Rural agricultural settlement options for farm dwellers : a focus on the Amajuba District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Del Grande, Lisa.
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Processes of dispossession led to the deconstructing and reconstructing of new forms of citizenship through new political identities. Concepts of citizenship and identity are now re - emerging with the reconstruction of a new political order post 1994. Who farm dweller families are in the newly constructed polity, or how their identities are understood by the new state, will have bearing on what they can rightfully access as part of the programmes of redress and transformation. Making the argument that farm dwellers are neither ‘peasant’ nor ‘labour’ or ‘worker’ in the dominant theoretical sense the research sets out to contextualise the farm dwellers’ development dilemma. This research attempts to situate farm dweller families in a dynamic and his torically fraught political economy so that a more accurate consideration is given to the impact of future settlement options on their households’ economy. This study evaluates the relationship between farm dweller settlement patterns and their household f ood security. in the Amajuba District of KwaZulu - Natal, South Africa. The situation of the farm dweller families in the Amajuba district tells a story of extreme vulnerability. The vulnerability is a product of their dependent relationship on the owners of the land for permission to access these basic but critical livelihood needs. Their continued dependence on natural resources, rather than the cash economy, is also a product of this decades’ long relationship which has perpetuated levels of generational chronic poverty. The cycle of this level of poverty is clearly vicious and without directed targeted intervention might take generations to overcome, if it is ever broken. The political economic context of an aggressive global food industry fed by industrial forms of agriculture, the levels of vulnerability, dependency and lack of agency in the farm dweller household economy and the incredibly uncertain government settlement and agricultural policy environment, makes the feasibility of new rural settlemen ts with new forms of economic and social functionality almost unimaginable. What the research finds is that in presenting the farm dweller perspective a good motivation can be made for developing a specific targeted state intervention that has short, medium and long term trajectories to provide farm dwellers with redress, and economic development opportunities.