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 Prof. Mafa Hara

Position: Deputy Director & Professor
Department: Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)
Faculty: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Qualifications: PhD (UWC), MSc (Humberside College of Higher Education), BSc, (University of Malawi), BA (Hons) (Sociology) (Stellenbosch University)
Tel: 021-959-3772
Fax: 021 959 9736


 Professor Mafaniso Hara, who hails from Malawi, joined PLAAS in 2000 and has more than 30 years’ experience working as a social scientist with a focus on rural fishing communities in inland and coastal contexts. His current research is on integrated resource management, development of socioeconomic indicators for small-scale fisheries, drivers of poverty in fishing communities and developing inland fisheries in southern and South Africa. His work has focused particularly on looking at social issues affecting fishing communities and coastal management. Since 2009, he has co-ordinated a five-country regional collaboration researching strategies for increasing national capacity in integrated commons management.

Prof Hara emphasises that approaches to protecting valuable aquatic resources must also protect – or at the very least avoid exacerbating – vulnerable marginal livelihoods. His research has also looked at the nature and viability of livelihoods based on fishing and coastal activities. Linking to other PLAAS research on food security and food value chains, his work looks at how small-scale fishers can better integrate into agro-food value chains in South and southern Africa through formal and informal markets, and how this can help improve regional food security and the livelihoods of small-scale fishers.

He notes that climate change increasingly impacts on natural resource management and fish stocks, leading to changes in species available for fishing. Therefore, Associate Prof Hara also focuses his research on how local communities are coping with such impacts and how they might better be able to deal with them. His concern with managing inland and marine fisheries and coastal resources has recently expanded to include broader concerns with natural resource governance, and he has led a major regional project on cross-sectoral commons governance in southern Africa.

Professor Hara lectures on:
the MPhil in Land and Agrarian Studies course at PLAAS, UWC
the PhD in Fisheries and Aquaculture course at Bunda College of Agriculture, University of Malawi; and
the Masters in Integrated Water Resources Management at University of the Western Cape

On 01 January 2018, Prof Hara was appointed as full professor.




