“Land, Power & Custom brings together a rich combination of critical reflection and historical and ethnographic evidence to elucidate the challenges of securing land rights in post-apartheid South Africa. The authors … make clear the relevance of South Africa’s experiments and dilemmas for land rights reform in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.”
Sara Berry, Johns Hopkins University
“(Land, Power, and Custom) is a rich source of material for the South African public, for legal and anthropological scholars, and for all those concerned with debates going on apace, seemingly all over Africa.”
African Studies Review
“The value of Claassens and Cousins' book is that the reader gets to grips with the flimsy and insecure nature of land entitlements for residents in former Homelands and the impression is left, which is disturbing, that South Africa remains an apartheid society.”
Journal of Southern African History
“… a timely intervention in a crucial debate on the meaning of custom and tradition in post-apartheid democracy.”
Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Member of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa
Land tenure rights are a burning issue in South Africa, as in Africa more widely. Land, Power, and Custom explores the implications of the controversial 2004 Communal Land Rights Act, criticized for reinforcing the apartheid power structure and ignoring the interests of the common people. This compilation of essays and case studies written by experts navigates through competing viewpoints to discuss the tensions between the new democratic government and traditional tribal leaders, the land rights of affected yet isolated or marginalized groups, and concerns about the constitutionality of the CLRA itself.
A DVD accompanying the book contains the affidavits of four communities challenging the Act, pleadings, hearings, and submissions, as well as the entire body of South African legislation involved in this challenge, dating back to the late nineteenth century.
Aninka Claassens is a land rights activist and researcher and writer on land rights and customary tenure. More info →
Ben Cousins holds a chair in development management at the University of the Western Cape, and is director of the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLASS). More info →
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Clarence Mitchell Jr. was the driving force in the movement for passage of civil rights laws in America. The foundation for Mitchell's struggle was laid during his tenure at the Fair Employment Practice Committee, where he led implementation of President Roosevelt's policy barring racial discrimination in employment in the national defense and war industry programs. Mitchell's FEPC reports and memoranda chart the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.
Prisons are always a key focus of those interested in human rights and the rule of law. Human Rights in African Prisons looks at the challenges African governments face in dealing with these issues. Written by some of the most eminent researchers from and on Africa, including the former chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The year 2008 is the deadline set by President Mbeki for the finalization of all land claims by people who were dispossessed under the apartheid and previous white governments. Although most experts agree this is an impossible deadline, it does provide a significant political moment for reflection on the ANC government’s program of land restitution since the end of apartheid.
Land is a significant and controversial topic in South Africa. Addressing the land claims of those dispossessed in the past has proved to be a demanding, multidimensional process. In many respects the land restitution program that was launched as part of the county’s transition to democracy in 1994 has failed to meet expectations, with ordinary citizens, policymakers, and analysts questioning not only its progress but also its outcomes and parameters.