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Collective agency and resistance to imposed development in rural South Africa

[working paper]

De Wet, Jacques

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Corporate Editor Universität Bielefeld, Fak. für Soziologie, AG Sozialanthropologie
Abstract "Mbizana, in Pondoland, along South Africa’s Wild Coast, is at the centre of a struggle between local residents, a multi-national mining company and the South African Government. In 2007 the local residents formed the AmaDiba Crisis Committee (ACC) in opposition to a government-supported proposal by Mineral Commodities Ltd, an Australian company, to mine their communal land. According to the ACC, the mining company and the government had violated established democratic processes and undermined the local villagers’ control over their communal land. In 2008, a mining licence was granted by Government, however, in 2011, after protests and petitions by the ACC to Government, the Minister of Mineral Resources revoked the licence. The mining company’s response was to submit a new application for prospecting rights. In public demonstrations against the mining of their land, the protesters have made reference to the well-known Mpondo Revolt3 of 1959-1960; and, in interviews they have also mentioned resistance to the Mbizana sugar project in 1985-86 and the Gum Tree Rebellion in 1999. These references locate their struggle to retain the right to decide how best to develop their land in a history of resistance that started in the era of Apartheid, and has continued under the new democratic dispensation. At the heart of the activism is a collective consciousness that is best conceptualised as collective agency. This paper focuses on current resistance to imposed development, and its connections to past resistance, especially the Mpondo Revolt of 50 years ago. I argue that, contrary to popular perception, rural people of Pondoland have a long history of resisting imposed development and actively participating in their own development." (author's abstract)
Keywords Republic of South Africa; rural development; land utilization; land law; development policy; development strategy; resistance; rural population; collective consciousness
Classification Sociology of Developing Countries, Developmental Sociology
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
City Bielefeld
Page/Pages 24 p.
Series Working Papers in Development Sociology and Social Anthropology, 373
ISSN 0936-3408
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications