Welcome to PLAAS

PLAAS does research, policy engagement, teaching and training about the dynamics of chronic poverty and structural inequality in Southern Africa, with a particular emphasis on the key role of restructuring and contesting land holding and agro-food systems in the subcontinent and beyond. Our focus is on the analysis of marginalised livelihoods in Southern Africa, especially of subsistence and smallholder farmers and farm workers, of coastal and inland artisanal fisheries and fishing communities; and of informal self employment in rural and urban areas.

Research Areas


Our research covers diverse areas, ranging from land and tenure reform,  land investment and agro-food restructuring, fisheries and ecosystem management, to social protection and informal self employment. In all this work, our key focus is on the causes and dynamics of inequality and structural poverty, on the economic and social agency of poor...

Latest Publication

The impact of poverty and inequality on the dignity of lone mothers in South Africa

Lone Mothers Working Paper 2

The purpose of this themed working paper is to explore lone mothers’ accounts of what dignity means in the context of their lives and how the experience of poverty and inequality impacts on their...

Upcoming Events

Lionel Cliffe Colloquium: Democracy, land and liberation in Africa today

The Centre for African Studies (CAS) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and PLAAS are co-hosting a two-day colloquium on Democracy, Land and Liberation in Africa. The main purpose of this...


Minimum wage ‘does not kill farm jobs’

Contrary to popular belief, it is macroeconomic and trade policies, rather than the introduction of a minimum wage, that have been the main cause of the fall in employment in the farming sector,...