Mdudwa village in the Eastern Cape is an example of a remote, rural village in a former homeland area. Such villages have been subject to a wide array of development interventions, political and administrative reforms since the free elections of 1994. This paper examines these experiences for one case, asking how in particular the new attempts at democratic decentralisation might fare. Through an examination of contests over land, forest and water resources, the paper looks at the emerging power dynamics between new elected authorities at municipal and council level and traditional authorities (chiefs and headmen), and raises questions about the efficacy and long-term sustainability of decentralisation reforms as currently conceived.
Ntshona, Z.; Lahiff, E. Rural Development, Institutional Change and Livelihoods in the Eastern Cape, South Africa: A Case Study of Mdudwa Village. Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK (2003) 36 pp. [Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern Africa Research Paper 5]