations. Abalimi Bezekhaya. At this point. NGOs have faced a new challenge in obtaining funding since foreign donors are less willing to provide funding to the organisations. since it is increasingly clear that the South African govemment and economy will be unable to provide for the needs of all of its citizens through its policies.and with whom they work . NGOs have an opportunity to actively 'pick up the slack'. overseas interests. regional.both to secure funding and to ensure consistency and effectiveness. Alternative options for development are an important focus for many of these organisations. human rights. Within this grouping. and environment During the apartheid years some NGOs played fundamental roles in mobilizing communities in resisting racist policies and in providing services to impoverished communities. it is probable that NGOs will distinguish themselves even further by the level at which they work . As a means of dealing with this shifting reality some NGOs are beginning to work more closely with govemment . Seed Care Network. some NGOs have been viewed suspiciously by the government. while others have simply decided to shut down due to irrelevance or lack of funds. Most tend to focus on disadvantaged community development in one way or another and at some level deal with food growing. Additionally. health. or local . the Permaculture . several NGOs have been active in promoting permaculture and its related principles within rural and urban South African society. PELUM. community development. and/or communities.govemment. In South Africa there are numerous NGOs working in a wide variety of fields including education. Since the post-apartheid govemment has been in power though.CHAPTER THREE: NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANlSATlONS Introduction It is often argued that where govemment falls short in providing necessary services and development.national. many NGOs are reevaluating their missions and abilities to contribute to the building of a new South Africa. With this in mind.
First. techniques. The reassessment going on in South African NGOs offers the potential for attaining at feast a measure of success in this regard. Third. There are several limitations to the use of the established organizational base. can only be measured in comparison to their usefulness as perceived by the communities with which they work. or facilitating workshops and training courses. and finally. especially those involved in alternative development programmes. It is clear that the relevance of NGOs. In each case the participation of communities and developing skills is emphasized- An assumption has been made that the civil mobilization that was apparent with the anti-apartheid movement would make community organisation in the post-apartheid era even easier. provision and destruction of self-esteem has established a mentality of entitlement in the population that is not easily overcome and has been frequently (perhaps inadvertently) reinforced by the current government. This involvement suggested that understanding the . Second. Fourth. established power relations may not easily shift to accommodate new actors or interests. the legacy of apartheid through government control. Projects vary extensively including such activities as learning alternative building r e e planting. especially in establishing participation within communities. in some cases it may no longer exist since its purpose has been accomplished. Two NGOs that are active in addressing disadvantaged community concerns through permaculture were investigated for this study.This however. has not always proven to be the case.Association of South Afn'ca. establishing nurseries and gardens. food Gardens Foundation. while Abalimi confines its programmes to the townships of Cape Town. and many others may be included in this list along with community-based organisations such as KEAG and Thlolego that also promote alternative development options. especially if those in power feel threatened. Both of the organisations are involved in the case studies that comprise the next two chapters. it may be corrupt or inaccessible to the general population. and cannot be separated from their methods of assessment or intervention. t Many of the NGOs promote urban agriculture using permaculture principles. Trees for Afiica is an organisation that operates at a national level.
AIthough the research into these NGOs is considered supplemental to the applied permaculture cases. a fulltime staff. and staff perceptions would provide deeper insight into implemented permaculture projects. The current mission statement of the organisation is 'to contribute to a healthy and sustainable quality of life for all through environmental awareness and greening programmes'. This mission is supported by the two main objectives cited in TFA's annual report that aim 'to involve at least 10% of the population in greening projects by the year 2000 and to create an awareness of the benefits of environmental upliftment activities amongst all communities of Southern Africa' (1998: 1). the Executive Director.This exploration has also created a better picture of the changing climate for NGOs. Trees for Africa Johannesbura. The Board and Committee are comprised of government and business representatives. and consultants. it has contributed to developing a more nuanced understanding of the projects and their influences than might have evolved without this effort. a private corporation. At its formation 9 years ago the primary goal was the planting of trees but in recent years it has changed focus slightiy. The six member full-time staff includes office personnel as well as two field workers. as is the Committee. Its main office is situated in Johannesburg. as well as their primary concerns with that climate.NGOs through looking at their structures. a Committee. The Executive Director is a position that is hired out by TFA to Progreen. GA - Description Trees for Africa ( F A ) is a non-governmentalorganization which focuses on awareness campaigns and projects dealing with greening and permaculture promotion throughout South Africa. . The structure of TFA is currently under review and will be revised in the coming year to reflect the changing realities and focus of the NGO. approaches. The structure of TFA consists of a Board of Directors.
In 1998 the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry hired TFA to administer Arbor Week's promotion and organisation. in conjunction with Eduplant. The first occurred in Kimberly and the second in Port Elizabeth. Many of the communities that have been involved with TFA have also been featured in these promotions. newsletters. TFA also utilizes radio and television to promote their campaigns and severai newspaper articles have featured their activities. The Eduplant competition is the one event that is not specifically aimed at poorer areas. The core of its activities remains its national treeplanting programme. TFA offered workshops to promote the use of permaculture throughout South Africa. concentrating on school and government bureaucracy participants. This year. The communities targeted by TFA's projects are generally considered disadvantaged and consist largely of black urban dwellers. although its focus has become the Arbor Week campaign.Trees for Africa is involved in numerous projects throughout South Africa including nurseries. The organisation produces pamphlets. Eduplant is a national competition for schools. Most of the staff members felt that the strength of the organisation was in the activities which promoted and disseminated information since these projects seemed the most successful. Permaculture gardens and . This particular programme has been running since 1990. although in 1997 it was extended from a day tc a week campaign. although the majority of entrants are from less wealthy schools. The trees being planted by communities are either donatedlsubsidised by TFA or bought by the communities. This gardens. The other major event organized by TFA is Eduplant Initiated in 1995 with Eskom. and t programme is promoted throughout the year in various locations. Schools compete for various prize allowances based on their proposals for permaculture integration activities at their schools. there have been two recent greening projects in urban areas. Trees for Africa is also involved in information dissemination and awareness campaigns. Aside from sponsoring communities doing tree planting. posters and booklets that are given out at their events and distributed to various communities. r e e planting. At the conclusion of the study period the reports for these programmes were not complete.
the Committee and Board members could play a fundamental and positive role in government policy formation. The Executive Director has been involved in meetings discussing changes to policies affecting the environment and urban sectors and one of the fieldworkers has been attempting to persuade municipal officials of the benefits of greening programmes. TFA has recently begun to lobby government These efforts are aimed to get greening and environmental issues center stage and promote a more integrated analysis of the challenges facing South Africa. lack of information. even within the entire Southern African region. It had a budget of over 2 million dollars last financial period (ending June 1998). in the future it is hoped the projects will become more integrative of other aspects of permaculture. TFA is one of the most known environmental NGOs in South Africa. . In this capacity the Executive Director. especially in raising awareness about the environment and in tree planting. with funding coming from national and international sources. Although it has been decided that the nursery promotion does not accomplish these goals. At this point. however. resentment among employees. There was a serious problem in establishing clear communication and instructions. This NGO has been quite successful in many of its endeavors. inefficiency. especially in the area of self-sustainability.nurseries in disadvantaged areas are meant to aid the selected communities with building skills and some income generation through ways that might be self-sustaining in the Mure. Observations During the interviews. several of the staff members expressed their dissatisfaction with the relations of power within Trees for Africa. there is stronger faith in the possibilities for the community permaculture projects. The resulting confusion impacted every area of the NGO causing unclear responsibilities for staff. There was obvious tension within the office between staff members and between different levels of the organizational structure. the promotion of permaculture by TFA is largely limited to food production.
The involvement of the Committee and the Board of Directors in the functioning of TFA is very limited. a large amount of the stress experienced by all those involved could have been easily avoided. and a general sense of things not getting done properly or on time. There did not seem to be an avenue for the staff to freely offer feedback on the functioning and improvement of TFA. both consultants and the Programme Coordinator left the organisation. there was much confusion and resentment at Eduplant this year among staff. For example. and when asked whether they would give this feedback if given the opportunity a few expressed that they would not for fear of retaliation and being ignored. lack of commitment.redundancy. and the participantsAlthough the event was generally considered a success. and problems in giving feedback to superiorsc All of these problems have managed to permeate the projects and the communities TFA deals with. and staff felt isolated from these bodies and their decisions about the organisation. authority structures. the hired consultants. Within the study period alone. There were several comments about [ack of capacity. as well as the affiliation with a private corporation. inabiiity to make decisions. Establishing clear job descriptions.TFA suffers from a chronic high staff turnover which can be explained partially by the previous statements as well as by the feeling of disempowennent most of the staff expressed. overworking. Increasing the capacity and project involvement of the staff is also be paramount Some key staff had never even visited the sites that they were evaluating or giving information about while others were unsure about the concepts promoted by the organisation. and allow staff more decision-making power. and three other staff members were actively seeking alternatives. . The process of restructuring had just begun when the study period ended. but even during this process there were issues with relations of power that staff were dissatisfied with. and operating procedures will go a long way in addressing some of the problems evident Given the personal conflicts it might also be advisable for the Executive Director to step back from every day decision making.
increased numbers of skilled fieldworkers able to communicate with the communities. The relations of TFA with the communities that are involved in the programmes were dualistic. On the one hand. as are the numerous requests for help made by disadvantaged communities. some of the communities were not doing all they could (or should) without TFA's input. however. saying that although some of the projects seemed worthwhile. there was also resentment of the power retained by TFA and issues with a lack of continued and consistent support for the sponsored communities. since several of the participants in Eduplant were unsure of what permaculture really was. The frustration on both sides of the relationship has led to some projects simply being excluded from future support by TFA or communities themselves withdrawing from programmes. communities. TFA staff also had mixed feelings. TFA staff felt that there has been a substantial impact in South Afnca regarding information about environmental issues and the community projects. despite their making the finals of competition for resources for permaculture projects. TFA has been very successful in raising funds for schools. and a proper follow-up procedure including monitoring and support Again. The fact that there are several schools and communities willing to try and address environmental concerns shows that awareness is spreading and this is in large part due to the efforts of TFA. The continuing increase in numbers of participants in events such as Arbor Week and Eduplant are evidence of this success. If TFA is to continue to be involved in community development projects it needs a more integrated and participatory process. This success is somewhat limited however. despite the information provided by TFA. Even some of the communities already receiving assistance have expressed their confusion over methods and concepts of permaculture. their successes are also encouraging. Communication with the communities may also have been shaped by limited language skills as well as behaviours leftover from the apartheid years. communities were happy to have the aid offered by the NGO. the clarity of .Although there are several problems with both the processes and products of projects TFA is involved in. despite the limitations and some failures. and events and it is believed that providing access to the funds allows opportunity that would not have been possible without TFA.
Several of the interviewees. especially in light of the continued support from several of the larger sponsors and the growing budget However. . Although there was division about what TFA should focus on in the future from greening projects to awareness campaigning to fundmising. both staff and community members. the benefits of stronger links to similar organisations would far outweigh any loss TFA might encounter. staff felt that there had not been enough follow-ups on projects to properly report on their success. in lieu of altering TFA's current goals and programmes. especially in light of their extensive experience in information dissemination and government contacl. some of the staff expressed that there was some catering to the funders in the reports made regarding events. There was also a feeling that linkages with other NGOs had been avoided in order to ensure the funding of TFA. this issue at TFA seems more extreme than most and should be addressed accordingly. it was clear that some reevaluation was necessary. it is disappointing that TFA has not taken a stronger part in this effort. In some cases. There seemed to be a feeling that TFA had taken on too much and was not concentrating in areas that their skills were most useful. Some staff felt that even if some funding was shared or even lost to other NGOs in the region. As there is definitely an effort on the part of other NGOs in the country to link efforts and knowledge.Although it was never said that the reports were inaccurate. Although every NGO experiences dilemmas when dealing with funders' perceptions.the role of TFA and the role the community and the participants are to play is key to avoiding confusion and resentment Relations with the finders of TFA programmes seem to be quite strong. there was an implication that certain information was left out of reports to ensure the continued support of funders. increasing the skills and number of staff members was suggested as a measure to deal with the multiple foci of the organisation. suggested that TFA reexamine its future goals. The increased involvement of Board or Committee members might be able to contribute to this process as well.
However. it is hoped that the revision will provide staff with a clearer understanding of their responsibilities and the lines of communication. believe that development can only exist within a healthy environment We believe that Urban AgricuIture and Greening promotes food security. The revised mission statement reads as follows: We Abalimi. During apartheid the NGO was not allowed to engage in certain community development activities so instead concentrated on the establishment of individual food gardens and the running of two nurseries. resource support and research. predominately Khayelitsha and Nyanga. Aside from providing a new mandate for the organisation.We facilitate: participatory training resulting in practical implementation. It has recently separated and is in the process of becoming a NGO in its own right It is based in Cape Town and concentrates its activities in the townships. based in the Cape Flats disadvantaged communities. and structure. At the end of the study period this process was just finishing up and the organisation had evolved a new vision. Both of these settlements are built on the Cape Flats and face difficult circumstances. WC Description - Abalirni Bezekhaya. community driven and owned environmental development partnerships for sustainability. mandate. finances and a new community extension process were still being developed. and is a doorway to broader development processes. (1998: 18) As all of the staff were involved in the process of reevaluation. Abalirni Bezekhaya was also in Ule process of restructuring during the study period. it is expected that an even stronger commitment to the vision and mission of Abalimi will evolve with the revised organisation. supports environmental renewal and conservation. This restructuring was more extensive than that planned by TFA and included a reexamination of every aspect of the NGO. self-help initiatives and job creation. which included a change of name to simply Abalimi. and environmental awareness and education. was established in 1983 as part of the Catholic Welfare and Development organisation.Abalirni Bezekhava Cam Town. meaning 'Planters of the Home'. Job descriptions. since 1994 the restriction on working with communities has been eliminated and Abalirni .We seek to achieve our vision through capacity support.
and perhaps at some of the schools Abalimi works with. .for the students. This wiii provide a base of information and gathering place for the communities. and most recently cumculum development for integrated land use management Although the NGO does not generally use permaculture as a term for what they do. learned and exchanged. it seemed to provide adequate time for the initial stage of planning and generating an increased understanding of the issues involved . reflective of that of permaculture. The Neighborhood Gardening Groups' sites might also provide a useful venue for these clearing houses. Between these two foci. The new process of integrated land use management. community and school development. This seems short but after seeing it done for the first time at a school. nurseries.Bezekhaya has taken advantage of the opportunity. This process. This would also provide an area for skills to be demonstrated. involves increased participation of communities in planning and decision making from the beginning rather than an 'expert' creating the plan for them with limited consultation. Abalimi Bezekhaya is involved in projects such as Arbor Week. It involves alternative teaching methods and is an attempt to integrate environmental concerns with the needs of the humans using U1e design. It is engaged in two broad categories of activities greening and urban food production. The proposal by the Abalimi staff is to do a workshop with prospective cornmunitieslschools comprised of three days of intensive training and planning. The t w o nurseries they nm in the townships are quite successful and the demand from the was reduced to 3 days of the surrounding community forced their reopening to a full week after s e ~ c e week.In the Mure the Executive Director is also aiming to establish market gardens from the base of the Community and Neighborhood Gardening Groups now working with Abalimi. they recognize that the methods and principles they promote are reflective of permaculture. The aim is to establish environmental centres at the nursery locations. should also deal with some of the problems that have been apparent with the 'on-theground' projects. adopted from a PELUM workshop.
The Board also discussed changing to become 'a conduit for funding' for . workloads and concern over advancement However. Other avenues of foreign. this evaluation is based on observations and interviews done during the process of reorganisation so hopefully it will be at least partially useful. However. There was also some concern about ability to advance within the organisation and the amount of work that needed to be done. t process of the revision was well received and positive comments were made regarding the results thus farThe commitment of the staff to the purpose of Abalimi is very strong and this provides a good foundation for the future functioning of the organisation. At this point the majonty of financial support comes from a foreign investor and the Board and staff of Abalimi felt that this made the organisation too vulnerable should that funder withdraw or reduce support. . it has been decided that the base of funding must be expanded. continued assistance and facilitation is Observations The total restructuring and reorganisation of Abalimi does make a relevant critique difficultHowever. Personal conflicts. inappropriate pay scales.teachers and facilitators necessary. national and selffundraising are being investigated. These dynamics are unlikely to disappear easily. One of the primary reasons for the restructuring process was the level of confusion and resentment present in the staff and consultants working at Abalimi. At this point Abalimi is also dealing with changes to its status and funding.despite some rough spots. the workload seemed exceptionally heavy for the senior fieldworkers. and misunderstanding of responsibilities were ail present previous to the restructuring. despite the changes to the organisation. These changes are a byproduct of the organization's separation from the Catholic Welfare and Development organisation requiring Abalimi to attain a different legal status and become more self-reliant With respect to funding. especially h e those concerned with personal relationships.
the community projects that were visited were enthusiastic about Abalimi and its staff. This obsemation was born out during the study period observations during which both dynamics were evident On the whole. but it did appear that most of the staff was committed to the change at a certain IeveI. at SCAGA the soil is very rocky and sandy and had to be hand dug and picked through before laying out trench beds. largely made up of women.so thank you very much for the support'. For example. The revision of the extension programme also appears to be a positive change moving in the direction of communities making their own decisions.and maybe more activities later . Using a traditional 'work gathering' the women organized the community to help with the work and pay them with food and beer. you must be clever'.It will take a while for the field staff to adjust to this new approach and method. At one meeting of such a project.community projects in support of the revised vision of Abalimi moving toward more of a facilitating role versus an implementation role. Some community participants involved in previously established projects felt that Abalimi was not doing enough to help them or were not responding quickty enough to requests. especially as some of them have been doing the 'chalk and talk' method of teaching for some time. She stated that before being involved she 'usually sat in the sun and did nothing but now we garden and it is leading to sewing . These community projects are strongly linked to the wider community. a female participantexpressed her thanks to the organisation.The organisations' staff felt this was a problem of communication of responsibilities of the participants or perhaps not enough staff to deal with all the requests. . which was more than made up for with the next yield of the gardens. The small group. As one member said 'if you are not strong enough.This particular project was also pursuing the idea of using the produce from me garden and establishing a soup kitchen for the area. felt that to get the job done others in the community had to be persuaded to help. creating their own projects and obtaining the skills necessary to keep them running.
