|The Sustainable Livelihood Approach: A Vulnerability Context Analysis of Ngwatle's !Kung Group|
|Written by Njagi, N G|
The Sustainable Livelihood Approach: A Vulnerability Context Analysis of Ngwatle's !Kung Group, Basarwa, Botswana
By Nyambura Gachette Njagi
This thesis uses aspects of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) to investigatehow global trends and national eco-political factors in Botswana impact the livelihoodstrategies or actions of a group of individuals who identify as !Kung Group Basarwa in a small village called Ngwatle, located in the south western Kalahari. These global and national forces produce and reproduce institutions, structures and processes thatconstitute the particular vulnerability context in which Ngwatle is couched. The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, a key component of SLAs, is used here as a tool of analysis to identify barriers and constraints to livelihood aspirations. Basarwa, known as Bushmen or San people more generally, have a history of strainedrelationships with more powerful majority groups including the Setswana (or Tswana) who account for 79% of the population as well as wealthy cattle owning minority groups. This history, understood in a wider global context, makes livelihood construction extremely difficult for people living in Ngwatle. The research is exploratory in nature and seeks to contextualize a problem or a set of problems given a particular set of circumstances rather than establish categorical causality between variables.
The approach of this research has been methodologically investigated by answering three primary research questions. The first question seeks to establish the major activities undertaken in Ngwatle households that help people in the community to make a living. In this regard, the research clearly establishes that several specific livelihood actions, such as making crafts and conducting cash-generating entrepreneurial activities are performed on a daily basis in Ngwatle. The second research question asks whether resources (assets) are constrained by institutions, structures and processes and if so, how. In fact, resources are constrained by these factors and are informed by historical precedence. The third research question focuses on how institutions, structures and processes impact livelihood strategies in Ngwatle in more detail. Links are established between the macro (global), meso (national) and micro (community) economic and political environments. The suggestion is that aspects of capitalism and neo-liberalism at the global and State levels have informed and strengthened various mechanism of control designed to manipulate and direct the movement of individuals (bio-politics). In essence prejudices and discriminatorypractices have served to radically alter Basarwa social systems and seriously undermine livelihood strategies.