Understandings of land and place among the displaced people from the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Massingir, Mozambique
Adérito Júlio Machava
Conservation measures while undeniably important have a significant negative impact on local people’s lives. O the other hand, little attention is given to human consequences of such initiatives. When it does, the focus is typically materialist: an analysis of certain initiatives impacts on local livelihoods. While undeniably important, economic welfare is but one facet of people’s lived experience. Studies on the impact of development-induced displacement have shown that the number of people affected (displaced) by programs promoting national, regional and local development is substantial and usually they do not benefit from such development. Instead, they are more often impoverished, losing their cultural, economic and social resources and quite often provoking resistance. This paper argues that material and ideational perspectives are obviously intertwined. There is the oft-expressed perspective that indigenous people and their communities and other local communities have a vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices. States should recognize and duly support their identity, culture and interests and enable their effective participation in the achievement of sustainable development. Methodologically, this case study employed an integrated methodology consisting of participant observation, semi-structured interview schedule for key informants and households, life history interviews, focus groups, and site visits. Generally, the information needed was related to the subjective and public perceptions of dimensions of land and place among the displaced people.