About Knowledgebase.land

KB.L seeks to bring to life all aspects of the ‘land issue’, recognizing that land is both a deeply important aspect of our history, and an emotive issue shaping our political landscape. KB.L seeks to develop a comprehensive sense of this history, heritage and memory through a combination of news, commissioned articles and links to research. We aim to be recognised as a trusted site providing a wide range of land related news content and research links both nationally and across the African sub-continent.

Combining in-depth country profiles with current news

KB.L enables you to stay abreast of land related news and analysis. We are working to develop KB.L into the definitive site covering land issues both in South Africa and across the Southern, Central and Eastern African regions. Our site curator collects and organises news by content and theme.

Dr Rick de Satgé, senior research associate of Phuhlisani NPC curates this website. He also works as a researcher for the Land Portal Foundation as part of the Knowledge Engagement team to compile peer reviewed land governance profiles for a range of African countries. Those researched by the team to date include:

See the Land Portal countries page for a growing range of country profiles across the global South.

See also the data story Double dispossession? A history of land and mining in South Africa’s former homelands

The Land Portal also has a large and comprehensive online land library with over 66,000 resources including reports, journal articles, research papers, peer-reviewed publications, legal documents, videos and much more.

Our objectives

KB.L seeks to bring to life all aspects of the ‘land issue’, recognising that land is a deeply important aspect of our collected colonial and post-colonial history, and an emotive issue which influences the shaping of our political landscape.

KB.L seeks to develop a comprehensive sense of this history, heritage and memory through a combination of news, commissioned articles, links to research and a repository of documentary photographs providing multiple perspectives on rural and urban land.

KB.L exists to deepen the conversation about the urban and rural land issues and to advance critical analysis of the policy and practice of land reform in South Africa and across the region. It aims to contribute to an expanding national and regional knowledge base that illuminates different narratives about land and land reform implementation to help us better understand our past and make informed, evidence led decisions to shape an equitable and sustainable future.

The context

With the onset on Covid-19 land reform was put on hold in South Africa. The supplementary budget (June 2020) reflects deep economic crisis in South Africa that was already unfolding prior to the impacts of the pandemic which have further amplified and deepened this crisis.  The Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development budget was slashed by R2.4 billion, and Environment, Forestry and Fisheries by R766 million – some of the largest cuts experienced by any department. There is a hold on new land acquisition and reduced funding for farmer support – all this in a context of mounting risk due to global heating and a food system that fails to adequately meet the needs of the majority of poor and vulnerable households in South Africa.

In the run up to the public hearings on expropriation Phuhlisani NPC was contracted by Absa to prepare a series of open access research reports to contribute to a reliable knowledge base on land reform in South Africa. These reports informed submissions made to the Constitutional Review Committee tasked with investigation the necessity of amending Section 25 of the Constitution. While the recent Covid-19 crisis has diluted the focus on land reform, the land question will not go away. As can be seen from our urban land page there are major struggles going on to access well located land in the city and address spatial inequality. Likewise, our food security content highlights the urgent need to rethink our agriculture policy, redesign food systems and repurpose smallholder support.

Read More

“Issues like access to land, the right to fish, the need for work and the desire for justice are all hot button issue, strongly tied to deeply held values and eliciting powerful emotions. When these are at stake it is easy for facts to be thrown out of the window and for politicians and activists to seek simplistic solutions or gratifying answers. Pointing out the hidden complexities and uncomfortable realities can sometimes be a very unpopular activity. Yet we believe it is essential.” Andries du Toit

Who will benefit?

KB.L seeks to serve the needs of diverse groupings with interests in land and land reform. These include:

  • active citizens, civil society and community based organisations
  • organised agriculture, business and financial institutions
  • policy makers, government officials and land reform practitioners
  • planners, researchers and students
  • local, continental and international journalists
  • worker organisations and more.

What we will provide

Our original plan was that KB:L content would be rolled out in three phases.  We had planned for a site which would offer a much wider range of content but to date have not succeeded in attracting funding support to realise this vision. Follow the link below to read more about what was planned for Phase 2 and 3.

Read More

Website curation and sources of support

Phuhlisani NPC aims to generate lasting solutions based on research, dialogue and reflexive practice.

Phuhlisani NPC aims to generate lasting solutions based on research, dialogue and reflexive practice.

We strive to assist rural citizens to secure their rights and facilitate engagement to combat poverty, landlessness and tenure insecurity. We are part of the civil society Section 25 initiative to advocate for a land reform programme that prioritises the needs of the rural and urban poor. We seek to develop practical alternatives to failed policies and practices based on co-learning and joint action for change. In this we aim to strengthen essential policy literacies and implementation capabilities required to meet South Africa’s land related challenges in the 21st century. Our aim is to further develop content and services which contribute to applied thinking about what needs to be done to redesign and implement a sustainable land reform programme that serves the needs of the many and not the few.

More broadly we seek to contribute to a more informed conversation about land rights, equitable access and sustainable resource use across the region.


Become a KB.L supporter

Become a KB.L supporter

Phuhlisani NPC acknowledges the contribution of Absa to launch the first phase of KB.L. However apart from an initial startup grant KB.L receives no funding from any source. It has been curated on a voluntary basis for the past two years.

If you think KB.L is worth supporting and would like to partner with us, we would very much like to hear from you. Our contact information can be found on the Phuhlisani NPC website.


All photos used on this site are open source. Thumbnail images accompanying news articles may be subject to copyright.

Stay informed.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter - coming soon.

Contact Us

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.

A project of Phuhlisani NPC supported by Absa. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. International License.