Land, Status and Security – A Burden Borne by Women


Luwaya, Nolundi. 2018. “Land, Status and Security – A Burden Borne by Women.” Agenda 32 (4): 103-10.

Author: Nolundi Luwaya


Women in rural South Africa, living on communal land, struggle for recognition of both their land rights and claims to land across and within multiple spaces. The arenas within which these women wage their struggles are multidimensional; various dynamics, interests, and laws weave together to knit a particular tapestry. Women in rural communities experience extreme poverty and inadequate access to basic services, woven together with the legacies of colonial and apartheid era land legislation. It is a cruel irony that such extreme poverty is experienced in the former homelands where these high levels of poverty are sharpened by the existence of vast mineral wealth beneath the surface. This mineral wealth is frequently enjoyed by traditional elites who are often privileged to the disadvantage of the communities that they serve. The strands within this complex tapestry that I wish to unravel in this paper are centred around the historical legal construction of the status and land rights of black women and the implications thereof on current struggles. The construction of racist, patriarchal, historical narratives cannot be discussed without examining recent legislative responses dealing with communal land, in particular, by the post-apartheid state, and their effect on women. The Constitution’s promises of land reform and tenure security for people living on communal land must be fulfilled. This fulfilment must be sensitive to the particular challenges faced by women in these rural communities, women who have and continue to lay their bodies on the line for land.

Keywords: women's land rights, communal land, status, security of tenure, South Africa

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

Year: 2018

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