The effects of the fast track land resettlement programme on family structures and livelihoods : a case study of resettled households in the Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe.
Mukwembi, Thebeth Rufaro.
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Social relations are valued by many in rural settings as they provide strong sources of social support among rural households. Barr (2004) and Dekker (2004a) indicate that such strong social relations exist mainly in small villages where kin and family members stay close to each other. They both highlight the importance of kin networks for most rural families to strengthen their social capital and resource-pooling strategies. Through strong and reliable social networks, people can work together for a common good and improve their well-being. It is therefore important for rural households to live close by their kin and friends so that they can pool resources and help each other in times of need. However, following land reform in Zimbabwe, many people left their communal homes and moved to the resettlement areas. These movements impacted on family structures, social networks as well as the livelihood strategies that were established in the communal areas over the years. This study investigates how the movement to resettlement areas has affected the day-to-day lives of the resettled families. This question is explored through a case study of resettled households at Dellos farm, in the Felixburg resettlement area in Zimbabwe. Given that their existing social networks were disrupted with the resettlement at Dellos farm, households established new social networks which they now rely on in their daily lives. Although these new networks are not based on kinship, which is regarded as a strong source of social support, they have proven to have great influence on people’s livelihoods at the farm. Regardless of the limited support households received from the government and other institutions, their social networks allowed them to improve their livelihoods and in turn improve their social and economic status.