Following South Sudanese independence in 2011, land reform became a major aspect of state building, partly to address historical injustices and partly to avoid future conflicts around land. In the process, land became a trigger for conflicts, sometimes between communities with no histories of “ethnic conflict.” Drawing on cases in two rural areas in Yei River County in South Sudan, this paper shows that contradictions in the existing legal frameworks on land are mainly to blame for those conflicts. These contradictions are influenced, in turn, by the largely top-down approach to state building, which has tended to neglect changes in society and regarding land resulting from colonialism and civil wars
Authors and Publishers
Peter Hakim Justin and Han van Dijk
The GIGA Institute of African Affairs (IAA) has been researching political and economic developments on the continent since 1963, primarily focusing on the areas south of the Sahara. The thematic core of the institute’s research consists of institutional structures (such as political parties, electoral systems and constitutional courts), conflicts over resources and religious domination, foreign investment and its consequences, and African leading powers. By working with local partners, IAA researchers gain comprehensive knowledge of developments in the region.
The South African Land Observatory is an initiative whose overall objective is to promote evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa. As its name ‘Observatory’ suggests, it collects data and information on land. The initiative is a repository of what is published on land in South Africa and on the events that take place around land in South Africa.