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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Hill of Thorns: Custom, Knowledge and the Reclaiming of a Lost Land in the New South Africa
Author:James, Deborah
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:land reform
customary law
land law
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Development and Technology
Abstract:This article provides an ethnographic exploration of a case of land restitution in South Africa. It concerns the farm 'Doornkop' (Hill of Thorns), which was bought in 1920 by a group of 280 people amidst the flux of landholding arrangements in the post-Boer War Transvaal. In 1974 their descendants were removed by force and the farm was given to white farmers. Twenty years later, the Commission on Land Restitution restored ownership to the Doornkop community. The case of 'Doornkop' is instructive both as a site of complex understandings about the meaning of custom and communal property, and as an example of proposed transformation in land ownership which highlights the conflicting needs of owners and tenants. The former (and now newly-restored) landowners have ideas and practices concerning community, property, land ownership and development which dovetail in particular ways with those of NGOs, human rights activists and prospective developers. Knowledge and practice about these issues has in part been formed through a series of interactions and negotiations between these various actors. But landowners' ideas also diverge in significant ways: not only from those of the activists and developers who have worked on their case, but also internally, from those of other 'Doornkop' people. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.