 Hara, M., Donda, S., Njaya, F., 2015. Lessons from Existing Modes of Governance in Malawi’s Small-Scale Fisheries, in: Jentoft, S., Chuenpagdee, R. (Eds.), Interactive Governance for Small-Scale Fisheries, MARE Publication Series. Springer International Publishing, pp. 135–155.
Nunan, F., Hara, M., Onyango, P., 2015. Institutions and Co-Management in East African Inland and Malawi Fisheries: A Critical Perspective. World Development 70, 203–214. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.01.009
Britz, P., Hara, M., Weyl, O., Tapela, B., Rouhani, Q., 2015. Scoping Study on the Development and Sustainable Utilisation of Inland Fisheries in South Africa, Volume 1: Research Report (Technical Report No. TT 615/1/14). Water Research Commission (WRC), Pretoria.
Hara, M., Isaacs, M., 2015. Backing small-scale fishers: opportunities and challenges in transforming the fish sector. Rural Status Report. Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Cape Town, South Africa.
Hara, M., Njaya, F., 2014. Spatial and Institutional Boundaries: Access and Appropriation of Natural Resources in Lake Chilwa Floodplain, in: Ramutsindela, M. (Ed.). Cartographies of Nature: How Nature Conservation Animates Borders. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge, pp. 55–81.
Nyikahadzoi, K., Mhlanga, L., Hara, M., Haller, T., 2014. Defragmenting natural resources management within the Lake Kariba environs, in: Mhlanga, L., Nyikahadzoi, K., Haller, T. (Eds.). Fragmentation of Natural Resources Management: Experiences from Lake Kariba. Lit Verlag & Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Berlin.
Hara, M., Backeberg, G., 2014. An institutional approach for developing South African inland freshwater fisheries for improved food security and rural livelihoods. Water SA 40, 277. doi:10.4314/wsa.v40i2.10
Hara, M.M., 2014. Analysis of South African Commercial Traditional Linefish Snoek Value Chain. Marine Resource Economics 29, 279–299. doi:10.1086/677770
Hara, M., Rogerson, J., de Goede, J., Raakjær, J., 2014. Fragmented participation in management of the fishery for small pelagic fish in South Africa – inclusion of small-rights holders is a complex matter. African Journal of Marine Science 36, 185–196. doi:10.2989/1814232X.2014.930708
Donda, S., Hara, M., Ngochera, M., Berge, E. (Eds.), 2014. Fragmentation of Resource Management on the Southeast Arm of Lake Malawi: dynamics around fisheries. Lit Verlag & Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Zurich.
Hara, M., 2013. Efficacy of rights-based management of small pelagic fish within an ecosystems approach to fisheries in South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 35, 315–322.
Phiri, L.Y., Dzanja, J., Kakota, T., Hara, M., 2013. Value chain analysis of Lake Chilwa fisheries in Malawi: A Case Study of Oreochromis spp (Chambo). International Journal of Business and Social Science 4, 170–181.
Sowman, M., Scott, D., Green, L., Hara, M., Hauck, M., Kirsten, K., Paterson, B., Raemaekers, S., Jones, K., Sunde, J., Turpie, J., 2013. Shallow waters: social science research in South Africa’s marine environment. African Journal of Marine Science 35, 385–402.
Hara, M., Isaacs, M., 2012. The current state of extension and advisory services in South African fisheries, Discussion Document. Phuhlisani Solutions, Cape Town.
Hara, M., 2011. Community Response: Decline of the Chambo in Lake Malawi’s Southeast Arm, in: Jentoft, S., Eide, A. (Eds.), Poverty Mosaics: Realities and Prospects in Small-Scale Fisheries. Springer Netherlands, pp. 251–273.
Bene, C., Hara, M., 2010. Impact of Fisheries Co-Management on Livelihoods and Conservation in Southern Africa. Presented at the 15th IIFET Conference, International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Montpellier, France.
Nyikahadzoi, K., Hara, M., Raakjær, J., 2010. Transforming ownership and governance - Lessons from capital intensive pelagic fisheries in South Africa and Zimbabwe. International Journal of the Commons 4.
Paterson, B., Isaacs, M., Hara, M., Jarre, A., Moloney, C.L., 2010. Transdisciplinary co-operation for an ecosystem approach to fisheries: a case study from the South African sardine fishery. Marine Policy 34, 782–794.
Phiri, L.Y., Matiya, G., Hara, M., 2010. Value chain analysis of Lake Chilwa fisheries in Malawi. Presented at the Second RUFORUM Biennial Meeting  20 - 24  September 2010, Entebbe, Uganda, RU Forum, pp. 1273–1276.
Hara, M., 2009. Crew members in South Africa’s squid industry; whether they have benefitted from transformation and governance reforms. Marine Policy 33, 513–519.
Hara, M., Matose, F., 2009. Editorial. Development Southern Africa 26, 519–519.
Hara, M., Matose, F., Wilson, D., Raakjær, J., Magole, L., Magole, L., Demotts, R., Njaya, F., Turner, S., Buscher, B., 2009. Commons governance in Southern Africa ( No. 28), Policy Brief. Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Bellville.
Hara, M., Raakjær, J., 2009. Policy evolution in South African fisheries: the governance of the sector for small pelagics. Development Southern Africa 26, 649–662.
Hara, M., Turner, S., Haller, T., Matose, F., 2009. Governance of the commons in southern Africa: knowledge, political economy and power. Development Southern Africa 26, 521–537.
Hara, M., 2008. Dilemmas of Democratic Decentralisation in Mangochi District, Malawi: Interest and Mistrust in Fisheries Management. Conservation and Society 6, 74.
Isaacs, M., Hara, M., 2008. Mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS into South African fisheries policy ( No. 27), Policy Brief. Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Bellville.
Isaacs, M., Hara, M., 2008. Transformation in the South African fishing industry and its ability to redistribute fishing rights. American Fisheries Society Symposium 49, 687.
Hara, M., 2007. Dilemmas of Democratic Decentralization in Mangochi District, Malawi: Interest and Mistrust in Fisheries Management (Working Paper No. 28), Representation, Equity and Environment. World Resources Institute, Washington DC.
Isaacs, M., Hara, M., Raakjær, J., 2007. Has reforming South African fisheries contributed to wealth redistribution and poverty alleviation? Ocean & Coastal Management 50, 301–313.
Fairweather, T.P., Hara, M., Van der Lingen, C.D., Raakjær, J., Shannon, L.J., Louw, G.G., Degnbol, P., Crawford, R.J.M., 2006. A knowledge base for management of the capital-intensive fishery for small pelagic fish off South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 28, 645–660.
