Formalising Land Rights Based on Customary Tenure: Community Delimitation and Women’s Access to Land in Central Mozambique

Citation:

Kaarhus, Randi, and Stefaan Dondeyne. 2015. "Formalising Land Rights Based on Customary Tenure: Community Delimitation and Women’s Access to Land in Central Mozambique." Journal of Modern African Studies 53 (2): 193-216.

Authors: Randi Kaarhus , Stefaan Dondeyne

Abstract:

The Mozambican Land Law of 1997 intends to provide flexible rules of access to land, while securing local people's customary rights, as well as equal rights for women and men. Drawing on participant observation during a ‘land delimitation’ process in central Mozambique, this article analyses the complex negotiation ensuing from the implementation of the Land Law in a local community. It shows how the delimitation process provided spaces for asserting – male – roles of power and authority, while local women were increasingly marginalised in the process. By presenting oral testimonies from women in the community, the authors seek to balance the account, providing women's perspectives on the highly gendered character of interests in, access to, and exclusion from land. The analysis ends with the question: What would be required to provide a space for local women to articulate their interests in a secure access to land during the delimitation process itself?

Topics: Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2015

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