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“Local ecological knowledge and climate change in three corners of Africa”

Online event
Thursday 17 November 2022, 2pm UK time

Please join us  on Thursday 17th November, 2pm (GMT) when Dr Sandra Bhatasara (University of Zimbabwe) will be in conversation with Dr Gilbert Tietaah (University of Ghana) and Dr Silas Oriaso (University of Nairobi).  They will discuss:

‘Local ecological knowledge and climate change in three corners of Africa’ 

The research seminar is hosted by the Leeds University Centre for African Studies, the Centre for Global Development, and the Priestley International Centre for Climate.

The event will take place online, via Zoom.

Please click here to join the meeting.

Dr Bhatasara will start with the following presentation:

‘The coloniality of global climate change narratives, indigenous knowledge systems and SDG 13 in Zimbabwe’.


The climate crisis is a reality and how it affects communities is a political economy issue.  The question how climate science interfaces with indigenous knowledge systems invokes old discourses on coloniality and new frontiers of subjugation of knowledges. This presentation builds on literature review, policy review and empirical data collected from government officials and academics. The aim of this presentation is to interrogate and question the power of global climate change discourses, bring out the value of, politics and contestations over indigenous knowledge systems and explore how indigenous knowledge systems are positioned vis-à-vis implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 13 in Zimbabwe. Sustainable Development Goal 13 represents the continuation of the modernist project, where global narratives on development continue to be universalised. The empirical findings show a myriad of indigenous knowledge systems existing in communities but the scientific project is overwhelming, hence limiting their integration in climate adaptation projects. Government policies and approaches play into the hands of global funders and donors who subscribe to the supremacy of climate science. In this case, indigenous knowledge systems are interrogated for their validity and reliability as if scientific climate data is pure. Resultantly, Sustainable Development Goal 13 is being implemented without regard of indigenous knowledge systems.


Dr Sandra Bhatasara is a senior research fellow at the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development Institute (University of Zimbabwe), a Research Associate of Rhodes University and a LUCAS/LAHRI Fellow at the University of Leeds

She will be in conversation with Dr Gilbert Tietaah of the University of Ghana and Dr Silas Oriaso of the University of Nairobi.