Rewilding the Anthropocene


The elephant and the tsetse fly: Animal crossings in a Southern African borderland, c.1920-2000

DAAD PRIME Project Dr. Luregn Lenggenhager

Starting from November 2022 Dr. Luregn Lenggenhager will be joining the Global South Studies Centre (GSSC) and will collaborate closely with the Rewilding project. He was awarded with a Postdoctoral Researchers International Mobility Experience (PRIME) grant by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the project ,The elephant and the tsetse fly: Animal crossings in a Southern African borderland, c.1920-2000′. 

Dr. Luregn Lenggenhager’s project deploys a multi-species, more-than-human environmental history approach to investigate how changing (post-)colonial borders interact and redefine species boundaries, conviviality and hierarchies. To do so, he examines historical cross-border movements of two specific species – elephants and tsetse flies – and how governments, conservation organizations and local people produced knowledge of and established control over such cross-border animal movements. The project will focus on the border region of Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia in the 20th century, where borders have turned from loosely defined boundaries of colonial influences, to being closely controlled and militarized cold war borders, and eventually to forming part of one of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA). The project will focus on two species, that both have been of central concern to colonial and postcolonial governments throughout the 20th century: the elephant, one of the flagship animals of Southern African wildlife conservation, and the tsetse fly, a species that transmit human and animal diseases.

The project follows two core fields of investigation: It retraces historical cross-border movements of animals and it investigates how the control of borders and cross-border movements of human and non-human animals was interlinked with the establishment and definition of hierarchies of and between different species – from pests and vermin to royal game and charismatic animals. 

Dr. Luregn Lenggenhager is a historian and geographer with a focus on Namibian and Southern African history. He got his PhD from the University of Zurich and has been a postdoc at the University of Basel since. He published on the history of militarization and conservation, transfrontier conservation and land issue in Southern Africa and has been organizing regular academic exchange programs between Namibia and Switzerland. He is an affiliated researcher at the University of Namibia.

For his DAAD project Lenggenhager will be based at the Global South Studies Centre (GSSC) of the University of Cologne and will spend several months at the Global History and Culture Centre (GHCC) at University of Warwick and the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) of the University of Botswana.

Workshop on the Environmental History of the Kavango-Zambezi Transboundary Conservation Area

7th & 8th March 2022, UNAM Katima Mulilo (Namibia)

Photo: Ezra Thole
Photo: Manuel Bollmann

On the 7th and 8th of March, the ‘Environmental History of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area’ workshop took place in Katima Mulilo, Namibia. The workshop was hosted by the University of Namibia, and brought together scholars from universities across all five KAZA countries, as well as from co-organizing European partner universities.

The event was opened with a welcoming address by Dr. Bennett Kangumu, head of the UNAM Katima Mulilo campus, and co-organizer Dr. Luregn Lenggenhager (Zentrum für Afrikastudien Basel). The address marked the beginning of a fruitful engagement over the next two days, with presentations covering a wide range of topics and study areas within the broader KAZA region (Hwange, Kafue, Zambezi, Chobe, Okavango, South-west Angola). Besides the contributions from historians (Gumbo, Bolaane, Molosiwa), the workshop featured work from other fields of scholarly engagement with history, including archeology (Gwasira and Mowa), anthropology (Whande, Vehrs, Bollig), geography (Mogende and Lenggenhager) and tourism studies (Thole), as well as the work of environmental scientists in the fields of wildlife ecology (Rutina) and vegetation ecology (Gonçalves).

After the great number of online events that have taken place over the last two years, it was a great privilege and invigorating experience to be able to attend this event in-person, with only two exceptions from participants not being able to attend in-person.

The workshop also marked the kick-off of three environmental history projects in the KAZA region. In the closing session of the event, Prof. David Anderson and Dr. Jonathan Jackson presented their subproject on the environmental history of the KAZA region within the CRC 228 Future Rural Africa project, and Prof. Michael Bollig and Léa Lacan presented the ERC Advanced Grant Rewilding Project. Dr. Luregn Lenggenhager, finally, presented his upcoming research project on more-than-human transboundary mobilities.

We look back upon a successful two days of generative dialogues and would like to thank the co-organizers and all participants.

Wisse van Engelen

Public lecture - Prof. Michael Bollig

7th April 2022, UNAM Windhoek (Namibia)

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TOPIC: “Social and Cultural Anthropology – challenges and options for interdisciplinary engagement: Perspectives from Germany”

by Michael Bollig, Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne. 

Time: 09:00-11:00

Venue: Big Video Conferencing Room, UNAM Library, Main Campus.

Social and Cultural Anthropology has been taught at Universities in the Global North since the late 19th century and in southern Africa since the 1920s. Through one hundred years of academic development it has liaised with different disciplines. This paper tries to capture the role of social and cultural anthropology in Germany in the early 21st century in the interdisciplinary concert of academic disciplines. It focusses on interdisciplinary entanglements in teaching and research. Due to the broad interests of the discipline ranging from livelihood studies and household economies to religion and spirituality anthropologists are capable to communicate into different directions. 

