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Blood and Soil: Land, Politics and Conflict prevention in Zimbabwe and South Africa
Africa Report N85, International Crisis Group (ICG)
September 17, 2004

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For all their differences, one thing Zimbabwe and South Africa have in common is that land issues, dating back to colonial times and white settler government, are highly emotive, evoking difficult questions of history, race, politics, economic opportunity and international diplomacy. Successfully defusing tensions over land remains central to reducing the risk of conflict in both countries, and boosting their long-term economic prospects.

Blood and Soil offers a detailed analysis of the different challenges of land reform in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. It provides a balanced assessment of the claims and counterclaims made about who bears responsibility for the current catastrophic situation in Zimbabwe. And it also provides practical policy suggestions for ways forward: identifying the contours of a post-transition land approach in Zimbabwe and a comprehensive agenda for reinvigorating the land reform process in South Africa.

This report is the product of intensive field research in both countries. The policy recommendations are the result of widespread consultations with senior policymakers in Africa and around the globe. The report above all attempts to place disputes over land ownership and use within their overarching social, political, economic and historical contexts.

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