Year: 2011

Document type: Faculty Research & Publications


This paper is the result of a five month period spent working and travelling in India in 2011. It is my interpretation of the reaction I had, as a South African, to people and their relationships with land that I encountered while there.

The paper begins with a brief background to the reform process in India and South Africa. Following this the paper is divided into two parts: the first being a reflection on the Bhoodan movement of land-gifting led by Gandhian disciple Vinoba Bhave and its relevance to deconstructing the oppositional tensions in contemporary South African land reform; the second half of the paper applies a food systems perspective to the land relationships in both countries so as to draw out lessons from the Indian experience of land reform and present suggestions for reform efforts in South Africa. It is argued that a food systems perspective provides a good lens through which to approach agrarian land reform as it is able to elucidate many of the broader socio-ecological complexities which traditional analyses often struggle to connect.

The paper concludes by arguing for a shift away from the current â€chasing hectares€Ÿ approach to land reform targets in South Africa, in favour of adopting a livelihoods potential approach, which focuses on periurban land as the most viable way to continue pro-poor reform.

Key words: Land reform, India, South Africa, land gifting, reconstruction, food systems, peri-urban

Words: 9658