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Labour tenants outside the Land Claims Court during the Class Action Lawsuit

AFRA is a land rights advocacy non-governmental organisation (NGO)
working to support marginalised black rural people, with a focus on farm dwellers. We are working towards an inclusive, gender equitable society where rights are valued, realised and protected, essential services are delivered, and land tenure is secure. We work intensively with communities in and around the uMgungundlovu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and extensively in offering support and advice.

Our Vision is an inclusive and gender equitable society where rights are valued, realised and protected.

Our Objective is to identify, promote and support pathways to achieve security of tenure and access to services for people on farms.

Our Development Goal is that the living conditions of farm dwellers have improved, as they have secure land tenure and they are able to access services to improve their livelihoods.

Our Core Values are:

  • Respect for human rights
  • Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Commitment
  • Empowerment

Our Primary Strategies are to:

  • Empower and mobilise farm dwellers to act on their own behalf through providing rights education, raising awareness and self-organisation that promotes direct participation in all matters affecting them.
  • Prevent and oppose evictions, settle disputes and secure tenure rights and services through providing or facilitating monitoring, mediation, advice, and legal assistance, and building strong multi-stakeholder partnerships which promote farm dweller rights.
  • Work with like-minded organisations to provide spaces for joint lobbying and advocacy campaigns leading to the development of effective national policies, strategies, and local initiatives.
  • Effectively use action research methods and knowledge sharing platforms.
  • Record emerging models and use them to positively influence policy and legislation.
  • Develop AFRA as a learning organisation that enables its staff and partners to actively learn from one another and from their experiences.

Why is our work so important?

Rights to land and resources are at the centre of the most pressing development issues: human rights, food security,  gender equality, poverty reduction, climate change, and resilience. Land in KwaZulu-Natal – and South Africa – is conflicted, and the land rights and human rights of the poor are regularly undermined.

Between 1948 and 1982, about 450 000 people in rural Natal were forcibly removed from their homes and their land in terms of apartheid legislation. AFRA was started in 1979 to assist rural communities in their struggle against this. Since the election of a new democratic government in 1994, our work has assisted rural communities to try regain the land which they lost, and ensure that their land and development rights are upheld during these processes.

In 1995 the government showed its intention to correct land injustices when it introduced the Land Reform Programme with its three key foci of redistribution, restitution and tenure reform. However, two decades later, this process has not delivered what was expected of it, to the growing frustration of landless people. In spite of an apparent land transformation in South Africa, there is an increasing number of indigent people working in sub-human conditions on farms, going to sleep without any food, having limited or no access to basic services such as water and electricity, and living with no proper shelter.

Their silenced voices need to be heard, and their rights fought for – and so our struggle continues.

What does our logo symbolise?

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When we sat down to create a visual representation of what we as a team feel AFRA is working towards, we came up with a variety of different images. We discussed how the symbol of the tree represents rights; it is a powerful, living thing that grows, has strong roots, and needs to be nurtured and cared for to pass on to the next generation. In Zulu culture, trees are often planted on graves; they provide shelter and shade where we can sit and talk to our ancestors. The tree provides protection from the hot sun of our troubles, and provides relief and hope.

The woman and child represent the re-building of inclusive and safe communities, while the Nguni cattle represent livelihoods and tradition.

The mountains remind us of the beauty and power of the land in KwaZulu-Natal, and the earth that provides for our needs and grounds us in belonging. From the top of a mountain we can gain a broader perspective, and mountains symbolise constancy and firmness.

Our work is done with the support of: