Gaining Ground?

Rights and Property in South African Land Reform

Deborah James



Mugabe’s policy of land seizures in Zimbabwe raised concerns in South Africa. Would the same thing happen there given that some politicians signalled support for these actions? The South African Press reported attacks on white farmers in remote areas; they in turn formed vigilante groups which directed violence against African farm-dwellers. Land reform first captured, but then served to disappoint popular expectations aroused by South Africa’s first democratic election. Set amidst these conflicts, Gaining Ground? shows how land reform policy and practise in post-apartheid South Africa have been produced and contested.


Gaining Ground? sheds light on the foundations and effects of a complex land reform process in South Africa. - Maano Ramutsindela, African Affairs


Deborah James is Reader in the Department of Anthropology at Wits University.