Documentary screening on a mining conflict in KwaZulu-Natal: This land | Land Portal

LARC is a research and advocacy unit within the Law Department of the University of Cape Town concerned with power relations, and the impact of national laws and policy in framing the balance of patriarchal and autocratic power within which rural women and men struggle for democratic change at the local level. There has recently been a push from government to introduce laws and policies giving traditional leaders unaccountable powers over “subjects” living in the former homeland areas of South Africa.

​The Land & Accountability Research Centre (LARC) at the University of Cape Town commissioned the vivid documentary film This Land as a way for rural people to bring the untold story of their struggle for rights and accountability on communal land into urban forums of legislative, political and corporate decision-making. This film is a critical contribution to the accelerating national debate about rights relating to land use and ownership in deep rural areas seldom visited by thought leaders, policymakers and legislators. 

The 48-minute film reflects national challenges in visits to three areas of KwaZulu-Natal. The main narrative follows the people of Makhasaneni in pristine hills near Melmoth in their battle against an Indian company’s secretive collusion with politically connected elites to develop a vast opencast iron-ore mine on the land they have farmed for generations. To illustrate what is at stake, the film follows a delegation from Makhasaneni on a visit to a working mine at Somkhele, using drone footage and personal testimony to show the reality that faces them.

Finally, This Land shows that mining is not the only threat as people from Babanango relate how their lifestyle is being destroyed as the grazing lands around them are turned into a game reserve. Take a look at the website of the documentary.

This film screening has been jointly organized by the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society, the Anthropology Department and the Collaborative Research Group Africa in the World of the ASC Leiden. 
The documentary screening will be followed by a Q&A. ASCL's director Prof. Jan-Bart Gewald will be the chair.


Sabine Luning, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology: focus on resource extraction, economic anthropology and issues of sustainability

Janet Bellamy, LARC: special interest in indigenous land rights in South Africa and the connection between indigenous rights, property law and dispossession

Janine Ubink, Van Vollenhoven Institute: focus on legal pluralism, customary law and traditional authorities in Africa


Date, time and location

07 February 2019

15.30 - 17.00

Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden

Room 5A-42



Click here to register for this event

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