Hanging in and stepping-out without stepping-up: Understanding livelihoods trajectories in rural Namibia

Posted on December 8, 2023

13th December 2023, 3pm-4:30pm
At Newton Park Campus, Bath Spa University CM.221

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Dr Romie Nghitevelekwa: Department of Social Sciences, University of Namibia, Namibia. British Academic Visiting Fellow, Cardiff University.

Traditionally, livelihoods in rural Namibia were largely based on subsistence crop and livestock economies. Since independence in 1990, various livelihood streams have come into play. My research follows the commodification of subsistence agriculture and community conservation as potential enablers of transforming the rural economy. I show how the rural populations hang-in in current activities (subsistence agriculture) and step-out into new activities (commodification of subsistence agriculture and community conservation) in their livelihoods pursuits. However, as they oscillate between hanging-in and stepping-out strategies, they remain in survival mode and on the periphery in terms of livelihoods advancement, without overcoming the precarious conditions of poverty. I highlight the structural barriers that make it difficult for rural populations to step-up livelihoods strategies and argue that addressing these barriers hold the potential for transformative rural development.

Dr. Romie Nghitevelekwa is a social anthropologist and lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Namibia. Her focus is on rural sociology, sociology of the environment and environmental anthropology. Her research interests include land reform, tenure security, land use change, commodification of land and nature, commodification of subsistence agriculture, gender and natural resources use, and community conservation. She is currently on a British Academy Visiting Fellowship at Cardiff University, working on the research entitled: Commodification of Subsistence Agriculture in Rural Namibia.