Land Use and Rural Livelihoods Project (LURLAP) Phase I

9 Nov 2018 - 08:30

LURLAP is a collaborative project which started in 2011, involving researchers from the Centre for African Studies (CAS), University of Cape Town (UCT), and the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Zambia (UNZA).  

Contemporary Customary Land Issues in Africa: Navigating the Contours of ChangePhase I of the project, which looked at land use in rural areas, has just been completed, with the launch of an edited volume at UNZA, on October 2, 2018.  The book, Contemporary Customary Land Issues in Africa: Navigating the Contours of Change, can be accessed through this link

Two Journal articles were published in 2017 can be accessed through the links below:

  1. “Silent Privation of Customary Land in Zambia: Opportunities for a Few, Challenges for Many”
  2. Hybrid Land Markets: Monetarised Customary Land Transactions in Zambia”

Phase I of LURLAP was a comparative research project with case studies in different African countries including South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Phase I of this project was supported by funds from the Harry Oppenheimer Institute (HOI) Grant in 2013, the UCT’s University Research Committee’s (URC) Programme for the Enhancement of Research Capacity (PERC) Grant in 2014, and the National Research Foundation (NRF) Chair in Land Reform and Democracy in South Africa.


Land Use and Livelihoods in Africa Project (LULAP)

In our analysis of the land dynamics in the African countries included in LURLAP Phase I, we focused on rural land issues. What has emerged from this analysis is that the issues of land use straddle both the urban and rural areas.  As a result of this, the second phase of the project will look at land use in both rural and urban areas.  The research will not be limited to rural areas only. Therefore, Phase II of the project will drop the “Rural” (R) and become Land Use and Livelihoods in Africa Project (LULAP). Phase II of this project will address the following research areas:

  • Land use and livelihoods in rural Africa, focus on customary land dynamics;
  • Land use and food security;
  • Land use and the effects of climate change;
  • Urban Land use in Africa, including land for housing, urban agriculture, changing forms of land use in the context of urbanization, urban land struggles, urban land management;
  • Foreign acquisition of land in the urban periphery;
  • Management of land and other natural resources, focusing on the contestations around land governance and control in both rural and urban Africa, and political implications of this.

During the launch of our edited volume at UNZA, the discussion brought out several issues which require further research, including the need for a historical account of the development of land reform policy in Africa, the changes in land governance structures and institutions, the future of customary land in the context of growing urbanisation and land grabs, and the impact on rural communities. Phase II of this study will broaden the issues and coverage of cases in the participating African countries.