A picture is worth a thousand words

Photo elicitation is one of the many ways in which an interview can be conducted (Harper, 2002). The Photo elicitation technique is used when an interview is accompanied by the use of visual images. These images is used to elicit comments and sentiments and can be in the form of photographs, video, art, advertising and many more. The interviewer or the interviewee can provide the images and request comments which will inspire a conversation amongst themselves and others (Harper, 2002). This type of interview style can be very useful and instils emotions, memories and feelings in both the interviewer and interviewee (Harper, 2002).

Trees are essential in the survival of mankind, but they also enrich and strengthen our environment (Dean, 2015). My sister and I would spend hours outside playing in the warm sun which usually ended in painful sunburns and a lot of “I told you so” from mom (Figure 1). My uncle’s great grandfather in his infinite wisdom resolved this issue by planting trees in strategic places and this enabled us to place our jungle gym underneath such well “placed” tree.  Now we are able to play all day in the comforting shade provided by them. My sister and I spent hours playing under its welcoming shade without the fear of another painful sunburn.

Trees can also be seen as a symbol of affluence, status and power (Dean, 2015). When my aunt moved to a new house she insisted on having her garden’ main focus to be trees (Figure 2). Having such a lavish garden many people used it as a background for their photoshoots. As a result my aunt’s garden was renowned as a beautiful photo backdrop, and my aunt well-known to be accommodating in sharing her lovely garden.  I fondly remember having me and my sister’s matric farewell photoshoot in my aunt’s garden surrounded by a “forest” of trees.

Pondering our heritage we think of monuments and sacred places we seldom regard trees as part of our culture and heritage (Dean, 2015). The Podocarpus Latifolius tree better known as the Outeniqua Yellowwood tree is the National tree of South Africa (Figure 3). My parents and I had the privilege of coming across this beautiful specimen while walking the Tsitsikamma trail in Western Cape. Its sheer size and beauty alone explains why it’s our National tree.

Although trees have plenty of benefits for humans and the environment there are a few problematic trees which make a mess, causes pollen and flairs up allergies (Dean, 2015). The Jacaranda tree is a beautiful tree and also well-known icon in Pretoria, but these trees can also cause havoc (Figure 4). Jacaranda trees are known to make a mess and as striking as they are they cover the streets in flowers which sticks to the tyres of motorists and makes it slippery and unsafe to drive. Living in Pretoria I have had first-hand experience of driving in these conditions and it was truly terrifying.

Having shown my uncle the photo of the trees his grandfather had planted during our interview was an emotional experience (Figure 1). It brought a smile to his face when I explained how the shade of the trees gave not only me and my sister, but our whole family joy. When I asked him about his own experience regarding the trees his response was heart-warming.  He recalls his father telling him the story of how he and his father planted the trees when he was younger and that his father told him that he should continue this tradition with his son. Trees according to his grandfather represent life and growth.

My uncle remembers playing in the shade provided by the trees and how he and his father would sit beneath it reading stories and having picnics. Although the shade provided was refreshing what he remembers the most is the memories he had of his father and the stories they shared beneath it.

My uncle’s father passed away recently and although it is sad he can’t help but smile every time he gazes out of the window and seeing all the trees. He told me that one day when his son is old enough he will tell him the story of his grandfather and keeping a promise will plant a tree with his son in honour of his father.

When I showed my mother the picture of the Jacaranda trees she laughed as she recalled my “near death experience” while driving on the blossom covered roads of Pretoria (Figure 4). Even though she said I completely overreacted, as I always do, she must admit that these trees are known to make a mess.

Growing up my mother remembers the enormous Jacaranda tree in their backyard. My mother is one of seven children and she remembered the look of worry on her mother’s face when the Jacaranda tree started to bloom. My mother and her siblings would play outside all day throwing each other with the blossoms on the ground.

My mother told me how my grandmother would yell at them for walking around the house with their shoes covered in blossoms. Leaving marks on the floor which she just finished mopping, although she admits she remembers the beautiful blossoms more than the yelling. The Jacaranda tree and its blossoms provided countless hours of fun for her and her siblings, until they had to rake all the blossoms into neat piles to throw away.

They never knew that one tree could make such a mess until they had to clean it up and the fun tree became a nuisance very quickly. Looking back my mother admits although the tree made a mess and the clean-up was tedious it still gave her and her siblings countless memories.

Conducting an interview with my aunt it became clear that although she was renowned for her lavish garden and array of trees it did not matter to her (Figure 2). What was most important is the joy on the faces of everyone entering her garden. My aunt received numerous request form people wanting to take photographs in her garden for a special event or just a nice family photo.