rather than using the manure from their own cows. However. In some of the beds inter-cropping was very limited and the problem with pests was high as a resuk It was expressed that inter-cropping and succession had been taught and received well by the communities. but there had been no change at the gardens. which acts as an NGO for NGOs in Southern Africa. Not only are these organisations expected to fill in gaps' where government is unable (or unwilling) . or bringing in chickens. it is clear that there are linkages between the revised conception of land-use management and the methods and principles of permaculture. Recently. the organisation has begun pursuing stronger connections with other NGOs in the hopes of gaining knowledge and sharing resources. or imgate the area in an alternative way. Water had to be carried from common access taps to the gardens rather than attempting to lay the beds to conserve water. In particular. The annual general meeting attended by Abalimi was quite useful in forming contacts with similarly interested groups with various expertise. Although the current contact with government is limited.Although Abalimi does not refer to its activities as permaculture. On a national ievel. manure was trucked into sites to lmprove the soil. For example. Abalimi and many of the other NGOs present at the meeting felt that it was imperative that organisations link more strongly to develop knowledge and ensure the development of sustainable projects and communities in South Africa. it was also clear that several of the projects could be more integrated as systems rather than relying on external inputs to such a high degree. there is potential to build this connection and interest was expressed in this area. this interest has centered on PELUM. Conclusion Non-governmental organisations operating in South Afn'ca are part of a rapidly changing dynamic society. harvest water fhm their roofs. Abalimi is influential on and influenced by other NGOs in South Africa. Why this was remained unclear and some follow-up seemed necessary to ascertain why the participants did not pursue seemingly appropriate measures.
while still others have shut down altogether. As demonstrated by the case NGOs. For those organisations working with disadvantaged communities. and adaptation to the post-apartheid era. which is a nationat NGO. Increased capacity would also assist in building stronger contact and clearer communication with communities. the effectiveness and . varied expectations of government and communities. Overcoming established power relations and attitudes is crucial to allow for the development of the organisations and the more productive interaction with communities. increased capacity through training of staff in technical and theoretical areas would go far to improve the dedication and empowerment of staff. altemative development schemes usually take priority. The influence of these organisations affects every aspect of the local projects they promote.to address pertinent issues. In order to deal with this constantly changing reality. it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of NGOs in this field in order to facilitate a more realistic view of applied permaculture in communities. many NGOs are reassessingtheir roles and restructuring. To this end. Adjusting to conceptions of environmental justice and integrated development also suggests that networking between organisations would be beneficial in building knowledge b a s s and limiting duplication or contradictory efforts. but they must do so in an atmosphere of shifting funder priorities. Of course. two NGOs focussed on promoting environmentally sound altemative development in disadvantaged communities were detailed in this chapter. and Abalimi. others have chosen to operate at increasingly local levels with communities. Thus. This will be especially relevant as it becomes increasingly clear that government is unable to deal with all of the demands of civil society for improvement in material conditions. Along with an effort to facilitate more participatory and equitable relations. which functions at a local level.there are several challenges to the effective and efficient operation of these NGOs. Trees for Africa. Permaculture has been (and continues to be) advanced by several NGOs as one means of accomplishing relativeiy short-term improvements within a framework of possible long-term sustainability. Some have decided to pursue closer ties with government and function at a national level.
it is clear that a deeper insight into the context and functioning of the projects has been gained by this effort. but through the perceptions of the communities that are dealt with. .usefulness of these organisations must be evaluated not only in light of the relations and dynamics appamt within the organisation. Although this investigation of NGOs is considered supplemental to the study of the applied permaculture cases.
One such effort is the integration of permaculture into the systems of these communities. while the other two were situated in urban contexts. The bias of political ecology toward rural investigations and the general lack of literature on integrated urban township development simply sewed to illustrate the need for investigation of these projects. that otherwise might have been overlooked. including schools. changes in educational approaches. The purpose of the next t w o chapters is to provide outlines of the applied perrnaculture case studies. The sections are loosely arranged to reflect the approach of political ecology . albeit briefly. Although some of the obsenrations are integrated into the description. and the views of educators to be addressed.from the local level to the 'higher' level of government. it became clear that schools play a fundamental role in the use of penaculture in South Africa and excluding them from the study would weaken its purpose. and some preliminary observations for each case. their various roles and influences. One case in each category is a primary school. and in some cases international influence.CHAPTER FOUR: RURAL CASE STUDIES Introduction The difficult situation faced by South Afn'can 'disadvantaged' communities has led several to create alternative development schemes. In this research. Although this was not the original intent of the study. at the end of each case there is a section with elaboration of specific dynamics and permaculture use. This change allowed for additional questions regarding the role and perspectives of youth.This division offered the best option of gaining a more balanced understanding of permaculture in the country and provided some initial insight into the dynamics of urbanization and its affects. Two of the studies were conducted in rural atmospheres. four perrnaculture projects were studied. . and is present in urban and rural communities.These outlines incIude discussions of the primary interests in each of the projects.
This school has been applying permaculture for approximately five years now. tt is a private farm where the managers are exploring the option of beginning a penna~uiture institute. Although the institute is still in the formation stages. it was possible to compile a useful analysis of the Mure potential of the endeavor. It is situated in Harding. . and investigating the current integration of permaculture at the site. examining the proposal for the institute. The second case described in this chapter is a primary school for special needs children. This was done through observing the established power relations and predicting the affect these might have on the Mute institute. it is also the province with the largest proportion of its NORTH w n population living in rural areas. not only to look at Mure possibilities but at the substantive changes that have accuned with this application. The first case study is situated in the r WESTERN CAPE -- northeast of the province outside of the town of Ingogo.This chapter is dedicated to the rural case studies. Figure 5: Location ofCase Studies Aside fiom the Northern Province. Both of the cases are situated in KwaZulu Natal (see Figure 5). despite being the third smallest in area. which is in the southwest of the province. This province has the largest population. It is possible therefore.
strong winds and dry periods. There is some concern about seepage of pesticides and herbicides from neighboring fans. it continues to be run by whites. For the Viljeon farm water is provided by a combination of storage tanks. Soil erosion and loss of biomass is a problem in the area. KZN Description - The Viijeon's farm is situated in a rural area. The Viljeon farm is one such settlement. providing a strong challenge for raising successful crops and livestock. The soils of the area are quite variable. E. outside the settlement of Ingogo. the owner's son. and like the surrounding farms. The surrounding landscape is hilly and categorized as Upland (moist). Although some of the area is blessed with less extreme variations. while the labourers are black. as is increasing air pollution. Water use is also an issue that concerns the farmers of Me area.CASE 1:The Vilieon's Farm Ineoao. as only one other farm in the area is organic. . rocky soil with fertile pockets. Viljeon. At this time the farm was converted to organic fanning and in the past four years has moved toward permaculture. Cattle ranching activities dominate the region. a river and boreholes. The toll this practice has taken on the surrounding environment is unmistakable. The river and wells are used by neighboring farms. This type of occurrence is not uncommon as the region's farms are burnt annually to allow for new growth of grass that is preferred by caffle. the Viljeon farm does receive seasonal frost. which has recently become more of an issue as a new farm raising commercial crops has been using large-scale irrigation. causing a drop in the water table. but the farm consists largely of thin. which is approximately 30 km outside of Newcastle in the northwest of KwaZulu Natal. although there is some commercial cropping. The area was settfed by ex-military officers who created farms using black farmers. Approximately nine years ago this privately owned and run farm came under the management of Mr. The catalyst for the switch to permacuiture was an accidental burning of the farmland through the spread of a fire set by one of the neighboring farms.
At the time of the M y . Uhanites with cattle generally do not have enough enclosed space to keep the animals. Viljeon's hddings (see Figure 6) consisted of approximately 172 ha of varying fertility and gradients. Problems such as stealing. The permacultwe garden is primarily used to supplement the M consumed by the . tailcutting. tending instead to graze them in common open space in the settlements. or choking on plastic are common for cattle due to this practice. and a small permaculture garden. The caWe grating is an interim measure while the Viljeons attempt to establish a permaculture institute on the grounds. The land is for raising used livestockt predominantly cattle. Mr. shooting. rabbits. Aside from the activities of raising livestock. who either do not have enough land or who have moved to urban locations. and pigs being raised for the Viljeons. so many urban dwellers of the region have chosen to pay to keep their cattle on farms- The Viljeon fam is smring finarcial difficultiesthat have spurred the managers to reconsider their practice of renting space br M e . although the owner was investgating selling off a portion of the farm. In addition to the cattle. geese. k r R1 a day. there are sheep. a permacultue garden and nursery have been built at Me Viljeon farm. Space at the farm is ranted by local people. Viljeoeon also suggeskd that the land was being overgrazed by the number of cattle present requiring the managers to ask that m e cattle be removed by renters. chicken.
especially those just gaining access to land as well as to promote land redistribution and skills building. The small nursery on site sells seeds and seedlings to local people. Mrs.The garden is filled with a variety of crops. a process that has thus far taken four years. such as craftwork.The first priority for the proposed institute is to become a legal entity. including in her services the possibility of sale of such crafts at a shop. Mr. including several fruit trees.Viljeon family. It is hoped that these workers will be able to continue on at the farrn once the institute is established since many of them have spent the majority of their lives on the . New plantings were also occurring at the time to further the variance of produce and relations between crops. The constitution for the institute is in what is hoped to be the final stages of formation. When the study was done there was in the way of yield (mainly spinach and some lettuces) or intercropping. training. The nursery also provides some of the plantings for the permaculture garden and offers a range of local and exotic seedlings- The Viljeons are occasionally employed by outside NGOs as consultants to run workshops on permaculture. These duties are meant to supplement the future activities of !he 'Second World Institute of Permaculture' that the Viljeon's hope to establish at the farrn. although occasionally labourers are allowed to take produce home. For example. The purpose of the institute would be to provide information.However. These groups are outside of the immediate locale and sometimes purchase seeds and seedlings from the farm's nursery. the Viljeon farm held their first 'permaculture training course' at the end of December 1998 with the aid of two New Zealand environmental educators. It seemed from photos and notes taken by the managers in previous years that the garden produced quite a varied yield. after which the Viljeon's hope to raise funds for additional infrastructure and retraining of current labourers. as well as a few outside groups accessible through other activities of the managers. this may have been primarily due to seasonal variation. et cetera to those who want it. Viljeon is also the Chairman of a South African NGO (PELUM) that promotes 'integrated land use management'. Despite its limited infrastructure. Viljeon teaches a few organized community groups how to create recycled material crafts for sale. including the farm labourers.
Viljeon's parents) have specified that as long as their own standard of living is maintained this endeavor may continue. who supplied access to the land for a specified time period. there is basic accommodation for visitors near the main houses in a converted storage building and a goqa (a traditional structure). repair work and care of livestock. supplies are limited and the grounds are barren. with supplies they purchased or scavenged.At the time of the study two people hired to do translation and odd tasks while training for permaculture qualification inhabited the goqa. All of these accommodations use the facilities of one of the main houses at this point. However. The government-sponsored school was established to provide teaching for all grades for residents of the area. and no land titles for the families. especially in light of the fact that the newest employees amved over six years ago and the oldest residents have been there for over 20 years. The poor living environment is compounded by the lack of vegetation. the major limitation of the school has been . while men were employed for the latter two duties. which caused serious problems during the first course run on the farm. At the time of the study the farm employed 11 peop1e to care for the garden. housekeeping.farm and consider it home. The labourers housing is overcrowded with limited sanitation facilities and no electricity. Land title has become an issue in the minds of the labourers recently. only black children attend the school since white families prefer to send their children to boarding schools with better educational resources. There is also a schooi on the farm that was built by the government at the request of the surrounding community with the agreement of the Viljeons. These homes form a small community of famifies in seven houses. In addition to the two main houses and the labourers' community. The families of the employees were allowed to build their own homes. However. Women were responsible for the first three duties. on a designated site on the farm. Although the building itself seems adequate. The owners of the farm (Mr. nursery. restricted space. which are placed away from the 'main houses' used by the owners' and managers' families. otherwise the farm will be sold.
the area's community would also be influential on and affected by its establishment i h e establishment of a perrnaculture institute would bring increased funds.There was also some confusion over the details of the proposal for privatization. labour. The meeting ended without a final decision being made. and the reasons offered by the staff were not accepted by the meeting attendees who felt ttrey were being put off. The community received this suggestion well. since this way the teachers would be hired and fired by the community rather than relying on government action. Although the immediate effects of establishing a perrnaculture institute would be felt primarily on the farm and its small grouping of families. although some of the community members felt that at least some of their concerns had been voiced and they had options to consider. visitors and development to the area. Even if the majority of this activity is located on the fan. A further suggestion was made by one of the foreign visitors to the farm of providing more useful training b the teachers and using the skills of the community to supplement 'traditional teaching methods'. Although there was support for community involvement in school decisions. its skills. however. improved school facilities.consistent probIems with the stat There are frequent and unexplained staff absences. During the meeting objections to the behaviour of teachers and the principal were voiced. this would change the composition of the population of the area. which had thus far not worked. which several members of the community felt had not been thought through or organized in a useful way. instances of child abuse. . If the idea of establishing a perrnaculture eco-village becomes a reality. etcetera would all occur. and children end up playing soccer. increased buying of food. Complaints have been filed with government authorities and follow-up calls made but the situation remains unchanged. the discussion was led away from this idea to refocus on privatization and fees. This is a serious concern within the community and during the study period a meeting was held to address the situation. The Viljeons suggested that privatization of the school should become the goal for the community. there was resistance to any increase in school fees or privatization. and some confusion about fee payment Many days classes do not occur since teachers are absent or are not interested in teaching that day.
except perhaps on the issue of racial violence.Despite the cases i end of apartheid overcoming these divides will not be easy or quick. although the managers of this farm are clearly better off than the labourers. Age also provides a division within the community. they do retain a level of connection with white farmers in the area.The community in turn will affect. language and age. there are divisions within the white and the black populations of wealth and status. they are not wealthy compared with other white farmers in the area. potential violence. . They have been further isolated from the white community with their endeavors to change farming systems and their apparent link to the black community. For example. to appropriate jobs. Additionally. The divide between blacks and whites is vivid since. labour relations. Having similar concerns and poor living conditions seems to have provided this community with strength. Again. including those on the farm. et cetera. With respect to gender. men and boys that have yet to be changed. This type of unity is rarely apparent in the white community. The plethora of divisions and unions of its society affect every aspect of the lives of people in this community. as it does already.wealth and land distribution. These divisions apply to what is appropriate behaviour. to appropriate clothing. as in almost all n South Africa. school activities. in both white and black communities. and available skills. Depending on the community's support the future of this project could become much brighter or much dimmer- There are obvious divisions in the surrounding community based on complex relations of race. although the changes involved in forming a 'new South Africa' may in time alter this unity. however. the blacks on this farm seemed more connected with the black community of the area. there are specific roles that have been identified for women. class. In comparison. girls. such as men herding cattle and women cleaning house. the white population is also wealthier and more privileged than the black. such as children not challenging teachers or women accepting men drinking. gender. despite some challenges to their application. there are expectations regarding roles and set behaviours that may prevent youth from contributing as much as they might.
Finally.In addition to the wider community of the area. international and national forces affect this farm in particular. land tenure and redistribution. Although the Viljeons have suggested that the workers would become partners in the institute. Observations Although the enthusiasm and faith of the Viljeons was vivid during the study period.The h i s goal is to be met. The first. In other related policies there are further restrictions on sewice provision. the stated aim of the institute is to be participatory and inclusive of contributors. it seems unlikely as the labourers expressed that being on the f a n was a job and the sense of community really did not encompass the Viljeons to the extent that was . The regulations under which the institute may function are determined by legislation passed by the national government This might include labour legislation on hiring. And government officials and practices will be affected by the participation (or lack thereof) of the institute in promoting and articulating its agendas on that level on its own or through other organisations. On a more local level. and most difficult. If t present form of ernployerlempioyee relations must alter. and environmental rehabilitation. The visitors to the farm who are foreign have changed the perceptions of both the labourers and managers as well as made suggestions for improvement of the institute that otherwise might not have occurred. The education policy determined by the government would affect training programmes offered by the institute. activities and methods allowed on the school grounds. especially at the start. other NGOs and CBOs may participate with the institute through exchange of knowledge and other inputs. there were several limitations that present strong challenges to what might be considered a successful permaculture institute. and their potential funding. challenge with be to alter the established relations of power. will come from foreign and national external sources. Aside from joint campaigns. international and national linkages to both individuals and organisations will be aided by the internet and satellite technology that has been made available. firing and payment practices and fundraising status. housing specifications. Most of the funding for the institute. the ability and will of the government officers to implement such policies will affect the farm and its community.
Additionally. Either a stronger and clearer relationship with the owners must be established or the farm should be bought to ensure clarity in responsibilityand control. There is limited feed-back by or involvement of labourers. Obviously. however. grass that was harvested for roofing purposes was sold by the owner. without consultation of the managers. forexample. These relations are complicated by the fact that the managers of the farm are not the owners. For example. nothing has been done in pursuit of this suggestion. These suggestions were also reflected by the interviews with the two permaculture students on the farm. . on the belief that if it was not sold it would rot in storage. who at the time felt that they had been brought to the farm under false pretenses and that their skills were not being used properly. Although the Viljeons have considered purchasing the farm from the owners. discussions activity observationlparticipation during the study. The employees suggested that these relations could be changed if the actions of the Viljeons started to correspond with what they were being told would be established. The owners may veto any decision made by the managers. They also expressed a need for increased communication of the goals and purposes of the practical permaculture work.suggested by the family. the provision of services that had been promised and the paying of wages on time and in full. this was not reflected in t h e results of the intenriews. The Viljeons maintain sole control of farm resources and inform labourers of decisions. and communication between the two families is limited. without major changes to these relations the likelihood of the institute becoming a participatory and productive force for permaculture is low. there has been a suggestion that the farrn be divided into plots to be sold to members of the institute in hopes of forming a type of eco-village. the funds are not available. and of the future goals for the farm. perhaps even formal training. Although the Viljeons insisted that the farm is run through incorporating everyone's ideas and suggestions.
although they were told otherwiseAlso. Each person has hisiher agenda and acts in order to pursue that agenda.Poor communication and mistrust between the actors on the farm complicate the present power relations. when it would be established. The legacy of apartheid relations between races. Employees were dissatisfied with the amount of payment .lower than that of labourers on neighboring farms . othewise there is confusion and resentmentthroughout the farm. It was also argued that the Viljeons are too frequently away fmm the farm to property run it. which seemed borne out by the study observations and interviews.contributed to disbelief in managers' proposals. Labourers expressed that many promises that had been made in the past had not been pursued and explanations had not been offered. there was mistrust that the institute would ever occur. and what role they would play. despite the assurances of the managers. they are not fluent and although some of the workers know some English it has proven (in many cases) inadequate for complex conversations. not only had their conditions not improved in recent years but they felt things had become worse. This barrier has resulted in frequent miscommunication and hstration. or i f it did that their circumstances would be improved in any way. There appeared to be much confusion on the part of the owners and the labourers as to what the institute really was.and the fact that payment was often withheld partially or completely when they believed the funds were available. especially with the inconsistent wages. There needs to be clarity regarding the duties of the household itself. In the case of the labourers.even when laborers offered to pay for installation and use . never mind any additional responsibility. especially the . not necessarily in consultation with any other party that might be affected by that course of action. suggesting to them that this situation might not be any different In fact. the lack of services . not just among management or labourers. Although the managers have recently been making attempts to learn Zulu. This factor seemed complicated by confusion about specific duties and roles of the managers as well as the employees. A language barrier further complicates communicafion.
