Cattle ownership and production in the communal areas of the Eastern Cape, South Africa
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This report documents a study of the social and economic structure of cattle ownership and production in the communal tenure areas of the Eastern Cape (i.e. the former Bantustans of Transkei and Ciskei). The report begins with a review of the conventional arguments relating to cattle production systems in communal tenure areas, i.e. that they are inefficient and irrational. In seeking to challenge these pervasive assumptions concerning the way in which cattle production systems in these areas apparently work, it is argued, first, that very little systematic and detailed knowledge of these systems actually exists on which to base arguments that have had considerable impact and, second, that cattle ownership and production for African people in the Eastern Cape, quite apart from its obvious utility and cultural resonance, has been, for many decades, expressly about political-economic struggle against the state and its varied policies, which have had the effect – if not always the explicit intention – of the gradual proletarianisation of the rural population.