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The RWA’s Seed Journey

"RWA celebrates 14 years of sowing seeds this year. This photo-documentary exhibition and the research from which it evolves mark the beginning of an important new phase. In the context of the polycrisis, the role of seeds is key. I became particularly conscious of this when after cyclone Freddy, we asked the Malawians what they wanted and needed from us. The women asked for seeds. The role of seed guardians is critical, especially in this epoch, which is characterised by the destruction of nature. Seed guardians will continue to play the vital role they have always played, conserving and safe-keeping seeds for food and food sovereignty. RWA sisters are custodians and guardians of seed and land but are often not seen or acknowledged. This exhibition enhances our work on seed in an area which we need to deepen and build upon."
     Mercia Andrews. Western Cape, South Africa.


The team in charge of the design and production of the exhibition consists of three activist-researchers:

Dr Daniel Chavez. Uruguayan visual anthropologist and political economist based in The Netherlands. He holds a BA in Social Anthropology (University of the Republic, Montevideo) and an MA and a PhD in Development Studies (ISS, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague). He coordinates the GreenPaths Project at the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI) and is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg.

Dr Donna Andrews. South African political economist and feminist theorist. She is a Senior Researcher at The Ethics Lab, Neuroscience Institute, University of Cape Town. Convenor of RWA Feminist Schools (2013-2019) and a former Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg (2020-2023). She holds an MA in International Political Economy and Development (ISS, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague) and a PhD in Political Theory from the University of Cape Town, which focused on capitalism and nature.

Dr Suzall Timm. South African criminologist focusing on regulation. She is a Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies of the University of Johannesburg and is responsible for the course on Urban Informal Economies. Together with Dr Andrews, she co-designed the course on Radical Activism: Epistemology, Agency and Positionality. She holds an MA and a PhD in Criminology from the University of Cape Town.

The ethics for this photo-documentary research project has been approved by the Faculty of Humanities Research Ethics Committee of the University of Johannesburg (Reference number: REC-01-036-2021). Informed consent was obtained for all quotes and images of seed guardians and children under the age of 18. The project adheres to international, national and institutional guidelines for the humane treatment of all human research participants and complies with relevant legislation.

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