Aside from the relations between parties on the farm there is a need for increased infrastructure to accommodate an institute on the level suggested by the Viljeons. Several workers expressed resentment that they lived one way and the Viljeons' another when it had been suggested that this would change. One labourer was so angered at Vlis that it was suggested during the interview that although this had been a peaceful farm so far the future may not be so free of violence. and an improved implementation of perrn&ulture principles on site would be necessary to even begin to reflect the needs of an institute of the desired capacity.An attempt had been made previously to provide training to one of the labourers who had a basic understanding of English and interest in permacuiture. has led to some of these misunderstandings going unnoticed until work must be redone or frustration levels are too high to productively deal with the situation.Thus. along with a lack of necessary funding. resource development research skills. any skill transfer of Viljeons' knowledge of permaculture. a plan put in place for its development. Increased housing. also causes restricfions for the farm. The obvious constraints of lack of finances will be further complicated if the development of the institute takes precedence over improvement of the labourers' living conditions.assertion that blacks should not question whites. training facilities. and participatory methods as a beginning. would have to be translated into Zulu in order for workers to gain real understanding. capacity building is necessary and wouId include training in financing. The Viljeons' intent is to nm the institute themselves. with help from the labourers. which simply served to frustrate and embarrass him. and the Viljeons' external consultation is limited to the point of non-interference with the . These changes in responsibility are only worth establishing if it is clear that there is a strong commitment to the project. It will be necessary to build knowledge in every aspect of running an institute. such as a certification course for the labourers. but according to the labourer he retained almost nothing due to his limited English. In addition. services. and this requires skills that neither the managers nor the workers have at this time. n necessary skills for the organization and operation of an institute of The lack of training i permaculture. facilitation.
These students come from all over the province of KwaZulu-Nataland reside at the school during the school terms. having been rejected by other schools. The layer of shale under the soil's surface causes areas with poor drainage. Harding Special Schcol is a primary school for physically and mentally challenged students. Most of the 136 students come from rural areas and have come to Harding Special School as a last resort.muddy and dusty. Unless these very fundamental changes take place the institute of permaculture at the Viljean farm may end up being established but not reflecting the principles of permaculture and the initial intent of having participatory and productive relations and systems. r e e plantations. family or their communities. Fmst occurs generally from the end of April through part of May. in 1997 the rains arrived in November and continued through June. All of these conditions create challenges for the use of permaculture at the school.establishment and running of the institute. however. CASE 2: Harding Special School Hardina. necessitating high levels of organic material additions. The weather patterns in the area led teachers of this school to joke that there were only two seasons when the school was first established . The winds of the area are also problematic as they can get quite severe. including all of the potatoes. which provide the main industrial development The hills of this rural area are covered with t in the area. The majority of the students are underpriviledged and some are on social welfare so fees must be kept low (at this point they are . Even in less extreme seasons the slope of the terrain and the run-off from the adjoining highway creates the potentid for high soil erosion. The rainy season usually begins in December continuing through part of February. The combination of increased and prolonged rain and the ground conditions led to floods and lost of crops. KZN - Description This school is situated just outside of Harding in southern KwaZulu Natal on Town Council land. The soil of the school grounds is uneven and quite thin in some areas.
At this point. with grant money. parents and community. including facilities hr physical rehabilitation for the children.R300lsemester not including uniform). is the main part of this sbategy. by increasing the number and usefulness of the children's skills. within the curriculum and on the grounds. The plants have primarily come from Figure 7 : Harding S~ecial School donations or been grown from cuttings. the school is hoping to replace the government feeding scheme currently used in schools. . In the process of these activities the school grounds have been partiaily redesigned and planted with various crops including many fnrl trees. improved structures and better trained staff. the children gain higher possibilities of being considered valued members of their community and are allowed to develop a sense of empowerment. The use of permaculture at the school. Additionally. The primary objectives of the project at Harding Special School are to save the school money and teach the children useful skills for when they leave school. Initially it was hoped that growing food at the school wouM improve the health and attention span of the children as well as decrease the fees charged b families. although a few have been purchased. The need for this type of s c h d is quite high and Harding hopes to expand their capacity in the near future. indigenous plants and ornamentals (see Figure 7). such as the orange trees.The limited resources have forced the school to reevaluate their funding strategies and they have recently decided to become as self-sufficientas possible. various vegetables. teachers. increased skill development opportunities. The integration of permaculture into Harding Special School has translated into several different activities for the students.
Lower levels share tires and concentrate mainly on flower plantings as an introduction to gardening.most opt for vegetables of some sort and is responsible for the care of the plants. Practical skills are also taught at the school to ensure the development of useful skills and increased dexterity in the attending children. lockers and even one of the buildings being recovered from places throwing them away and mending the items to suit the purposes of the school. sewing. the school harvests water from the roofs of the buildings. Used paper that is not recycled as mulch is formed into bricks for students to use at home as an effective alternative fuel.money is saved since the tires are free. - . knitting. In order to provide a more reliable and free source of water. Re-used tractor tires are used as planters and each child in Level 3. chairs. This is especially important since most of the chiidren at this school do not continue formal education past Level 5 (Grade 7). This water is used for the hostel showers and garden. and leatherwork are conducted atong with the gardening activities. and water is consenred due to the shape of the tires. it was discovered that to the children with calipers or in wheelchairs the tires provide an almost ideal height for caring for the plants since children can lean against or sit upon the tires while working rather than trying to reach down to ground level. Most importantly however. tables. The resourceful thinking of the participants has also led to the blankets. 4 and 5 is allowed to choose the plants they wish to grow in their tire .On the academic side at the school. It is hoped that woodworking will be returned to this list of skills soon. soil is stabilized on the sloping grounds. basic concepts and methods are taught and discussed in agricufture class. These projects have ranged from the use of old calipers and crutches in the garden as supports for climbing plants to using old plastic soda bottles filled with rocks as instruments or planters to scrap wood pieces being used to create games for the children. Classes such as pottery. The use of tires for planters selves several purposes . The lack of resources and the ingenuity of the students and teachers have encouraged the use of recycled materials in each of these classes in the form of inputs and products.
This limits the hstration some students might i t h their physical limitations. It has been suggested that . There has been some friction between the Committee and the project leader's aims. however. however. Additionally. issues such as disinterest or a lack of perceived ability might also be influential. two full-time employees are retained for general maintenance and to take care of the larger gardening tasks. However. since the teacher in charge of the programme is most involved with these classes. resistance to being directly involved has been quite evident in teachers. Each of the proposals for the project must make economic sense to the committee and principal and be a beneficial alternative for the project. but this has not been a substantial limitation since i alternative means of including them.The restrictions of movement for some of the students must be accounted for when involving them t has been possible to find in the outside activities. recently the school gained the opportunity to buy a tractor. The teacher in charge of the project is hoping that this attitude will be overcame by the visible success of the pmject and the personal benefits that the teachers gain from permaculture being used at the school. and although the recommendation was made for a plow and horse instead. One particular teacher at Harding Special School has spearheaded these activities. all of the school is involved in some way. Seasonal workers are also employed during busy periods in Me experience w gardens to ensure that students are not academically disadvantaged during peak seasons. While the older students are more involved. generally the decisions are in the project's favour even if they do not always reflect the first choice. For example. Teachen have benefited by getting plants and trees for their home gardens and some training. One teacher felt that black teachers were resistant to 'getting their hands back in the dirt' since they felt they had been educated and were 'above that sort of thing'. it was decided that the school would buy the tractor despite the increased cost and comparatively limited benefits. the School's Committee makes the final decisions regarding funding and planning approval. The principal and other teachers are generally supportive of the project However. It is possible that this sentiment was me reason for low participation rates with the teachers.
However. trees and skills to a community that is lacking. He looked forward to returning to his community and teaching others what he had learnt and having his 'own permaculture place'. and perhaps most important. and recycling were appreciated. basic concepts such as mulching. The students have engaged in greening projects for a near-by park and a new government housing scheme. The surrounding community has benefited substantially by the school's recent activities. For example. or in arts and crafts activities. planting. the project leader retains her optimism stating that she felt that teachers would slowly come around to the idea of being more invoived in the activities. Recently three of the teachers asked for help with starting projects at their churches and although only two seem to have followed up on this request it is encouraging. Both of these efforts have received a positive response from the surrounding . one child expressed his happiness at being able to be seen as a useful person like everyone else. watering. since normaIly people see him as a burden and unintelligent due to his disabilities. The intenriews and daily activities gave strong evidence that they are ieaming and interested in the permaculture activities. Although it seemed that the more complex relations of the project were not completely understood by students. is very helpful.the school has not really benefited from sponsoring this training since the teachers tend not to share the information. calipers and crutches while helping unskilled and unemployed community members. The school has also started community employment schemes by hiring local unemployed people to lay the brick paths to increase the area accessible to students in wheelchairs. actors at the school the students are very enthusiastic participants. being able to make money and being an important part of the community were expressed quite clearly.It is hoped that these attitudes will also change over time with the success and acceptance of the programme- As the final. There has also been resistance by the kitchen demonstrated by staffs refusal to change the menu to reflect the produce being hanrested daily to feed the children. Ideas of saving money. the fact that the lessons are supplemented by activities outside. donating time. AIthough the level of understanding is quite limited in some cases.
Businesses in the area are also responding positively by donating tires and posts for building. there have been instances of resistance within the surrounding community. Australia and Canada. or would not appreciate. when the children were asked whether they wanted to try again they were very positive and enthusiastic. its participants. This cuniculum is meant to encourage more practical skills than the educational policies of the apartheid era. Requests for advice has even come from schools in other areas of KwaZulu Natal. Overall. when the ANC became the govemment of the day they pronounced that anyone 16 or older would not be allowed to continue schooling if they remained in . and their use of permaculture. plant some trees and repair the play equipment After a period of time several of the trees were killed or stolen and the play equipment was in need of repair again. It is inspired by policies at work in New Zealand. several national policies influence the functions of the school. For example. the second chance. while farmers frequently donate manure and compost The impact on communities is not isolated to the immediate surrounding community since when students finish their studies at Harding they graduate with gifts to return to their own communities with . Despite the setback. Additionally. On a higher governmental level. During the research period it was estimated that the graduating children would receive nine trees by the end of the year. especially for the children that were excited about being included in the community. However. Generally the community has been very supportive and interest in what is happening at the school is increasing.the trees and plants that they have started from seed or from cuttings during the past years. feeling that the community perhaps did not deserve. at one point the students decided to clean up one of the park areas in the community. the community's attitude toward the school has changed from one of avoidance to one of curiosity and pride in the school's success. This was very disappointing for the entire school. The plan for the second attempt failed when the local Council requested that the effort not be expended due to the first failure. One of the clinics and several individuals have approached the school for advice and aid in starting their own projects. The most obvious is the revised education cumcuIum that the govemment is now testing in selected schools referred to as Curriculum 2005.community.
Harding currently receives only -51R per child per day as subsidy. which does not differentiate behveen discriminatory versus necessary specialization. such as the one being instituted across the street from the school. at this point its involvement is limited to individual teachers' involvement with various campaigns and parties. even with the increase in the student numbers. This 'anti.school specialization' platform has resulted in large cuts to the funding provided by the govemment to schools like Harding. never mind those with specific care requirements. The feeding scheme that has been instituted by govemment also has an impact on the school and its children. Again. or even within the current system due to perceived deficiencies- The governmefit of the day is also against the specialization of schools. Regarding the influence of the school on governmental policy. Outside of formal politics. and does itself. Harding Special Schooi has been. including the national Eduplant competition and First National Bank. especially in light of the children who were pushed aside during the apartheid years. This is one third of the funding that was available to the school in 1994. influence the national and international arenas. However. Although this seems a logical policy.However. through employment equity and payment plans.primary levels (up to grade 7). which is obviously inadequate for 'normal' children. this year the school was excluded from the awards when judges decided that the school was too advanced in their . which determine special needs and subsidization of physical aids. although this s instituted nationally since there are some teachers with may change when the new curriculum i reservations about learning new teaching methods and lessons. and land distribution and development. health policies. housing programmes. Aside from educational policies this school is impacted by labour legislation. this is part of the attempt to redress the legacy of apartheid through integrating races in the schools. in the case of some of the students at Harding it becomes problematic. The success of the project has gained Harding funding from various competitions and grants. children with special needs are disadvantaged by the policy.
especially when they had been admitted to the final round of judging and had raised the funds to attend the final event The project has suffered from this result since the s that Harding is not worthy of receiving perception of other funders and the community that has resulted i further funding from the competition. and principal were very disappointed. teachers. Observations The relations of power at Harding Special School have both positive and negative implications to the project. Several students suggested that coming to Harding was a very .permaculture to be considered fairly in comparison with other entrants. These guests have brought finances and research results to the area. Despite this setback. At this point. there is limited violence and frustrated students know that there are people to talk to about their problems. The children are now learning how to use computers and the internet as one of the practical skills promoted at the school and this has had a significant impact on their perceptions and understandingof their country and the world. there is interest from other schools alI over South Africa in what Harding Special School has done and this has resulted in the school being contacted with requests for workshops.who initially responded with violence and disrespect to the school. Through this medium the search for information and its sharing is expedited. from South Africa and elsewhere. information is given and some of the schools have been visited by the project's leader. There is also a hope that it will bring more expertise to the school in the form of specialized therapists. Obviously. There has been real progress with the students . The school also receives visitors from various universities and organisations. The school has also recently linked to the intemet and has a web page. Although the funding and time is not available to deal with each of the requests. the children. prestige to the school and received knowledge and new experiences from the schook members and activities.
so it must be acknowledged that their feedback may be cautious in this area. There was an obvious division between black and white teachers during the study period. despite some problems with teaching methods employed by some. Although some of the teachers are wing to change this dynamic of fear. although the problems are generally resolved without too much trouble. A method of follow-up on how the resources distributed for personal use should be devised. it is important to note that these comments. it is difficult to overcome and is sometimes reinforced by other teachers. the School's Council is responsible for decision-making for the school. In some cases. Such a support mechanism wouM likely improve the success of the home projects and their creativity as well as provide inspiration and feedback to the school. It would be useful to have more staff on the committee or increase the . violence was suspected. These community members are not generally representative of the school's population. would be colored by what they have been taught in school. The separation of the decision- making body and the school itself has resulted in some tension. There is only one teacher on the Council. Aside from students and teachers. challenging or criticising a teacher is generally not accepted in the culture that most of the students grew up in. However.For example.Additionally. or laxness in h e teachers in the supervision was apparent There was also a problem with the level of involvement of t projects regarding their personal gain but lack of interest in developing the school. An increase in the encouragement of student participation and feedback would be useful in eliciting more active participation and feelings of pride and responsibility. there did seem to be general goodwill between all the teachers. along with the principal and various interested community members. language guidelines were not followed. although freely offered by students. although sitting in the same room during breaks. although it did seem that the school's best interests were represented in most cases. However.positive experience and that the permaculture project contributed substantially to this experience. black teachers and white teachers had separate conversations and sat separated rather than in an integrated manner.
there should be a stronger effort at including all of the school's community members in the activities and soliciting feedback in order to maxirnise the potential for the . There appeared to be some resentment of the NGO taking credit for Harding Special School's success but not having visited or encouraged the schooi outside of the competition award. as could pest management (upon occasion they do resort to using inorganic herbicides and pesticides).The recent events of exclusion from Eduplant and the perceived lack of effort by TFA to find alternatives for the school have suggested to Harding's participants that other organisations must be sought out for funding and access to knowledge.committee's involvement in school activities. The integration of permaculture at Harding Special School has had a lot of success. One of the full-time garden staff suggested some sort of irrigation for the main garden and this would definitely be an improvement Finally. these tensions are generally resolved quickly. the regeneration of the environment and the improvement of the children's' lives. could be improved with increased training and active participation of these other staff members. However. it is still only a partial integration and there is much left to do. especially in the area of implementation and potential funding sources. the intercropping of the main garden and the use of space could be vastly improved. The organizational relations with Trees for Africa that had been established through the Eduplant competition were being debated at the time of study. reed bed sewage treatment or alternative structure building would be very useful. The project and school. but again. AS for the gardens themselves. The non-teaching staff have expressed some dissatisfaction with the way the school is run and what is expected of them. most especially in saving the school money. Networking with other schools andlor permaculture institutions in South Africa and abroad would help greatly in gaining access to information and skills. Several of the participants remarked on the difference for the children. Projects such as a biogas generator. There has been a 45% decrease in minor illnesses since using produce from the garden and several of the children have shown improved dexterity and fitness from increased physical activity. including children themselves.
The limitations of the site and the supposed limits of the participants have filled this permaculture effort with challenges. This is especially pertinent since the teacher now running the programme desires to retire in a few years. The assumptions regarding roles. . it also makes its success that much more encouraging. Conclusion The cases detailed in this chapter are both situated in rum1 KwaZulu Natal. such as organisations or communities.project. However. Despite the various differences between the cases. Both cases show evidence of needing to address the power relations of the projects at local and regional Ieveis. however. the conflict between race. The change in students' attitudes toward the project and toward others suggests the positive role integrated development strategies such as permaculture can have in difficult circumstances. at Harding at the staff and regional level these dynamics are apparent but for students this is not as much of a concern as are issues of social identity based on ability and age. there are similarities in some of the observed dynamics and potential improvements. On the other hand. This improvement of networking could also lead to a stronger concentration in improvementof techniques. The isolation of rural projects makes this linking crucial to ensure access to resources (such as funding and knowledge). and gender are very clear and the relations of power here are especially problematic. rather than effort expended to find alternatives that have aiready been explored. In the case of the Viljeon farm. there are obvious differences in their circumstances since the first focussed on a project yet to be implemented on a privately owned farm. while the other describes a primary school for special needs children that has been implementing permaculture for almost five years. and as yet there is no one to continue the programme. class. responsibilities and social identities need to be confronted and questioned for the further progression of the projects and their participants. In both cases there was a need to link to other sources of knowledge.
