Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Southern Africa

Past Wrongs and Gender Rights: Issues and Conflicts in South Africa's Land Reform


Jacobs, Susie. 1998. "Past Wrongs and Gender Rights: Issues and Conflicts in South Africa's Land Reform." European Journal of Development Research 10 (2): 70-87.

Author: Susie Jacobs


South Africa's agrarian situation presents a range of daunting issues, including extreme rural poverty & a government hindered by severe financial constraints. At the same time, the country's attempts to incorporate gender issues into land reform are virtually unique. Discussed here are several major issues confronting the present pilot programs operating in 9 provinces & any future reform: demand for land; demand for services; the issue of "the household"; traditional authorities; forms of land tenure; & the nature of public participation. It is stressed that all of these are gender issues, as is the extent of conflict raised through overt discussion of gender processes. None of these questions has a straightforward answer, but their consideration is likely to raise additional questions.

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Gender Analysis, Land Tenure, Households, Political Participation, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 1998

African Democracy and Development: Challenges for Post-Conflict African Nations


Veney, Cassandra Rachel, and Dick W. Simpson, ed. 2013. African Democracy and Development: Challenges for Post-Conflict African Nations. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Authors: Cassandra Veney, Dick Simpson


Various African nations have undergone conflict situations since they gained their independence. This book focuses on particular countries that have faced conflict (civil wars and genocide) and are now in the process of rebuilding their political, economic, social, and educational institutions. The countries that are addressed in the book include: Rwanda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, there is a chapter that addresses the role of the African Diaspora in conflict and post-conflict countries that include Eritrea, Liberia, and Somalia. The book includes an examination of the various actors who are involved in post-conflict rebuilding and reconstruction that involves internal and external participants. For example, it is clear that the internal actors involve Africans themselves as ordinary citizens, members of local and national governments, and members of non-governmental organizations. This allows the reader to understand the agency and empowerment of Africans in post-conflict reconstruction. Various institutions are addressed within the context of the roles they play in establishing governance organizations such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone, the African Union, chiefs in Liberia, and non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, the external actors who are involved in post-conflict reconstruction are examined such as international non-governmental organizations and the African Diaspora. They both have their own constituents and agendas and can and do play a positive and negative role in post-conflict reconstruction. It is obvious that countries that are addressed in the book are in dire need of financial assistant to rebuild much needed infrastructure that was destroyed during the conflict. All of the countries covered in the book need schools, medical facilities, roads, bridges, airports, ports, and the government does not have the money to provide these. This is where the international non-governmental organizations and the African Diaspora play an important role. The chapters that address these issues are cognizant of their importance and at the same time, the authors realize that sovereignty can be undermined if Africans are not in the forefront of policy and decision making that will determine their future. There are chapters that provide a gendered analysis of post-conflict when it is appropriate. For example, it is clear that women, men, boys, and girls experienced conflict in different ways because of their gender. They all participated in the conflict in various ways. Consequently, the efforts at peace building are given a gendered analysis in terms of what has happened to women and girls in the demobilization and rehabilitation period including an excellent analysis of land reform in Rwanda and how that affects women and members of a certain ethnic group that are often overlooked in the examination of the 1994 genocide. In sum, this book provides a very good contribution to the literature on conflict and post-conflict African countries because of its depth and the vast topics it embraces. It provides an analysis of the internal and external actors, the role of gender in post-conflict decision making, and it provides the voices of ordinary Africans who were affected by the conflict, and who are determined to live productive lives. (Summary from Google Books)
Table of Contents:
Introduction / Cassandra R. Veney --
No justice, no peace : the elusive search for justice and reconciliation in Sierra Leone / Sylvia Macauley --
The role of ex-combatants in Mozambique / Jessica Schafer --
Memory controversies in post-genocide Rwanda : implications for peacebuilding / Elisabeth King --
Land reform, social justice, and reconstruction : challenges for post-genocide Rwanda / Helen Hintjens --
Elections as a stress test of democratization in societies : a comparison of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo / John Yoder --
Partners or adversaries? : NGOs and the state in postwar Sierra Leone / Fredline A.O. M'Cormack-Hale --
Chieftancy and reconstruction in Sierra Leone / Arthur Abraham --
The role of African diasporas in reconstruction / Paul Tiyambe Zeleza --
The role of the African Union in reconstruction in Africa / Thomas Kwasi Tieku --
Governance challenges in Sierra Leone / Osman Gbla --
Challenges of governance reform in Liberia / Amos Sawyer --
Achieving development and democracy / Dick Simpson


Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Analysis, Genocide, Governance, Infrastructure, Transportation, International Organizations, Justice, NGOs, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia

Year: 2013

From Power-Blind Binaries to the Intersectionality of Peace: Connecting Feminism and Critical Peace and Conflict Studies


Kappler, Stefanie, and Nicolas Lemay-Hébert. 2019. “From Power-Blind Binaries to the Intersectionality of Peace: Connecting Feminism and Critical Peace and Conflict Studies.” Peacebuilding 7 (2): 160–77.

Authors: Stefanie Kappler, Nicolas Lemay-Hébert


Critical Peace and Conflict Studies scholars have increasingly sought to overcome binary approaches to engage more fully the ways in which peacebuilding missions are designed, implemented and contested. In doing so, scholars have tried to understand ‘the local’ and mobilised three different concepts to do so – hybridity, the everyday and narratives. However, this shift has failed to translate into fully convincing research transcending the old binaries of ‘international’ and ‘local’. The use of the ‘everyday’ sees power everywhere, hybridity approaches fall into the same binary trap scholars want to avoid in the first place, and narrative approaches tend to focus on very personal stories, removing structural power from the equation. We suggest that a fruitful interaction with Feminist approaches and methodologies, and especially the scholarship on intersectionality, can help shed a new light on the power imbalances and inequalities within peacebuilding missions. We highlight the possible contribution of the concept of intersectionality to Critical Peace and Conflict Studies through an intersectionality of peace approach, which allows for a better understanding of multiple and complex identities of researchers and researchees. We illustrate this argument through a discussion of intersectional narratives centred around the space of the ‘guesthouse’ of South Africa.

Keywords: hyrbidity, the everyday, intersectionality, feminism, South Africa

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Intersectionality, Peacebuilding Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2019

Gendered Impact of Zimbabwe's Transitional Justice: Too Little Too Late


Chaminuka, Lilian. 2019. "Gendered Impact of Zimbabwe’s Transitional Justice: Too Little Too Late." International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science 3 (3): 94-100.

Author: Lilian Chaminuka


The gendered impact of transitional justice after Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle is similar to early efforts in other countries to try and address massive and systematic human rights violations that are largely gender blind. The paper takes a historical analysis highlighting how government chose not to specifically address sexual violence, nor did they examine how women had been distinctly impacted by the war of liberation. There was a pervasive silence regarding violence against, harm to, and the degradation of women with female ex combatants becoming recipients of piecemeal policies and fragmented efforts to accommodate them. The process and what has been done for the Zimbabwean woman is either too little or has been done too late as the legacy of this violence endures long after independence was achieved in 1980. This is not to say government has done absolutely nothing as some gains have been made in building a gender balanced society that factors in contribution of women. The study which employed the qualitative approach, revealed that women are not particularly happy as they feel more can be done as the realities they face today under study show a continuum in the violence exercised against them, their subordinate role, their oppression, the threats and harassment they endured in the past and present lack of economic resources to live a dignified life. The paper is based from a broad study that was undertaken by the author in her studies at the Africa University in 2014.

Keywords: gender, human rights, women ex-combatants, reintegration, transitional justice

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Transitional Justice, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2019

Women's Lived Landscapes of War and Liberation in Mozambique


Katto, Jonna. 2020. Women’s Lived Landscapes of War and Liberation in Mozambique. New York: Routledge. 

