Colonial and apartheid land dispossession in South Africa was the most extensive of any country in sub-saharan Africa. Despite a land reform programme initiated after the transition to democracy in 1994, equitable access to land remains an unresolved question in both urban and rural areas.
Land dispossession is inextricably bound up with the history of mining in South Africa. In the contemporary era the exploitation of new mineral resources has increasingly centred on impoverished rural areas which formed part of the former 'homelands' - land designed for specific ethnic groups during the apartheid era.
In these areas land tenure remains insecure and traditional authorities are empowered to enter into land deals with outside parties. This creates the possibilities of a double dispossession where poor and vulnerable rural households may lose the little that they have been able to retain, as they are displaced by mining activity and experience the environmental impacts of living in close proximity to mines.
This Land Portal data story seeks to connect the past with the present, and unfold the the story of double dispossession in South Africa. The story has six episodes which you can navigate as you please. The first three episodes narrate the story of land dispossession across different historical periods. Subsequent episodes examine the history and impacts of mining.
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