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THURSDAY 26 MAY 2022 from 13:00 – 14:30 SAST/CAT

PLAAS invites you to a webinar titled ‘Changing customary land tenure regimes and implications for women’s land rights’. The webinar will begin with screening of a documentary ‘All we have comes from the land’exploring women’s land rights in Mozambique and Zambia. 

The webinar features the following speakers:

  • Waltraud Rabitsch, Austrian Development Agency advisor on poverty reduction, rural development, and decentralization.
  • Dr Fatima Mandhu, Head of the Department of Private Law, University of Zambia, 
  • Clemente Ntauazi, Programme Manager at Livaningo, Mozambique.

It will be chaired by Chilombo Musa from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape.

The southern African region is experiencing rapid and ‘silent’ processes of formalising customary land in the rural agrarian economies. Consequently, the character of land tenure regimes is evolving within which there are observable changes and continuities with a significant impact on how women and men relate to land. This is partly because of adaptations from below – to changing local and global context – but also accelerated from above by a resurgence of ‘high modernist’ pro-market land policies. This shift has created a new land tenure regime in southern Africa, but one that remains different from ‘Western-legal’ forms of private property. As a result, they present a challenge to academic and policy responses. 

The documentary highlights the formalisation of customary land arising from the introduction of customary landholding certificates in Zambia and Direito de uso e aproveitamento dos terras (DUATs) in Mozambique. Single, married, divorced, and widowed women in the two countries share their experiences with using, controlling, inheriting, and transferring customary land in the face of the formalisation processes. 

After screening of the documentary, a panel of researchers and practitioners will share their views on women’s customary land rights and the implication of its formalisation on tenure security and livelihoods. They will discuss the following questions:

  • What changes are we observing in the character of customary land in the light of its formalisation?
  • How are women benefitting from this new tenure regime?
  • What will be the long-term effects of the individualisation of customary land on rural communities?
  • What impact does the new tenure regime have on the social relationships between men and women?

Tune in on Thursday, 26 May 2022 at:

13:00 South African Standard Time (SAST)/Central African Time (CAT)

12:00 West African Time (WAT)

11:00 Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) (Ghana)

14:00 East African Time (EAT) (Tanzania)

Register here:


Waltraud Rabitsch is responsible for the thematic issues of poverty reduction, rural development (including food security and land issues), and decentralisation. She has worked for more than 15 years in the Austrian Development Agency as an advisor on these topics and about the same time as a consultant for the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, respectively. She has also worked for Austrian implementing agencies. She studied social anthropology and thus has a great interest in social relations, power structures etc. She is also involved in different international platforms and networks (such as the Global Donor Platform on Rural Development – GDPRD, EU Head of Agriculture and Rural Development – HARDs etc.)

Dr. Fatima Mandhu’s interest in land and property relations results from her postgraduate research on Zambia’s dual land tenure system and land registration. She has been teaching and researching land law and property relations since 1990 and has contributed a chapter and is one of the editors of the book; Responsible and Smart Land Management Interventions: An African Context. The interest in mining law was raised under the NSTC joint project as the team leader for Zambia and the author of the upcoming Mineral Law in Africa book series to be published by Juta, South Africa. Later, as a postdoctoral research fellow, her contribution of five different publications on Gender and Small scale mining in Zambia has made her one of the experts on the Mineral Law in Africa team. As a lecturer and Head of the Department of Private Law, she has developed and taught medical law in the third and fourth-year undergraduate law programs at the University of Zambia. She teaches in the postgraduate programmes and is currently working on curriculum development for Africa’s land governance and property rights.

Clemente Ntauazi is a programme manager at Livaningo and a postgraduate student at PLAAS. He is currently coordinating multiple projects in land governance, climate change and renewable energies in Mozambique. Mr Ntauazi has over seven years of field-based research experience in land-based investments, food security, food sovereignty and land governance in Mozambique.