Research & Future Projects

Current Research

Lindela Mjenxane is currently completing his master’s in Social and Environmental Anthropology from the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Lindela through his thesis is of the premise that nature more specifically mountains can be a source of healing.

A platform to be used as a coping mechanism by those who are confronted by their social challenges and who find it difficult to deal with them.

His empirical study is inspired by his 14 years of personal experience with Table Mountain National Park and other mountains.

Thesis key Chapter’s Outline

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What is the historical connection between Africans in the context of Xhosa people to be precise and the mountain? What is the ancestral link between mountains and Africans in particular Xhosa people?
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Investigate the probability of using nature or mountain as a fitting space to provide nature therapy to those who are confronted by their social challenges. Could those who interact with the mountain find healing or could they use Table Mountain as their coping mechanism in light of the social challenges they face in society?
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Investigate the feasibility of allocating a portion of un-serviced land on Table Mountain for Xhosa and Hlubi initiation practices? What is the future of conservation areas such as ‘Table Mountain’ if local people continue to be excluded from their land, their heritage and their mountain?
Lindela aims to publish one of his articles later this year titled; “Reclaiming Table Mountain: “Exploring the probability of nature or mountain as a fitting space to provide nature therapy to the troubled youth across the Townships of Cape Town”. This academic article will provide a piece of concrete evidence that confirms that indeed green spaces or nature have the potential to transform the troubled youth for better whilst improving their well-being. Lindela used qualitative methods to collect his data. He interviewed 10 members of Beyond Expectation Environmental Project (BEEP) and 5 members of Chrysalis Academy which are the two organizations used as the case study for the aforementioned article. Keniger, (et al 2003) explains that interacting with nature is essential in upholding and improving human well-being especially in the rapidly urbanizing world. The effect of “nature experience” is defined as nothing less than a transformation of the sense of self with the universe” (Griffiths 2002:261).

Future Research

Lindela Mjenxane has decided to broaden his research interest to climate change for his PhD research, he plans to start later this year at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The research aim is to investigate the effects of Climate Change in the rural areas of Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape and explore possible adaptation strategies to lessen its impact on the distressed rural communities. Turpie & Visser (2013) insists that rural people are believed to be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Their vulnerability is not attributed to climate change only but it is additionally affected by a combination of social, economic and environmental factors that interact with it.

Key Areas of Study

Eastern Cape province is facing the longest severe drought in history, due to the impact of climate change. This means that millions of people in the entirety of Eastern Cape do not have access to drinkable clean water, which is their basic human right. Mugambiwa & Tirivangasi 2017; Ziervogel et al. (2006) insists that climate change has adversely affected agricultural productivity in Africa. There is ample evidence that reveals that Africa and other developing countries face more challenges from climate change because of poor adaptation mechanisms in place (Enete & Achike 2008; Jagtap 2007; Nwafor 2007). Climate change has impacted negatively in agriculture and livestock farming, which are the main sources of livelihood in the rural areas of Eastern Cape. Several studies on climate change have focused on industrialized urban areas, whilst rural communities have largely been ignored

One of the aims of this research is to investigate the feasibility of extracting water from the aquifer at Mthonjeni village in Lady Frere. I assume that Mthonjeni village is highly rich and resourceful as far as the aquifer is concerned. The aim is to quantify how much water is available in the aquifer. This study seeks to investigate whether some of the water from the aquifer can be extracted to irrigate the planted indigenous trees and plants Nursery and later for agricultural activities. In the aftermath of this research, Beyond Expectation Environmental Project (BEEP) in partnership with Cacadu Environmental Developmental Centre(CEDC) plan to kick start an indigenous trees and plants Nursery at Mthonjeni Village in Lady Frere. The idea is to bring conservation element into the rural areas in a form of planting indigenous trees and plants which will come from the above-mentioned Nursery. This will be one of the possible adaptation strategies to lessen the impact of climate change whilst, we hope that this will contribute significantly to the livelihoods of people living in Lady Frere. The idea is to supply every household with 3 fruit trees and 2 indigenous. One of the long-term goals is to start a mini-forests in around Lady Frere as it is BEEP and CEDC desire to plant 2 million trees in the next five years. Ndaki (2014) observes that even though education is prioritized on the climate change agenda, the knowledge level regarding climate change adaptation in some of the regions remains low. Therefore, one of BEEP and CEDC long-term plan is to further educate young people in schools across the Eastern Cape province and later across South Africa on the impact of climate change and the possible collective solutions to it, which would emanate from the findings of this research. Lindela has also founded Hluma Research Developmental Institute (HRDI) which specializes not only in environmental-related research but it also produces and publishes academic journals, articles and books. However, some of these produced materials ought to be written in the vernacular language of the affected parties. The copy of this thesis and all the published materials will be made available on the website of HRDI.