She was hesitant at first, but after looking at photographs from numerous family occasions and seeing the joy on our faces and the pure beauty of the photographs she changed her mind.  Me and my sister took our matric farewell photographs in her garden and soon after other girls asked if they could do the same. Her home became a place of status and was well-known in our community.

My aunt never did it for the status she loves hosting parties and decorating for various occasions. Having these photoshoots enriched her life and not only did she get to meet new people she felt happiness seeing them smile and making her and her house a part of their memories.

Photo elicitation is a great method to conduct an interview and to entice the interviewee to share their thoughts, memories, emotions and experiences. When a picture is used it can ignite a memory or feeling in an interviewee which they otherwise would not have thought of. This form of interview is more meaningful and enriches any conversation between two people. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but shared with others a picture can inspire a thousand more.

Picture2Figure 1: Trees planted near a jungle gym at Vaaldam. Dirk Badenhorst (photographer), 2010.

Picture1Figure 2: Metric Farewell photo at beautiful garden home in Freeway Park. Zerista Badenhorst (photographer), 2010.

118Figure 3: Quteniqua Yellowwood Tree taken while hiking through the Tsitsikamma trail. Zerista Badenhorst (photographer), 2013.

Picture3Figure 4: Photo of a Jacaranda Tree in bloom. Dirk Badenhorst (photographer), 2011.


Dean, J. 2015. The unruly tree: stories from the archives, in Urban forests, trees, and greenspace: a political ecology perspective, edited by LA Sandberg, A Bardekjian & S Butt. New York: Routledge: 162-175.

Harper, D. 2002. Talking about pictures: a case for photo elicitation. Visual Studies. New York: Routledge 17(1): 13-26.

Tinkler, P. 2013. Using photographs in social and historical research. London: SAGE.


Become one with nature again

When asked about nature there will be a few people who immediately think of bugs, dangerous wild animals and no Wi-Fi, although nature seems to be a dirty word for these people others sees it as an escape, a home away from home, somewhere where you can find peace. When you want nothing more than peace and quite while surrounded by some of the most beautiful fauna and flora where better to go than a nature reserve, green space or park.

A while back I needed some time away from my busy life and I ended up taking a hiking trip with my parents to Tsitsikamma. The Tsitsikamma National Park is located on the Garden Route Western Cape, South Africa (Tsitsikamma Tourist Accommodation, 2016). The word “Tsitsikamma” is a Khoi word meaning “place of abundant or sparkling water” derived from the Khoekhoe language tse-tsesa, meaning “clear”, and gami, meaning “water” (Tsitsikamma Tourist Accommodation, 2016).

The Tsitsikamma trail was breathtakingly beautiful walking through the various mountain passes and fynbos was an incredible experience. Not only is there an abundance of rivers and streams which connotes the origin of the name, but the Tsitsikamma National Park houses some of the most beautiful Outeniqua yellowwood trees (SAASA, 2016). While hiking across the Tsitsikamma mountains there is minimal connection to the outside world due to the lack of phone signal which only enriches the journey and makes you appreciate nature even more.

Some of the Flora which can be seen while hiking in the Tsitsikamma National Park includes numerous Proteas, trees such as Outeniqua Yellowwood, Real Yellowwood, Holly, White Pear and many more (SAASA, 2016). There is also an abundance of animals and wildlife such as elephants, bush babies, vervet monkeys, baboons, leopard, bushbuck, blue duiker, bush pig and other mammals (SAASA, 2016).

Having shared the experience with my parents in the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve made the journey even more memorable for me. Without the distractions of city life and the constant beeping of a phone you really experience nature in all of its glory and create beautiful memories that will last a life time. What really amazed me about the Tsitsikamma National Park is how people respects the park and keeps it clean and neat in order to keep it a sacred heritage site.

The Tsitsikamma National Park is a beautiful reminder that nature should not be seen as a dirty word and that nature can be an amazing experience which you should be a part of. If we keep our environment and parks clean it will be an experience we can share with future generations.

Picture1Figure 1: A Protea blooming in the Tsitsikamma Nation Park. Dirk Badenhorst (photographer), 2013.

Picture2Figure 2: A Protea seen along the Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail. Dirk Badenhorst (photographer), 2013.

Picture3Figure 3: The view from one of the Tsitsikamma Mountain passes. Dirk Badenhorst (photographer), 2013.


Picture4Figure 4: Mushrooms on a stump along the trail. Dirk Badenhorst (photographer), 2013.

Picture5Figure 5: Beautiful Tree with a hole found alongside the trail. Dirk Badenhorst (photographer), 2013.




