body bg


The village in a game park: Local response to the demise of coal mining in KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa

  • Year: 2003
  • Author: Binns, Tony; Nel, Etienne
  • Journal Name: Economic Geography
  • Journal Number: Vol.79, No.1
  • Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  • Published Location: Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Country: South Africa
  • State/Region: KwaZulu-Natal

Changing economic circumstances as a result of deindustrialization and market forces dramatically affect local areas and lead to a variety of local-level responses. Economic change and the reaction to this process have received much attention in the context of the decline of old heavy industrial regions in Western Europe and North America. But deindustrialization is also occurring elsewhere, for example, in countries such as South Africa, where the decline of mining and related industries is having a severe impact on the livelihoods of individuals, households, and communities. Considerations of institutional thickness, resourcefulness, and capacities inherent within host communities contribute to an understanding of the likely potential of the development response undertaken. This article considers the situation in a once important coal-mining region in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, focusing particularly on the community of Utrecht. In the postapartheid period, unemployment in the area has escalated, at a time when greater empowerment of the historically disadvantaged black population is urgently needed. Through cooperation within the community, together with the injection of external funding and collaboration in a series of joint ventures, Utrecht is progressively rebranding itself as a center for tourism. A number of community-initiated projects are discussed, and the dynamics of the formulation and implementation of the projects are evaluated in the context of the capabilities of individuals and institutions.

Related Items

The Quiet Revolution in Natural Resource Management Community Engagement

The project involved a review of the effectiveness of community skills, knowledge and engagement...

Indicators of community strength in Victoria: framework and evidence

This report provides the underpinning framework and evidence for DPCD’s community development work...

Natural disasters and community resilience: A framework for support

This paper explores the concept of community resilience and outlines recent frameworks and tools...

Share this with your friends

Footer Logo

Contact Us

Level 2, 53 Blackall Street
Barton ACT 2600
Telephone: 02 6260 3733
or email us