Farming and Familial Relations: Women's Fragile Land Rights under Communal Tenure in Namaqualand


Kleinbooi, Karin. 2009. "Farming and Familial Relations: Women's Fragile Land Rights under Communal Tenure in Namaqualand." Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity, no. 81, 35-47.

Author: Karin Kleinbooi


In the former coloured rural reserves of Namaqualand, land is held under an evolving form of communal tenure. Women engaging in a range of agricultural activities gain access to land for residential and production purposes mainly through dependent relationships with husbands, fathers and sons, and unmarried women find it virtually impossible to obtain land rights in their own name. While the South African government's land reform programme has extended the area of communal land and attempted to secure the rights of existing land holders, this has largely benefited existing male farmers and appears to offer little to women farmers. Women's attitudes to the patriarchal system of land holding were found to be largely conservative. Few are willing to challenge the highly gendered nature of land rights within families.

Keywords: gender, land rights, communal tenure, farming

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2009

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