Media, Y. 2016. SAASA. [Online]
Available at: http://www.saasa.org.za/live/the-regions-fauna-and-flora/
[Accessed 10 May 2016].

Siyabona Africa. 2016. Tsitsikamma National Park, Garden Route National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa. [Online]
Available at: http://www.nature-reserve.co.za/tsitsikamma-coastal-national-park.html
[Accessed 10 May 2016].

Tsitsikamma Tourist Accommodation. 2016 [Online] Available at: http://www.tsitsikamma.info/

[Assessed on 10 May 2016].


Slow violence, vast consequences

When you hear the word “violence” you immediately think of physical harm inflicted by an evil, inhumane and cold blooded criminal. We think of these violent crime as an unsightly deed that can only be portrayed by the cruellest of human beings. However we never stop to think about the violence we cause every day.

We as humans participate in these acts of violence daily, but unlike those inhumane criminals we do not commit these transgressions all at once, we commit these crimes gradually over a prolonged period of time (Nixon 2011:2). Slow violence is not a term that most of us are familiar with and those of us who are do not tend to associate slow violence with a crime (Nixon 2011:2).

Slow violence does not only affect us as humans, but it also affects our ecological systems (Nixon 2011:2). We think about violence as immediate, but the matter of the fact is slow violence occurs over prolonged period of time and as a result of this slow moving effect it is deemed as not crucial by the media (Nixon 2011:3).

When it is vacation time and everyone rushes to make plans for the holiday one of the most popular choices is the beach. The warm sand, the lovely weather and the smell of the fresh ocean breeze. We see the ocean as an escape from our busy lives, as a place of serenity after an unpleasant year, or even a home away from home. Yet our home away from home is one of the many places against which we carry out the act of slow violence. Slowly, but surely we pollute our oceans and beaches with litter and toxins and not before long the place of tranquillity will turn into a wasteland.

Vast amounts of rubbish and factory toxins are dumped into the ocean and the consequences thereof not only affects us, but it affects our ecosystem and our marine life. We are bombarded with images of pollution and animals dying due to pollution, yet we still turn our backs on prevention methods and conservation. Gradually ruining our oceans and marine life with slow violence and worst of all we do not consider or regard this to be a crime.

The slow violence inflicted on beaches and oceans has a ripple effect on our lives which not many of us are aware of. Polluting our oceans we are killing the oceanic life and as a result thereof the fishing industry declines, ensuring thousands of people and companies lose their livelihood. Not only will the unemployment rates increase causing further problems within the economy, but future generations will carry the full consequences of our mistakes.

This slow violence may not affect our generation or even those of our children, but future generations will be effected by all the damage caused over the years. Future generations will not be able to enjoy the ocean and what it has to offer as we did. Our beautiful and peaceful home away for home will be nothing more than a dumping ground destroyed by years of pollution. Mass extinction of oceanic life will be the reality of the future, by spoiling our oceans we are slowly participating in the extinction of a vast amount of marine life.

The ocean is not only a symbol of possibility, hope and beauty, it is also a symbol of childhood memories, family vacations and sheer admiration of marine life. Most of us can look back and say we have at least one childhood memory of vacationing at the beach with our family. Looking back on that vacation and recalling the joy we experienced seeing the ocean for the first time or the excitement we felt taking our first steps into the water, these are all part of our childhood memories which we cherish.

By polluting the ocean and beaches we are taking away the opportunity for future generations to create their own childhood memories. We need to stand together to prevent the pollution and destruction in order to assure those to come will be able to enjoy it as much as we did. If we stand together in the fight against this slow violence we can make a difference. A single drop of water cannot fill the ocean, just as a single person cannot save it, but if we work together and take a stand against slow violence we can make a difference.



This image shows how toxins and chemicals are being dumped into the ocean, polluting the ocean and the surrounding marine life. Kevin (photographer), 2012.


This newly discovered plastic dumping ground is located in the Indian Ocean. This photograph is an example of how pollution will affect future generations and their memory of the sea. Bongiorno, L. (photographer), 2016.


The destruction of not only the beaches and oceans, but also the destruction of our ecosystem and marine life is evident in this photograph. By destroying our ecosystem we are destroying the economy and thousands of people’s livelihoods. Renter, E. (photographer), 2014.


This photograph is an example of what can be accomplished if people started working together in order to prevent, repair the damaged caused by and eliminate pollution. The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge and Kahuku Beach had 274 volunteers help in removing garbage from the beaches and ocean. Kokua Hawaii Foundation, (photograph), 2012.


