Research Group Activities 2017


31 January

Departmental postgraduate welcome and first meeting of the 2017 ‘Cosmopolitan Karoo’ postgraduate research team.

6- 11 February

2017 research team inception field trip to Sutherland, Middelpos, Calvinia, Nieuwoudtville and Loeriesfontein.

5 – 26 March 

Charmaine R.S Manyani did her first phase of fieldwork towards her research project in the Ubuntu Municipality, Northern Cape.

2 – 6 April

Marike van der Merwe travelled to the Klein Karoo to conduct the last few interviews for her research project, thus concluding her fieldwork in the Karoo.

15 – 27 May

Caroline Poole and Sune Butler travelled to the Northern Cape. Caroline Poole gathered qualitative data in Vanwyksvlei in order to supplement her quantitative survey which was conducted in September 2016. Sune Butler conducted her field research in Carnarvon. She explored the town and collected data by means of interviews.

16- 18 May

Stephanie Borchardt was nominated and appointed to be on the Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF) committee.

29 May – 3 June

Monene Mogashoa and Charmaine Manyani travelled to Kimberly. Monene travelled to gather information regarding the history of her research site. She met with various beneficiaries, archaeologists and officials from the regional land claims commission. Charmaine conducted key informant interviews relating to her own research.

2 – 7 June

Dayni Sanderson, Kylie Bolton, Zuki Zantsi, Tumi Malope and Stephanie Borchardt travelled to the Karoo for a scoping trip. They visited the Karoo National Park, Carnarvon, De Aar and Nelspoort.

12 – 15 September

Cherryl Walker was in Basel, Switzerland to meet with colleagues at the Centre for African Studies, Basel University and participate as an examiner in the doctoral defense of James Merron at the Centre.

18 – 20 September

Cherryl Walker visited Leipzig University and participated in the ‘Afrika-Workshop’ at the Centre for Areas Studies, Leipzig University.

2 – 3 October

Jan Vorster and Cherryl Walker travelled to Sutherland to meet with community stakeholders in preparation for the household survey, starting on the 30th of October 2017.




Research Group Activities 2016

2 February
Cosmopolitan Karoo Research Forum

Departmental postgraduate welcome and first meeting of the ‘Cosmopolitan Karoo’ postgraduate research team

8 – 12 February
Research team orientation and scoping trip to Prince Albert, Carnarvon and Vanwyksvlei

Highlights included talks on Karoo ecology by Prof Sue Milton (Renu-Karoo Veld Restoration) and a guided a tour of the Wolwekraal Nature Reserve and local projects in Prince Albert with her; a meeting with the Kareeberg Municipal Manager and a visit to the Siyafunda Computer Centre, in Carnarvon, and a visit to the Vanwyksvlei Intermediate School in Vanwyksvlei for an informal discussion with teachers. In addition to the opportunity to learn more about issues and developments in the Karoo, the trip provided an opportunity for team members to get to know each other and develop ideas about their individual research projects.

13 – 16 March
Prof Marja Spierenburg (VUY/Radboud University), Charmaine Manyani and Cherryl Walker went on a scoping field trip to the Eastern Karoo, including visits to a game farm in the Jansenville area and the Bethesda Art Centre in Nieu-Bethesda, as well as stops at Graaff-Reinet and Aberdeen.

14 – 25 March
Davide Chinigò undertook an exploratory field trip to the Carnarvon area, meeting with a range of local residents from different backgrounds and in different contexts.

10 – 23 April
Monique van der Hoef and Marike van der Merwe did fieldwork towards their respective research projects in Carnarvon and the Kareeberg Municipality.

13 – 14 April
Monene Mogashoa visited Kimberley and Vaalbos as part of a scoping visit for her research proposal.

5 – 10 June
Monique van der Hoef and Marike van der Merwe conducted further fieldwork towards their respective research projects in Carnarvon and the Kareeberg Municipality.

24-26 June
Suné Butler, Charmaine Manyani, Renelle Terblanche and Marike van der Merwe attended the Victoria-West Wildfees as part of a scoping exercise on social dynamics and land and agrarian change in the central Karoo for their respective research projects.


18 – 20 & 22 July
Stefni Borchardt attended report-back meetings in Victoria West, Graaff-Reinet and Cape Town on the draft findings from the SEA on shale gas development.

14 – 19 August
Monique van der Hoef undertook further fieldwork towards her research project in Carnarvon.

31 August – 4 September
Andre Breytenbach attended the Williston Winter Festival as part of his research on the Rieldans for his Honours research project.

11 – 16 September
Michelle Duncan undertook fieldwork towards her Honours research project in Prince Albert

12 – 22 September

Vanwyksvlei Household Survey

The survey ran over two weeks, with some 500 households in this small, isolated town 80 km from Carnarvon successfully surveyed (effectively the whole town). MA student Caroline Poole managed the survey and enumerator team, the latter comprising 16 unemployed Vanwyksvlei matriculants, supplemented by five Research Chair postgraduate students in the second week. The local enumerators were selected by working through a number of community-based organisations and were paid per questionnaire successfully completed and quality-checked. They received two days of training at the start of the fieldwork and a certificate from Prof Walker at a final lunch, to acknowledge their work and contribution to the success of the event. All who took part agreed that it was a challenging but also an enjoyable and rewarding experience. The data will now be processed and analysed by Caroline for her MA in the first instance; the results will also be drawn on in further analysis by the Research Chair of socio-economic conditions and development challenges in the Kareeberg municipality and Karoo more generally.

7 – 14 October
Niell Schoeman undertook fieldwork towards his MA thesis in the Prince Albert area.