Witness Kozanayi

Witness Kozanayi

PhD Student


Customary governance of baobab in Zimbabwe
Supervisors: Assoc Prof Rachel Wynberg and Dr Frank Matose

I am Zimbabwean with a keen interest in the environment-livelihoods nexus with a bias towards the dynamics and politics of local management of natural resources by the people whose livelihoods directly depend on such resources. I have gained valuable experience and insights on the above issues through working in academia, non-governmental organisations and the private sector over the past twenty years.

Currently I am doing a PhD with the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town. Broadly, my area of interest is governance of non-timber forest products. I am particularly interested in the role of customary systems in managing commercialised non-timber forest products. My interest in this area was greatly shaped by the long period I spent living in rural areas with my parents until I was in my early twenties. By then rural life – the forests, waters and lovely people – had gotten into me. When an opportunity to study for a PhD at UCT came my way, I went back to the area that I grew up in, and explored – with the benefit of an academic eye, what makes humans and forests tick in otherwise peaceful environments. In old age, I wish to go and retire in the serene rural area that inculcated in me the insatiable desire to understand the nature-human nexus!