Land and indigenous knowledge systems: some salient issues
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Land reform is a collection of activities and changes designed to alter the agrarian structure of society and land-use patterns. It invariably has political, economic and socio-cultural dimensions. Local level institutions such as traditional structures have been severely weakened by colonial government policies. They have either been ignored or, at most, marginally consulted if only to support and be politically compliant. Local communities are custodians of natural resources and are meant to benefit from the land reform process but they have not been meaningfully involved in shaping the process and direction of the programme. Whilst acknowledging that the role of traditional knowledge and indigenous institutions in the land reform has been ambiguous, the chapter contends that cognisance should be taken of the capacity of these knowledges and institutions to impact on the process, given the socioeconomic and political conditions. The chapter makes a case for “blending” traditional knowledge systems with “scientific” knowledge, in the context of land reform. An acknowledgement of which traditional knowledge systems to restore and preserve is equally important.