Bongiorno, L. 2016. Coastal Care. [Online]
Available at: http://coastalcare.org/2010/08/new-garbage-patch-discovered-in-indian-ocean/
[Accessed 25 April 2016].

Kevin. 2012. Poopy.org. [Online]
Available at: http://poopy.org/water-pollution/oceans-a-convenient-dumping-ground/
[Accessed 25 April 2016].

Nixon, R. 2011. Slow violence and the enviromentalism of the poor. Cambridge: Harvard Press University 1-17.

Renter, E. 2013. Natural Society. [Online]
Available at: http://naturalsociety.com/fish-eat-plastic-polluted-oceans-travels-food-chain/
[Accessed 25 April 2016].

Wu, N. 2012. Honolulu Star Advertiser. [Online]
Available at: http://thegreenleaf.staradvertiserblogs.com/2012/01/23/what-capt-moore-wants-you-to-know-about-plastic/
[Accessed 25 April 2016].




A man’s best friend

The Oxford dictionary (2016) defines the term companion “As a person or animal with whom one spends a lot of time with or with whom one travels. A person who shares the experiences of another, especially when these are unpleasant or unwelcome”. There is a reason why they chose to include animals in the definition of companionship. Animals are not only devoted to their owners, but also extremely loving, kind and above all a friend that will never let you down. Whether you had a long day at work, or a tough day at school one thing is certain your pet will always be waiting for you with a heart-warming welcome.

Haraway explains in her manifesto that dogs are not just here for the sake of it, dogs are a part of us and live amongst us for a reason (Haraway, 2007). Regrettably not everyone shares the viewpoint of being equal to animals and treats them horribly. Some companions are treated with neglect, cruelty, ignorance and indifference (Haraway, 2007). Though not all relationships between humans and companion species are cruel some are filled with love, respect, joy and playfulness (Haraway, 2007). Having a companion animal in your life will help you cope through difficult times and come out stronger in the end, whether you are a child or an adult (Haraway, 2007).

The relationship between people and companion species can be discussed in many ways, but the best way to warm the hearts of every dog lover and maybe convince the not so fond of dog types the benefits of a human – companion relationship, is to show them. This photo essay will show and discuss the relationship between four people and their companion species.

Since his early twenties Jeandre Botes has worked on a lion farm in Rustenburg. Being around lions and other wildlife every day was definitely something Jeandre could easily see himself doing for the rest of his life, but what he could not imagine was his growing companionship with a lion. Jeandre cares for and raises the animals on the farm. Some people will claim a lion is not regarded as a pet but hand raised lions is part of the family just the same as dogs.  Although he loves each and every animal on the farm there is one which stood out from the rest. A lioness named Zeera which he raised from a playful cub to a beautiful strong lioness and in return received the best possible reward ever, unconditional love and a friend.

Not only does Zeera recognise Jeandre when he visits her, she is happy to see him. Zeera easily overpowers Jeandre at 200kg, but is his eyes Zeera is still the playful and gentle cub that he raised. Though playing with his friend can leave a few scratch marks and torn clothes.

Micke De Lange is a typical teenage girl with the usual teenage problems such as mean girls and disloyal friends. Her friends may not be true to their friendship, but there is a dog called Roxy who she relies on every day to put a smile on her face. The pressures of high school can be overwhelming, but with a companion like Roxy it seems possible to overcome any obstacle. Having a tough day at school Micke know there is always one dependable aspect in her life and that is her best friend Roxy being there to comfort her.

Roxy is a loyal, energetic and loving dog given to Micke on her sixteenth birthday by her boyfriend. Micke saw a new and lifelong friend, her parent’s on the other hand envisioned an endless nightmare of cleaning, refurnishing and sleepless nights. Nevertheless Roxy crawled into the hearts of her parents and soon after became a full fledge member of the De Lange family. Needless to say Roxy is still the greatest gift not only to Micke, but to her whole family.

*Jessica Day is my closest friend and when I visit her I am always greeted with love and enthusiasm and when Nunu is done welcoming me *Jessica finally has the chance too. Nunu is a SPCA dog that *Jessica rescued and even though her body is small Nunu has a big heart. Coming from an abusive home Nunu was a shy and scared dog, but *Jessica took her in and gave her a loving home. *Jessica earned Nunu’s trust and since then their relationship changed. Nunu is not just a project or a pet chosen to keep her busy, Nunu is her family.

*Jessica Day is an alias name used to hide the identity of one of the participants.

