Indigenous land tenure arrangements in South Africa have generally consisted of communal ownership. In this system, who benefited from the land depended on their status as family or clan head. The colonial regime dispossessed Africans of land in favour of European arrivals, or defined family property as ancestral property in which the senior males of the head family were taken as the owners with the rights to inherit. The post-apartheid government conceptualised acess to land for the previously disadvantaged as a human right. However, in practice, it remained tolerant of (distorted) customary law which privileged male access to land. In 2005 the case in the Constitutional Court Bhe v Magistrate revolutionised the law by rejecting customs which discriminated against black women's inheritance rights. This decision is likely to have a positive impact on black women's capacity to own land.
Auteurs et éditeurs
M. A. Yanou
Fournisseur de données
BRIDGE is a research and information programme located within IDS Knowledge Services. We are part of a global movement whose vision is a world where gender equality, dignity and social justice prevail, where poverty is eliminated and where human rights – including women’s rights - are realised.