Economic and social change in the communities of the wetlands of Chobe and Ngamiland, with special reference to the period since 1960


  • Glorious Bongani Gumbo


The objective of this thesis is to explore how the interconnections between people, the economy and the environment shaped livelihoods in the wetlands of Chobe and Ngamiland from c.1870 to the recent past. Beginning in the 1870s with the arrival of European hunters and traders and the Declaration of the Bechuanaland Protectorate in 1885, the thesis explores economic and social change among the peoples of this region. First it tracks the efforts of the colonial government to eradicate disease and establish the foundations of a cattle industry in this ecologically sensitive and economically marginal area leading up to independence in 1966. Then it examines the articulation of development strategies on the part of the independent government of Botswana and their application to the challenges of economic upliftment in the economically marginal region of the north western wetlands. It shows how state interventions sought to mediate the fragile relationship between environment, development and people from the late 1960s to 2000 and most importantly, it explores how local people interacted with each other, the environment and the various arms of the state as they went about their daily lives.