This assumed connection may be related to perceptions of the role of agn'culture and subsistence promotion. The rural. This ingenuity should be encouraged and improving the levels of participation and communication in the projects would further this objective. in both of the cases environmental education seemed necessary. this education would also need to be integrated into the projects using participatory methods and emphasizing feed-back from participants and relate to the various actors within the projects. permaculture .It thus becomes imperative to investigate alternatives for dealing with the reality of urban poverty in the sprawling black townships. et cetera that might not be apparent elsewhere. areas are perhaps a more obvious choice for pursuing the application of permaculture. However. Additionally.Thus. This seems especially pertinent in South Africa given the pressure for small-scale farming initiatives and the extraordinarily high levels of rural poverty. through the recycling of various objects as planters and games or through using cuttings of plants rather than purchasing seed. it is unlikely that the rate of urbanization will slow significantly. it is important that environmental education initiatives deal with appropriate issues. Finally.Creativity in finding solutions and accessing resources was evident in both cases discussed. . Part of the reason for this may be Ule connection between these practices and the apparent wealth of white farmers. Of course.even in limited form .offers more than just a means of subsistence and efforts along these lines should not be disregarded as unambitious or unimportant. Since in a rural context many people have been exposed to commercial farming techniques. soils. as opposed to urban. The established base of knowledge regarding farming methods in rural communities also seems at first glance to support this assertion. there is sometimes a resistance to organic and small-scale methods. there is also knowledge of various plants. with a broader look at urban and rural relations it becomes apparent that even with successful rural devekpment schemes.For example. However.
its practice could be construed as a form of employment This is especially valid when it is considered that the dominant participants in these projects are unemployed or elderly women. However. efforts. and in particular urban agriculture. and avoid the possible negative influences. The lack of land tenure for most poor households causes problems in fighting this destruction. improved levels of available food. Surging urbanizationand inflationary food prices resulted in even poorer conditions for disadvantaged black communities. The use of permaculture is being employed in urban circumstances in efforts to deal with various issues. and stronger community ties must be considered in light of potential negative impacts such as health hazards and noxious pollution. however in some cases areas of informal cultivation have been destroyed by municipal authorities either in pursuit of further housing development or simply due to resistance of the practice (see De Necker and Uys. has been growing. 1993). 1989). are seen as contradictory and only those 'who are on land not suitable for housing stand a chance of being left alone' (May and Rogerson. The potential benefits of increased incomes. especially housing.CHAPTER FIVE: URBAN CASES Introduction The tradition of urban agriculture in South Afn'ca is short compared to those of other countries in the region. since the late 1980s interest in food issues. The official stance on urban agriculture is generally ambivalent. 1995). The goals of cultivation and development. 1995: 170). In previous years it has been argued that the impact of household food growing in urban areas was economically negligible (Eberhard. 1993: 3 possible to achieve the benefits of urban agriculture. Through a more integrated approach it might be livestock is practiced (Moasha as in Rogerson. As urban agriculture provides food for home consumption and allows increased income. especially when raising 7 ) . A rise in observed cases of urban agriculture has occurred and it is increasingly argued that the potential offered by urban agriculture practices could be of substantial importance for South Africa (see Rogerson. .
and the preliminary obsemtions made. b use may provide a means to achieve increased levels and typesof benefits.including those addressed by urban agriculture. As permaculture suggests a more systemic appmach to designing projects. While the pmject in Alexandra has been ongoing far the last two years. a township outside Johannesburg. a township outside of Cape Town. it is possible to begin building an understanding of the potential of permaculture in a South Afn'can urban context . Through the detailed look at each of these cases. The second project is a primary school that was started by a community in Philippi. Two cases of urban permaculture application are investigated in this chapter (see Figure 8). The first is a project in Alexandra. of which has evolved at a youth centre to create alternatives to crime for young offenders. the application of penacultue has just been initiated at the primary schooi.
and electricity since the 1986 protests. The project initially was established on the grounds of the Youth Center (see Figure 9) but has expanded to include the grounds of a near-by old age home. and crime. The area is divided into east and west banks split by the Jukskei River. There are approximately 160 accommodation units. waterborne sewerage. . The bucket system of sewerage continues to be practiced and piles of trash (some several meters high) continue to line the streets where cows graze and children playUnemployment. per hectare (IDRC. these improvements have not affected the majority of residents. one of the most contaminated river in the country. this project was specifically aimed at giving young offenders an opportunity to learn a new skill and provide income as a way of preventing their return to criminal activities. 1995: 83). Housing and services are limited. Both sites of this project concentrate on the production of food.Those areas that were improved have degenerated again since local authorities have been unable to maintain the new services. while at the old age home most of the produce is used to provide food for the elderly staying. is rampant throughout the settlement- Tusong Youth Center initiated a permaculture project in the township of Alexandra in 1997. The produce is either sold or brought home by the Youth Center participants. most informal housing. The Youth Center is involved in many different projects and programmes including everything from typing to gymnastics.CASE 3: Tusona Youth Center Alexandra. However. Although the government has upgraded parts of the settlement w i t h tarred roads.The conditions within the township are varied. but in general are quite poor. if available at all. GA - Description Alexandra is approximately 12 km north east of central Johannesburg.
The garden consists primarily of spinach, onion, cabbage, and rape. There are no h i t bees or
Firrure 9 : Tuson~; - Youtb Centre
There is some concern about crops being
stolen and the area at Tusong is fenced and locked. The garden at
the old age home is
open to members of
the home, although the home itself is gated and has restricted access. The gardens were set up using a
trench bed method in an effort to improve sail andions and consenre water. Water for the gardens i s
obtained from the water taps at the Youth Center and the old age home. The gardens are completely organic using intercropping to prevent pests. Mulch, consisting of gass gathered frwn the side of the
highway, is used to conserve water and improve the soil-
Trees for Africa was approached to provide funding for the project and has been responsible for
paying the participants, providing seedlings and seed,training and follow-up visits and advice. TFA agreed
in the hopes that t h e Tusong project would prove successful, improving the community and F A ' S reputation. The project was started with six members, not all of whom remain part of the project At the
time of study there were formally 12 participants (although fawer were active), two of which were considered
s u p e ~ s o n . All of the participants were initially male and young offenders. Recently two elderly women
have become part of the group. Their membership is meant to promote a sense of amilly and rasponsibilii.
These women are not formal supervisors but provide a sense of stability and commitment to the project that was previously felt to be lacking. The director of the Youth Center selects all of the participants, a h u g h
suggestions fiom the current members are considered. TFA does retain the ability to fire the participants since the organisation is paying the wages.
The decisions regarding the garden are made on two generally separate levels. The first level consists of a committee formed by the participants and the director of the center. The second level involves the TFA fieldworker and Executive Director. It was unclear from the interviews and the time spent at the gardens which decisions were to be made by the two decision-making levels- However, it was clear that there was confusion and tension regarding this issue- Participants felt that the decisions should be left to them, if the project was supposed to be theirs, but felt that TFA should continue to financially support the project. TFA hoped that the project would be able to run itself by now but maintained control over decisionmaking on several levels. Since TFA is going through a period of restructuring and restaffing this
relationship may again alter once the new structure is put in place.
During the study period TFA announced that it would be unable to continue the financial support of the project, which furthered tension between the two groups. Participants who felt they had not been given alternatives or proper notice regarding the decision felt resentment and asserted that it was the responsibility of TFA to find additional funding for the project to continue. TFA, on the other hand, argued
that at this point the project should be self-sufficient and that if it is to continue running it is up to the current
participants. The organisation has suggested that it will continue to look for funding to continue the project, causing further confusion over the future of Tusong's gardens. The payment of participants as employees
likely compounded this issue as some participants felt this was more of a job than a project they controlled,
and thus expressed dismay at being 'laid off all of a sudden'. It remains unclear whether the project will
continue at this point since participants suggested that they might not stay if they are not paid, despite the benefits of available food. A few participants suggested that some of the members might return to crime since it would be much more lucrative. The benefit of receiving food and some income from selling the produce was not enough to inspire their continued participation. The miscommunication regarding this situation has resulted in misgivings on both sides.
There did not seem to be a large amount of participation of the surrounding community, although there did seem to be some interest in the project Two community radio stations did interviews regarding the garden and the research being done, airing the programmes in the Johannesburg area, and newspaper articles have previously been written on Tusong's programmes including the garden. At the Youth Center,
the participants' peers discuss the progress and usefulness of the project The eiderly at the old age home
have increased contact with youth, save money through the food production, and some have occasionalfy helped the youth do the gardening, In the wider community some elderly women of the community have expressed interest in becoming involved in this project, or one like it For this particular project, there is the benefit of reducing criminal behaviour through removing these young offenders from those activities, Additionally, the community does purchase some of the food produced in the garden, although much of it goes back to the families of the participants. Of course, these families benefit from increased access to healthy food and although this aspect of the project does not necessarily lead to increased income at least there is an improved quality and quantity of available food. Again, the impact and influence of the
h e projects' success. With the future of the project surrounding community, although limited, is important to t
in question, the support and role of the sumunding community may become increasingly important-
There are also national and international variables that influence the garden and its participants, and they in turn influence (if only in a small way) the dynamics of these forces. The conditions of the township of Alexandra are continually altering with large-scale urbanization, govemment housing schemes, service provision (or lack thereof), and the pollution of the air and water by local sources (such as cooking stoves) and industry. The functioning of Tusong Youth Center is regulated by govemment policy, which is further complicated by the involvement of TFA. TFA's financial sources are both national and international bringing the biases and restrictions of funders into the equation of Tusong's project. Several foreign visitors, funders and otherwise, have wandered through the gardens due to connections with TFA, or through the coordinator's promotions of the center. These visits have perhaps changed foreign perceptions, as well as the beliefs of participants through mutual learning. The techniques used in the gardens are a combination of
or even alternative economic systems . which could be supplemented by hit trees or even a more varied crop of vegetables. the beds are well laid out to deal with local climate conditions. alternative structures. This might include water harvesting. there are several areas in which things could. There is no use of vertical space despite the fact that fencing and walls surround the garden. there is little evidence of pests. Or even better. or even recycling craft projects. The project might become more useful by including elements such as medicinal plants. The project is also limited since the planning and design of the gardens was done by a TFA fieldworker rather than by the participants. Although it might be argued that this was done because of the limited training of the participants. There is a good use of space in these gardens. some of the permaculture methods are used very well. Observations With respect to Tusong's gardens. it is limited to a horizontal (through beds layout) and b'me level (through succession). . and should.such as exchange of inputs from the community for produce.Far example.knowledge from several national and international sources gathered by TFA and combined with local knowledge systems suited to local conditions. issues such as crop preference and potential problems (such as theft or water sources) could have been dealt with productivelywith a more participatory and integrated programme. perhaps by linking with local nyangas (traditional healers). and the intercropping of the vegetables. the integration of animals such as chickens. However. The gardens themselves remain isolated from any other endeavor suggested by permaculture principles that could easily deal with some of the restrictions of the garden. time could have been committed to providing training before the set-up to ensure fuller participation by participants. the neglect of other possibilities has restrictedthis attempt to build knowledge. Although the participants have learnt some of the skills for food gardening. be improved for the benefit of the project and its participants. however. These gardens focus primarily on production of four vegetables.
young offenders. the participants' assertion that they desire control of decisions did not translate into independent actions . training should have been given to those participants willing to take the responsibility of finding money to continue the project Of course. It was suggested at one point by a TFA employee that perhaps the Tusong group should never had been paid at all. a change in relations will need to be facilitated by capacity building and a change of the mindsets of both TFA and the youth. assuming the project continues. firing practices. and input availability. This would have ensured that those participating in the project were committed to its continuation and creatively searching for new ways of improving the project rather than simply considering themselves employed. this training could still occur although the benefits would definitely have a time lag. the fact that TFA would be withdrawing their funding at a certain point should have been made clear from the beginning to participants. In the future.There also needs to be clarification of roles for the different decision-makers so that tensions can be avoided as much as possible and feedback for improvement is freely given and acted upon. would have been reached without the incentive of a paid job. it is debatable whether the target group of participants. Although this could have been one way to ensure that the group was committed to the project.The mismatch of rhetoric and action in both groups has caused confusion and resentment Much of this tension could have been avoided with a clearer plan and stronger communication between involved parties- The goals and expectations of both parties should have been clarified and revisited periodically to ensure understanding.whether on a level of finding alternative sources of seeds or on a higher level of finding akernative financing. including the types of crops raised. . clarification of actors' roles and responsibilities is necessary. TFA has retained control over the higher levels of decision-making such as finances.The relations of power evident in Tusongts permaculture garden deal primarily with dynamics with TFA. However. Despite the supposed goal of establishing a self-sufficient garden. If this project is to progress through participants' control of decisions. Given that funding was to be withdrawn. For example.
requiring large amounts of organic material for cultivation. Despite being far from jobs and services. or at least be substantially revised.Innovation and creativity will need to be encouraged rather than controlled and skills such as fundmising. seed-saving. Although the settlement is slightly outside of the area. it should be considered that perhaps the project should not continue. The townships comprise part of the Cape Flats region. The initial settlement was built on the water table. 'a flattened coastal sand dune area with hardly any vegetation that receive the full ) . There are problems with water. it is generally considered part of Nyanga township. since the urbanization influx a concern has arisen regarding the contamination of the water table.2 and high pH values. The townships of the Cape Flats were established during apartheid. WC - Description BongoIethu Community School is a primary school located in Philippi. et cetera must be obtained. building.Additionally. The climate is considered Mediterranean. However. administration.Whether this should be TFA's responsibility or the participants' is debatable. having wet winters and dry summers. and of the Cape Metropolitan area. CASE 4: Bon~olethu Community School Philippi. The question of whether there is a strong enough commitment to the project must be asked of participants and the involved organisation. surely the usefulness of a project must be questioned. the townships have rapidly increased in population since the end of apartheid. air and . due primarily to lack of sewerage and garbage removal services. consisting of the majority of poor people in the CMA. and revised (or ended) to reflect a more appropriate use of time and energy. If the conviction to the project of participants is lacking. which was not considered to be a probIem at the time since the sefflement was meant to stay small and be fully serviced. The soil is also very poor with low nutritional content force of southeast gales' (Fermont et al. a high-density informal settlement outside of Cape Town. 1998:l .
President Mandeia visited Bongolethu in recognition of their efforts and government funding has been supplied. such as a current programme teaching woodworking. School Environmental Education and Development (SEED). When in 1998 the school approached Novalis for aid in beginning a food garden. Bongolethu Community School was established in a time when no school was available for the children of the area to attend. In fact. Although the school is still lacking in resources. Since then. Abalimi Bezekhaya. they were committed to the establishment of the schooL There are approximately 1000 students at this point in time. a national alternative teaching support organisation based in Cape Town. however. Although no formal structure or plan was formed. Novalis has provided various training programmes for the teachers and different programmes for the children. Initially the programme was to include two . Novalis agreed and solicited the help of a local NGO. for the past 8 years. SEED had recently approached Abalimi looking for a school willing to participate in such a project and it was felt that the match worked. was suggested as implementen of the programme. Bongolethu was suggested as a pilot site for the development of a method of integrating pennaculture into the proposed Cuniculurn 2005. including subsidies from the government feeding scheme. there is rampant poverty.Many teachers were not paid and had no training when they started. the school was approached and all of the parties agreed to begin the project together in August 1998. Abalimi Bezekhaya agreed to participate in the process and a foreign team of environmental educators and pemaculturalists. Bongolethu has had support from the Novalis Institute. to supplement or replace the government feeding scheme.noise pollution throughout the townships. In Philippi itself the unemployment rate is very high and despite many peoples' involvement with informal activities. Housing consists predominantly of impermanent shacks with limited or no service provision and no recreationalfacilities. the school's site has been moved four times but remains an important part of the community. the teachers and surrounding community are very proud of its progress.
and final ImEimgra*PYrt( stage for the year. During the first months SEED spent three days of the week during a set period visiting and working w i t h the school. students and the SEED team. This education consisted of games. As only one member of the SEED team spoke any Xhosa (the consultant . a permacuhralist from New Zealand and consultant from Soweto. Once the grounds' design had been agreed on the third phase began. The first phase was to deal primafily with environmental education. At this time the SEED team altered some of its staff. and interadhe teaching. and various seating arrangements (see Figure 10). This process involved the teachers.schools.who was Zulu) it was necessary to have one team with a teacher from the school translating to the children. a recycling center. The third. games and map making. the two environmental educators left and a local horticulturistand a project assistant fhm Khayeliiha . a hardened surface for field sports. At the beginning the team consisted of two environmental educators from New Zealand. a concession area fir the ladies that sell produce at the school br snacks. model building. The SEED team decided that t h e optimal schedule was a breakdown of the programme into three phases. a playground. was the implementation of the design. During this time two SEED members teaching environmental education to the students visited each class on average once a week. but the second school was dropped fmm the programme due to lack of time on the part of the SEED team. The decided upon design included ornamental. The second phase of the pmject was to design the school grounds. indigenow and food gardens. Arriving at the redesign of the grounds involved interactive teaching methods such as surveying. outside activities.
Fist. see the progress of the project. some frustration existed regarding several issues. An open day was held for the community and funders to visit the school. and translation was not always organized. assumptions were made by the team that the school would take responsibility for activities that SEED could not organise. However. although this will not occur until April or so and will likely continue without the participation of the SEED team. represented the school during decision-making processes with SEED about the grounds and any fundamental changes in the programme. but the school was expected to organise and fund the event.The SEED team also began to come every day since it was recognised that time was short. The School Development Committee (SDC). Students also expressed disappointment at not always sharing in the benefits of the work being done (such as photos and videos) and were upset that the project remained unfinished at the end of the timeline. and many of the decisions were made without consultation of the school. SEED maintained control over the resources for the project at all times. The implementation of the design started with laying out the planned tire beds and filling them as if in a trench bed method. it has been proposed that this project receive further assistance next year. In some cases.This caused tension and confusion between the school and SEED. A few of the children also felt they had not gained a full experience of . or be understood. the language barrier was a problem since many students could not understand the SEED team. However.For example. comprised of teachers and the principal. especially the activities outside of the classroom.joined the team. Since the project remains largely incomplete. which it was expressed was common throughout the process. The students at Bongolethu were very enthusiastic about the entire project. a cultural element to the work was also introduced in the form of music and dancing. and watch presentations and dances. a decision to have an open day at the end of the project was made by SEED and announced at a SDC meeting. several beds (outlined in tires) to be planted at a later time. At the end of December 1998 this phase ended having established an indigenous garden. and a cultural club.During this phase. This was an attempt to link some of the educational concepts to the culture of the region.
