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Experiences, Opportunities and Challenges of the ‘New Generation’ in Post-Land Reform Zimbabwe

Author / Authors:

  • Clement Chipenda



What have been the experiences, opportunities and challenges of social reproduction and accumulation by the second generation (or children) of resettled farmers in Zimbabwe’s ‘new’ farming areas? This is the central research interest of the paper which explores the current situation of the ‘new’ generation in the farming areas created under the fast-track land reform programme (FTLRP). Based on a critical, nuanced and empirically grounded analysis of the life histories of young smallholder farmers, the paper interrogates their experiences, challenges and future prospects as principal landowners in the country’s reconfigured agrarian structure. The paper is informed by field-based evidence gathered in Goromonzi District (Zimbabwe) and it employs an interpretive research paradigm and a qualitative research approach which it uses to interrogate the situation of young farmers. It shows that to some extent, redistributive land reform has had discernible production, redistribution and social reproduction outcomes which are positively impacting on the lives of the new generation. The central evidence supported position of the paper is that there is the generational transfer of land which has allowed for the continued opening up of the previously enclosed means of production. Young people with access to land are now able to engage in diverse land-based livelihood activities which are slowly transforming their lives, allowing them to accumulate productive and non-productive assets while ensuring food security. In a context where the FTLRP has for years been subjected to much polemical and antagonistic debate, the paper shows that from a youth and land nexus, there are important lessons that can be learnt from it especially for countries in the global south confronted by the ‘youth question.’

Keywords: accumulation, land reform, livelihoods, new generation, production, redistribution, Zimbabwe


  • Paper