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The 2019 Biennial Conference was hosted by the University of Fort Hare at the Arendsnes Conference Centre in Chintsa East, South Africa. 

Conference Summary

Pre-conference excursion was organized by Bennie van der Waal, Jay le Roux, Kate Rowntree, and Laura Bannatyne. Presentations on the excursion were given by attending delegates, many of these students and early career researchers. The excursion was a great success, even though the weather did not always play along, and it was quite cold on a few nights. The South African winter still had us in its grips! Please have a look at our gallery for photos from the field excursion. All photos are courtesy of Kate Rowntree and the excursion programme is available here.

Delegates were able to meet each other on Sunday’s meet and greet, held at Arendsnes. The head of department of the Department of Geography and Environmental Science of the University of Fort Hare, Dr Kalumba was also present. Dr Kalumba also opened the conference on Monday morning by giving the official welcome. Professor Ian Meiklejohn from the Department of Geography of Rhodes University gave the keynote address in which he spoke about the involvement of South African geomorphologists in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic. With South Africa one of the original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, our presence in Antarctica is long and South African researchers have made significant contributions to polar research in numerous fields. Monday and Tuesday consisted of interesting and varied presentations spanning the breadth of geomorphological studies, ranging from erosion and rehabilitation of gullies to weathering of gravestones, periglacial studies, dating techniques, the use of remote sensing and GIS in geomorphology, geomorphology and health, and many more. The special COMLAND session on Monday, convened by Kate Rowntree, consisted of selected presentations focusing on land degradation. The special cosmogenic isotope session on Tuesday was convened by Stephan Winkler from the NRF iThemba labs. Crucially, delegates were informed that iThemba labs is now able to do cosmogenic isotope dating at much reduced costs compared to elsewhere. This has the potential to revolutionise erosion-related geomorphological work in South Africa.The full book of abstracts is available here.

During the biennial general meeting on Tuesday afternoon the new SAAG Council was voted into office. SAAG would like to take this opportunity to thank the previous council consisting of Jay le Roux (UFS), David Hedding (UNISA), Sizwe Mabaso (UNISWA), Thomas Marambanyika (MSU), Christel Hansen (UP), Lindie Smith-Adao (CSIR), and Bennie van der Waal (RU) for giving their time to serve on the council from 2017-2019. The new council consists of Christel Hansen (UP; President), Laura Bannatyne (RU; President-Elect), David Hedding (UNISA; previous President, Treasurer), Michael Loubser (UP; Secretary), and three ordinary members of Abuyiselwe Nguna (UFH), Elizabeth Rudolph (UFS), and Namso Nyamela (UL).

The conference dinner took place on Tuesday evening. SAAG is pleased to announce that two Fellowships of the Association were awarded to two of our long-serving and impactful geomorphologists and members. Kate Rowntree, Emeritus Professor from Rhodes University and Heinz Beckedahl from the University of Eswatini and Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria were awarded fellowships for their long service to geomorphology, the discipline in South Africa, and their support of young and early career Southern African geomorphologists. It is a privilege to have Kate and Heinz as members of our association and thank them for their continued support. Both Kate and Heinz are also now Honorary Members of the association for life. During the dinner two student prizes were also awarded. Masters student Jason le Roux and Honours student Maleho Sadiki, both from the University of Pretoria, were awarded two R 500 cash prizes for their outstanding presentations. Jason developed a wetland map for Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) using a combined field work and digital approach. Maleho has mapped water bodies on Marion Island using remote sensing and GIS methods. 

The conference concluded on Wednesday 18 September with a workshop focusing on erosion and rehabilitation. Participants engaged in meaningful discussions and were presented with findings from around the world. The keynote address was given by Professor James Gambiza from the Department of Environmental Science of Rhodes University, who gave an excellent talk on land degradation and we thank him for giving his time to speak to attendees at the workshop. The workshop programme is available here. A full overview of the excursion, main conference and workshop programmes and order of talks can be viewed here.​

SAAG would like to thank the 2019 Organising Committee consisting of Paul Sumner and Werner Nel (UFH), David Hegging (Unisa), Christel Hansen (UP), Bennie van der Waal (RU), Jay le Roux (UFS), Heinz Beckedahl (UP, UNISWA), and Frank Eckardt (UCT) for their outstanding work and organizing such a successful conference. SAAG would also like to thank their sponsors COMLAND and Esri South Africa again for their support. These funds were used to support student and ECR attendance at the conference. Esri South Africa also sponsored the student prizes that were awarded at the conference. Finally, SAAG would like to thank the University of Fort Hare for their support and Arendsnes for providing logistics.

Organising Committee & Sponsors

The conference would not have been possible without the dedication and sponsorship of multiple individuals.

Keen to Read More?
Image Gallery
Pre-Conference Excursion: Day 1
Pre-Conference Excursion: Day 2
Conference Day 1 & 2
Conference Dinner
Post-Conference Workshop
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