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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

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Aug 30, 2019

Is colonialism ongoing in the Kalahari Desert? What do the struggles of the San peoples tell us about democracy, tradition, adaptation to the environment, and the exercise and imbalances of power in today's world? What role does tourism take in all this, and is education still the silver bullet? And, can a people be truly free and fulfilled without meaningful sovereignty?

Ben chats with higher education consultant, scholar and Program Director at the Kalahari Peoples Fund Fleming Puckett.

About the Guest

Dr. R. Fleming Puckett is Program Director for Land Rights & Governance for the Kalahari Peoples Fund, working to increase awareness, funding, and advocacy related to land rights, community governance, and San/government relationships across southern Africa. He began his fieldwork with the !Xun, Khwe, and ǂKhomani San people of South Africa in 2009 and received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in 2013. He is also the Senior Director of Strategic Research for EAB.

Dr. Puckett's continuing research focuses on indigenous systems of governance, decision-making, land use, and community organization and the impacts of conflicts between these systems and the stated goals, requirements, and implementation procedures of national land and “development” legislation. His professional background includes research, teaching, writing, public speaking, legal practice, consulting, and negotiation.

In addition to his doctorate, Dr. Puckett holds an MA in Higher Education from Columbia University, an MBA from Cornell, and two law degrees, from Boston University and Cambridge University. He was admitted to the State Bar of New York in 2002. Fleming is co-editor of the book, Research and Activism Among the Kalahari San Today: Ideals, Challenges, and Debates (2017).

Learn more about Fleming and the Kalahari People's Fund.

Mentioned in this Episode

The Quote of the Week

"We are not primitive. We live differently to you, but we do not live exactly like our grandparents did, nor do you. Were your ancestors 'primitive'? I don't think so. We respect our ancestors. We love our children. This is the same for all people."
- Roy Sesana, San activist