Land Apportionment Act

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The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 was a segregationist measure that governed land allocation and acquisition prior to independence. The act made no provision for blacks who chose an urban life because towns were designated as white areas.

This Act partitioned land into European and African reserves and forcibly evicted Africans from fertile land, which they had held for generations and to which they were spiritually attached, to barren land. They were resettled in areas far away from major roads and railway lines, depriving them of a means of survival and the enjoyment of the transport infrastructure. Approximately 51 per cent of the land was set aside for European settlers.


Under the Land Apportionment Act of 1930, the right of Africans to land ownership was rescinded. Africans would be allowed to purchase land in areas known as Native Purchase areas. Only 81 Native Purchase Areas were allocated very close to Native areas. Over 51 per cent of the land or 19,890,398 hectares of land was assigned as White area, whilst 29.7 per cent was given to indigenous people. It should be noted that during this period there were only about 50, 000 white settlers as opposed to 1,081,000 indigenous people. Most of these white settlers were acquiring this land for speculative purposes.

The division of land between white settlers and indigenous people was formalised in the Land Apportionment Act of 1930. There are a number of reasons why the indigenous people detested the Land Apportionment Act. Africans were relegated to very infertile areas, whilst their white counterparts were given fertile land at very cheap rates or no payment at all.

The Economic Effects of the Land Apportionment Act on Indigenous People

The Land Apportionment Act had social, economic and political effects on the indigenous people. It is very clear that it had serious negative effects on African agriculture. Immediately after the creation of the reserves, African agricultural production deteriorated. The fact that Africans were moved from productive to unproductive dry land meant that there was a reduction in their crop and livestock production. To Africans whose livelihood depended on land, the Land Apportionment Act brought misery.