David W. Olivier

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand

Dr Olivier is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Global Change Institute (GCI) of the University of the Witwatersrand. He received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Stellenbosch in 2014 on the social and physical benefits of urban agriculture projects run by non-governmental organisations in Cape Town. He subsequently worked as project manager to the Southern Africa Food Lab on social protection for sustainable agriculture. Dr Olivier's interest is in sustainable livelihoods. His current focus is on the intersection of nature and society in South Africa.


  • 2016–present
    Postdoctoral research fellow, University of the Witwatersrand
  • 2015–2016
    Project manager, Southern Africa Food Lab
  • 2012–2015
    Research consultant, Private
  • 2010–2012
    Sociology tutor, University of Stellenbosch


  • 2014 
    University of Stellenbosch , PhD (Sociology)
  • 2011 
    University of Stellenbosch, MA (Sociology)
  • 2008 
    University of Stellenbosch, BA with honours (Sociology)


  • 2018
    Urban agriculture in Cape Town: building sustainable livelihoods, Handbook of Sustainability Science and Research
  • 2017
    Beyond food security: women’s experiences of urban agriculture in Cape Town, Agriculture and Human Values
  • 2016
    The personal and social benefits of urban agriculture experienced by cultivators on the Cape Flats, Development Southern Africa
  • 2013
    Mussel and oyster culture in Saldanha Bay, South Africa: potential for sustainable growth, development and employment creation, Food Security

Grants and Contracts

  • 2016
    Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative
    Two-year scholarship
    Funding Source:
    The Open Society Foundation
  • 2013
    The Food Security Initiative
    Three-year scholarship
    Funding Source:
    The National Research Foundation
  • 2011
    The Marine Living Resources Fund
    Two-year scholarship
    Funding Source:
    Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries