The changing geography of wildlife conservation: perspectives on private game farming in contemporary KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
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Widespread wildlife ranching on privately owned land in South Africa has been fuelled mainly by land use changes in the agricultural sector over recent decades. This has changed the landscape of nature conservation with varying effects. This article attempts to explain the contradictions and continuities in the governance of private wildlife ranching in South Africa, with a focus on the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The article draws on data from interviews with key informants, observations by the author and documentary evidence linked to the private wildlife ranching sector in KwaZulu-Natal Province. The theory of post-productivism is used here to attempt to understand the transformation in the agricultural and wildlife conservation sectors that has shaped rural development in South Africa. In analysing the complex relationships between different state and private actors in this space, the author argues that this changing geography is symptomatic of processes witnessed by the enclosure of land into private ownership, a process that, by no means is confined to South Africa. These transformations in the agricultural and nature conservation spheres are an integral part of rural transformation and restructuring in the South African countryside steeped in a long history of contestations over access to, and control of, natural resources inherently associated with land and wildlife.