Since the school has only recently begun their programme in permaculture integration. The remaining teachers at the school had limited. All were frustrated that the programme was not complete at the time it ended. There are also plans to train some of the local people in the techniques being used at the school. To the school's credit. A community meeting was held at the beginning of the project to gain the acceptance of the area and parents volunteered to help with the programme if need be. if any. For example. The most important limitation in the minds of the teachers was the insufficient time and planning. leaving the exercise incomplete for both groups- There were four teachers that were very involved with the programme. involvement in the project. Whether this lack of participation was due to simple disinterest or some other factor remained unclear. despite the fact that they believed the timeline was unrealistic from the beginning. one might plant trees and have to return to class before the watering and mulching was done. However.what was being done since different classes were responsible for different tasks. Since the school is firmly rooted in the community. although each also had reservations. Each teacher and the principal expressed regret and concern that things had been so rushed and felt that they had been unable to foster the relationships and gain the knowledge necessary to continue the project at the school. One of these teachers had gone through a week of training in permaculture and was persistent in advancing his thoughts. In the latter stages . there are plans to include the community in the recycling center and crafts once the programme is completed. it is unrealistic to expect the extension of this project to the community as of yet. it was made clear that the involvementof parents and surrounding families was key to the programme. although they were encouraged to participate. such as incorporating alternative sanitation facilities (since the school has insufficient pit toilets) or water harvesting. there were attempts made to include the community in the planning process of the project. which contributed greatly to the planning and understanding of the project He expressed regret that the project had not gone further in the design of the grounds. and each were enthusiastic about it.
even if they found the project encouraging. It was also expressed that although meant as a test school. especialIy in such a short period of time. since it was involved in the entire programmeon the ground and it was being run by and consisted largely of foreigners. The community was also invited to participate and attend the open day at the end of the semester. Novalis and Abalimi Bezekhaya. such as reduced racism and availability of skills. that some of the students might not have linked the activities to the learning done in the first phase. At the end of the programme however. language and goals all contributed to the difficulty of creating a successful. the differences in culture. appropriate planning and communication within the team itself also caused problems for the programme. on the whole the programme itself (if not the actors) was decided to be useful. or spread expertise. The SEED team might be considered both a local level and an international influence on the project. It was also observed that in the implementation stage that the understanding of the process and activities may not have been as reinforced as it should have been. Novalis felt that teachers had not been properly trained and involved in the process and would be unable to continue to educate the children. although the leader of the team contradicted this statement by saying that things had progressed surprisingly quickly. Abalimi felt . Both organisations. without the SEED team. The SEED team all agreed that time was a major limiting factor on the effectiveness and usefulness of the project. sustainable project at Bongolethu. both organisations were somewhat dissatisfied with the results. Several of the team members suggested that the lack of coordination. Bongolethu might not be replicable since the project required very high funding input and it was unlikely that other schools would be able to gain such funding or afford it themselves.of ?he third phase parents were brought in to help with various tasks. Although there was tension at Abalirni with workers who were already working on this type of programme and felt excluded by the SEED team. Although there were benefits to foreigners being involved. were quite enthusiastic in the beginning of the project.
The effects of government policy on the schoot's a c t v it e is are predominantfy focussed on educational policy. other grants had to be reassessed since they were overabundant. . are housing and service provision policy as well as land h e settlement is informal. the restrictions set by each of these funders had a large impact on how the money was spent and when and how the project might continue. It is also a participant in the government subsidized feeding scheme. The school has been allotted extra funding since it was sponsored by the government. Obviously. and been able to provide more permanentstructures for the school. any change in distribution platforms. and thus to the school and its participants. but the majority came from international sources such as the British and New Zealand High Commissions. such as the Green Trust and Old Mutual. the high input of finances makes the funders of this programme imperative. Finally. has tapped into the city water supply. such as the open day. Since t policy in these areas would have quite a strong impact on the residents of the community.that the curriculum and implementation documentation should have been more complete by Ute end of December. although there is hope that this will end with the development of the food gardens. and that the project shouid have been more appropriately scheduled. it was doubtful that certain inputs would be available or that important parts of the programme. The government has committed to providing some housing and services to other areas such as parts of Khayelitsha but the future for Phillipi's status is questionable. could be funded since they had not been proposed in the initial grant applications.In contrast. In other cases. Part of the funding came from national sources. This reflects the limited planning and structuring that took place during the formation of the programme. as well as the idiosyncrasies of funders. and technically illegal at this point. At several points in the programme it was debatable whether some members of the SEED team could be retained as paid employees or not. For funders. assuming the projects they sponsor are successful at some level. Other policies especially relevant to the community around the school. projects like this bring prestige and information.
The dynamics of the SEED team were very fluid. which definitely had an effect on some of the relations during the project. For any other projects this could be instilled from the beginning with clearer structures and mechanisms for communication and conflict resolution options. especial in beginning phases. influences and goals. The fact that some of the teachers have not been formally trained also causes some confusion about appropriate behavior in the class. There was quite a bit of confusion and tension about the various roles and responsibilitiesof the various actors since nothing had ever been formally structured or assigned but rather done as the need arose. The leader of SEED was a white. although at all times the leader of the project retained ultimate power over decisions. although on the whole they seemed to work together for the good of the school and children. Within the SDC women were quiet until asked their opinion or they felt very strongly that something needed to be said. but did involve informal meetings with the SEED leader. The most involved teachers were all men. During the implementation phase of the project there were some problems with control of classes. In the case of students. Better communication including increased feedback mechanisms and a clearer picture of the project is necessary. The involvement of Abalimi and Novalis with the project was not on the ground. There is division based on gender and on the training amongst teachers.The reiations of power at Bongolethu are probably the most complex of all the cases due to the multiple actors. However.although the SEED team did say this was not necessary. while the men were freer with their opinions. some of the teachers at Bongolethu were very persistent in reinforcing their power over the children. . the involvement of Novalis has mediated the fear of speaking-up mentioned in the Harding Special School case. senior class teachers and their involvement seemed to involve some prestige. and some classes were cancelled so involved teachers could continue supenrising the activity . foreign female. One teacher was even known to resort to violence on several occasions.
These teachers could also then visit other schools or organisations with their newly learned skills. It is integral that teachers feel a part of the process of learning and gain skills from co-teaching. The training of teachers might have been supplemented by increased participation of parents and the larger community.Dec). Realistic goals shouid be set. skill. resources. Structuring the roles of each of the actors i s imperative to being successful and avoiding tension and confusion /ater in the programme. the teachers should have been present and trained at the same time as the students were learning.The limitation of time. et cetera that are more realistic and representatbe of the target schools. however. Most of the schools in South Africa are not wealthy with highly trained and committed staff and access to external training and resources and this must be taken into account in a pilot programme. Especially in a case such as Bongolethu. organising and planning has been mentioned throughout the previous paragraphs but bares repeating. with experienced environmental educators. it seems obvious that great care should be taken in preparation of the programme. Since a major point of the programme was to improve the capacity of the school. The planning of the project should coincide logically with the amount of trrne that the project will last and the commitment of the staff and children to keep it going. In a programme with such a short time line (Aug . Several of the delays experienced throughout the SEEDlBongolethu project could have been avoided. where many of the teachers have no formal training this is a key advantage to having a project like this running at the school. It is necessary to apply a method involving time. in-class and outside. and although it is unlikely all of the goals that had been set could have been achieved in the specified time period it is clear the project could have been farther along than it was. scheduled and revised with the full participation of the involved parties. The surrounding community is relatively active and possesses usehl skills. If this project is to be replicated elsewhere it is illogical to think that a team of external people will be able to visit every school interested in the process and be able to help them gain the same results. It is possible to run a successful permaculture project at a school. this suppolt could have . finances. five months is not enough time to run a pilot project. It was very supportive both at the beginning of the pmject and at the open day in December.
In relation to the two urban perrnaculture applications discussed in this chapter. However.There is also a common need for improved capacity-building through training in technical and theoretical areas. It is clear from this research. Both cases suggest that networking between projects. In order to gain as much as is possible from whatever space is available. it is necessary to combine elements strategically. the success could have been more easiiy reached with fewer complications and a more useful process for replication purposes. as well as developing other skills and positive relations. However. The close quarten of most urban dwellings emphasizes the need to have efficient and interconnected systems of perrnaculture. and government would be a productive pursuit in building knowledge and improving the projects' success. Disadvantaged communities have initiated the use of permaculture in attempts to deal with this multidimensional issue. training and support must be made available to encourage Me development of these projects. and from that in urban agriculture. there are identifiable similarities in the challenges that are faced. . For example. the destructive relations of power both within and influential in these projects must be addressed. that the role of women and children in alternative development projects such as these is vital. Much of the knowledge about technical matters has disappeared with the second (and beyond) generation rf urbanites. in large part due to the commitment of a few of the teachers and the principal to the students and the school. This means Mat a specific type of environmental education must be evolved to deal with issues such as a connection to nature or learning to plant trees. Conclusion The increasing population of poor within urban townships poses a strong challenge to the government and society of South Africa.been encouraged for the improved success of the project The Bongolethu project will likely be quite successful. NGOs. These relationships should be further examined to determine various means of encouraging and improving their involvement.
It is clear that numerous policies and perceptions were relevant to this study. the alleviation of poverty in urban areas. one national and the other regional. a youth center initiative and a community school. not only at the application level. Two mraI case studies.These brief outfines have also included preliminary observations and suggestions for improvement for each of the specific circumstances faced by the projects. might be lost in concern for urban expansion and rural agriculture. During study of these projects the role of youth and schools in using permaculture has been particularly enlightening. were included as slightly less detailed case studiesBoth of these organisations are involved in the promotion of permaculture in South Africa through various campaigns and projects. The cases were chosen to provide a relatively balanced perspective of the use of permaculture in disadvantaged communities in South Africa. This should include efforts to productively link rural and urban projects and participants.Pursuing means of linking urban and rural issues seems a valid means of avoiding this pitfall. and influences of participants and projects have been discussed in reference to each of the four case studies. . especially those involving cultivation. two non-governmental organisations. Permaculture and political ecology analysis promote a change in thinking. beginning at the local level and progressing to national and sometimes international forums. various roles. a privately owned farm and a special needs school.These descriptions have been loosely arranged according to the levels of analysis specified in poM-cal ecology. The comparison of these cases and their implications provides the subject matter of the following chapter. were studied as cases. and two urban projects. The primary interests. Avoiding this situation is paramount to the success of these projects and thus. but at 'higher' levels of relations toward a more integrative approach to problems. To supplement the understanding gained at these sites. The study of these institutions has provided a more nuanced understanding of the situation facing South Africans and NGOs involved in alternative development.It is possible that urban alternative development projects.
and political ecology theory did provide a means of pursuing this objective. It was clear that in South Africa the situation faced by communities could not simply be discussed as a failure of policy. provided by environmental justice activists and including social and political relations along with ecological concerns. a more developed study would have had increasing difficulty relying on the levels of analysis and chain of explanation offered by political ecologists due to their vague character and resulting ability to account for any change. knowledge systems. which restricted the evolution of a detailed chain of explanation. This allowed for a more realistic interpretation of the dynamics of disadvantaged South African communities' livelihood struggles. This was especially problematic in attempts to investigate indirect links between global. and social identity that developed in South Africa. The lack of elaborated and consistent relations between the levels of analysis leaves many of the potential links between levels purely conjectural. national and local actors and influences. This theory centers on investigating the shifting relations between society and ecology through various levels of analysis. clarification and elaboration of these elements of the theory is crucial. The different levels of analysis and emphasis on local community livelihood struggles in political ecology were particularty useful for this effort in exploring permaculture application in disadvantaged communities. This research was limited to an initial exploration of permaculture in South Africa based on local and national level obsetvations. has been employed in this analysis. it was necessary to investigatethe established relations o f power and their continued influence.CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUSION Introduction Political ecology has provided a basic theoretical framework for this research. The legacy of apartheid made it particubdy important to gain some understanding of the history. In light of the change to democratic rule. there were several limitations to political ecology's usefulness in explanation. However. . In order to facilitate stronger analysis of case study data. However. A broad definition of the environment.
The urban focus of environmentaljustice literature was useful in attempting to balance rural and urban issues. the inter-play between the two forces remains largely unexplored in the literature and there is no overall integrated approach of study to address either context This made analyzing the influence of rapid urbanization in South Africa difficult. rather than a complex hybrid of these two extremes is unrealistic and could strongly bias research. As the differences within communities and their various perspectives were quite clear in this research. For example. and the romaticization of these communities also caused problems in this analysis. A revision of this typology should be undertaken to ensure that 'dialectics' are actually investigated rather than more dichotomies being formed. generally dichotomized so that balance and relations are sometimes lost.The bias of political ecology toward investigating rural communities. but it is a fundamental flaw in political ecology and environmental justice literature that needs to be addressed for future analytical efforts- Another limitation that caused conflicts in this research and analysis is the fact that although holistic and dialectic analysis is advocated. as well as limited possible exploration of rml-urban ties between people and ecological processes. assuming that nature (or society) must be wholly co-operative or conflictual. it is important to move as far as possible in this direction so clarifying a means of accomplishing this would be quite helpful to the theory. there must be a point where holism is sacrificed for realistic purposes. this was not a large restriction in the research. There are assumptions made in political ecology that communities are largely unified in their resistance and that they are automatically supportive of the goals of political ecologists and environmental justice activistsAlthough the detailed accounts of case studies do not usually fall into this trap. how this is to occur remains vague. . in fact.It is impossible to take into account every aspect that might impact any case or situation. The dialectic relations that appear to provide the focus for political ecology are. However. the more generalized observations and theoretical analyses are frequently guilty of this. In specific relation to holistic analysis. However.
However. In this regard. and whether environmental regeneration was evident Although these are not the only benefits potentially offered by permaculture systems. a radical change is necessary to break the cycle of exploitative relations and environmental degradation. Environmental regeneration is more a goal within permaculture theory. They asked whether f w d security was improved through the projects. Although both of these questions .The final major limitation of political ecology that impacted this study is the lack of an offered altemative. the question becomes whether this theoretical improvement is evident in the application of perrnaculture in disadvantaged communities. Permaculture in South Africa is believed to offer a means of improving immediate material conditions and regenerating the environment through offering more sustainable livelihoods with expanded knowledge bases and equitable relations. although once defined in a broad way it could also be contained within the theoretical literature on access to resources and equitable distribution. The question of how communities defend their environment and livelihood is posed in the literature and it is possible to infer that certain types of integrative and participatory initiatives. The first two questions dealt with the tangible benefits of perrnaculture and issues of access to resources. might be considered acceptable to political ecologists. although the battle has taken place in a much less confrontational way than is usually studied. However. including that perrnaculture. three primary questions were asked. Political ecology emphasizes the struggles for livelihood by disadvantaged people to gain access to resources (including food) and this effort has been demonstrated through perrnaculture projects. the context of South Africa has brought these issues to the fore. Political ecologists argue that because environmental problems are reflective of larger issues in political economy. it would be more useful for a (or some) specific altemative(s) to be constructed. The emphasis on alternative development schemes and social relations within permaculture theory supports this suggestion. A future exploration of permaculture's potential in this regard could prove quite interesting.
Political ecology addresses issues of struggles over knowledge and meaning as well as those over resources such as land and water. The abilities and commitment of participants are fundamental to understanding the levels of participation. Addressing this question required re-examining the biophysical and social relations within the projects. as is their social identity and the relations of power within the projects. The goal of high levels of participation and control by communities is clearly supported by political ecology literature. was the third question asked in this research. Efticacy was primarily investigated on a local level. In a more hands-on fashion permaculture offers means of . Thus. although suggestions for improvement are largely contextual rather than locally applicable. it was useful to ask how to more effectively deal with the challenges and how (if it were indeed possible) to duplicate the successes. the definition of what constitutes participation was defined through the participants themselves as well as through the theoretical literature. participation becomes a major issue in the success of permaculture projects The level of efficacy in the projects was also investigated as it was deemed vital that participants feel part of the process and that they were predominantly in control of the projects. as was participation. and in some cases. the third question was the most fundamentally related to socia[ relations- Whether or not participation and efficacy were clearly demonstrated. Thus. The final aim of research was to discover the challenges and successes of these projects. and addressing the relations between national and local levels. although the interaction with the national or regional levels was a factor in some of the projects. and although it is not explicit in the theory of permaculture it is a logical to infer that full involvement and commitment of all participants would be necessary for a sustained system.dealt with integrated issues of technical and social significance. After finding out what challenges and successes existed. and potentially improved. The theoretical framework of this study offers input on many of the limitations of the projects. means of dealing more productively with these challenges. Environmental justice in particular suggests means of improving relations between local and national levels and the relevance of policy.
Within a national context.'the ability of a country or region to assure. particularly at national and local levels. many questions have been left unanswered. and income are all influential. so that issues of distribution. national (and even international) actors and policies may speak of sustainability in proiects. and two cases of organisations promoting their principles. Without this local level dynamic. but will be unable to achieve it The quest for understanding the dynamics and results of permaculture projects in South Africa has been addressed through the analytic study of four cases of implemented permaculture. participation. According to this definition. although it is a Wor. the definition most frequently used is . challenges. As this research is meant as an initial step toward understanding. on a long term basis. and f u ~ e research r will provide a more nuanced understanding of permaculture and alternative development in South African disadvantaged communities. hopefully interest in these issues will be sparked by this effort. trade policies. Thus. reliable and nutritionally adequate supply of food' (World Bank: 1980 in Van Zyl and Coetzee. Food security has been defined on both a household level and a national level. and most especially about permaculture projects as alternative development schemes. the fact that South Africa is generally . This chapter provides generalized observations about each of the questions under the headings of food security. that its food system provides the total population access to a timely.integrating elements within the projects to deal with various challenges and relies on relations on a local level to spread benefits. Overafl though. However. environmental regeneration. This is done in the hope of beginning debate about the South African context. macro and micro factors affect overall food security.lnfluences on these projects were explored. and proposals. it is the innovation and determination of the participants that must overcome these obstacles and their commitment and expansion of programmes that will allow the spread of knowledge. Food Security The first question asked in this study dealt with the potential changes in participants' food security within the projects. technology. 106).
