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Film documents land restitution in wildlife areas
Thursday, September 11, 2003

African Eye News Service (Nelspruit, South Africa) by Craig Bishop

On the remote edges of South Africa, there are people doing something central to the country's future.

Once threatened with removal from their ancestral lands to make way for wildlife, they are now using nature to rebuild their lives and the economy of the country.

This is how a film, called "Road to Restitution", starts.

The 45-minute film takes place in three remote areas of South Africa; the Richtersveld, Kosi Bay and the northern Kruger.

The documentary examines, in a critical and honest way, the lives of three communities and the challenges they face now that they have returned to their ancestral land. It is directed by Karin Slater and will be screened at the Bat Centre in Durban on Friday.

The city is hosting the fifth World Parks Congress since Seattle in 1962 and it's the first time it's being held in Africa.

African nations are considered to have shown great leadership in creating over two million square kilometres of protected areas - twice the entire size of South Africa.

The theme of the conference this year is "Benefits beyond Boundaries" and delegates get to visit communities neighbouring protected areas like the Sibaya Coastal Park, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, uKhahlamba World Heritage Site and the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park.

Derek Potter, head of conservation partnerships at KwaZulu-Natal's conservation agency, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, says new conservation thinking meant parks must be managed around people's homes.

This in turn should strengthen the protected status of such parks, he said.


Kivu Refugees


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