A concise view on the research focus

My focus on regional history commenced at the start of my academic career in 1986 (after 4 years in Further Education and Training). My mentors, and the late Dr PHR Snyman (from the Regional Section of the Human Sciences and Research Council of South Africa – HSRC) and Prof PF van der Schyff as well as Prof PJJ Prinsloo, suggested a model of doing regional history that was derived from the work of scholars like HR Feinberg and VHT Skipp. This approach was adopted in my MA and a more specific theme focussed followed in the PhD research with regards to the selected space – the former Far West Rand region.  In essence economic drivers for establishing developments in the region were dominantly embedded in gold mining activities from the early 1930’s.  Prior to this time agricultural initiatives, very much associated with especially Dutch influence in the area, were meticulously recorded and analysed.  These developments happened in historical time frames associated with the South African War, the brittle politics between South Africans from British and Dutch decent at the time of the First World War and thereafter, and how gold mining excavation in a humanly challenging environment were overcome.  This allowed for gold mining companies from international decent to overindulge themselves with richness but also to uplift communities in the Far West Rand for several decades. From economic exploitation came environmental degradation and concerns that especially relates nowadays to economic retardation and a growing human poverty, apart from the irreversible environmental impacts. Research covered in this part, mainly emphasise the economic history and impact of a part of the Far West Rand area.  From this research the economic and environmental impact of the gold mines mostly caught the eye from communities and concerned environmental NGO’s.  Extensive research and the economic development of places in the Far West Rand region can even be continued and is far from saturated, though uninformed historians sometimes think otherwise but unfortunately without knowledge.  The section on the ecohealth and wellbeing of mining communities to be found in another link on this site is a typical example.  In the latter section for example  economic upliftment efforts regards the service delivery history of Bekkersdal, as a recent research focus, is covered.  The content selected for this section (thus the economic and environmental impact) compliments three topics directly or indirectly related to the economic development of the Far West Rand, as well as discussions that evolved from developments to contribute setting policies on a national scale namely economic-related environmental analysis and criticism and/or suggesting aspects of best practice: