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Given what we know about climate change, should we still be raising and eating cattle? And how do we weigh the cultural and economic value of cattle against their environmental impact? This engaging book brings history, science, economics and popular culture together in a timely discussion about whether current practices can be justified in a period of rapid climate change.
Journalist Gregory Mthembu-Salter first encountered South Africa’s love of cattle during his own lobola negotiations. The book traces his personal journey through kraals, rangelands and feedlots across South Africa to find out more about the national hunger for cattle. He takes a broad sweep – drawing on such diverse sources as politicians involved in land reform, history, braai-side interviews with cattle farmers and abattoir owners, conversations with his mother-in-law, and analysis of cutting-edge science.
Mthembu-Salter suggests that perhaps 'cattle can remain wanted and treasured … more as living assets, kept in modest numbers on land where crops will not thrive, whose beef is eaten rarely – and, when it is, is savoured.'
African countries are often exhorted to trade more between themselves, with official statistics indicating disappointingly little economic activity between them. Yet the statistics massively under-capture the complex realities of African cross-border trade. This dissertation offers a new methodology for assessing un-recorded African cross-border trade, and applies it on the border crossing between Cyangugu, Rwanda and Bukavu, DRC. The dissertation provides estimates for trade values and volumes in a range of goods and services, demonstrating that trade on this border is vibrant and mostly unrecorded. There is also a historical summary of trade across the Cyangugu-Bukavu border to provide context. The conclusion argues that intra-African trade is far more substantial then official statistics indicate, and that alternative methodologies, such as the one implemented for this study, are needed to evaluate and understand its workings.
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