The raw realities facing women whose land is the only means of survival seems far removed from the dry jargon beloved by some NGOs and donors, filled with ‘and women’, and ‘gender mainstreaming’. This was vividly evident at the Pan African Land Hearings, held on 15 August 2013 at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, where representatives of rural communities affected by ‘land grabs’ in 9 African countries presented testimony to a panel of experts, including the Pan African Parliament.
The hearings were co-hosted by Oxfam, ActionAid, Future Agricultures and the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), to provide a high-profile public platform for those directly affected by large-scale land acquisitions to present their own experiences in a forum of academics, politicians, lawyers and activists.
The Pan African Land Hearings got underway yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a day of preparations as people from 12 countries gathered to prepare their testimonies of how their communities had been affected by ‘land grabs’.
Their stories detail cases of private sector investment, usually with state sanction, in which community land held under customary tenure has been acquired, often against the will of local people, and without adequate compensation.
The hearings are being co-hosted by Oxfam, ActionAid, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) and the Future Agricultures Consortium.
The testimonies are to be presented today to a panel of eminent persons, including the Pan African Parliament, at the hearings, held at Constitution Hill, home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.
"We are here to tell our story of people directly impacted by land grabs", said Lamine Ndiaye of Oxfam GB in Senegal, one of the event's co-organisers.