Table 1. Summary of livelihood risks across the study areas.

Study location
Area 1 (Mantsie village, Lehurutshe District, North West Province, South Africa) Area 2 (Khomele village, Dzanani District, Limpopo Province, South Africa) Area 3 (Mcitsheni village, uThukela District, KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa) Area 4 (Nwadjahane village, Manjacaze District, Gaza Province, Mozambique)

Climate
Regular drought risk, unpredictable rainy seasons, 550mm per year Increased drought risk, unpredictable shorter rainy seasons, longer/intense dry seasons, occasional risk of intense rainfall, 525mm per year Increased risk of intense variable climatic events (snow, hail, frost, drought, floods), weak wetting trend, 845mm per year Risk of drought, unpredictable rainy seasons, risk of flooding, risk of tropical storms, 600mm per year

Environmental
Water shortages, damaged dams, limited groundwater, poor quality rangeland, land degradation, bush encroachment Poor quality rangeland during droughts, some degradation, unproductive soils during drought Poor quality rangeland, land degradation, some soil erosion Increased woodland area around villages, loss of fertile lowland during flooding, unproductive fruit and cashew trees

Socioeconomic
RSA – Botswana border divided Tswana land and social networks,
1977-94 Bophuthatswana homeland,
Post-1994 restructuring of service providers, increasing HIV/AIDS, high unemployment, poverty, weak local infrastructure, dependency on welfare and remittances
1960s ‘new villages’ (land disputes),
1979-94 Venda homeland (important market towns, strong traditional authorities) Post-1994 restructuring of service providers, HIV/AIDS, high unemployment, poverty, weak infrastructure, economic shocks by integrating into ‘new South Africa’, land reform, Zimbabwean refugees
Importance of Zulu traditions in politics /culture, economic isolation until 1994 (legacy of townships: poverty, overgrazing, deforestation, unemployment)
Post-1994 restructuring of service providers, decline in local industry, increased crime and HIV/AIDS
Legacy of Portuguese colonialism (migrant working, resettlement, land rights),
Post-1975 independence socialism, communes, civil war 1983-92, Post-1994 economic shocks and institutional structuring, rising HIV/AIDS, poverty, poor services, low investment, weak infrastructure, high unemployment

Information about climate for each location refers to the climatic characteristics identified from self-organized mapping using daily rainfall data from the last 50 years (Thomas et al. 2007)