Nunu is her best friend someone she can talk to, love, hold in her arms after a long day and most of all depend on. When she chose Nunu she did not count on loving an animal as much as she loves her dog. The Oxford Dictionary (2016), defined companion as someone to share experiences with whether they are good or bad and that is exactly what animals are for. *Jessica has the comfort of knowing when things are bad in her life she will always have Nunu by her side. *Jessica may have given Nunu a home and a mother, but Nunu gave her comfort, companionship and love beyond compare.

Peter von Wielligh and his pug, named Pug, not very creatively named, if you asked me, grew up together. Peter and Pug met each other on Pieter’s fifth birthday which would explain the lack of thought put into the name and they have been inseparable ever since. Growing up in a house full of girls Peter needed someone to talk to and share his thoughts and feelings with. Twenty-one years later and Peter and his uncreatively named Pug still share their birthdays, feelings and memories together.

We all need someone in our lives to help us through difficult times whether it is to support us, to comfort us or to love us. Friends will come and go, but if you are good to an animal and earn their trust you will have a friend for life. In the end we should not only see them as animals we are co-existent in this world both equally important and needed. We should see pets as our family, our friends, our loved ones and most of all a part of us. Having a companion species can not only enrich your life, but can also fill your heart.




This photo of Jeandre was taken with Zeera, the lioness cub he raised. While working on a lion farm Jeandre had plenty encounters with animals, but non like Zeera. Their bond grew stronger and the unusual companionship between a man and a lioness began to develop. This picture is a great example of love between a human and a companion species. Not only does Zeera recognize Jeandres voice, she gets excited when she sees him. They spend every day together and with each passing moment they create an even more inseparable bond. Zelna Blom, photographer. 2014.




Roxy went from being a birthday present to a part of the De Lange family when she was given to Micke on her sixteenth birthday. When times are tough Micke can always depend on Roxy being there to comfort her. The love and companionship Micke has with Roxy can be seen in this photograph. Roxy is a part of her life and buried deep in her heart. Little did her boyfriend know, he gave her more than just a dog, he gave her a friend. Juanita De Witt, photographer. 2015.



*Jessica Day rescued Nunu from the SPCA when she was just a puppy. Nunu grew up in an abusive home and as a result was shy and scared. Just as Haraway mentioned in her manifesto not all companion species relationships are perfect. Nunu was raised in a cruel, unloving and uncaring relationship, until *Jessica rescued her and showed her that companion species relationships can be loving and fulfilling. *Jessica gave Nunu a home and a mother, but Nunu gave *Jessica much longed for companionship. Zerista Badenhorst, photographer. 2016.



This photo of a pug, not so creatively named Pug, belongs to Peter von Wielligh. Peter grew up surrounded by a house full of sisters with no one to talk to or play with. His dream came true when his parents bought him a dog for his fifth birthday. Peter finally had someone to play with and to share his thoughts and feelings.  Peter and Pug became best friends that day and since then created a companionship and memories that will last a lifetime. Peter von Wielligh, photographer. 2016.



Haraway, D. 2007. The Companion Species Manifesto: dogs, people, and significant otherness. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press. pp. 2-65.

Oxford University Press, 2016. Oxford Dictionaries. [Online]
Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaires.com/definition/english/companion
[Accessed 16 April 2016].




Living in an Anthropocene

Close your eyes, what do you hear? The sound of vehicles braking and driving by on the overcrowded roads? The sound of taxis honking their horns as they speed through the traffic, or the constant drone of the concrete jungle? How many of you indicated the sound of a bird singing?

By expanding the lives of one species we are participating in the extinction of other species. While we as humans prosper in modernity and consumerism we need to start asking ourselves at what cost? We are defacing the earth by cutting down trees, polluting nature and partaking in the extinction of animals, and all for more material gain. Greed is one of many reasons for which we as humans will eradicate nature and all its inhabitants.

Anthropocene symbolises the geological age and is seen as a period in which human activity had the strongest impact on not only climate change but environmental change as well (Collins, 2016). Anthropocene and the “Great Acceleration” goes hand in hand due to the rapid shift in the environmental system (Gisli, 2013). A dominant nature environment is now mostly dominated by humans (Gisli, 2013).

The swift growth of technological developments, over population of mankind and the escalation of resource consumption are the human driving forces of the Anthropocene (Waters, 2016). The ozone hole over Antarctica had led to immense climate change and threatens the ecosystem (Steffen, 2011). The ozone hole is only one of the anthropogenic causes of change other influences include the modifying of biogeochemical cycles, the modification of water cycles and in return the change of water vapour and the extinction of fauna and flora (Steffen, 2011).

Being an early riser may be someone else’s idea of torture, but it has its own benefits. If you wake up early enough you are greeted with the sweet sounds of singing birds. Hearing the solace of singing birds is more than enough to brighten up one’s day. Those unfortunate days where I sleep in late I am woken by the sounds of cars passing by, honking horns and even the odd police sirens echoing through the streets.

