Large scale land deals in Southern Africa: voices of the people

Ruth Hall, Joseph Gausi, Prosper Matondi, Theodor Muduva, Camilo Nhancale, Dimuna Phiri and Phillan Zamchiya
Published by the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies
June 2015
Open access – freely downloadable as a PDF file

This book presents case studies of large-scale land deals in Southern Africa. It aims to provide an accessible and vivid window into the lived realities and responses of rural people who are affected by such deals. For this reason, we have paid particular attention to what local people say, and have quoted their experiences and responses to the land deals.

largescale500The book emerges from an action research project implemented by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, in partnership with non-governmental organisations in five Southern African countries: LandNet in Malawi, Kuwuka Juventude Desenvolvimento e Advocacia Ambiental in Mozambique, Legal Assistance Centre in Namibia, Zambia Land Alliance in Zambia and Ruzivo Trust in Zimbabwe.

Our joint project, entitled Commercialisation of Land and ‘Land Grabbing’ in Southern Africa: Implications for Land Rights and Livelihoods in Southern Africa, involved not only documenting what was happening on the ground but also action research, together with the communities, in negotiations, lobbying and meetings with investors and with government institutions.

We hope that this book, its case studies and the testimonies from the people affected, will prove to be a useful resource to popularise knowledge of big commercial land deals in the region, among policymakers, activists, farmers’ organisations and other civil society bodies. It can be used to debate why land deals are happening, how they affect rural communities, and the gaps in national laws, policies and institutions that govern land rights. We hope that reading this book, and using it in training and workshops, will help to strengthen activism and advocacy for just land laws and policies, and their full and transparent implementation.