Securing Land Rights
Communal land reform in Namibia
Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa
Securing land rights takes up themes at the centre of socio-political debates throughout the African
continent. These relate to national struggles over access to land, land distribution, land rights and security of tenure. Land in much of rural Africa is communally held, a system that provides security of livelihood and a social safety net, but is not immune to appropriation by government or injustices such as the eviction of women from the land on the death of their husbands.
This book contextualises Namibia within these debates, highlighting the country’s stance in relation to
communal land tenure reforms with a focus on the realities of people’s lives in north-central Namibia.
Leading questions centre on competing ways of ascribing value to land; mechanisms and monetisation of
access to land; commercialisation of land use, de-agrarianization and ongoing transformation underpinned
by economic and territorial restructuring. These processes have direct impacts on equity in access to land and land distribution, and engender competing visions of land rights. Communal land reform is an uneasy compromise between different processes and interests.
The empirical evidence is extensive and original … and provides a nuanced understanding of what
is a complex and dynamic communal tenure system and clearer insights into the challenges which
confront the current land reform programme in north-central Namibia.
Professor Chris Tapscott, Emeritus Professor, University of the Western Cape
Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Namibia. She obtained her
PhD in Social Anthropology from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Germany).