Professor Maano Ramutsindela delivered his inaugural lecture, ‘Remapping Africa through Peace Parks: what future for the continent? on 21 February 2018.
In his lecture he argued that the current peace parks on the continent have colonial roots that almost forgotten. Nature conservation on the continent was integral to the colonisation of Africa. He gave an example of East Africa where British national parks for Africa were used to reinforce the concentration of British immigrants in that region. The translocation of wildlife was instrumental for creating some of the national parks we see today. The location of current peace parks such as the Great Limpopo is not significantly different from those of colonial trans-border conservation in the 1930s. He emphasized that peace parks as cross-border nature conservation areas are not a post-1990 phenomenon in the region, and elsewhere in Africa.
Professor Ramutsindela gave three answers to the question of what future peace parks hold for Africa’s natural resources. His first answer is that peace parks change the function of international borders by allowing the movement of wildlife across the borders of nation-states. While wildlife can move freely, this is not the case with local people living within or adjacent to peace parks. On this note we cannot say that peace parks decolonise Africa. His second answer is that once established, peace parks make it difficult for participating countries to claim the ownership of wildlife. The third and final answer is that peace parks push back land claims, especially on the South African side.
Cultural heritage sites are the new rationale for the creation of peace parks in Africa. Wold Heritage Sites along Africa’s borderlands are being mapped out to assist the development of peace parks.