Author: Jonna Katto


This book tells the history of the changing gendered landscapes of northern Mozambique from the perspective of women who fought in the armed struggle for national independence, diverting from the often-told narrative of women in nationalist wars that emphasizes a linear plot of liberation. 

Taking a novel approach in focusing on the body, senses, and landscape, Jonna Katto, through a study of the women ex-combatants’ lived landscapes, shows how their life trajectories unfold as nonlinear spatial histories. This brings into focus the women’s shifting and multilayered negotiations for personal space and belonging. This book explores the life memories of the now aging female ex-combatants in the province of Niassa in northern Mozambique, looking at how the female ex-combatants’ experiences of living in these northern landscapes have shaped their sense of socio-spatial belonging and attachment. It builds on the premise that individual embodied memory cannot be separated from social memory; personal lives are culturally shaped. Thus, the book does not only tell the history of a small and rather unique group of women but also speaks about wider cultural histories of body-landscape relations in northern Mozambique and especially changes in those relations. 

Enriching our understanding of the gendered history of the liberation struggle in Mozambique and informing broader discussions on gender and nationalism, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of African history, especially the colonial and postcolonial history of Lusophone Africa, as well as gender/women’s history and peace and conflict studies.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: Gendered Bodies, Moving Landscapes, and Spatial Histories

1. FRELIMO Nationalism, Female Bodies, and the Language of Gender

2. Female Combatants and Gendered Styles of Being

3. Guerilla Life and the Haptics of the “Bush"

4. Body Feelings and Violent Memories

5. Living Landscape

6. Rhythmic Beauty

7. Home, (Be)longing, and the Beautiful

Epilogue: Spatial Movements, Relations, and Representations

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Nationalism Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2020

From Victims to the Vaunted: Young Women and Peace Building in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe


Chitando, Anna. 2019. “From Victims to the Vaunted: Young Women and Peace Building in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe.” African Security Review 28 (2): 110–23.

Author: Anna Chitando


Reflecting on young women involved in violence/peace, the dominant views present them as victims. This is understandable, as young women constitute the majority of those who are at the receiving end of violence. Further, young people are generally regarded as a threat. However, this paradigm glosses over the contribution of young women to peacebuilding in their communities. Despite the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 calling for women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, major challenges of its implementation in Africa remain. Therefore, this study sought to establish young women’s understanding of peacebuilding, activities they undertook to contribute to peacebuilding in Mashonaland East in Zimbabwe, and the challenges they encounter. The study prioritised the agency of young women in contributing towards peace in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe. The research was based on the qualitative method as it sought to establish how women participate in peacebuilding. Findings of the study showed that young women are contributing to peacebuilding, although they face some challenges.

Keywords: peacebuilding, young women, Mashonaland East province, Zimbabwe, women's participation, agency

Topics: Age, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2019

Gendering South Africa's Foreign Policy: Toward a Feminist Approach?


Haastrup, Toni. 2020. “Gendering South Africa’s Foreign Policy: Toward a Feminist Approach?” Foreign Policy Analysis 16 (2): 199–216.

Author: Toni Haastrup


South Africa's leadership has sought ethical foreign policy since the advent of democracy. This foreign policy outlook focuses on the African continent and includes certain articulations of pro-gender justice norms. In this article, I reflect on the extent to which South Africa's foreign policy embraces these norms as part of its foreign apparatus and practices. It takes at its starting point the nascent literature on feminist foreign policy applied to South Africa, which shares similarities to countries in the Global North that claim a feminist orientation to foreign policy. Moreover, it takes account of gender dynamics at the domestic level and how they are manifested in foreign policy discourses and practices, particularly in the understanding and implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda. Utilizing qualitative content analysis, this article provides context and meaning for how gender concerns have evolved in South Africa's foreign policy, including the role of certain norm entrepreneurs in shaping the gender narrative. The article concludes that the domestic context is important to shaping and limiting how a country can enact feminist foreign policy. Importantly, the South African case provides a Global South dimension to the nascent scholarship.