Throughout the day the sound of birds signing is replaced with the constant sounds of people talking and the busy world in which we live. A nature-dominated environment is now overpowered by the presence of mankind and as a result thereof the sound of nature is replaced by manmade sounds (Gisli, 2013). The rapid shift in the soundscape links to not only the “Great Acceleration”, but shows the aftermath caused by the anthropogenic age (Collins, 2016).


There is a discord between the sounds of manmade activities and the sounds of other species in our environment (Whitehouse, 2015). The grounding of awareness is an indexical and iconic meshwork not only for birds, but for mankind as well (Whitehouse, 2015). Even though this meshwork is continuously developing there is still a few regularities present (Whitehouse, 2015). The symbolic arises from this grounding and provides the possibility for a fluctuation (Whitehouse, 2015). The Anthropocene is unstable and the cause of this instability can be linked to mankind (Whitehouse, 2015).

Listening to birds in the Anthropocene should not promote separation, but should strengthen the bond between birds and humans harmoniously (Whitehouse, 2015). Mankind changed our soundscape and influenced the sounds that we hear. The sound of nature was the dominant sound over the ages, but as time passed we as humans changed the power relation (Gisli, 2013). Humans dominated nature and by doing so changed our soundscape. Human activities integrated with the sound of nature to form a new soundscape one in which nature and human activities are both present (Whitehouse, 2015).

Most of the bird sounds that can be heard are only from a few species. This alarming revelation indicates that our biodiversity is decreasing at rapid speeds and that we need to come up with a solution in order to prevent mass extinction. More and more species are becoming endangered and we as humans are to blame. We are living in the Anthropocene and it is evident in the way that our ecosystem and biodiversity is dwindling (Whitehouse, 2015).

My father moved a lot when he was younger, but even though he moved between Germiston, Pretoria and Witbank there was always one constant, the presence of animal life. Growing up my father had a love for birdlife and farmed with pigeons and fantails. He would always remember waking up to birds singing and coming home from school and being surrounded by them. Since then times had changed and these days it is seen as a rarity to be woken up and surrounded by birds.

My mother grew up in Mapleton and can recall seeing a variety of bird species on her way to and from school, species such as crows, finks, partridges, guinea fowls and woodpeckers. On weekends she and her siblings would go and visit their grandparents on a farm. Her fondest memory is being woken up in the morning by the sound of a “piet-my-vrou”. My grandparents grew up in Fortuna and Mapleton and vividly remembers being able to see animal species every day. They saw rabbits, jackals, guinea fowls, pheasants, squirrels and owls on a daily bases. Urbanisation led to the declining of these animals amongst humans, animals which roamed free amongst people can only be seen in rural parts of the country.

In the morning when waking up for school I was greeted with the sound of birds singing in the background. Birds could be seen on the playground or flying above us when it was recess. On the first day of spring each student had to bring flowers and every year our school planted and expanded the flora of the area and environment. The declining of singing birds in my area strengthens the loss of biodiversity caused by the anthropogenic age.

The aftermath of the degradation of ecosystems can also be seen in the loss of plant species in my neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Pollution, overpopulation and urbanization are the main reasons for the loss in biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems in my community.

It is truly a tragedy when the sound of human activity is the dominant sound over that of nature and its beauty.  The shift in dominance between nature and mankind forms part of the Anthropocene and shows that we are living in an anthropogenic age due to our own fault (Gisli, 2013). Mankind is to blame for the change in the ecosystem and the loss of biodiversity we come across every day.

If we as human beings are not careful we will be the sole reason for the extinction of not only our fauna and flora, but also the extinction of mankind. We need to strive for a harmonious relationship between nature and mankind and find a balance between the two. Nature and mankind needs to be a co-dependant relationship and in order to grow we need to be able to rely on each other.






Collins, W et al. 2016. Dictionary.com. [Online]
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Collins, W et al. 2016. Dictionary.com. [Online]
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Gisli, P et al. 2013. Reconceptualizing the Anthrops in the Antropocene: Intergrating the social sciences and humanities in global environmental change research. Environmental Science & Policy, Issue 28, pp. 3-13.

Steffen, W et al. 2011. The Antropocene: conceptual and historical perspectives. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society , Issue 369, pp. 842-867.

Waters, C et al. 2016. The Antropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. Science, Issue 351, p. 6269:[sp].

Whitehouse, A. 2015. Listening to birds in the Antropocene: the anxious semiotics of sound in a human-dominated world. Environmental Humanities , Issue 6, pp. 53-71.



