An environmental history of Keate's Drift : the inter-relationship between humans and the environment over time.
This dissertation provides an exploratory study of the environmental history of the Keate' s Drift area, Umvoti Magisterial District, KwaZulu-Natal. The broad objectives are to explore the past and present modes of resource use of people living in the area, human reproduction, human consciousness and ecology from the Stone Age to the present day. Thereby we can deduce how, through the application of the techniques and methodology of environmental history, these findings can help establish baselines for understanding the problems facing environmentalists and policy makers in South Africa today. Such understanding can inform the formulation of more effective policies for the future. The study provides a history of how significant change at all levels of production, reproduction, consciousness and ecology initiated the first complete ecological revolution in KwaZulu-Natal between the Stone and Iron Age societies. Using the same methodological parameters, the dissertation then proposes that an incomplete ecological revolution has occurred in Keate's Drift since colonial times. It has found that the pre-colonial mode of resource use still exists in some form, but relies heavily upon migrant remittance money obtained from the modem industrial mode of resource use. The two modes of resource use operating together underlie the conflict between modernity and traditionalism in the Keate's Drift area. Interpretation of the historical evidence proposes that planners in charge of land redistribution in the Keate's Drift area must realise the role of the legacy of the past in development proposals. Planners must realise that the traditional mode of resource use exists alongside elements of the industrial mode. This is a situation resulting from the area's history, and any long term development plan that is going to work, needs to understand the historical legacy of the problems if they are to be resolved.