It is in this atmosphere that projecl of alternative development have sprung up in both rural and urban contexts. in Cape Town an estimated 40 . it could be argued that the households. It is not really the amount of food that is a problem in South Africa. food security signifies access of the household 'at all times to sufficient and nutritionally-adequate food for an active. This definition is more directly applicable to this study.The change in thinking in NGOs and govemment from weifare oriented . Van Zyl and Coetzee's research shows that in Gauteng province food constitutes the highest percentage of household expenditure at approximately 30% a month. December 17. Previous investigations. The various measures recently undertaken by govemment have been largely ineffective. healthy life' (Drescher. Since the late 1980s various NGOs and CBOs have been actively promoting home faad gardens as useful for increasing home consumption and for earning limited levels of income. in informal settlements across the country these figures are even higher. have recommended that people. as far back as the 1930.a net exporter of food is not sufficient in determining whether the country as a whole is food secure since many of its citizens go hungry and ate rnalnourished- In a more local context. 1998). should grow vegetables on their land. while in pen-urban areas around Durban i national atmosphere is primarily responsible for food insufficienciesevident at the household level. However. 1990: 106). Thus.It might be added that the food should be 'culturally acceptable'. such efforts were never really considered econornica!Iy significant until economic circumstances deteriorated and food prices surged. It is suggested that one in five South Afn'can children are malnourished. For example. but the lack of access to food due to factors such as income distributions and food price. Even the government's school feeding scheme has suffered serious setbacks. especklly women. in some cases leading to learning and growth limitations (Khumbane.50% of income is spend on food in poor urban t is about 52%. The situation of food insecurity in South Afiica could be characterized as both short term (in times of drought) and chronic (due to evidence of long-term u n d e r n u o t r in ) (Van Zyl and Ccetzee. 1994).
participants believed that their food security situation had improved substantially. and thus has become a major goal of the projects. the Viljeon farm and 8ongolethu Community School. at the time an extension worker with We Environmental DeveIopment Agency: I got so fed up with giving out food rations that I began distributing the seeds for people to plant food themselves. In the two cases of established permaculture. the emphasis was definitely placed on improving sales of produce for income.strategies to more 'self-help' strategies is clear in this statement made by Tshepo Khumbane. as it is very expensive in shops. at none of the sites were people satisfied with the amount of food being produced. and that it had been improved through the programme of permaculture.in fact. A study done by . People at visited sites agreed Mat food security had been a major motivating factor for projects. In the other two cases. let alone to meet the needs of a family.At that point I began to question how effective casework could be. this is a primary goal for Bongolethu since the feeding scheme does not provide healthy or consistent supplies. however. In some cases the limitation was land access. while in others increased resource input was necessary to improve yields. Many participants were surprised by the effects of organic production and suggested that without involvement in the project they would not have known these benefits. 1992: 12) The projects studied in this research showed evidence that food security has remained a primary concern for the participants. (as in Matlala. Moreover. The improved quality of the food and health benefits were also emphasized.This observation was reiterated by feedback to NGOs regarding various projects with schools. it was generally felt that food security would be improved by the implementation of the projects . as an effort to change even an individual's life. it would not have been possible to consume organic produce without personally growing it. However. This emphasis on food security was also evident in other permaculture sites throughout the country. This was especially relevant in the case of Harding Special School where teachers also stated that there had been improvements in children's concentration and enthusiasm. It seemed that the aim of increasing the productivity within the projects was reflective of a need for more food for consumption. I began looking at alternative ways to address problems around subsistence.
in the short-term any improvement is useful and the potential for long-term benefits through these applications is quite high. Since the primary goal of many of these permaculture projects is increasing access to resources such as food and income . and frequently resort to dire measures to care for their families.The success in gaining increased food security and higher levels of income from sales of produce is encouraging. not all people participate or even know that the programmes exist. However. which indicates the importance of this type of activity in some socio-economic groupings. so dominant conditions of poverty and lack of resources continue for most of the population. A Philippi resident expressed the Fnrstrationwith these circumstances in these words: We earn our tiving through the waste products. We clean old bricks and sell them to get food. Even if the improvement in access to resources is limited. 1998: 9) In the context of these desperate circumstances. Even in townships where programmes are being run.We wait for the 7-1 1 supermarket trucks where we t r y to get some potatoes so that we go to bed with something in our tummies. This obsewation reflects assertions made in political ecology and environmental justice theory.it seems obvious that the two concerns would be interconnected within the minds of the participants. this must be tempered by the fact that neither need is being fully met and households are still food insecure and lacking in sufficient income. Of course. i am not saying these vegetables from the dump are not poisonous but what do you do when you are hungry and there's a bag of potatoes in front of you? (Noli Jastile as in EJNF. Environmental Regeneration - The second component dealing with physical improvement at the permaculture sites was a question of whether regeceration of the environment was apparent Ecological regeneration is a strong .suggests that produce sales accounted for approximately 20% of household income for the poorest groups of the study (May and Rogerson. there is also the fact that these projects do not involve every poor person. efforts to improve food security through alternative development schemes such as permaculture projects should be advanced and expanded.Cross et al. 1995: 169).
in the more established projects or those with quite a bit of previous environmental educationltraining. there was simply an aesthetic concern.component of permaculture systems. much more pressing calls for expenditures simply to permit human survival. afier a time of observation and learning that the fundamental role and relations of the environment become clearer. even when they were not consciously planned as part of the projects. and in South Africa i t is of fundamental concern due to high pollution and degradation levels. the community might not realize the reason for the . hospitals. This might relate to attitudes toward conservation programmes within the counby or simply to an unawareness of the integral impact the environment has on the lives of participants. as is suggested by permaculture. roads and employment creation. In many cases. (Ugbelm and Wilsenach. However. although indigenous plants may have been chosen for environmental reasons by an NGO. It seemed that it was not necessary for every need to be taken care of. For example. There are many. Those priority lists feature instead demands for basic necessities such as schools. In general. The more esoteric nuances of the quality of that survival do not necessarily feature high on the priority lists of many of the county" poor people. 1993: 63) It is also possible that increased interest in the environment is a reflection of a change in thinking toward environment justice or even that. Instead. housing. a minimal level of education and basic subsistence were key for the existence of a more sophisticated environmental understanding and concern. It seemed that unless there was a vivid and clear connection between environmental factors and people's living conditions that the links were largely ignored. especially in the planning stages. This might be considered evidence of the theory that only once basic needs are taken care of do environmental issues become a concern: It can be argued that environmental protection in general is sometimes perceived as a luxury at the present time. a concern with these fadon was evolving. the concem with environmental regeneration was peripheral in the projects studied. except in extreme and obvious circumstances such as drought or flooding. However. or at least for the perception that something could be done about ecological issues to exist* It was also observed that environmental improvements had actually taken place. in the case studies evidence suggested that these two perspectives were actually combined.
It is important that the process does not stop at this level in order for the projects to succeed in promoting alternative development and that systemic thinking be encouraged. the improvement of the environment was not perceived as a benefit and inappropriate action was h e mistaken belief that all insects taken. et cetera in each of the projects. and more numerous places 'sponge effect' with t for small wildlife to live. water harvesting. There was evidence of a general lack of understanding of the concepts and methods of permaculture. regardless of size. integration of animals. This shows evidence of a loss or lack of knowledge in the p addressed in order for permaculture and. interested in permaculture. alternative economic systems. the eradication of beneficial insects occuned due to t o p u a lt o in are bad for crops. better soil stability with increased vegetation. that must be It is possible. environmental regeneration to occur. recycling projects. improved r e e plantings. This would only serve to increase benefits. indigenous wilderness areas. given these observations about food security and environmental regeneration. It is hoped that in the future participants will develop a better understanding of processes through these accidental effects and observations. agroforestry. alternative building and senrice provision. and although this is a step on the road to establishing food security and improved nutrition. It is possible to have successive yields. facilitation and continued support for the communities. or persons. it is inadequate in being referred to as permaculture.selection and by default be using plants more suited to local conditions than they might have otherwise. It is possible that the limited permaculture in several projects is reflective of a need for improved training. In each of these cases. In some cases however. The impression that permaculture is about vegetable gardening and mulch was quite dominant in projects and organisations supposedly using andlor promoting permaculture. and would constitute more of a systemic application. more generally. it was not necessarily that regeneration was intended but that it took place and was observed by participants. For example. . to question whether permaculture is even happening in these projects. Do these projects in fact reffect more of a slightly modified method of organic f w d gardening? Many projects began or remain at the level of food gardening. Other examples include such effects as increased biomass with the use of mulch in gardens.
and indeed most of the sites visited in all of South Africa. it is necessary that any analysis of projects or programmes be accountable to the participants. are in the preliminary stages of applying permaculture. This discussion focuses on the relations of power within the projects and communities. Political ecology discusses the need for participatory projects. The definition of participation used in this paper is quite flexible. and use of community (andlor indigenous) knowledge and resources.Although most of the projects discussed in this paper. this issue is not explored in depth. . relatively equitable distribution of power. debates whether perrnaculture projects in disadvantaged communities in South Africa are promoting participatory techniques and how this is occumng. and made available in the appropriate language. Participation and Efficacy The second question of this study. To encourage this attitude. standardized. According to both environmental justice and political ecology there must be access and control of resources. environmental justice literature suggests that to be considered participatory not only do the projects taking place 'on the ground' have to be equitable and consensual. however. However. there is a willingness and commitment to learning and an openness to different options that is very encouraging. at least partially being defined by their goals and views of success. meant to be as reflective of the participants' views as possible. On the other hand. given the framework of this study certain criteria were used to determine the level of participation. although the regional and national contexts are also of relevance. and its primary focus. a democratic (preferably consensus-based) process. methods and aims. but policy formation at the national level must include any community that would potentially be affected by such a policy. it is impossible to know whether it is advanced or applied without having common guidelines for processes. Although there should be flexibility within perrnaculture. the standards of training and facilitation being provided to communities need to be raised. Additionally. and generally recommends this type of community development.
and from experiential data of the entire field research period. women are not accorded decision-making power or allowed to own land in the traditional systems. This situation has obvious implications for participation in projects involving alternative development schemes. and redundancy have all restrfcted efforts to establish participatory processes and projects through these groups. their ability to meet their obligations was restricted. all of these other relations are fundamental to understanding participatory projects. and young and old have ali had affects on these projects. Although race plays a dominant role in South African politics. it is possible to suggest certain trends regarding these projects. children and teachers/adults. and relations between all of the previously mentioned groups of people also reflect the reality of skewed power relations. From the relations of power obsewations at the case level. this left many women in rural areas without power and thus. Feelings of helplessness. The legacy of apartheid has substantially affected the attitudes of all interested parties and as such has caused problems with instituting participatory projects. . there is evidence that there is a societal attitude that reflects a feeling that the 'jobr of civil society is now complete since apartheid has formaliy ended. abled and disabled.Limitations of existing civil society groups such as resistance to changing power relations. However. women and men.On numerous occasions it has been suggested that establishing participatory projects within South African society should be less onerous due to the history of active black civil society during the later apartheid years. gender stereotypes. Established attitudes of difference between blacks and whites. Since during apartheid men were expected to provide migratory labour. and it is time for government to take over. however. This mentality is likely compounded by 'entitlement' and 'welfare' attitudes left over from apart'leid times. and in some cases unwittingly perpetuated by the current government and NGOs. and decision-making models continue to reflect these biased relations. and governmental policy and traditional beliefs have affected each. For example. this has not been proven valid. they are expected to ensure adequate food.Additionally. corruption. energy and health for the family. despite efforts to improve women's rights within the country. inaccessibility.
'government must fix it' (1990: 42). as well as the reliance of South Africans on govemment intervention. and willing. but it remains 'government's pump'. On both sides of the equation then. to take full control and responsibility for the running of the project Although each level of influence uses participatory rhetoric. but increased control at a . there are problems in restructuring projects so communities are able. Everyone is pleased to have clean water. Auerbach gives another example of a feeling of lack of ownership in South Africa through his description of behaviour in rural communities with boreholes: 'Often. and years of resistance movements arguing for the state to provide restitub-onfor racial policies. and why several participants elsewhere observed that activity halted as soon as participants got jobs. it is rare that the relations of power are reflective of the goals of truly participatory projects and tensions between actors generally result. If it ceases to function. govemment comes and drills the hole and fds the pump without much liaison with the community. especially on a local level where practices of excluding the majority were encouraged by the apartheid govemment It also seemed that the 'welfare' mind-set of NGOs and govemment during the apartheid period had continued despite attempts to escape this pattern. Problems of perceived and actual comption and inaccessibility plague government. these projects were a move in the right direction. Again. The lack of 'ownership' of the projecl is perhaps one of the reasons that some participants at Tusong expressed their belief that their project would not continue without wages. this demonstrates the importance of ensuring consultation and a feeling of control in community projects. it is important to note that participants did express that they felt more in control of their lives and that. being told what to think and do. There was no evidence of participant efficacy for national level.NGOs and government are also pervaded by the leftover attitudes and conditions created by apartheid and its conflict with traditional belief%. Having said this however. stemming from decades of being provided for. This problematic perspective was supplemented by an 'entitiement' mentality held by many South Africans. although there was not full participation. even if only temporarily.
It is logical that since these individuals are not included in the formal economy. It was suggested by female participants in projects not included as case studies that gardening was beneficial since it gave them 'something to do other than sit around all day'. Women in particular displayed interest. or are at a distinct disadvantage within it. would not choose to exclude themselves from market .local community level was definitely apparent One field worker suggested that one of the reasons for limited community initiatives in South Africa generally was the diversity of such communities and the lack of space for communal activities. such as the housing policy or feeding scheme. and it is possible to say most poor South Africans. such as neighbodmod watches.It is true that most of the participants. In most cases although participants expressed that government programmes. It is possible that Ulrough learning how NGOs work and obtaining increased knowledge of national systems that these types of projects will lead to more involvement on a national scale. they had not actively sought to improve the situation. indicating that this activity might be considered a substitute for employment on some level. special needs individuals. and park developments. clean-ups. In one case. It is interesting that many of the participants in these permaculture projects are considered the poorer of the poor: women. especially in those instances where national NGOs are involved in the projects. This feeling of governmental policy inadequacy also did not usually translate into a belief of general governmental inadequacy. children. These local efforts may yet grow into something on a larger level. they are the ones interested in exploring new alternatives with a mind open to change. the target group was these individuals (young offenders) but in all other cases it seemed to be the more marginalized of the disadvantaged that were most interested in alternative development schemes. Links between members of the community have grown through these projects and have led to other community initiatives. and it is suspected that their circumstances of formal economy exclusion combined with family obligations (being in control of providing food and maintaining health) spurred their interest. and young offenders were all involved in these projects. were not very effective.
individuals (perhaps especially youth) who value obtaining a job may choose to ignore options open to them. not generally in more resource rich circumstances. shelter provision. the potential seen remains at a level where sustenance is challenged. which were previously closed. influence and opportunity. However.activities due to the material benefits that are offered with inclusion. regardless of the likelihood of obtaining employment Participation was also limited by a problematic attitude that agriculture is for the poor or those in rural areas . Overall.that it is a 'dirty' or 'demeaning' activity. individuals with supposedly higher potential for inclusion in the market might have more restricted commitments to programmes. (in Fitzgerald et al. 288) . swing open to allow access to information. there was a strong improvement in levels of personal and community efficacy. et cetera would prevent such programmes from falling apart through the combined effects of regained and expanded knowledge and material benefits. Cook states: an individual becomes more powerful (the essence of empowerment) when s h e grows in the subjective sense of feeling able to do things hitherto out of reach. it is likely that projects will not continue since the income earned from sewing would be higher than that earned from gardening (although the consumption of food is generally not included in this calculation by participants). since the opportunity cost of participation might be considered to be too high. energy generation.On a purely gardening level. However. In addition to those formally employed. Thus. are expanding their activities to include such things as sewing and a soup kitchen it is possible to ask whether Me gardening activities will even continue once these other activities are established . in favor of continuing the jc5 search. and noted by NGO staff. schools engaging in permaculture are combating this attitude and students and teachers alike are seeing potential in these activities. if permaculture was being used systemically. However. it can be said that although the participation in the projects was limited. it is possible that the combined activities of food production. This perspective was clear in some students and teachers at schools in the study. such as AbalimPs neighborhood gardening groups. Since projects. and when doors of opportunity.assuming they succeed. when she develops the ability to do things which were not previously within his or her competence.
No matter how beneficial projects may seem in theory. reflective of those evident in the projects and in South Africa generally. However. have complex relations. They also indicate the importance of establishing an understanding of relational dynamics before proceeding with a project. (December 7. This logic can be expanded to deal with the applicability of NGOs in South Afiica. these NGOs were also established to enable disadvantaged communities in various ways and as such were formed to facilitate some level of community participation. It has become clear that the relevance of NGOs. otherwise we will be on different learning levelse can go on Learning that we are really on different learning curves can be the first step and then w from there. . the benefits only become real when they are appreciated and desired by the participants implementing the projects. Both of the case NGOs were formed during formal apartheid and their structures and processes still reflect Me relations of this era. it is true that perrnaculture projects are truly usefbl in the South African context These community development initiatives can only be sustained in the long-term if they are integrated and the participants have the will and ability to advance the development themselves. confirmed this in his statement Relationships on the human level are necessary to drive the reality of ecological design in our everyday lives. Paul Cohen. It i s necessary in these types of projects to establish 'empowered' relations between people as well as within individuals. In this sense.1998) These words emphasize the need for clarity and clear communication between participants and interested parties to ensure the participation in and sustainability of the ecological projects that permaculture promotes. especially those involved in alternative development programmes. owner of Thfolego perrnaculturecenter. can only be measured in comparison to their perceived usefulness in the communities w i t h which they workThis perceived usefulness is inseparable from methods of assessment or intervention. These NGOs then. which at one and the same time reinforce and challenge the existing order of ideas and attitudes. There is a certain amount at this relationship level that needs to happen before the communication is dear enough to be effective.
This reevaluation offers the potential for attaining at least a measure of success in improving the levels of participation within the organisations and within the projects they promote. Lack of access to resources was a major constraint to all those involved with the projects. However. access to resources becomes a constraint to the projects themselves. in the case of disadvantaged communities in South Africa these challenges seem to reflect the more extreme circumstances faced by project participants. housing. Other resources. Challenges Permaculture promoters in South Africa face a multitude of challenges. there was apparent interest in improving participatory processes and methods. It is possible to do permaculture with very limited resources. The reassessment of many of Me organisations in South Afrca attests to this willingness to adapt. the benefits of projects would obviously be seen more quickly if progress is quickened through resource availability. These inputs are also difficult to access and thus. however. NGOs have become more accountable and communities have been forced to look for alternatives to government welfare. there are also necessary inputs for a permaculture system. including permaculture projects such as those investigated in this research. Given the rapidly changing reality of the post-apartheid South Africa it is good news that NGOs and communities are accepting more responsibility for their actions and livelihood. et cetera are more easily dealt . although funding was also a concern especially for NGOs. fwd. and to the recognition of the need to alter present practices and structures. which is one of the reasons it has been proposed as an alternative for disadvantaged communities.Although the participation levels evident in the NGOs and in relation to the NGOs was quite limited. The first obstacles to success are what might be termed 'normal' constraints to permaculture projects anywhere and relate to access to resources. not just to participants.Issues of land access and knowledge building seemed most pertinent for these projects. energy. such as water. Although permaculture projects can alleviate some of this pressure for individuals participating in the projects. including NGOs.
