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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gender, Traditional Authority, and the Politics of Rural Reform in South Africa
Authors:Rangan, Haripriya
Gilmartin, Mary
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:gender relations
customary law
land law
land reform
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Cultural Roles
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Equality and Liberation
Abstract:The new South African Constitution, together with later policies and legislation, affirm a commitment to gender rights that is incompatible with the formal recognition afforded to unelected traditional authorities. This contradiction is particularly evident in the case of land reform in many rural areas. This paper illustrates the ways in which these constitutional contradictions play out with particular intensity in the 'former homelands' through the example of a 1999 conflict over land use in Buffelspruit, Mpumalanga province. There, a number of women who had been granted informal access to communal land for the purposes of subsistence cultivation had their rights denied through the practice of customary law. Despite desperate protests, they continue to be marginalized in terms of access to land, while their male counterparts appropriate communal land for commercial farming and cattle grazing. Drawing on this protest, the authors argue that current practice in relation to the pressing issue of gender equity in land reform in South Africa represents a politics of accommodation and evasion that tends to reinforce gender biases in rural development and that undermines the prospects for genuinely radical transformation of the instituted geographies and institutionalized practices bequeathed by the apartheid regime. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]