Prof Bram Buscher presents a public lecture on Peace Parks and Politics of Conservation in Southern Africa
Prof Bram Buscher presented a Public lecture focusing on 'Peace Parks and the
Politics of Conversation in Southern Africa', at the University of Venda (UNIVEN)
Senate Chambers on Tuesday, 05 February 2013.
“International peace parks have become popular ways of protecting biodiversity
while promoting international cooperation and regional development in southern
Africa and beyond,” said Prof Busher. Drawing on extensive research with
the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project between Lesotho and South Africa
as well as other transfrontier conservation areas, Prof Bram Büscher explained
the successful promotion of peace parks as a “win-win” solution
and their marketing as 'the global solution' which actually makes them ill-fitted
to deal with the contradictions of conserving nature in the 21st century. As
currently put into practice – namely as instruments to further turn nature
into markets – peace parks will not only live up to their enormous expectations,
but actually worsen contradictions on the ground and in the long term make just
and sustainable human-nature relations even more difficult to achieve. Büscher
argues that to bridge the increasingly contradictory realities in practice with
the jubilant rhetoric of 'peace parks', a specific 'politics of neoliberal conservation'
is at work in transfrontier conservation. By outlining the elements of this
politics, he opens up space to think about different ways to conceptualise peace
parks and their potential contribution to just and sustainable human-nature
The Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Peter Mbati welcomed the guests and
introduced the guest speaker. In his welcoming remarks, he shared with the audience
how he met Prof Buscher during his recent visit to the Institute of Social Studies.
He expressed confidence in Prof Buscher's visit as it marks the beginning of
an exciting collaboration between the Institute for Social Studies and the University
of Venda. Amongst the guests were Mr Albert Machaba, Mr Stephen Midizi and Ms
Tinyiko Chauke who are all from Kruger National Park.
Staff and students including the guests from Kruger National Park engaged constructively
with Prof Buscher during questions and comments time.
The Director of International Relations Directorate, Mr Cornelius Hagenmeier
proposed a vote thanks in which he described the topic of the public lecture
as having generated interest from different fields of study. He appreciated
the contributions from visitors from Kruger National Park and suggested that
it should be the beginning of the relationship between UNIVEN and Kruger National