The second major challenge to permaculture projects relates specifically to participation. not even the government. but perhaps more importantly. has got a right and powers to remove them from that land' (as quoted in Matlala. 1992:12). Through these relations attitudes and general practices have evolved that limit the potential of not only permaculture projects. ways of thinking and attitudes have been established that can be counter-productive to permaculture principles and applications. and the system of private ownership of land seems to be exacerbating difficulties with attempts to reform patterns of land distribution.with . Relations between races. That nobody. The relations of apartheid and the anti-apartheid struggle have set conditions within South Africa. land access and tenure is the first condition that South Africans expect to be met before beginning an alternative development project In most instances it was conveyed that projects t .and at least partially made accessible by using permaculture creatively. The redistribution and restitution of the RDP has not effectively dealt with the land issue. but also the participants and wider South African society. genders. Most of the projects investigated were not on land owned by participants but situated on land donated by government or private landowners for an indefinite period for the purpose of the project This arrangement does not solve the issue of land tenure or access that will eventually have to be confronted if these types of projects are to continue.As a result many methods commonly used in permaculture were not present. it did appear that the level of understanding of the systemic approach of permaculture was quite limited. and their application would have been quite beneficial in gaining improved access to resources that othewise would not be available or would have to be bought Access to land and a basic knowledge base are necessary to begin a permaculture project While knowledge bases can be built. and classes all contributed to the difficulty in promoting participatory processes and projects.why improve an area when it does not belong to you? As stated by would simply not proceed without i Tshepo Khumbane: 'Proper development can only take place when people are sure that they are permanent on that land. Many people within disadvantaged communities feel . However. ages.
the results of a lack of education were intensified by decades of blacks being told what to do. For example.This national level identification is useful for government. and communities feel excluded from 'higher' processes.Of course. but have no electricity to run it. There is also a conflict over which needs take priority. and think. but at the same time have a sense of 'black solidarity' that is evident in national level politics leftover from the days of anti-apartheid struggle. 1991: 121). in the past. On the other hand. but may become difficult to maintain when needs are not met quickly enough by government. Although that is changing . these established social identities dominate many NGOs. In many situations no responsibility or action is taken since community residents blame environmental problems on govemment and feel that it should deal with these issues through various service provision. held the residents themselves responsible for the many difficulties in the townships' (Ramphele. That is what w e created in this country -that people can't do anything For themselves and we'll do it for them. while at the same time the ability to meet these needs is decreasing.the thought process is changing they still want and they don't know how to actually begin to take responsibility-(De Lange.disempowered individually and communally. it is not exceptional for a household to own a stereo. or for alcohol and . Demands for material benefits are increasing. 'the state and Eskom [electricity company] have. and communities. The social identity of black South Afncans has been further complicated by the influx of western influences in recent years.The lack of education of blacks within South Africa has exacerbated feelings of inadequacy and a lack of general teaming skills resulting in problems with expressing opinions and creative thinking. personal communication: December 2 1998) These different approaches and attitudes result in confusion and tension. where the idea was to hand out benefits with limited (if any) consultation rather than inspire community development While it is true that efforts are being made to change all of these views. say. These attitudes gave rise to complementary attitudes within NGOs and govemment. As one TFA staff member stated: the difficulty is the fact that they [communities] don't know where to sbrt they want someone to come and do it for them. govemment programmes.
Additionally. Attempts are being made to address the numerous accusations of corruption that have cropped up since the 1994 election. The current South African government is stiil in the process of repealing racist and inequitable legislation and creating new alternatives. 1997: 253). there are problems with current legislation. symbols and values that encourage individual achievement and social mobility. adopt policies that address the massive demands for material goods. while creating the conditions for economic growth and investment. policies that are . at one and the same time. (1997: 251) Government initiatives have been ineffective in changing these inequities and there is now a 'proliferation of gangsterism. substance abuse. As this process involves every aspect of social relations at each level of society. Stevens and Lockhat argue that the contradiction between cote expectations has: been encouraged through capitalist ideology on the one hand. Limitations are evident in enforcement and implementation due to lack of funds or capacity and tension between multiple responsible departments. Aside from previous legislation repeals. but simultaneously have been refused access to any significantmaterialresources that allowed for this. The third challenge for permaculture projects relates to the national and regional context The available infrastructure and legislation in many circumstances constrains the ability of local people to make decisions or take advantage of opportunities The post-apartheid government must. The fnrstration and violent reactions reflect a conflict between the desired appearance of wealth and basic needs provision. there is often confusion over what is allowed and what is not At a local level this results in utter confusion and sometimes legal frameworks meant to more adequately address the reality faced by South Africans are completely ignored. This has obvious probfematic implications for the success of permaculture projects since it compromises the potential for needs to be met and constrains acceptance of alternatives to a consumerist ideology. anti-social behaviour and an emerging ethnic separatism' (Stevens and Lockhat. and a racist ideology on the otherBlack adolescents [and other blacks] have been exposed to the imagery.cigarettes to be purchased in large amounts while children go hungry and are malnourished. but this continues to be a problem.
or the settlements are not conducive to commun&y activities.in impoverished ghettos. and capacity are discussed in relation to government and non-governmental organisation efforts to promote permaculture within South Afiica. not spacious enough. it could be said that an economic apartheid has deposed the previousIy dominant political apartheid. water. However. .formed tend to reflect compromises between departments and other interested parties such as unions and private business. it is important to recall that the interactions between the global. and green space are not dealt with previous to moving people into the houses. the housing that results is inappropriate to the conditions of the country. 1989: 310). Throughout this section though. rather than reffecting what is best for citizens. 'it will do nothing to alter the fact that those who are poor will continue to live where apartheid dumped them . The problem with this policy is that while it does allow wealthier blacks to move in to higher-income suburbs previously left only to whites. the national level is addressed and suggestions regarding policies. miles distant from their work' (Ramphele. Proposals The second component in the discussion about challenges to these projects asked how to improve dealing with these issues. processes. Although this is a reality in most democratic governments. Although several of the recommendationsoverlap. In this discussion improving access to resources (including knowledge) and increasing participation levels for participants provide the focus. housing policy allows for funds to be allocated for private sales or building of housing. Another example of inadequate policy change is the repeal of the Group Areas Act. and in others. It is possible to divide these recommendations into two large categories based on the levels of explanation of political ecology. energy. In this case. the results seem more extreme in South Africa. For example. The second set of proposals is discussed in the context of the local community efforts at implementing the projects.Most of the housing is not integrated into other projects so issues of waste. national. First. which allows people to move into areas previously unavailable to them. this format provides the structure to allow h&er discussion of the various levels influencing the application of permaculture in disadvantaged communities.
1991: 99). in many cases this assertion is simply false. where he asserts that increased industrial activity did not result in increased employment. Dewar gives the example of Ciskei. 1995: 183). For example. and legislation as well as by the these efforts have been limited by t limited capacity and conflicts of interest of the present civil sem-ce. loans and direct investment However. It is necessary to create an atmosphere that recognizes that developmental and environmental concerns are not diametricallyopposed and that in fact. infrastructure. Calling for 'appropriate' legislation and standards in developing areas frequently results in a lack of enforcement or no standards at all since it is argued that increased employment will result from enterprises attracted by low operating costs (Dewar. the goals of the RDP and policies advocated by foreign institutions. h e established attitudes. but rather higher profits for a few people and high social and environmental costs (1991: 99). the Reconstruction and Development Programme initiated by the government was based on increased reliance on foreign aid. Additionally. National Although govemment is attempting to change the policies and approaches of the previous regime. one can serve to advance the other. such as the structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. outside interests have served to confine governmental initiatives. However.regional and local levels form a system of relations that must be considered as a whole as well as analyzed on more detailed levels. stand at odds and it is possible that the limited success of RDP programmes reflects this conflict of policies (IDRC. . Labour unions and private business interests have contributed to the difficulties of government creating policies and taking actions that are appropriate in the post-apartheid context The global economic situation and worldviews of development have combined with these domestic factors to limit effective sustainable practices within the state.
The rehabilitationand proper management of the environment is necessary for sustained economic
growth and the improvement in the lives of the poor majority- Thus, environmental policy should not only be deliberated on its own, but integrated as an essential part of other policies such as housing, employment, women's equality, nutrition and economic development (IDRC, 1995: 4)- By using a more integrated approach, it is likely that such policies would better reflect the needs of rural and urban communities, especially if increased popufarconsultation is sought For example, housing policy would include measures such as sanitation, energy provision, and community clustering currently excluded from such programmes, while farming subsidies would encourage more environmentallysustainabie practices in lieu of current overuse of chemicals and inappropriate technology. This move would also encourage industry and private
households to reduce abuse of the environment by holding them responsible for their actions through enforced legislation and incentives (Ligthelm and Wilsenach, 1993: 60).
Environmental legislation, as well as other programmes. must be more assertive. For example, the constitutional right 'to environmental quality can be considerably strengthened to include the notion of 'duty
of care' and environmental responsibility, as well as a stronger statement about the quality of the
environment to which all South Africans have a right' (ID=,
1995: 13). With respect to permaculture
project facilitation in particular, land redistribution and secure tenure policies would need to be advanced quickly and ensure the possibilities of ownership for disadvantaged households. To ensure that the most resource poor could take advantage of community development programmes it seems reasonable to
suggest that start-up be subsidized (or fully financed) by international, state, or regional sources. Of course,
this should not be allowed to imply a partisan affiliation of the projects or the participants.
The Curriculum 2005 educational initiative could also be reformed to specifically include permaculture principles and methods. Including permaculture in the education system has very high potential for changing the South African situation and ensuring permaculture principles are accessible to everyone. Outcomes-based learning initiated through Mis programme is very compatible with petmaculture
design and could be integrated quite easily- Perhaps the model of Zimbabwe's permaculture in schools could be used to provide suggestions along these lines, as could initiatives such as the SEED programme
with Bongolethu Community School.
Adult education programmes codd also include elements of
permaculture systems in order to reach those previously excluded from the educational system or those adults unable to access this knowledge otherwise- The change to outcomes-based education in SouVl Africa has just begun and it seems prudent to ensure that future (and current) educators are equipped for this change with appropriate training and support systems. While alternative teaching models can be quite useful, without proper training the results of this change could prove destructive.
The legacy of Bantu education policies and the number of unskilled and uneducated people are
cause for serious concern. Although there are several 'courses' offered throughout the country to improve various skills, including accounting, language, or software use, many of these programmes are not standardized and do not ensure that attendees are tested on their new skills before 'graduationr- Obviously, this does not sewe anyone's interests in improving the workforce, so standardized courses with appropriate testing should be promoted- Some mechanism for subsidized learning at this adult level should be installed to ensure that the poor majority would still able to access this service. The responsibility for these measures falls primarily to government; however, options employing the strengths of non-govemmental organisations and communities should also be investigated.
Non-formal education initiatives should also be investigated, especially in areas of environmental awareness and responsibility. These programmes should not just deal with clean up or greening of a community as a one-shot deal. but facilitate the empowerment of communities to participate in environmental decision-making at the local and national levels. To this end, the IDRC argues:
The empowerment of disadvantaged communities to take part in monitoring and managing their own environments is crucial to ensuring that environmental racism as it has been widely practiced in SA is no longer tolerated. At the same time, nonformal environmental education within affluent sectors of society is needed to continually bring to people's attention the environmental impacts of consumerism and the disposable life-style. (1995: 175)
The importance of educating both affluent and disadvantaged communities cannot be overemphasized. It also could provide a means of linking races through community action.
Along with capacity building endeavors within civil society, it is necessary to train governmental officials to understand and promote participatory methods. processes and changing legislation. As much of the civil service has limited experience due to the adjustments made after apartheid, capacity building is integral to the success of the new government in promoting revised programmes. Without this capacity it is impossible to expect that civil servants will be able (or willing) to implement or enforce changed legislation.
This training would also serve to make government more accessible and rnore likely to sustain democracy.
In this area, it might prove helpfuj to draw on the expertise of NGOs and promote mutual learning.
By working closely with NGOs on policy formation and enforcement, government could contribute to solving
the funding dilemma many NGOs face, as well as potentially deal rnore adequately with community development issues. This link between NGOs and government could contribute to stronger links with the communities and increased numbers of sustainable projects being established- It is important to note however, that this attempt could also senre to corrupt NGOs or de-link them from the communities they work
with, so reflexive systems would need to be established to ensure transparency and effectiveness-
With respect to non-govemmenbl organisations, the observations of the two case studies along
with other visited NGOs proved useful in determining several areas for improvement. Several NGOs were undergoing restructuring during the study period. This indicated both a need and a willingness to adjust to the new realities of post-apartheid South Africa. The structures, mandates, and methods of NGOs need to be adapted to allow for decision-making at local levels, rather than more welfare-oriented programmes. The changing funding climate has forced these organisations to find new ways of fondraising and new finders, both foreign and domestic. Ensuring a diverse funding base is integral to ensure programmes are not overly biased toward funder agendas. It also provides more stability for the NGO.
and it is impossible for funders to ensure eligible groups know about potential funding. For example. or even with countries such as Zimbabwe that already run various permaculture programmes. responsibility. Each of the cases demonstrated a need for information. and a sense of involvement that would otherwise be missing. The further coordination or networking of NGOs and CBOs in South Africa could also apply to creating a database of possible funding sources. However. et cetera. financial management. the knowledge that these other groups existed or were useful in some way was inaccessible. Ensuring that staff are at some level involved with the affected communities is important in creating an atmosphere of mutual learning. language. facilitation. Various groups and individuals in the region could have addressed each of these issues but the school ended up searching for the information elsewhere. For those staff working with communities it is especially important to provide training in participatory techniques. The results have taken longer and the information gained is not necessarily applicable since some was based on American or British sources.However. reporting. companion planting. and potential sources of funding. appropriate technical knowledge. language skills and clear communication. their expectations and requirements. cultural integration with the curriculum. or contacts that could be provided by other organisations or communities in South Africa. This information is generally difficult for CBOs and even some NGOs to find. CBOs taking over the responsibility of finding funding would develop skills and further understanding that would not be developed while NGOs . at Harding Special School there was a need for information on alternative building techniques. This type of database would be very usefol for groups that require extra resources to develop their projects more quickly. facilitation methods. Training within NGOs is necessary to their effective function. and conflict-resolution should all take place. without the commitment of localities the usefulness of NGO programmes is very limited. due to a lack of coordination and networking. There is a need to improve the networking of local pro@& and NGOs within South Africa. accountability.Within the institutions themselves. capacity building in organisation. alternatives for irrigation. bio-gas generation. skills.
but still of great importance is access to knowledge and control of decision-making. Although this networking is considered primarily as a national initiative. projects implementing permaculture on a focal level are a combination of practical and theoretical factors. it would involve stronger control and access for communities and on a smaller scale it could be pursued by linking community members with various skills at the local level- Local Permaculture attempts to join different principles fiom various traditions to form a theory of sound ecology and socia[ organisation. The projects that were detailed in this research faced many limitations to their efforts. Although many of the limitations were influenced by national level decisions. Perhaps less materially focussed. or roadside strip . understand their situations. and establish useful relations. balcony. First. housing. and needs assessment are required in order to productively set up a project. or even regional governmental decisions. This section begins an exploration of some of the actions that might have such an effect. some form of land control (although it need not be legal ownership) . Within the projects investigated in this research each of these areas were partially addressed through permaculture. In South Africa the primary issue of concern in disadvantaged communities is access to resources. it is absolutely necessary to have access to space in which to establish the living system. However.is necessary to begin a permaculture project Second. Land tenure and access. . In other words. Thus. it is vital to have connections within the community. and food affordability are of particular concern.administer and monitorfunding use. If the project is to be community based. service provision.even in the form of a rooftop. there are several challenges Mat could have been addressed on a local level to allow pmjects to be more effective and efficient. there are constraints to the success of permaculture endeavors. It is necessary then to deal with both of these aspects when attempting to understand and promote permaculture. a certain level of knowledge in areas such as planting techniques. design.