Prof. Bollig talk will argue that based on BA courses that provide for sound methodological training and multiple theoretical orientations, MA courses should offer both more specialization and various interdisciplinary options. In the research set up social and cultural anthropology can work convincingly with various other disciplines especially if it is allowed to bring in its holistic grasp of complex couplings of society, culture, economy and nature.

Community-Based Natural Resource Management: Past, Present and Future(s)

Workshop, 4th-6th April 2022, Windhoek (Namibia)

Ranger viewpoint Zambia Africa

Workshop organized by Prof. Dr. C. Samimi (University of Bayreuth).

Co-organized by Dr. S. Lendelvo (University of Namibia), Dr. A. Mosimane (University of Namibia), Prof. Dr. P. Hebinck (University of Wageningen), Prof. Dr. E. Rothfuss (University of Bayreuth), Prof. Dr. M. Bollig (University of Cologne). 

9:00-9:30 Registration

9:30-9:45 Welcome address, Alfons Mosimane

9:45-10:30 Keynote “CBNRM Past, Present and Future(s)”, Paul Hebinck

10:30-11:00 Reflection on the Keynote, John Kasaona

11:00-11:30 Coffee/Tea break

(1) Mechanisms of redistribution of benefits and revenue

11:30-12:00 Conceptualising benefits in community-based conservation: The need for transparency –  Gladman Thondhlana

12:00-12:30 Repositioning CBNRM within a Whole-System Framework: Mukungule Community Conservancy, linking Local Learning, CBNRM and Business Literacy – Clever Musonda

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:00 CBNRM: a controversy on socio-economic livelihoods and a threat to sustainable conservation in Northern Western Botswana – Satau Gakemotho

14:00-14:30 Developing Community Conservancies and ICCAs in Zambia: A Whole-System Methodology – Hammerskjoeld Simwinga

14:30-15:00 The politics of CBNRM in Zambia – Rodgers Lubilo

15:00-15:30 Coffee/Tea break

15:30-16:00 ‘A perfect storm’ revisited: the impact of COVID-19 on communal area conservancies in Namibia, one year on – Sian Sullivan

16:00-16:30 Navigating through the storm: Conservancies as local institutions for regional resilience in Zambezi, Namibia – Linus Kalvelage

(2) Mechanisms of redistribution and revenue

9:00-9:30 Rebuilding community capitals: Does it take a Village – Brian Child

9:30-10:00 Addressing the complexity of reconciling Conservation and People’s livelihoods: reflecting (challenges, opportunities and pitfalls) from an experiential case – Nicia Giva

10:00-10:30 Surviving Crises: Community Conservation in Namibia as a resilient idea – Richard Kiaka

10:30-11:00 Coffee/tea break

 (3) The struggle for claims, rights and resources

11:00-11:30 Rethinking Community Based Natural Resource Management in Western Botswana – Robert Hitchcock

11:30-12:00 Learning with nonviolent communication to unpack human-wildlife governance systems to promote human-wildlife coexistence – Ruth Kansky

12:00-12:30 Right-Based Fisheries Co-management as a Solution to Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in Africa – Mafaniso Hara

 12:30-13:30 Lunch 

13:30-14:00 Litigating the rights of Namibia’s indigenous peoples’ over land and natural resources – challenges and opportunities – Willem Odendaal

14:00-14:30 Community-based natural resources management most significant change – Romie Nghitevelekwa

14:30-14:45 World Café Introduction

14:45-15:15 Coffee/tea break

15:15-17:15 World Café in four Cafés 

Reflection on the World Cafés

9:00-9:15 Café 1

9:15-9:30 Café 2

9:30-9:45 Café 3

9:45-10:00 Café 4

10:00-10:30 Café Synthesis

10:30-11:00 Coffee/Tea Break

(4) Climate change, ecology and environmental implications

11:10-11:30 Mainstreaming Community Based Natural Resource Management in policies and institutional frameworks for climate change management:  perspectives from the Great Limpopo trans-frontier conservation area, Zimbabwe – Olga Kupika

11:30-12:00 Assessing the performance of a community-based natural resources management programme in Zimbabwe – Steven Matema

12:00-12:30 Surviving CBNRM-related  constrictions on food security among frontier communities – Ottie Luzibo

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:00 Final Discussion


14:00-14:15 Closing remarks

Workshop on the Environmental History of the Kavango-Zambezi Transboundary Conservation Area

7th-8th March 2022, Katima Mulilo (Namibia)

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Jointly organized by: University of Namibia, ERC Advanced Grant Project Rewilding, CRC 228 Future Rural Africa, Zentrum für Afrikastudien Basel. 

The event took place at UNAM – Katima Mulilo Campus. 




