University of KwaZulu-Natal UKZN Geography
The science of geography is possibly the oldest of all sciences in history. “Geography is the study of the patterns and processes of human (built) and environmental (natural) landscapes, where landscapes comprise real (objective) and perceived (subjective) space.” – Gregg Wassmansdorf, 1995. Studying human, physical and the interaction in between led to other scientific fields such as biology, anthropology, geology, mathematics, astronomy and chemistry, among others. New ideas have always been basic components of geography. Thus, geography is often referred as the “mother of all sciences”.
The concept of geography has changed throughout the ages, making a definition for such a dynamic and all-encompassing subject difficult. A primary concern of Geography is to study the spatial interaction between people and their environment (physical and socio-economic) from diverse and changing interdisciplinary perspectives. Drawing on the African indigenous knowledge system of Ubuntu – the essence of being human and our shared interconnectedness with each other, animals and nature- it is acknowledged that human well-being and quality of life is a shared undertaking which must respect the ecological limits of a finite planet.
Our modules provide a wide variety of concepts and themes in human and physical geography as well the Geomatics that are studied at higher levels and for the application of these concepts in areas such as rural and urban development, environmental management and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Although these concepts and themes can be applied globally, the focus is predominantly on Africa as a spatial context. The African continent is a unique place with diversity of history, knowledge systems, resources and experiences and with a serious need for the resolution of numerous problems and we therefore pay attention to contextual examples from Africa as we cover the module themes. Our undergraduate courses are relevant to future environmental planners, urban and rural planners and managers. At UKZN, the department/cluster of Geography has three main components: Human Geography, Physical Geography and GIS and Earth Observation