Hara, M., 2006. Restoring the chambo in Southern Malawi: Learning from the past or re-inventing the wheel? Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management 9, 419–432.
Hara, M., 2006. Nesting Participatory Fisheries Management Within District Decentralisation: Case of Mangochi District, Malawi.
Hara, M.M., 2006. Production relations and dynamics among user-groups in the artisanal fisheries of Malawi: implications for representation in co-management arrangements. Maritime Studies 4, 53–71.
Nielsen, J.R., Hara, M., 2006. Transformation of South African industrial fisheries. Marine Policy 30, 43–50.
Isaacs, M., Hara, M., Nielsen, J.R., 2005. South African fisheries reform: past, present and future? ( No. 16), Policy Brief. Programme for Land & Agrarian Studies, Bellville.
Hara, M., 2004. Beach Village Committees as a Vehicle for Community Participation: Lake Malombe/Upper Shire River Participatory Programme, in: Fabricius, C. (Ed.), Rights, Resources & Rural Development–Community-Based Natural Resource Management in Southern Africa. Earthscan, Virginia, USA, pp. 182–193.
Nielsen, J.R., Degnbol, P., Viswanathan, K.K., Ahmed, M., Hara, M., Abdullah, N.M.R., 2004. Fisheries co-management—an institutional innovation? Lessons from South East Asia and Southern Africa. Marine Policy 28, 151–160.
Hara, M., Nielsen, J.R., 2003. Experiences with fisheries co-management in Africa, in: Wilson, D., Nielsen, Jesper Raakjaer, Degnbol, P. (Eds.), The Fisheries Co-management Experience. Springer Netherlands, pp. 81–97.
Hara, M., 2003. Co-management of natural resources: Theory and the attendant assumptions, in: Hauck, M., Sowman, M. (Eds.), Waves of Change: Coastal and Fisheries Co-management in Southern Africa. University of Cape Town Press, Cape Town.
Hara, M., 2003. Case for compliance studies to improve management of the Chambo on the south east arm of Lake Malawi, in: The Chambo Restoration Strategic Plan. Presented at the National Workshop, WorldFish Center, Boadzulu Lakeshore Resort, Mangochi, pp. 43–53.
Hara, M., Jul-Larsen, E., 2003. The“ lords” of Malombe; an analysis of fishery development and changes in fishing effort on Lake Malombe, Malawi (FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 2), Management, co-management or no management? Major dilemmas in southern African. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Geneva.
Hara, M., Maharaj, I., Pithers, L., 2003. Marine-based tourism in Gansbaai: A socio-economic study, Final report for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT). Pretoria.
Hara, M., Donda, S., Njaya, F.J., 2002. Lessons from Malawi’s experience with fisheries co-management initiatives, in: Geheb, K. (Ed.), Africa’s Inland Fisheries: The Management Challenge. Fountain Publishers, Kampala, pp. 31–48.
Hara, M., Nielsen, J.R., 2002. A decade of fisheries co-management in Africa : going back to the roots? empowering fishing communities? or just an illusion? (Occasional Paper No. 20), Land Reform and Agrarian Change Occasional Paper. Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies, Bellville.
Hara, M.M., Donda, S.J., Njaya, F.J., Benjaminsen, T.A., Cousins, B., Thompson, L., 2002. Lessons from Malawi’s experience with fisheries co-management initiatives, in: Contested Resources: Challenges to the Governance of Natural Resources in Southern Africa: Papers from the International Symposium, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, 18-20 October 2000. Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), pp. 67–77.
Hara, M.M., 2001. Could marine resources provide a short-term solution to declining fish supply in SADC inland countries? The case of horse mackerel. Food Policy 26, 11–34.
Hara, M., 2001. Could co-management provide a solution to the problems of artisanal fisheries management on the south-east arm of Lake Malawi (PhD - Faculty of Arts). University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.
Hara, M., 1999. Fisheries co-management: a review of the theoretical basis and assumptions. Centre for Southern African Studies, School of Government.
Hara, M.M., Donda, S.J., Njaya, F., 1999. An evaluation of the Lake Malombe co-management program, in: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Fisheries Co-management.
Njaya, F.J., Donda, S.J., Hara, M.M., 1999. Fisheries co-management in Malawi: Lake Chiuta re-visit case study. Presented at the International Workshop on Fisheries Co-Management, Berjaya Georgetwon, Hotel Penang, Malaysia, pp. 23–28.
Hara, M., 1998. Problems of introducing community participation in fisheries management: Lessons from the Lake Malombe and Upper Shire River (Malawi) participatory fisheries management programme. Presented at the Fisheries Co-management in Africa, Mangochi (Malawi), 18-20 Mar 1997, Nordsoecentret, pp. 41–60.
Banda, M.M., Hara, M.M., 1997. Habitat degradation caused by seines on the fishery of Lake Malombe and Upper Shire River and its effects, in: African Inland Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Environment. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Geneva, pp. 305–310.
Hara, M., 1997. International trade in ivory from the African elephant: issues surrounding the CITES ban and SACWM’s chances of overturning it, Southern African Perspectives. Centre for Southern African Studies, Cape Town.
Hara, M., 1996. Problems of introducing community participation in fisheries management: lessons from the Lake Malombe and Upper Shire River (Malawi) participatory fisheries management programme, in: South African Perspectives. Centre for Southern African Studies, Cape Town.
Chamveka, J., Hara, M., 1993. Problems of fresh fish handling and distribution in Southern Malawi. Presented at the Expert Consultation on Fish Technology in Africa, Accra (Ghana), 22-25 Oct 1991, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Geneva, pp. 34–37.
Hara, M., Mkoko, B.J., 1992. Case for improving marketing of fish in Malawi, in: Proceedings of a Symposium on Post-Harvest Fish Technology. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Geneva.
Mdaihli, M., Hara, M.M., Banda, M.C., 1992. Fish marketing in Lake Malombe, the Upper Shire River and the south-east arm of Lake Malawi ( No. 16), Field document. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Geneva.

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