Gendered land rights in the rural areas of Namaqualand: a study of women’s perceptions and understandings

June 2011
Karin Kleinbooi (MPhil thesis, PLAAS, University of the Western Cape)

Focuses on women’s perceptions of land rights in the communal areas of Namaqualand in the Northern Cape. Explores the links between patriarchal social systems and women’s conservative attitudes towards holding land and shows how current policy processes and legislation allow local customs to continue to entrench gender discriminatory practices. Findings indicate that women are disadvantaged by historical norms, values and attitudes, which afford them only secondary rights to land. Yet, informal land practices, however limited, show that in some cases women are creating opportunities to gain access to land independently. For this to become the norm rather than an exception, these practices need recognition and support.