This book examines current trends in customary land issues in Africa, focusing on the practice of converting customary land into leasehold tenure, particularly in Zambia. Since enactment of the 1995 Lands Act No. 29 in Zambia, conversion of customary land has become a controversial policy, raising questions about the future of customary land and rural communities, and the role of traditional authorities in a changing environment. Alienating customary land into leasehold tenure has serious implications for local and national politics and gender dynamics. Analysis of these trends suggests that the policy of creating land markets on customary land is subjecting customary systems to the forces of change. However, governments that have adopted this policy have not, by and large, adopted measures to respond to these challenges. Although customary tenure is widely believed to be resilient, it is not clear how the customary system will navigate the current winds of change.Chapters in this book draw from the Land Use and Rural Livelihoods in Africa Project (LURLAP), a collaborative research project undertaken by staff and students at the University of Cape Town and the University of Zambia.
Horman Chitonge is Professor of African Studies at the University of Cape Town. He has published extensively, including two recent monographs, Economic Growth and Development in Africa: Understanding Trends and Prospects (2015) and Beyond Parliament: Human Rights and the Politics of Social Change in Global South (2015). He has also published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on the issues of land reform, access to water, poverty, and economic growth in Africa. Bridget Bwalya Umar is a faculty member in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies of the University of Zambia, and is a Fellow of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in journals, including Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, the Journal of Agricultural Studies, the African Journal of Agricultural Research, The Open Forest Science, Sustainable Agriculture Research, and the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture.