Land in South Africa: Contested meanings and nation formation

February 2021
A research project by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (A Mistra Policy Brief)

A policy brief introducing a new book edited by Khwezi Mabasa and Bulelwa Mabasa. The book examines how land and agrarian reform impacts nation building, citizenship and identity formation. It draws attention to the limitations of reducing land to a commodity and how this approach perpetuates social conflict and inequality in land reform policy implementation. The brief argues that it is important to explore the contested meanings of land in society. These varied meanings challenge traditional land reform perspectives. They encourage South Africans to approach land tenure, redistribution and restitution policies differently. The brief includes recommendations in the book on land redress and nation building, land tenure, land governance and citizenship, land reform and livelihoods. Recommendations should include holding individuals accountable for contraventions of land legislation.