South Africa, April 2014

April 29, 2014 Themes: Business | Economics | Employment | Land Programs: Gender Justice

The socio-cultural factors affecting the participation of women in agricultural development : Khezana village in Alice district

The study sought to investigate socio-cultural factors that contribute to the invisibility of women in agricultural activities at Khwezana village, Alice district. The present study was underpinned by a people’s À“centered developmental approach paired with the feminist perspective based of ethnographic research methods, participant observation and basic individual interviews. The study mainly focused on female residents of the village, those who are active in agriculture and also those who are not practicing crop production. Rural women of South Africa have historically played a significant role by contributing in the sustainable livelihoods of the country as well as their communities. However, it has been revealed that there are factors that impede the participation of women in agricultural development. The study revealed that socio-cultural factors such as limited access to land, access to credit (due to tradition and culture circumstances), limited education and culture change in general are the major factors that significantly influence the low agricultural activity in the study village

A comparative study of black rural women’s tenure security in South Africa and Namibia

The South African land question presents complex legal and social challenges. The legal aspects of land are inextricably linked to other socio-economic aspects, such as access to housing, healthcare, water and social security. The Constitution provides for land reform in the property clause – section 25. This clause, while seeking to redress the colonial land dispossessions, by means of a tripartite land reform programme, also protects the property rights of all. The different legs of the land reform programme are redistribution, which is aimed at enabling citizens to access land on an equitable basis; restitution, which sets out to restore property rights or grant equitable redress to those dispossessed of land as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices and finally tenure reform. Tenure reform is premised on transforming the landholding system of those with legally insecure tenure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices or granting comparable redress. The primary focus of this thesis is on tenure security for black rural women in South Africa, while using the Namibian experience with regard of the same group as a comparison. Historically, before colonialism, landholding was governed by the customary law of the various tribes in South Africa. This landholding system underwent extensive change through the colonial era that ultimately led to a fragmented and disproportionate distribution of land based on race, with insecure land rights particularly in rural areas, where women are the majority. With the dawn of the Constitutional era, South Africa embarked upon a social justice project, based on a supreme Constitution, embodying human dignity, equality, non-racialism, accountability and the rule of law. Land reform forms part of the social project and is governed by the Constitution and influenced by both the civil and customary law. With the South African tenure context, policy documents, legislation and case law will be analysed. In this process the role of the stakeholders and other related factors, for example customary practices are also considered. The analysis indicates that case law has played a significant part in addressing women’s plight with regard to equality, tenure reform and abolishing suppressive legislative provisions and practices. It is furthermore clear that the different categories of women are affected differently by the overarching tenure and other related measures. For a legal comparative study, Namibia was chosen for the following reasons: (a) both South Africa and Namibia have a shared colonial and apartheid background; (b) both countries have a Constitutional foundation incorporating human rights and equality; and (c) both countries have embarked on land reform programmes. However, contrary to the South African position, both the Namibian Constitution and its National Land Policy are more gender-specific. Tenure reform is an on-going process in Namibia in terms of which specific categories of women have benefitted lately. To that end the gender inclined approach may be of specific value for the South African situation, in general, but in particular concerning black rural women. Consequently, particular recommendations, linked to the specific categories of women, are finally provided for the South African position, in light of the Namibian experience.

A history of diminishing returns: the paradox of women’s customary land rights in small scale irrigation scheme reforms in matrilineal societies in southern Malawi

This dissertation examines how, through Malawi’s uncritical implementation of 2 major international irrigation projects (supported at different times by both the West and the East), local and international patriarchal interests have merged (inadvertently or otherwise) and are destroying a vital part of the fabric of the country’s customary life. That delicate fabric is held together by the special stewardship of women over land, successfully managed by them for centuries in matrilineal societies, Malawi’s most common form of customary family life. Based on a wide range of data collected using several interactive gender-focused methodologies (especially the Women’s Law Approach) the writer exposes the male bias inherent in ‘man’- made Human Rights law (contained in various HR instruments some of which are binding on Malawi) which is blind to and destructive of women’s matrilineal customary law land rights. She finally suggests urgent legal and other reforms to restore Malawian women to their rightful place at the heart of their communities in order to prevent their country’s continued slide into enslavement by international forces.

Women’s land rights: visiting professional program

Landesa partners with governments and local organisations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. The Visiting Professionals Program is a competitive year long program for experienced professionals who want to enhance their ability to improve women’s land rights in their countries.

September 23, 2013 Themes: Land Programs: Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) | Pamphlet

Rural infrastructure in Africa: unlocking the African moment

The Development Support Monitor tracks development commitments made by African governments and their development partners for Africa’s development. This year it focuses on rural infrastructure and explores continental planning and funding by African governments and development partners and the publication notes that rural infrastructure is often neglected.

Women’s land rights in Southern Africa: Consolidated baseline findings from Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe

This report presents the consolidated findings from 5 national baseline studies that were undertaken in 2009.The Women’s land Rights in Southern Africa Project is aimed at enhancing women’s access to, and control over land and other productive resources to meet their basic livelihood needs and become more economically independent. It targets rural women farmers in selected areas.

March 12, 2013 Themes: Agriculture | Land Programs: Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) | Report

A place we want to call our own

This is a study on land tenure policy and securing housing rights in Namibia which, unlike other Southern African countries, has never developed large urban centres. It was undertaken by the land, environment and Development project of the Legal Assistance Centre

Policy Makers Guide to Women’s Land, Property and Housing Rights Across the World

Policy Makers Guide to Women’s Land, Property and Housing Rights Across the World (2007) is a summary and comparative analysis of the research series on urban land and housing policies […]

March 12, 2013 Themes: Gender equality | Housing | Land Programs: Book

The right to land and justice for women in Africa

African Women’s land rights conference on “Advancing the right to land and justice for women in Africa’ was held at the Red Court Hotel 30 May À“ 2 June 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. Women’s land rights are critical for women’s own advancement firstly, but also for the development of Africa.