Mo. 8:30-9:00

Bennett Kangumu, Luregn Lenggenhager, Michael Bollig

Welcome Address

Mo. 9:00-9:45

Goodman Gwasira & Elliot Mowa (UNAM)

The Zambezi region: a new frontier for archaeological research in Namibia

Mo 9:45-10:30

Michael Bollig & Hauke Vehrs (University of Cologne)

The Making of a Conservation Landscape: The Emergence of a Conservationist Environmental Infrastructure along the Kwando River in Namibia’s Zambezi Region

Mo. 10:30-11:00



Mo. 11:00-11:45

Hauke Vehrs & Mirjam Zickel (University of Cologne)

‘Stop calling it a park, because that is our home’: Settlement History and Conservation-Induced Displacement in the Case of Lyanshulu in the Zambezi Region, Namibia

Mo. 11:45-12:30

Bongani Gumbo (University of Botswana)

An Environmental History of the KAZA Region: The case of North-Western Botswana

Mo. 12:30-14:00

Lunch break


Mo. 14:00-14:45

Maitseo Bolaane (University of Botswana) & Phuthego Molosiwa (Botswana Open University)

Settlement History, Names, Bio-Cultural Diversity: the Kwando /Okavango region

Mo. 14:45-15:30

Chikondi Thole (University of the Copperbelt)

A history of tourism in the Kafue National Park

Mo. 15:30-16:15

Emmanuel Mogende (University of Basel) & Luregn Lenggenhager (University of Basel

Botswana and Namibia: political conflict over Botswana’s militarized anti-poaching in the Sedudu Island

Mo. 16:30-19:00

Trip to Historical Monuments of Katima





Tue. 9:00-9:45

Mirja Stoldt (NNF)

Transfrontier Conservation Areas and Human Wildlife Conflict: The Need for Integrated Approaches to Wildlife Management

Tue. 9:45-10:30

Tanya Whande (University of Cologne)

Human, livestock and wildlife relations at the boundary of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

Tue. 10:30-11:00



Tue. 11:00-11:45

Lucas Rutina and Ezekiel C. Fabiano (University of Namibia)

Historical management of elephant and its ecological effects on woodlands and other herbivores in the Chobe-Kwando River system

Tue. 11:45-12:30

Francisco M. P. Gonçalves (Herbário do Lubango, ISCED-Huíla)

Past and present studies of vegetation in the Kaza Region

Tue. 12:30-14:00


Tue. 14:00-14:45

Michael Bollig (University of Cologne)

Abundant herds: accumulation, herd management and land use patterns in Namibia’s Zambezi Region

Tue. 14:45-15:30

Short introduction of emergent environmental history projects


David Anderson & Jono Jackson (CRC 228)




Luregn Lenggenhager (Transboundary Mobilities)



Tue. 15:30-16:00



Tue. 16:00-17:00

Final discussions; agenda for collaboration


Kick-off Workshop

7th-8th February 2022​

Picture: Wisse van Engelen

The Rewilding team

The Rewilding kick-off workshop took place in a hybrid format, at the Global South Studies Center, Cologne. 

The workshop aimed to introduce the Rewilding project team to the research conducted by the Collaborative Research Center 228 “Future Rural Africa” and start building bridges between the two projects. On the first day, scholars presented their research and scientific projects in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. The second day of the workshop was dedicated to internal discussions within the Rewilding project. 

9:00-9:45         Maximilian Meyer (University of Bonn), “Quantitative research on regional and trans-national conservation in Southern Africa”

9:45-10:30       Dr. Linus Kalvelage (University of Cologne), “Capturing value from wildlife tourism: global production networks in Zambezi, Namibia”

10:30-11:00     Break

11:00-11:45     Dr. Sandra Junglen et al. (Charité Berlin), “Detection of arthropod-borne viruses in the KAZA region, Namibia”

11:45-12:30     Liana Kindermann (University of Potsdam), “The Ecology of Trees,   Wildlife, and Ecosystem Services in Zambezi Region

12:30- 14:00     Lunch Break

14:00-14:45      Dr. Luregn Lenggenhager (University of Basel), “Border regimes and                               animal movements between Angola, Namibia and Botswana in the                               20th century“

14:45-15:30      Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig & Dr. Hauke-Peter Vehrs (University of   Cologne), “The emergence of a conservation landscape, the case   study of the   Kwandu Valley”

15:30-16:00      Break

16:00-16:45      Dr. Jono Jackson (University of Cologne), “Past Futures: Histories of     rural development in KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area”

16:45-17:30     Prof. Dr. Thomas Widlok & Joachim Knab (University of Cologne), “Framing   Futures: Temporal Frames of Reference in Land   Conversions”

17:30-18:15     Dr. Gideon Tups (University of Cologne), “Future in Chains: Socio-   economic impacts of growth corridors”

18:15-18:30     Break

18:30-19:00     Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig & Léa Lacan, Overview of the Rewilding project

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