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Centre of African Studies: Events


Does South Africa's Land Restitution Programme encourage xenophobic attitudes?

Does South Africa's Land Restitution Programme encourage xenophobic attitudes?
Speaker: Dr Michelle Hay # University of the Witwatersrand
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Date and Time
29th Mar 2017 16:00 - 29th Mar 2017 17:30
S1 7 George Square

In this paper I argue that South Africa’s Land Restitution programme encourages xenophobic attitudes, by celebrating the idea that large areas of land, and all of its resources, should go to pre-existing ‘communities’ which are increasingly defined in ‘tribal’ terms. The idea of territorially- and tribally - based communities has roots in the ideological justifications for segregation, Bantu Authorities and Homelands. But ‘indigeneity’ has also been used to stake claims to land and resources in the absence of adequate historical research being done to examine the historical validity of land claims. The reason for a lack of historical research is that the Land Claims Commission, which has a monumental task requiring significant time and resources to complete, has been given tight deadlines and a tiny staff contingent. In order to deal with these and other constraints, and reach deadlines and targets, the Regional Land Claims Commissions have taken shortcuts to settle claims. A combination of historical continuities, problematic policy and poor implementation of it, have contributed to a tense situation in rural areas, where some locals are often framed as ‘immigrants’ and struggles over rights to land and resources are based on indigeneity and ethnic nationalism

restitution award ceremony