Sonwabo Mazinyo and Leocadia Zhou, South Africa



Hello, my name is Sonwabo (Mazinyo). I am from East London, South Africa. I grew up in East London. I hold a Masters degree in Environmental Studies and I am currently a PhD (Geography) student at the University of Fort Hare  undertaking research for the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Centre’s Vulnerability Mapping Atlas. My study is on climate change and its impacts on food security, and how the rural communities of Ngqushwa Local Municipality adapt to climate variability  and change. The risks to climate change as well as the vulnerability of the entire food system to climate variability and change is probed within the broad frameworks of  food, social, environmental and climate justice. Critical to this study is the socio-economic impacts of climate change on food security, leading to the question of how the Ngqushwa Local Municipality (NLM) communities exercise their “right to food” in a changing climate, and how or what livelihood  strategies are employed to mitigate climate related stresses on food production in the face of high food prices. My future goals are to be a research expert, and policy maker in climate, food and environmental justice aligned policy frameworks. Besides loving research I love to play the bass guitar. Something else about me, and please do not tell my mother; “ I  love beer” … ginger beerJ.

My name is Leocadia Zhou. I was born in Zimbabwe. I studied at the University of Zimbabwe, eventually completing a BA general degree there, graduating in 2000, and then came to the University of Fort Hare in 2001 to pursue a BSc Honours and Masters degrees with the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. At the same university I was awarded a doctoral degree in Geography with a specialization in Environmental Science in 2009. Currently I am the Manager of the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Centre (RAVAC) at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. The RAVAC is a product of the Department of Science's 10 year Global Grand Challenge.The RAVAC with the National Atlas at its core, links national imperatives (global and climate change) with risk-prone rural communities, drawing local, national and international role players together around a single focus, i.e. food and water security and to create and provide further opportunities for teaching, research and community development and involvement. My future goal is to drive the RAVAC to be a centre of excellence at University of Fort Hare. I plan to achieve this goal by gaining additional skills through participating in relevant workshops, conferences and involvement with professional associations. I like reading, especially religious books in my free time.


Risk and vulnerability assessment of food security to climate variability and change: livelihood dynamics of rural and peri-urban communities and adaptive strategies to mitigate climatic stresses in the Ngqushwa Local Municipality – Eastern Cape, South Africa

In our research, we are seeking to understand the factors that affect people’s level of food security, adaptation and mitigation strategies in the face of climate change. We want to understand what places people/households at risk in relation to food security, and whether this has changed over time and also to explore whether this could be related to changes in the weather and climate patterns and how do we think that is likely to develop in the future? This could service as the basis for the Eastern Cape Province wide crop yield analysis for both current and future climate scenarios. The results will be used as a predictive model and planning tool for assessing climate impact on crop yields. In fact the information obtained will be valuable to the government in its planning for the Ngqushwa Local Municipality, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.