Contested Global Landscapes

A Multidisciplinary Initiative of the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences

Church leaders met last week in Durban at a summit on ‘Land Rights and Land Grabbing in Southern Africa’. The event provided valuable insights on land deals, dispossession and displacement from several African countries.

Land cannot be understood merely as a commodity. Rather, it has a social function as a source of livelihood for the poor – and recognition of this must feature centrally in any development initiatives.

‘Land belongs to God, not to the state’

‘Land belongs to God, it does not belong to the state, not to traditional authorities, the land belongs to God,’ said Pastor Selby Mabwe of the Methodist Church from South Durban. ‘And God is on the side of the oppressed. We must be champions of justice in an unjust world.’

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