South African Droughts

A drought is an alarming natural event which occurs due to irregular or below-average rainfall in certain areas causing water shortages, decreases in produce production and contributing to rising inflation (Anon., n.d.). Drought in South Africa has become an alarming concern for every South African as the water shortage keeps increasing.

Africa Check Sorting fact from fiction: Frequently asked questions about South Africa’s drought News24: Hundreds brave the rain to hear Zuma address drought imbizo in KZN Twitter: Trouble in SA’s farming sector as drought bites business #Drought
According to professor Mathieu Rouault there are two factors contributing to drought (Mojapelo, 2016). The first being El Niño which is the rise of oceanic temperatures in the South Pacific (Mojapelo, 2016). The increasing temperatures leads to reduced rainfall in Southern Africa (Mojapelo, 2016). Global warming is another contributing factor in the increased changes of weather patterns (Mojapelo, 2016). The droughts in KwaZulu-Natal has become a cornering factor for the people living in the uThungulu district (Khoza, 2016). A water delivery service is in place to aid the people of uThungulu until the crisis is resolved. President Jacob Zuma also started a drought relieve program to help those severely affected by the droughts (Khoza, 2016). Pravin Gordhan Finance Minister of South Africa commented that there will be a R15 billion drought relief budget in place to assist with drought stricken districts. Questioning this program is the senior economist at AgriSA, Thabi Nkosi who argued that the program was incomplete and required more detail in order for the programme to be efficient (Dardagan, 2016).
The drought in South Africa reached a crucial point especially in the areas of: Mpumalanga, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Free State (Mojapelo, 2016). The lack of rainfall contributes to inflation and reducing of crops (Mojapelo, 2016). uThungulu is one of the most severely affected areas in KwaZulu-Natal and the inhabitants are faced with a serious problem of water shortage and a decrease in livestock as result of this phenomena. The droughts experienced recently in Durban has led to a decline in production on South African farms. The drought also contributed to South Africa’s agricultural production figures to fall by 8.4% (Blaine, 2013).
Global warming is a pressing issue all over the world (Mojapelo, 2016). Global warming is also the leading cause for the change in weather patterns which contributes to lack of rainfall and subsequently drought (Mojapelo, 2016). If everyone participates in reducing their carbon footprints we can slow down the effects caused by global warming (Mojapelo, 2016). This solution is commendable due to the fact that if everyone reduces their carbon footprint by even a little it will have a big impact on the minimization of global warming (Mojapelo, 2016). A water delivery service can be implemented to aid those affected by the water shortage and supply the inhabitants with water when needed (Khoza, 2016). A drought relief programme can be used to minimalize the effects of drought and make arrangements to alleviate consequences in future occurrences of drought. A drought relief programme is not the only solution because of all the affects it will have on people such as higher tax rates and inflation. The improvement of a water delivery system can be a solution if districts not affected by the shortage are willing to support the government in efforts or projects of supplying water to those in need. A R15 billion budget for a drought relief programme is in place in order to minimalize the effects of droughts and the consequences thereof. This solution is not feasible due to the fact that the money needed for the budget would have to come from the people who mean a raise in taxes and price increases. The drought budget is also incomplete and lacks the necessary details needed to approve such a plan (Dardagan, 2016).
If people started to recycle their waste and reduce the amount of pollution caused by illegal dumping, factory smoke, power stations,  littering, exhaust gasses and many more the effects of global warming could be reduced. This will lead to less climate changes and in turn lead to less droughts. A drought relief programme could research ways to help lessen the negative effects droughts have on people and farms (Khoza, 2016). Drought relief programmes could be used to generate solutions needed to ensure future occurrences are dealt with adequately and provide ways in which people affected by this issue could be helped. If people from other districts and their local governments work together to supply and save water and assisting the people in areas where drought is a regular issue.  An efficient and pro-active water delivery system would be effective in the fight against drought. If a detailed budget relief programme was implemented areas in danger of droughts could be more prepared and more capable of handling this matter (Dardagan, 2016). By being more prepared issues regarding droughts could be addressed and by doing so minimalizing the consequence drought has on certain areas (Dardagan, 2016).


The African Check: Frequently asked questions about drought article’s theories about the causes of drought goes hand in hand with the Great Acceleration theory (Holm, 2015). The Great Acceleration theory refers to the “human technologies, powers and consumption in [of] the last 70 years that has operated as a key driver of Global Change (Mojapelo, 2016).

