Moving Together, Drifting apart: Villagisation in a South African Homeland

Focusing on two villages in the Keiskammahoek district of the Ciskei, this book analyzes and compares the very different ways in which they have experienced and endured the same government-initiated resettlement programme. It provides a socio-economic analysis of the consequences of the resettlement that took place when rural people in the homeland areas were moved into concentrated villages as part of the South African goverment's Betterment Planning policy. Betterment Planning was officially intended to bring about agricultural development by creating what the planners saw as a more efficient land use policy, but, almost everywhere, it has had negative economic, ecological and social effects. The policy involved villagers having to move from their former scattered, kinship-based residential clusters to larger, centralized settlements in order to promote soil conservation and agricultural development. It was the most widespread form of resettlement in South Africa and involved over three million people. Some commmentators have seen its underlying motives as concerned with the more effective control of the black rural population of South Africa and as facilitating resettlement of black people out of white areas. The social and agricultural services which were to have accompanied this relocation have, in most cases, not materialized as planned and it is generally accepted that, with few exceptions, Betterment Planning has been a failure. This work compares its findings to international resettlement and places them in the context of villagization elsewhere in Africa.