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Unpacking the intricacies of urban development in eswatini: from fragmentation to integration


Year published: 2021
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Mfaniseni Fana Sihlongonyane


Planning Perspectives, DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2021.1926313


It is well acknowledged that most African cities are inheritors of colonial systems of administration, legislation, policy and plans. In most of them, this inheritance has not changed, even though it is several decades after gaining independence. As a result, many scholars have tended to overemphasize the influence of the colonizers, precluding an analysis of the ability of indigenous populations to resist, reimagine and remake colonial visions of urban life. Invariably, customary tenure and traditional authority have been treated with some ambivalence in the literature on land in Africa and are often seen respectively as unregulated capital or associated with colonial repression holding back the ability of poor people to prosper. Based on archival and desktop research, this paper examines the ways in which indigenous expressions of urban life have both subverted and been subverted by the British colonial project in Eswatini since the colonial period. The paper argues that while many of the categories and divisions of (settler) colonial rule are still visible in Eswatini, the Swazis have engaged neo-customary practices through kukhonta system centred on the role of the chiefs to reimagine and remake urban life.


  • Journal Article