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2011-05-25 | Peer Reviewed

Kgalagadi transfrontier park and its land claimants: a pre- and post-land claim conservation and development history

Muchapondwa, Edwin, Sheona Shackleton and Gladman Thondhlana. 2011. “Kgalagadi transfrontier park and its land claimants: a pre- and post-land claim conservation and development history.” Environmental Research Letters 6:2: .
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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and neighbouring Botswana. The local communities on the South African side, the Khomani San (Bushmen) and Mier living adjacent to the park have land rights inside and outside the park.

The path from a history of land dispossession to being land owners has created conservation challenges manifested through heightened inter- and intra-community conflicts. The contestations for land and tourism development opportunities in and outside the park have drawn in powerful institutions such as the governments, South African National Parks, private safari companies, local interest groups and NGOs against relatively powerless local communities. This has consequently attracted national and international interest since it may result in further marginalization of the communities who lack the power to negotiate resource access. Moreover, the social and political system of the San is romanticized while little is reported about the Mier, who are an integral part of the park management system. To make these issues more accessible to a growing audience of interested parties and to better understand present conservation and development challenges and opportunities, this paper synthesizes information on the pre- and post-land restitution history of the park and the adjacent communities.