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Land, Power and Custom

Land, Power and Custom

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Land is a burning issue in South Africa, as in Africa more widely. One particularly controversial aspect is the reform of communal land tenure, which impacts on power and gender relations. The relevant legislation in South Africa is the Communal Land Rights Act of 2004, which aims to secure the land rights of people living in communal areas.

Land, Power & Custom: Controversies generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act is a joint project with the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) which has long been involved in litigation concerning land rights in rural areas. It combines chapters written by experts in the fields of land tenure, customary law, history and land reform, and detailed case studies collected from rural communities.  The book discusses and explains the impact that provisions of the Act will have on current problems, and the danger that it will introduce new forms of conflict and instability. Many of the chapters argue that the Act entrenches key distortions that derive from colonialism and apartheid.

The chapters are relevant to debates about land tenure taking place throughout Africa and other parts of the world. It will be of great interest to students of customary law and land law, sociology and political science, legal practitioners and development workers engaged with land issues.

The book includes a DVD-ROM containing over 3 000 pages of related material, including current and historical legislation affecting communal land and affidavits by rural applicants, state officials and traditional leaders in pending litigation concerning land rights and chiefly power. 

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