A Socio-legal Analysis of the Complexity of Litigating Ancestral Land Rights

Odendaal, Willem; Hebinck, Paul


Indigenous people are engaged in legal battles to restore their rights to their land. They are not only seeking to undo the injustices of the past, but also ways to improve their livelihoods. Finding a legal way to address their rights to their ancestral lands has evolved as an important politico-legal instrument. Backed by litigators, international treaties, concerned scholars and funding arrangements litigating on ancestral land rights matters has emerged as an important ‘weapon of the weak’. Reclaiming their land appears not so easy and is not so straight forward. We address the recurrent issues, the pitfalls, the challenges that emerge during and after litigation which is only one of the many steps in restoring rights.