Black women in particular are suffering from lack of land tenure since they have been caught in the middle of apartheid and traditional practices. Although land reform is largely an issue that needs to be addressed on a national level. and as a form of potentially sustainable alternative development strategies. others requested the use of land from private landowners. is often stated as necessary to addressing the challenges faced in South Afica. Several of the projects visited gained use of unused land from local authorities by applying for particular plots. and that of the population in general. although legal courses of action should at least be attempted first Facilitation of these efforts is key to success. at least until national land reform measures are effectively implemented. Finding ways to overcome cultural and historical divides and ensuring that people have the skills and understanding to deal well wi!h their rapidly changing reality not only facilitates projects such as these but will ensure the success of the country as a whole. however. Understanding the application processes or even gathering the strength to approach a local landowner is a big step toward empowerment and accepting responsibility- The further development of participant capacity. Despite changes to legislation. the training and empowerment of the participants is considered paramount to the success of any of these projects as permaculture applications. This can only be . never allowed decision-making or title rights in either system.Access to land is one of the rights that the anti-apartheid movement was built upon. The RDP endorses land restitution and redistribution. CBOs and individuals from communities that have succeeded in their efforts could all contribute to building this knowledge in communities. In fact. there are means of attaining access to land that can be applied Iocally. This paper is no exception to that recommendation. reform of land settlement patterns has been limited in the 'new' South Africa. Many communities do not know their options of attaining use of land and letting them know is the first step to addressing their concerns. and still others simply took over areas retaining control through the neglect of authorities to evict them. NGOs. several million South Afn'cans remain without title to land. A group of individuals might also purchase a plot of land for specific purposes if money was pooled together. These methods could be used in any disadvantaged community.
model building. Given the limited education of most of the poor black population. Although this could apply to almost any subject. Exchanges of information between various projects. building crosscultural understanding. Capacity building was cited as a major goal by several of the participants at the projects. provide a different avenue of expression. water conservation. Thus. it stands to reason that facilitation and training should be made available in the language requested by participants. housing methods. For example. it should be cautioned that 'capacity building' should not be used as an excuse. could serve this purpose well. Allowance for continued follow-up and necessary support should also be made. and popular theatre is recommended. the effort is well worth if the communities feel they have gained and developed as people. organic pest control. and create an atmosphere of camaraderie within the group that otherwise is not possible. using alternative learning and teaching techniques including games. Any of these alternatives would lead to the exact opposite of encouraging locaI decision-making and control. self-indictment or lead to 'expertism'. Although this process may take longer initially. and alternative energy provision were all mentioned. applying for funding. It should be noted that some of the participants had received training in these areas already but felt that limited understanding of the language used had restricted their learning. and approaching the challenges in as integrated a manner as possible. outside activity. financial accounting. In the case of permaculture these approaches are particularly useful since it is sometimes difficult to convey the systemic thinking necessary to projects with more conventional methods. However. food or other product of the project that was at issue. Even with conventionally educated participants these methods inspire creative thinking. map mapping. and clear communication must be emphasized throughout the process. .accomplished using truly participatory processes. and this would create a better chance for the project to continue. music. bilingual individuals could receive training and spread this knowledge through other communities. rather than reliance on NGO consultation. It would not be only the temporarily gained income.
cob. This way not only could potential participants visit a working example of pemacuIture but staff responsible for promoting permaculture would have first hand experience dealing with its application in limited surroundings.If possible. solar and wind generation. or sanitation through reed beds or cornposting toilets. including seed saving to save costs and maintain biodiversity. There are a plethora of such possibilities. it is important to spread these benefits to the larger community rather than isolate the projects and their participants. Opening up projects to visitors also serves this purpose. old-age homes. It also gave a sense of pride to those running the project Although there are good examples of working permaculture in South Afn'ca. or lobby for other change within the community would not only senre to spread permaculture. strawbale. creating recreational areas through recycled materials. successive cropping. The integration of elements within most of the applications was quite limited and having the option of showing the benefits of 'more radical' ideas might inspire more creative linkages in projects currently concerned primarily with food production. More conservative efforts a t improving bed layout. It would be especially exciting to see NGOs apply this concept in their centers. Having working examples of permaculture would also allow for the demonstration of projects that are rarely attempted in South Afn'ca. most are not easily accessed or even known to exist Popularizing and ensuring ease of access is necessary to the success of a 'visitation programme'. particuIarIy youth. bio-gas. living structure building. inter-cropping and organic pest control would also prove useful. .It seemed that actually visiting a place that had already begun its permaculture application was highly inspiring for participants. rooftop or container gardening for those in highdensity urban apartment areas. wilderness corridors. hold competitions or open days. while alternative economic systems (such as LETS) or social organisations (such as eco-villages) could be promoted with more experienced participants. water harvesting. providing opportunities for working examples to be visited would also be quite useful. For those projects that have successes. educate others. integrating medicinal plants through linking with local nyangas. Expanding the activities to include efforts to establish recreation areas. bit would provide stronger links between people within the community.
With the use of permaculture local access to resources has been (and could further be) improved. even if the impact of the projects is limited to an increased feeling of efficacy and empowerment in the participants. these projects provide substantial benefits. the potential for this is present. permaculture methods and principles are being put to use by South Afn'can communities. it is difficult to say whether its usefulness will provide sustained alternative development within the communities. permaculture. through its systemic design based in ecoiogical principles. Conclusion The situation in South Africa is rapidly changing and the country faces challenges on various levels. or even further limited only to increased food security. with the possible exception of the Harding Special School. As none of the projects were evolved enough to provide a very developed example of applied permaculture. useful. it is believed that permaculture methods and approaches have been. For example. and will continue to be. Aside from the limited level of applied permaculture. In an attempt to deal with high levels of poverty and environmental degradation.Attempts in this direction could provide others with a sense of efficacy. However. The ability of disadvantaged communities to make decisions is restricted by their limited access to resources. suggesting that even degraded areas can conbibute to sustainable livelihoods. debates occurred about whether to increase consumption or increase income given the limited output of the gardens. However. there was also some evidence of conflicting prioritization of participantobjectives for projects. This development of civil society will only serve to improve South Afiicans ability to maintain the recently attained democracy and ensure sustainability within development initiatives. Although many of the projects are in the very early stages of investigating the use of permaculture. Thus. encouraging more ambitious programmes or even national lobbying on issues of importance within the community. offers the possibility of .
efforts in this vein must be facilitated at local and national levels as so many South AFn'cans have been excluded from knowledge expansion activities in the past In the case studies both the organisations' staff and participants expressed a desire to learn and know more in order to further their objectives. In some cases this would require national infrastructure . but also involve the technical application of permaculture. so their inclusion should be particularly encouraged. communities and individuals at various societal levels. both of which were limited in the projects. Broadly speaking the recommendations fall into three categories. this knowledge base building must not be approached in isolation but should be complemented by environmental education and instillation of earth-care values.substantially contributing to the lives of participants and to South Africa as a whole. This change of view must involve all levels of South African society from national governmental officials to schoolchildren. Again. This possibility will only become a reality through the co-ordinated efforts of government. Evidence hom this study suggests that the highest potential for these types of projects lay with schools and women of the communities. Second. The first. although other actors should not be excluded on this basis. the building of capacity is paramount to Me success of these projects. especially in the context of alternative development in impoverished communities. and perhaps most important is an ideological shift A move toward more consensus based and creative patterns would be most useful in promoting permaculture principles and the ecological and economic sustainability of these communities. and the organisations that support them. This capacity building exercise must not only focus on such activities as fund raising and networking. gender. The established social identity based on race. location. Also. non-governmental organisations. age. An emphasis on facilitation and conflict resolution methods would also be relevant. Several suggestions have been made in this study regarding the numerous challenges faced by these projects. and class must all be challenged in the new South Africa to allow for more constructive and equitable relations of power to evolve.
the approach of permaculture emphasizes locally generated solutions to environmental probiems and there is evidence that its use in South Africa is contributing to a more integrated and participatory vision of social justice. Instead it is more likely that the totality of local initiatives will create the conditions for the necessary changes within the South African context . organisations and govemment must be encouraged to ensure that everyone has access to resources. although in many situations local and regional efforts of organisations and i f any) governmental involvement communities could facilitate this development with limited ( Third. while further developing an active ckil society. though. it does offer a pro-active approach to changing Ule livelihoods of communities. and political factors on local conditions. Ultimately. historical. knowledge and options. socio-economic. This linking should not only take place domesticaIly. but instead should include foreign influences that offer useful relations.ecology and development.development by the govemment. ecological integrity and social empowerment through interactive means that allows for integration of elements of 'baditionai' and 'modem' s not a direct challenge to established relations of power in a conflictual knowledge systems. Change in the inequitable relations of power within South Africa is unlikely to occur through national policy formation. facilitating productive changes within economic and political relations of power. given the influences of biophysical. it does not matter whether it is permaculture or some other appmach that is applied. policy formation and duplicated services within higher level sectors. This way the inaccessibility and ineffectiveness of many govemment policies could be addressed. Although it i sense. The improved communication between interested actors should take place within a national vision of ecologicalIy responsible development evolved through active involvement of the local level of society. networking of projects. Permaculture offers the potential to address basic needs. There can be no one appropriate approach for every circumstance. However. Networking might also serve to alleviate some of the problems with funding. but simply whether alternative development efforts benefit communities.
what and for who? (fee to join. Does participation in the project add further work to you day (or burden)? 15. fwd security. Were there restrictions on membership? If so. etc) 27. enjoy gardening) 8. income. etc) 31. Do you feel you have been discriminated against within the project? 21. spouse pressure. community development. Has involvement in the project facilitated community solidarity or divided the community? How? 23.Gender: Age: Religion: Occupation: Spoken languages: Nationality: income: Ethnicity: Marital Status: Race: Dependents: I. How do you see the future for you sonsiciaughters (education. Compare the situation of the community previous to and post the site establishment? 35. land ownership. living standards. Have you had a negative experience with the project? 20. responsibilities. 28. etc) 29. domestic. living standards. Are there certain jobs at the project you would never engage in? Why? 30. Have you had a positive experience with the project you would like to share? 19. Do you feel more in control or feel you have more say in your communitylhome? Explain.Would you draw a map of the sitelcommunity@eopte/energyflows? 5. crops. Has your level of self-confidence changed since your involvement? 16. How bas your fife differed from your mother'slfather's? (income source. domestic duties. What is the most important thing you have learned since being involved? Why is this important? 18. etc)? if grown . How has your life changed since you became a participant at the site? 13.what is their occupation? 32.What motivated you to become a part of the project? (economic gain. What are your responsibilities at home? (subsistence. Do you feel your dependence on outside sources of goods has been reduced? Is this good? 34. How long have you been a participant at the site? 3. land access) 14. What was your economic situation before being a participant? (desperateldifficultlcomfortable) 10. access. in what capacity do you participate there? 24. What are your responsibilities?Who decided those responsibilities? 4. responsibilities. What is your definition of permaculture? 2. Do you have any questions or comments you would like to express? . security. What benefits (other than food) do you receive through the project? (education. Does the government support this initiative or others like it? Do other organizations? Do you feet their involvement improves the site? Do these groups have too much power? Do you feel you have an input into these organizations? 36. What are some of the problems or restrictions of the site and the project? 26. Since your involvement with the project have you become involved in any other institution or group? If so. technology. Do you do work for the site outside of the garden? 6. If you could change anything at the site what would it be? Why? 25. Before you were a participant how did you eam a living? Do you still do that? 9. How is the money you earn spent? Who determines how the income is spent in your family? 12. expanding. spouse restriction. What sorts of future development would you like to see?(training. How do you see this project contributing to your community? 33. work) 22. regulations. Why did you join the project? 7. income. Compare you overall personal and family economic well k i n g before and after your involvement with the project11.Is the project sustainable? Explain. respect. 17.
what do you grow (and how) and if not. 21. 10. Could you briefly offer your opinion on the general state of food security. + 13. 24. 6. communities or other organisations? If so. 4. 78. in what ways? Could you share a positive and a negative experience you have had within the organisation? Are you personally involved in any of the projects? If so. 11 12. 22. 19. . 25. 16. 15. 23. in what capacity? on membershipto this organization? Are there e r o c s ir t n s What is the organization's mandate? What are the future goals? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this organisation? What is their interest in and definih'cn of permaculture? Does your organization work with other groups on this issue? If so. Please give a brief background on yourself- Do you have a garden at home? If so. Nationality: Income: Ethnicity: Marital Status: Race: Dependents: I . environment and political participation in South Afn'ca? What organization do you work for/with? What do you do? How long have you worked there? Do you have another job? Do you volunteer with other organizations? Are you a member of govemment? Is the govemment involved in the projects? In tfre organization? If so. 17.Gender: Age: Religion: Occupation: Spoken languages: 2. 26. which ones and where are they based? Can you think of any successes your organization has had re: permacultureor related issues? What challenges do you feel the organisation faces? Permaculture projects? How should these be addressed? Has the organisation has support or resistance from authorities. why? 3. in what capacity? Who is involved in the projects? Why do people become involved? What is the general state of food security and environmentat these projects? What inputs are necessary and what outputs are produced in the projects? Do you feel the projects are usehrl? Which ones? In what way? How could they improve? Why is that an issue? What is your definition of perrnaculture? What level of understandingof permaculture is there in South Africa? In the projects? Has this increasedlremainedsteadyldecreased in recent years? How do you see the future of permaculture? Do you have any questions or comments you would like to express? 5. 14. 20. 9. 18.
Have you participated in these activities? If so. You may respond in whatever language you fed most comfortable in. What have you done during the permacultureactivities at school? 10. How is permaculture used at your school? Is this important? Explain. Grade: Gender: Nationality: Ethnicity: Race: Where do you live? How long have you lived there? Do you have a garden at home? Who takes care of this garden? What is grown? How long have you attended this school? How would you rate your family's financial situation: very poor 1 poor / average / wealthy What is your definition of perrnaculture? 6. Do you see permaculture being useful in the future? If so. 2. What are some of the benefits and costs of permaculture at your school? 17. 14. Is your or your school's future different than before the project began? Explain.If you do not want to answer a question please show that on the survey and move on to the next question. 18. How do you feel about the permacultureactivities at your school? 7. Does this project benefit you. 3. in what ways? 8. What do you think could be improved at your school? Do you think permaculture could help with this? Explain. your school. or your community? Explain. Age: 1. What is your favorite and least favorite activity related to the permaculture project? Is there any activity you would not participatein? Why? 12. 5. How do you feel about the environmental education activities you have participated in? 9.This survey is being done in order to help Catherine with her research. 15. Who decided what you were to do during perrnacultureactivities? How do you feel about that? 11.No one will see your responses except her so be as honest and open as you can. *this survey was translated into Zulu and Xhosa for the ease of the students for which English was a second language. Please draw (and label) a map of your school. in what ways? 20. 4. How do you think the permaculture at your school could be improved? 16. Catherine thanks you very much for your help with her research. What have you learnt from being involved with the perrnaculture project at school? 13. . 19.
Name: Occupation: Position at Organisation: Date: Age: Citizenship: Levet of Education completed: Number of Children: Race: Sex: MalelFemale Country of Origin: Marital Status: Single/DivorcedlMarried/Widow income per annurn: Ethnicity: 10. condition of the environment. please identifL what you feel needs to be done to promote its use in this country. 14. what? If you believe permaculture is useful in the South African context. why? If so. as you understand it.Please be as honest as possible in if you do not have enough your responses and feel free to elaborate or use the back of the quesfionnaire room on the form. . regarding food security. 13. Please provide a brief summary of your career background and any relevant interests. What is the organisation's definition of perrnaculture? How do you feel the organisation's permaculture projects could be improved? Again. Thank you again for your time and participation. and community developmentand involvement Food Security: Condition of the Environment Community Development and Involvement If you have identified any problems in the previous question how do you feel these need to be addressed? What does permaculture mean to you? Do you feel that perrnaculture has anything to offer in the South Afncan context? If not. What precisely is your role in this organisation? What do you feel the organisation's main strengths and weaknesses are? What challenges do you feel the organisation faces in the future? How do you feel these challenges should be addressed? How do you feel this organisation could be improved? What is your vision for the organisation? Please identify the situation in South Afnca. You cooperation in filling out and returning the survey is most appreciated. 11. 12.APPENDIX IV: SAMPLE SURVEY QUESTIONS FOR NGO BOARD AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS The following survey is being administered to gather data for the Master's thesis of Ms. please feel free to make any further comments or pose any questions on the back of the questionnaire.C-Phillips.
.How are the products distributed? 6. What does the sun do in relation to the site across the seasons? 13. Has the waste material for disposal been reduced? 32. birds. and heights known? I I. Do the users own. Are there weather records? 12. What water is there on the site? Can it be made to cycle further to yield more? How can its quantity or quality be improved? 37. How much precipitation and when? Is there frost andlor fog? 15. What outputs are not being used? 9. feed. What transpolt system is used? Is it adequate? Could a 'softer" system be used? 36. How is solar access managed. What energy sources are there? Can more renewable energy be harnessed here? 24. How is wind controlled. Is there a map? Are the compass directions. fuel)? 31. What are the participant's unmet needs? 7. Where is the nearest village or town? 20. How much responsibility is taken for capturing and retaining the water required for the system? 26. Who provides the labour? 5. are there filter plants and appropriate food species Mat will not concentrate toxins? 28. What resources do the participants possess? 8. Who decides what to grow and how? 4. Can the system be made more efficient by moving jobs around? 23. is it used for reducing work? 34. Are the shops nearby. Has there been a lasting reduction in imported energy (electricity. water. suffer from too little or too much sun? 29. Were the species planted suited to the area? Is there maximum diversity and incorporation of rare breeds? 42. What is the soil type? What is the underlying geology? What is the condition of the soil? 39. What are the limits of the site? Is there multiple function of each element? 10. contourshapes. seed. What were the original objectives of the project? Have they been met? Are the periodically reviewed and altered? 3. What crops are grown on the site? 38. and can they be altered if not? How can they be made more energy efficient? 22. and fertilizing materials? 33. worms. gas. How does the site affect neighbours and vice versa? 19. What does the wind do? 14. What species do well on this site? What others might yield more or offer more variety? Is there good stacking of yields? 40. and if not how can needed products be accessed? 21. Is access adequate? What are the rights of way? 18. is it deflected from fragile areas. How diverse are the crops? 41. How clean is the air. Who is responsible for maintaining the boundaries? 16. Who was the site designed by and for whom? 2. mammals as well as larger species. Is the system now self-reliant in terms of mulch. How well is the site prepared for catastrophe? 35. How solar passive is the home and work areas? Good use of natural lightlheating? 30. How clean is the water that leaves the system? Is there a filter process? 27. reptiles.To be addressed at each site: 1. What buildings are there? Do they serve the purposes needed. Wildlife species -has this increased in number and in species diversity? Include insects. Is there maximum water flow right through the system? 25. rent or borrow the site? 17.
future hopes? 63. Levels of fertilizer. Where are we short of knowledge in answering these questions? How can we learn more? 55. What materials are imported to the site? Could they. crop yield. providing the site fertilizer and supplying eggs andlor meat? 45.Is training needed to enable the people to have more control? 49. change in lifestyle.Are financial resources adequate? What external sources of trade skills and funding could help? Could new structures be developed to make things work bettet? 54. How could people on this site enhance their surrounding area? 52.What craft skills are used here? If more are needed are they available locally? 47. Are pests managed by an integrated system? Have numbers dropped? 44. diversity. Are tools adequate for the job? 48.43. Is wilderness given a place here? Is there room for more? 53. Has there been a plan for future needs including the next generation. What stock is there here. with more money invested in procreative wealth? Alternative structures of finance? 62. aging of people and the system? 60.Can maintenanceof crops be reduced? 46. Number of participants? Related standard demographics? Their distance from site? 59. Perception of participant involvement? Level of control. or substitutes. Is what is being suggested the least level of intervention needed to achieve the stated aims? Is it practical to implement the suggestions? Can the system be maintained once changed in the suggested ways? 56. Has the families' lifestyles been enhanced by the system? 61. well positioned to hanrest and clear. Has there been an improvement in political efficacy? Food security? Political articulation? Environmentalconditions? Community involvement? . be at site? Do they bring the best return they could? 50. and is itthe best mixture of breeds for this site? Are the animals in the system enjoyed. Is the site practicing permaculture or ecological agriculture? 57. water use. What resources are there in the immediate community which could improve life? 51. energy inlout? 58. land use. erosion. Have the finances of the residents changed in focus.
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