Resistance against Conservation at the South African Section of Greater Mapungubwe (Trans)frontier

Ndidzulafhi Innocent Sinthumule


The need to increase the amount of land under nature conservation at the national and global levels has gained attention over the past three decades. However, there are mixed reactions among stakeholders in South Africa regarding the establishment and expansion of cross-border nature conservation projects. Whereas conservationists and other white private landowners are in support of nature conservation projects, some white farmers are resistant to releasing land for conservation. The purpose of this paper is to investigate historical and contemporary reasons for farmers’ resistance to conservation and to analyse the consequences arising from that resistance for the consolidation of the core area of South Africa’s contribution to the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. The paper argues that consolidation of land to create such special areas is a social process shaped through local contestation over land, power, and belonging. The study draws on fieldwork material from the South African section of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area.

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