PhD defence

Batwa, Gorillas and the Ruhija Road: a relational perspective on controversies at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda


Bwindi national park in Uganda is not only famous for its gorillas, but also for the many conflicts and tensions between local communities, wildlife, and conservationists. Some people, like the Batwa, got displaced from Bwindi and the resources they used to rely on, the construction of some roads in the Park is constantly delayed due to ecological arguments and the biggest tourist attraction- the Gorillas -developed a will of their own. Some left their natural habitat and appear where they are not supposed to be: in campsites and tea fields. Managers at Bwindi have been locked in an endless cycle of trial interventions aimed at solving these and many other problems to no avail. This thesis unlocks this impasse by highlighting conflicts and tensions as inevitable events that open space for innovation, and should be understood better and appreciated more, instead of being taken for granted and introducing hasty resolutions.