The agrarian reform dynamics in southern Africa have to be understood within the framework of colonial land policies and legislation that were designed essentially to expropriate land and natural resource property rights from the indigenous people in favour of the white settlers. Colonial land policies institutionalised racial inequity with regard to land although conditions are not homogeneous there are broad themes that cut across the southern Africa region. Colonialism dispossessed and impoverished the people by taking away the most productive lands. Neoliberal globalization has undermined the people’s well-being through direct influences on agriculture and rural economies in conjunction with policies promoted by national governments and international agencies. Another shared feature is to be found in the high rates of unemployment, poor returns to small-scale agriculture, lack of access to social services such as health and education all of which serve to erode existing livelihood activities and perpetuate relative and absolute poverty in rural areas.
This comparative study on Zimbabwe’s agrarian reforms may provide countries such as South Africa and Namibia with valuable lessons, as they attempt their own land reforms. Conflicts between colonialists and the indigenous people in the then Rhodesia centred mainly on the land question. This inequitable distribution of land resulted in Africans waging liberation struggles in order to reclaim their land from the colonialists. In most post-colonial countries, calls have been made for land redistribution as a way of redressing colonial injustices in land tenure systems. The process of reclamation of land and redistributing it to the indigenous people is fraught with problems and has resulted in the present-day land crisis in many parts of Africa and other continents. These are some of the issues this book examines, attempts to understand and explain from a gender perspective. Gender relations are viewed in terms of land use and ownership in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwe. These socially constructed roles have been found to be unequal in terms of power and decision making. It is argued that lessening of social inequalities between men and women reduces poverty, raises farm efficiency and improves natural resource management. The book emphasizes that once women are empowered, the quality of life of their households improves.
Onias Mafa is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Coordinator in the Department of Education at the Zimbabwe Open University, Bulawayo Region.
Enna Sukutai Gudhlanga is an Associate Professor and the Chairperson of the Department of Languages and Literature at the Zimbabwe Open University.
Norman Manyeruke is a lecturer at National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo.
Ephraim Hudson Mazvidza Matavire is a Fellow of the Institute of Administration and Commerce (FIAC), Bulawayo.
John Mpofu is a Lecturer and Programme Coordinator in the Department of Media and Journalism Studies at Zimbabwe Open University, Bulawayo Region.
ISBN: 978 286978 590 8