As agreed upon by the world leaders at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015 there are many factors that contributes to climate change just as professor Mathieu Rouault suggested that climate change occurs because of two key issues namely global warming and El Niño (Holm, 2015). In this article the main drivers of change is to reduce the effects of global warming. New technologies has had both negative and positive impacts on global warming (Mojapelo, 2016). While some new technologies are designed to help lessen the amount of energy, smoke, gasses and other issues portraying to the causes of global warming, some new technologies contribute to the acceleration of global warming.

Powers and consumption has increased and in order to keep up with the new consumption rate more factories needed to be built and more products needed to be produce. This had a negative impact on global warming due to the fact that more factory smoke, gasses and waste was being produced increasing the impact we have on global warming and its severity (Mojapelo, 2016).

The solution to minimize global warming effects supports the “new human condition” in taking action to help prevent future occurrences and help eliminate current problems. The proposal to all South Africans to stand together and help prevent global warming was a fast success not only amongst the communities, but also amongst the business sectors. South African businesses had the second highest response rate globally on the JSE for their emission reports (Blaine, 2013). Companies such as Vodacom, Pick ʼn Pay, Woolworths and many more are all joining the fight against global warming.

The only way to help minimize and prevent global warming is for each individual to do their part and help solve this ongoing issue. Extensive research and public participation are two key components to help neutralise the effects of global warming. Not only should the research be detailed and planned out it should also be able to be put into practical use (Holm, 2015). The solution of reducing emissions and our carbon footprint can easily be achieved if each individual participated in the process of minimalizing global warming. Although humans are fairly set in their ways and will want to change the way they are living very few actually make that change (Holm, 2015).

In the article “Hundreds brave the rain to hear Zuma address drought imbizo in KZN” the district of uThungulu is just one of the many districts to suffer at the hands of water shortage and drought. The “Great Acceleration” may not have had such a large impact on the crisis as in other places, but due to the climate changes cause by external factors KwaZulu-Natal and the district of uThungulu are more likely to be affected than others (Khoza, 2016). Even though the “Great Acceleration” is a worldwide occurrence that has been in use for centuries it functions at different degrees and is used in different contexts around the world (Holm, 2015).

The “new human condition” in this article was to take action and face the problem head on. President Jacob Zuma came to the aid of the people of KZN and a plan was implemented for a drought relief programme and a water delivery system to be put into place to ensure that the people of KZN and other drought stricken areas have access to water (Khoza, 2016). Even though we as humans created the problem by allowing global warming to get out of hand we are facing the consequences of our mistakes and we are trying to rectify them by implementing programmes such as the water delivery systems (Holm, 2015).

The solution for a water delivery system will engage and need the support and help of the business sectors to be able to implement the solution. Many businesses such as Woolworths, ABSA, Pick ʼn Pay and more will get behind the plan to support those in need during times of drought, because drought does not affect only one person it affects our country as a whole (Khoza, 2016).

When a drought commences it is the job of every individual in the communities as well as the government to participate in the solution to support and aid those affected by droughts. The solution to begin a drought relief programme is not only practical, but can be implemented and fulfilled by the public and its government. The solution to begin a water delivery system will be harder to enforce due to the fact that the water shortage would simply be moved from one area to the next. If the water taken from one are is overused that water source will become limited and resources would start to dry up.

In the article “Trouble in SA’s farming sector as drought bites business #Drought” the “Great Acceleration” of consumption is one of the leading causes of drought (Dardagan, 2016). New products are being produced daily and more and more products are demanded in larger quantities which has a bigger outcome on global warming which increases the chances of drought.

The “new human condition” to take action is shown by the implementation of a drought relief budget programme which will not only aid those in need, but will help to minimalize future effects of drought (Dardagan, 2016). The drought relief programme could use humanities to study the acceleration process by using research to determine the capability of people to use other resources less harmful to the environment lessening the effects of global warming (Holm, 2015). The new solution will engage with the business sector in terms of inflation, prices would have to rise in order to obtain the capital needed to fund the relief programme. Any food store such as Pick ʼn Pay, Spar, Checkers and many restaurants would all have to raise the prices of food and other necessities in order to raise the money needed (Dardagan, 2016).

The public will have to work harmoniously with the government to help ensure the funds for the drought relief programme (Dardagan, 2016). This solution would be hard seeing that people not necessarily affected by the drought would have to pay the increasing inflation in order to help the government with this problem.

Drought is and will continue to be a serious problem not just for South Africans, but the whole world in general will suffer at the hands of this issue if the necessary arrangements, plans and solutions are not implemented to overcome this issue.











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Holm, P., 2015. Humanities for the Environment. A manifesto for research and action., Volume 4, pp. 977-992.

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