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  • David Goodwin


This article looks at ways in which communal area right holders in Zimbabwe attempt to add security to their land rights when faced with altered circumstances. Apart from quasi-legal means such as ad hoc diagrams, which were beyond the scope of this article, two principal strands were found by which land right security is bolstered. First, investment in interpersonal ties (both with the living and the dead), and second, ceremonies for forging and maintaining links with land. For both, it was found that traditional practices have been bent and adapted pragmatically to suit contemporary contexts. Increased mobility and remoteness from rural homes have also given rise to a degree of abstraction (for example, the symbolic use in urban settings of soil or grain brought from communal areas). Where both custom and formal law coexist pluralistically, custom has proved the more flexible of the two and, unless demonstrably better security is offered, it seems likely that custom will continue to be invoked and modified to provide security for new circumstances.

Cet article étudie la manière dont les ayants droit aux terres collectives au Zimbabwe tentent de mieux sécuriser leurs droits fonciers lorsqu'ils sont confrontés à un changement de circonstances. Outre les moyens quasi-légaux (à l'image des schémas ad hoc, qui sortent du cadre de cet article), l'article a identifié deux grands courants dans la manière de renforcer la sécurité des droits fonciers. Le premier consiste à investir dans des liens interpersonnels (tant avec les vivants qu'avec les morts), et le second à forger et à entretenir les liens avec le sol par le biais de cérémonies. Dans un cas comme dans l'autre, on constate que les pratiques traditionnelles ont été détournées et adaptées de façon pragmatique pour convenir aux contextes contemporains. L'accroissement de la mobilité et l’éloignement par rapport aux foyers ruraux ont également entraîné une certaine abstraction (par exemple, l'utilisation symbolique, en milieu urbain, de la terre ou des céréales rapportées des terrains collectifs). Là où coexistent de manière pluraliste le droit coutumier et le droit formel, le droit coutumier s'est avéré le plus flexible des deux et, en l'absence d'une sécurité manifestement meilleure, le droit coutumier va vraisemblablement continuer à être invoqué et modifié, en guise de sécurité, lorsque de nouvelles circonstances se présentent.



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  • David Goodwin


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