Revisiting Africa’s Land and Agrarian Questions

Revisiting Africa’s Land and Agrarian Questions

In many countries across Africa, the struggle against colonialism was underpinned by the need to restore the land rights of indigenous populations lost during colonial occupation. However, in the aftermath of independence, the land question remains largely unresolved across many African countries. Moreover, peasants who played a key role in struggles against colonial occupation through their alliance with liberation movements have continued to face poverty and marginalization. Post independent nationalist governments which took overpower during the transition from colonialism have often failed to honour their promise to redistribute land and address rural poverty as a post-colonial agenda. In many countries, land reforms have been largely based on the neo-liberal ‘willing seller willing buyer’ concept. This has failed to restore the land rights of peasants and thus have perpetuated rural poverty and marginalization. More recently, new forms of peasant dispossession and enclosure of public lands are taking place across Africa through the large-scale acquisition of land by foreign governments and multinational companies in a phenomenon that is popularly known as land grabbing. This process has led to displacement and enclosure of natural resources such as land, water, minerals and other fauna and flora which play an important role in the way peasant households socially reproduce themselves.

This stream seeks to broaden debates on unresolved land and agrarian questions, peasant movements and resistance in neo-colonial Africa.

Organiser: Grasian Hondo Mkodzongi (grasianm@gmail.com)