The Land and its People – The land question and the South African political order
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This paper examines the disjuncture between the discourses of policy deliberation and contentious politics in debates about ‘the land question’ in South Africa. It argues that the South African land debate as it unfolds in the public realm is best understood as a displaced discourse indirectly addressing the terms of political belonging and the nature of the post-apartheid political order. Far from being a distraction, this is a challenge that urgently needs to be confronted in its own terms. Confronting the crisis of the post-apartheid political order requires a re-thinking of the terms in which national identity is conceived. The paper explores the possibilities of a politics of belonging centred on the Constitutional invocation of a political order ‘for all who live in it’ and what this might imply for a more constructive and productive engagement with land struggles in urban and rural South Africa.