Topics: Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Justice, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2020

Women’s Tenure Rights and Land Reform in Angola


Cain, Allan. 2019. "Women’s Tenure Rights and Land Reform in Angola." Paper prepared for 2019 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, Washington D.C., March 25-29. 

Author: Allan Cain


Current Angolan municipalisation reforms present a unique opportunity to affect local practice on how community and individual land-holder tenure is administered and to protect women's equitable rights to land. Angola is a post-war country, with weak land tenure legislation and limited local government management capacity. Customary traditions are practiced in the various regions a of the country do not respect women’s rights of ownership and inheritance. More than 62 percent of the population live in informal settlements with insecure land tenure under the threat of forced evictions. Families living in poor communities affected by the expansion of cities and towns are particularly vulnerable. Of these, families lead by women are the most at risk. Securing rights to land and housing assets are important to livelihoods of women headed households by permitting access to financing that they require to grow their enterprises as well as for incrementally upgrading their housing.

Keywords: women, gender, tenure, land reform, customary, human rights

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Households, Post-Conflict, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Angola

Year: 2019

Transitional Justice in South Africa and Brazil: Introducing a Gendered Approach to Reconciliation


Nelaeva, Galina, and Natalia Sidorova. 2019. "Transitional Justice in South Africa and Brazil: Introducing a Gendered Approach to Reconciliation." BRICS Law Journal 6 (2): 82-107.

Authors: Galina Nelaeva, Natalia Sidorova


The concept of transitional justice has been associated with the periods of political change when a country emerges from a war or turmoil and attempts to address the wrongdoings of the past. Among various instruments of transitional justice, truth commissions stand out as an example of a non-judicial form of addressing the crimes of the past. While their setup and operation can be criticized on different grounds, including excessive politization of hearings and the virtual impossibility of meaningfully assessing their impact, it has been widely acknowledged in the literature that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa can be regarded as a success story due to its relatively strong mandate and widespread coverage and resonance it had in South African society. We would like to compare this commission from the 1990s with a more recent example, the Brazilian National Truth Commission, so as to be able to address the question of incorporation of gendered aspects in transitional justice (including examination of sexual violence cases, representation of women in truth-telling bodies, etc.), since gender often remains an overlooked and silenced aspect in such initiatives. Gendered narratives of transitional justice often do not fit into the wider narratives of post-war reconciliation. A more general question addressed in this research is whether the lack of formal procedure in truth commissions facilitates or hinders examination of sexual crimes in transitional settings.

Keywords: transitional justice, truth commissions, post-conflict resolution, gender-based violence, reconciliation

Topics: Gender, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, South America Countries: Brazil, South Africa

Year: 2019

Gender and Governance in Post-Conflict and Democratizing Settings


Kindervater, Lisa, and Sheila Meintjes. 2018. "Gender and Governance in Post-Conflict and Democratizing Settings." In The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict, edited by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn, Dina Francesca Haynes, and Nahla Valji, 468-484. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Authors: Lisa Kindervater, Sheila Meintjes


Women have the opportunity to make significant economic, political, and sociocultural gains during transitions to peace and democracy; however, these gains are frequently lost when competitive electoral politics resumes. This chapter identifies the key mechanisms responsible for this loss, providing examples from several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. These mechanisms include institutional constraints, historical political conditions, donor-driven agendas, prevailing cultural norms, and the nature of the women’s movement. The chapter suggests that while the enactment of laws and policies related to women’s rights are an important first step, a feminist and transformational agenda in post-conflict societies requires focus on patriarchal cultures and practices. The chapter argues that such transformation is aided by the fostering of strong relationships between grassroots women activists and politically elite women.

Keywords: post-conflict, electoral politics, patriarchal cultures, feminism, women's movement, donor agenda, Sub-Saharan Africa

Topics: Class, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Political Participation, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa

Year: 2018


© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at

Subscribe to RSS - Southern Africa