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Njwaxu Afika | Fellow Postdoctoral
2021-10-01 - 2022-03-31 | Research area: Sustainability Research
Assessing the Prevalence of Cultural Keystone Species in the Wild Coast, South Africa

Traditional Xhosa customs and religious rites form a huge part of the identity of Xhosa people. This includes ancestors which are members of a clan that have passed on and serve as a protection board for each familyAlthough, Xhosa people have been engaging in these practices for decades, it is not uncommon that they abandon cultural rites for churches once they convert to Christianity. The impact of western Christianity on African traditions is an old studied anthropological problem. Therefore, an examination of the role of religion in changing or supressing views, acceptance and use of culturally important species was carried. This was a very tense research to conduct with some people afraid to tell their truth in fear of judgement from fellow church goers and villagers. Methods included observation, participation and unstructured interviews. The study was conducted in two coastal, rural villages along the Wild Coast. The sites are KwaNoqhekwana in Port St Johns and Kie Farm in Centane, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This questioned yield a mix of results; with some people partaking in both cultural and Christian activities while some choose a side. Keystone species have revealed new links to the erosion of biocultural diversity which will help to devise new solutions.