Land Reform In Southern African Countries: What factors push government officials (colonial or post-colonial) to embark on land reforms? Why do local communities sometimes resist land reforms?

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According to Warriner (1969) a simple way of defining land reforms is to name it “the redistribution of property or rights in land for the benefit of the landless, tenants and farm labourers”. Land reforms are mainly characterised by the government’s change of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reforms deal with the government in power distributing property which is in most times agricultural land. In some instances it also involves the distribution of land from the more powerful or wealthy group of people such as nobles and bourgeoisie and giving potions of the land to the less powerful in society especially during the start of the post-colonial error in most countries in Southern Africa. During the pre-colonial period, land or pieces of land belonged to different ethnic groups, clans and lineages but now in the post-colonial land reform programs were to introduce individual ownership of land. There are many reasons why the government (both colonial and post-colonial) embark on land reforms and some of the factors influencing them include political reasons such promoting communism or socialism, social reasons such as separating the blacks from the whites and creating social stratification and economic reasons such as facilitating private investments and raising the country’s economic growth of the agricultural sector just but to mention a few reasons. Though some of the government’s reasons to embark on land reforms appear to be noble, local communities refuse these land reforms since they create social stratifications, at times increase poverty, destroy the matrilineal societies and are more political in nature rather than a means to better the people’s lives especially during the colonial error. The essay below will vividly portray why the government embarks on land reform programs and why local people resist these reforms using examples from both colonial and post-colonial Southern African countries.
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Archival date: 2021-10-12
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