More than simply ‘socially embedded’: recognizing the distinctiveness of African land rights | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
May 2006
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

Discusses controversies generated by recent South African legislation (the Communal Land Rights Act), shows how these echo debates in the wider African context, and explores potential solutions to reform of ‘customary’ land tenure regimes. Argues that the most appropriate approach to tenure reform is to make socially legitimate occupation and use rights the point of departure for both their recognition in law and for the design of institutional contexts for mediating competing claims and administering land. Legal frameworks should vest land rights in the people who occupy and use land, not in groups or institutions, while recognising that these rights are shared and relative within a variety of nested social units.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Ben Cousins
Aninka Claassens

Data provider


Mokoro is pleased to host the ’Land Rights in Africa’ site as a contribution to the land rights dialogue and related debates. This website was created in January 2000 by Robin Palmer, and was originally housed by Oxfam GB, where Robin worked as a Land Rights Adviser. A library of resources on land rights in Africa – with a particular focus on women’s land rights and on the impact of land grabbing in Africa – the portal has been well received by practitioners, researchers and policy makers, and has grown considerably over the years.

Geographical focus