Malvern Kudakwashe Marewo is Doctoral Student based at the Centre for African Studies (CAS) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His main research interests are land reform, agrarian labour, social transformation, agricultural livelihoods. His thesis is titled Fast track land reform and belonging: Examining linkages between resettlement areas and communal areas in Zvimba District, Zimbabwe. His study seeks to fill in a gap in literature and policy by bringing in a fresh dynamic of understanding social relations and labour after land reform in Zimbabwe.
Agrarian labour and social relations after Fast track land reform in Zimbabwe
Studies about Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) in Zimbabwe have explored several factors such as the violent dispossession of white farmers, livelihoods, agricultural production, agrarian livelihood, dynamics of land occupations such as the displacement of farm workers and political violence in the countryside (Sachikonye, 2003, Richardson, 2005). With regards to former farm workers, much of the analysis has been on factors such as few farm workers receiving land, loss of livelihoods and politics of belonging. However, there are limited studies that have explored the social relations between former farm workers and resettled farmers as well as people in adjustment communal areas. Using a case of Machiroli Farm, Zvimba District, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe, this paper explores how former farmworkers use of agrarian labour to establish and maintain social relations with A1 resettlement and communal areas communities to their benefit. The narrative as argued by scholars such as Magaramombe (2004), Sachikonye, (2003), Hartnack (2005); Magaramombe (2003) and Rutherford (2004) is that most former farm workers lost their livelihoods and homes as the FTLRP disenfranchised them, as the right to residency on a farm was tied to the employment status of the individual. This paper, on the contrary, shows that this is different in other cases as former farm workers resident in compounds have established strong relations with FTLRP beneficiaries and people in communal areas through which they have accessed various resources such as land thus establishing a sense of belonging. Thus, former farmworkers have therefore accessed various land-based livelihoods. This paper concludes that through social relations, former farm workers use their labour as a bargaining asset to negotiate access to land, resources and employment and through these activities farm workers have become part of the social and economic fabric of A1 resettlements and communal areas communities.
Affiliation: University of Cape Town