Strength to Overcome

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This video program features two case studies on Africa South of the Sahara:South Africa: This Land is My Land and Kenya: Medical Geography.

The first case study, South Africa: This Land is My Land, depicts the complex situation that arose after the country's first democratically elected government, headed by President Nelson Mandela, came to power in 1994. That government faced, and continues to face, many challenges in developing post-apartheid policy, including reducing poverty, promoting community development, and fostering political stability.

Apartheid was a government racial policy that persisted for decades. The implementation of land reform as a method to reverse the effects of concentrated ownership by whites is an attempt to alter problems created not by environmental conditions but by societal structures. To achieve equity and diversity, the government is pursing a legal framework to redistribute land ownership. A process creating more individual farms is likely to affect the landscape due to smaller plot size, crop diversity, and more labor-intensive methods of agriculture. The threats and tensions that arise during the implementation of land reform create a basis for potential conflicts between not only blacks and whites, but among a wide range of multi-ethnic groups as the government works to find a fair method of redistributing land to redress past injustices and reduce the level of contemporary poverty.

The update to this case study includes discussion of different types of land reform programs and the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to assess outcomes. The case follows the research of geographer Dr. Brent McCusker as he studies the progress of one farm created through land reform measures.

The second case study, Kenya: Medical Geography, examines medical geography and the delivery of healthcare in a developing country. The central question is whether it is possible to improve the situation for people in Kenya, where conditions seem to be more favorable for the development of disease than for the survival of human beings. In addition to facing traditional killers like malaria and trachoma, this region is now in the grips of the terrible pandemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Environmental conditions in the country favor a wide range of diseases. Kenya's efforts to control these environmental factors are complicated by many conditions common to developing countries: poor transportation and communication networks, low education levels, and limited availability of basic community services.

Updates to this case study include medical research on disease diffusion in Kenya by geographer Dr. Veronica Ouma, new information on the spread of HIV-AIDS throughout the region, and efforts to bring the virus under control.

Find additional resources, including primary source materials, interactives, and downloadable print materials, at:

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