Land, labour and livelihoods : the production of nature and poverty in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
In many parts of South Africa, a growing trend to convert traditional commercial agricultural farms to wildlife-based forms of land use is having significant but largely unexplored impacts on farm dwellers and neighbouring rural communities. This trend is very evident in the province of KwaZulu-Natal where there has been a significant shift in rural landscapes as land is being “rehabilitated”, from commercial cattle farming in particular, and developed into Private Game Reserves (PGRs). This research forms part of a larger project funded by Southern African Programme for Alternatives in Development (SANPAD). One of the research partners was the Association For Rural Advancement (AFRA), an independent Non-Governmental Organisation working on land rights and agrarian reform in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. AFRA‟s work focuses on black rural people whose rights to land have been undermined, whose tenure is insecure, and who do not have access to sufficient land to fulfil their development aspirations or their basic needs. Very little research has, however, been conducted on the large shift in land use in northern KwaZulu-Natal and how rural communities are being impacted in these areas; a situation this study intends to begin to remedy. This study focuses on the north-eastern area of the province, and in particular the Mkuze region, where the move to create PGRs has significantly changed the social and physical geography of the area. In order to gain a clearer understanding of this phenomenon, research was conducted on the relationship between the tribal/ traditional community of Ingwenya and five surrounding game reserves (namely, Thanda/ Intibane, Mkuze, Phinda, and Kube-Yini). While Mkuze is a state game reserve, created in the early twentieth century, the others are PGRs. The study was both quantitative and qualitative in nature which involved collecting household questionnaire surveys in the community of Ingwenya, in-depth interviews with ex-farm dwellers, questionnaire surveys with the managers of the five PGRs chosen in this study, oral and documentary evidence and participant observation.
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