On July 25, 2019, Associate Professor Yazidi Bamtaze from Department of Geography at Makerere University gave a lecture at the 90th African Area Studies Seminar. Prof. Bamtaze has been selected for the 2019 Canon Foundation-Kyoto University Japan-African Exchange Program. He is currently staying as a visiting scholar at the Center for African Area Studies.
His lecture, titled “Livelihoods in Balance? Resilience Contestations in a Delicate Montane Socio-Ecology in Eastern Uganda,” was held in a seminar room on the 3rd floor of the Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall. In the highlands of Africa, including Uganda, rapid population growth and agricultural development are said to be major reasons behind the negative chains that cause soil erosion and frequent landslides. Prof. Bamtaze has questioned such a theory, and investigated the processes of landslides from both environmental and social factors, combining natural and human geographical approaches. Taking Mt. Elgon located at the border between Uganda and Kenya as a case study, he interviewed local residents who are engaged in firming places where landslides occur frequently. Following changes in rainfall and soil erosion over the past 20 years, he concluded that the mechanisms of landslides are complicated by factors such as rainfall, mineral composition of soil, and water storage for agricultural land, and cannot be reduced to simple factors such as global warming and population growth.
After the talk, Prof. Shuichi Oyama, who hosted Prof. Bamtaze at the Center for African Area Studies, moderated discussions. Participants asked questions one after another. One of the participants suggested that rice terraces in Japan can be a good comparative case as they were maintained while preventing landslides in the mountainous areas.
Prof. Bamtaze will stay at Kyoto University for three months and return to Uganda at the end of August.