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Contemporary Customary Land Issues in Africa: Navigating the Contours of Change

Customary Land

Author: Various

Editors: Horman Chitonge and Bridget Bwalya Umar 

This book examines current trends in customary land issues in Africa, focusing on the practice of converting customary land into leasehold tenure, particularly in Zambia.

Since the enactment of the 1995 Lands Act No. 29 in Zambia, conversion of customary land has become a controversial policy, raising questions about the future of customary land and rural communities, and the role of traditional authorities in a changing environment. Alienating customary land into leasehold tenure has serious implications for local and national politics and gender dynamics.

Analysis of these trends suggests that the policy of creating land markets on customary land is subjecting customary systems to the forces of change. However, governments that have adopted this policy have not, by and large, adopted measures to respond to these challenges. Although customary tenure is widely believed to be resilient, it is not clear how the customary system will navigate the current winds of change. Chapters in this book draw from the Land Use and Rural Livelihoods in Africa Project (LURLAP), a collaborative research project undertaken by staff and students at the University of Cape Town and the University of Zambia.



Additional Information



  • Book

  • IAD/CSP Book Series

Publication Details

Publication Year: 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5275-1100-2