Farm workers and farm dwellers in Limpopo, South Africa : struggles over tenure, livelihoods and justice

Burning fields, demonstrations and clashes between police and farm workers: in 2012, farms in South Africa’s Western Cape province witnessed a wave of anger and violence during protests against low wages and poor living conditions. Old patterns of ownership and power still produce tense human relations on many of the forty thousand private farms in South Africa. For farm workers and dwellers, tenure insecurity, harsh living conditions or forced evictions have persisted in the democratic era.
This study of commercial farms in Limpopo examines how recent changes – economic restructuring, land reform and migration – are affecting people living on farms, as seen through the eyes of workers, dwellers, managers and owners. Here women, men and children strive to defend their tenure, livelihoods and justice on farms that are being shaped by local and global economic forces. Stark contrasts between constitutional rights and lived realities exist.Profound changes are needed but there is no panacea.
The book presents four future scenarios and discusses the dynamics of conflicts and opportunities that each scenario may bring. Progress will require both struggle and pragmatism: workers and dwellers need the power to organise and negotiate; farmers and farmer organisations have to reconcile production with fair and sustainable social relations; state institutions must lead and provide resources for change; and the public has to engage with rural issues and the making of a less divided countryside.

Mise en ligne : 13 mai 2015 | Mise à jour : 13 mai 2015 | Auteur : Eric Léonard