Intergenerational adaptability to natural hazards : a case study of the Kasane community
Moholo, Madiphoko Sylveria
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Over the past decade, an increase in the frequent occurrence of natural hazards have had a negative impact to the human race. An increase in the incident and severity of natural hazards and disasters is due in part to the change in the climatic conditions experienced globally, with the results that both human and natural systems have been negatively affected. With the increase in the global climatic conditions, the adverse damaging impact of natural hazards has increased in severity, spatial coverage and in the frequency of the occurrence of these natural hazards. This is because climate change exacerbates some of the natural hazards, particularly those of hydro-meteorological origin. Multiple, frequent repeating and compound shocks that are experienced in Sub-Saharan Africa prevent the communities from fully recovering, and as each of these shocks is individually not of a scale that attracts global attention, responses are often under-resourced (Reliefweb, 2004). To reduce the impact of natural hazards exacerbated by climate change measures need to be taken in the physical, economic and social environment of the areas at risk. In the field of Disaster Risk Management there are two generic measures that are often taken to lessen the adverse impact of natural hazards, namely adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation is continuous, and it encompasses a continuous stream of activities, actions, and attitudes that informs decisions about all aspects of life, and that reflects existing social norms and processes. Mitigation is the lessening or minimising of the adverse impact of a hazardous event. The purpose of this study is to investigate the ways in which the community of Kasane, Botswana has through the years adapted to the adverse impacts of natural hazards that they are exposed to. Specifically, the study will focus on the adaptation of three different generations spanning the past 50 years. Thus, the main question in this study is “how have the different generations of Kasane community, Botswana dealt with the occurrences of the natural hazards that they have been exposed to in the past 50 years”?. To address this question and to achieve the objective of the study, the study applied both theoretical and empirical dimensions. Firstly, a literature review of the conceptualization of natural hazards and the social learning theory, discussing how coping and adaptation strategies have been passed on from one generation to the next, is conducted. The study also undertook an empirical research by means of a qualitative research design in order to address the above stated objective in full. Data in the empirical study was collected though semi-structured face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions. The collected data was then analysed by using a thematic analysis approach with verbatim quotes. A total of 107 participants participated in the study. The respondents were able to articulate how coping and adaptation strategies have been passed on from one generation to the next. These coping and adaptation strategies are, namely, educating local farmers about plantation; allocation of seasonal activities; sending children to school; planting trees in the yard; increase in retail prices during peak season; early warning messages; wearing wet clothes during summer; labour migration to towns; and provision of disaster relief programmes. The respondents were also able to articulate the importance of indigenous knowledge within the community of Kasane and provided the different ways in which information is passed on from one generation to the next. The respondents mentioned ways such as the younger generation practising what they were taught e.g. planting and herding; the younger generation assisting the older generation with day-to-day activities; the Batswana culture forcing the younger generation to listen to the older generation; initiation schools; folk laws and tales; ceremonies; songs; village meetings; taboos; and arts and craft. Conclusions and recommendations pertaining to the empirical findings of this study were provided, highlighting an integrated approach towards the development and implementation of coping and adaptation strategies between the government of Botswana and the community of Kasane.