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The rise and fall of black capitalist farmers in eastern Free State, South Africa: 1989 – 2017

Venue: PLAAS Boardroom
Date: 28 Mar 2017
Time: 13:30 to 14:30

Presenter: Mnqobi Ngubane, PhD candidate, PLAAS, UWC

This paper examines the historical trajectories of rural class formation in the eastern Free State, in the context of land redistribution. It presents an analysis of accumulation paths pursued by black capitalist farmers who were first granted land in the 1980s and early 1990s by the state. Emerging findings suggest that for most of these farmers a process of de-capitalisation rather than capital accumulation has taken place, as indicated by the fact that many are renting out their arable land to white commercial farmers, whilst others have lost their farms through indebtedness and subsequent Land Bank auction sales. Very few of them are on upward trajectories of accumulation, and most pursue a strategy of ‘simple reproduction ‘, seeking merely to survive. The paper explores the implications of these findings for land reform policy.