Researcher examines resource struggle in South African nature reserve

“Forest Food Fight! Gender, Indigenous Knowledge and the Struggle for Resources at the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve in South Africa” will be presented on February 25, at noon, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. Katie Tavenneris, a dual-degree PhD candidate in rural sociology and women’s studies, will present the seminar, which will focus on the gender-differentiated knowledge and valuation associated with forest foods, the politics of everyday resistance and the possibility for resource co-management at the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve. It is free and open to the public and can be viewed online.


Tavenneris… awarded a U.S. Borlaug Fellowship in Global Food Security in 2013

For over 100 years, the communities adjacent to the Dwesa and Cwebe Forests have been caught in a conflict over natural resources. Residents were forcibly removed from the area for decades by colonial and apartheid-era governments. After being declared a nature reserve in 1978, locals lost all access to natural resources. Although the communities won a land-claim battle in 2001, local people are prohibited from harvesting natural resources, including a variety of forest foods. Remarkably, the indigenous knowledge associated with these foods endures through the stories, actions and resistance of local women.

In 2013, Tavenneris was awarded a U.S. Borlaug Fellowship in Global Food Security and was a visiting researcher at Bioversity International in Rome. Her research interests include international development, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, feminist theory, and rural social and agrarian change.

This seminar is co-sponsored by the University Libraries and the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge. For more information, see If you have question about access accommodations, please contact Helen Sheehy at or 814-863-1347.