Seminar: 6 June 2013

Posted on June 03, 2013

Black South African landowners and the State: Defending ownership rights before Apartheid

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Natives Land Act. This paper will examine one aspect of the aftermath of the law, which prohibited black South Africans from buying land. In fact, black South Africans legally purchased more than 3 000 farms and lots between 1913 and 1948. And, once officials at the Native Affairs Department approved a purchase, ownership rights were protected because the state could not legally expropriate that land until 1939, and state officials were reluctant to use their new power between 1939 and 1948. Yet, there were times when the state attempted to gain control of certain African land because such land was in the way of dam construction and new agricultural opportunities for white farmers (Hartebeespoort and Loskop projects). At other times, officials feared conflict between white and black owners who were neighbours on portions of the same farm. In each case, state officials pressured black farmers to sell or exchange their land. But the black farmers steadfastly resisted these requests for years. 

Presenter: Prof Harvey Feinberg, Southern Connecticut State University
Date: 6 June 2013
Time: 11:00–13:00
Venue: HSB 18-26

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