Accepted paper:

Through the eye of the state: the land claim-conservation dialectic in the Richtersveld


Kolosa Ntombini (University of Cape Town )

Paper short abstract:

Both land rights and nature conservation are objectives pursued simultaneously by the state. Often they interact antagonistically requiring mediation. Thus this study aimed to understand how the state mediates the conflicts using the in the |Ai|-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park as a case study.

Paper long abstract:

Research on land claims and conservation in South Africa has largely occurred in silos. This has resulted in literature not paying enough attention to the role of the state in the land claim-conservation dialectic. Yet a closer attention to the role of the state is crucial as it is the state, as the highest authority in the land that pursues both these objectives simultaneously. These two objectives often interact antagonistically requiring mediation, thus it becomes useful to understand how the state mediates this conflict. The study has used the |Ai-|Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier as a case study to understand how the state mediates the conflict between land rights and conservation. By tracing the history of land dispossession and conservation in the study area, the study found that the state's capital interests were pursued through mining and conservation. Its desire for international prestige is visible in the ways it mediated land claims, it pursued various conservation projects in the Richtersveld, and how it managed the aspirations of marginalised local communities.

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