PhD student wins Bronze Medal for Best Masters by research dissertation
Lindokuhle Khumalo recently won the Society of South African Geographers’ 2018 Bronze Medal (Best Masters by research dissertation) for his thesis titled 'Negotiating Biodiversity: An Exploration of the Conservation encounter in KwaZulu-Natal's Biodiversity Stewardship Programme'.
Lindokuhle completed his Masters degree at the University of the Western Cape and is now a PhD student and early stage researcher with the Anthusia research project located in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo.
The main focus of Lindokuhle’s research was to explore how the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme (BSP), a local biodiversity conservation initiative, is experienced by member communities and to investigate various actors’ understandings of ‘biodiversity’. The BSP is a state-driven initiative which aims to get non-state landowners to participate in conservation. Lindokuhle set out to understand the relationship of participant communities with biodiversity stewardship and to explore the idea of biodiversity by looking at how it comes into meaning in a local context.
“I think the way I immersed myself into the topic is one of the reasons I ended up with a strong body of work. During my research I came across a whole lot of interesting things, for instance the translation of ‘biodiversity’ into Zulu which is the local language. I ended up looking at the politics of translation, and brought in a lot of linguistics. So my thesis was not just based on geography, but can be said to be interdisciplinary in approach”
The prize was given by the South African Geographers Society, which chooses the awardees amongst geographers from all over the country. The prize was accepted on his behalf by Prof Shirley Brooks, who has not only been his supervisor but also an inspiration and support whom Lindokuhle thanks with gratitude.
For his PhD project, Lindokuhle is going to build on the knowledge gained from his Masters research, taking it further by bringing in the perspective of private environmental NGOs among other things.
“What I focused upon in my Masters was one initiative that is organized by the state but now I want to bring in the private sector and try to study a different kind of dynamic by looking at another kind of system and different types of land tenure.”
His PhD project is co-supervised by Head of Department Knut Nustad.
On behalf of the department, congratulations Lindokuhle!