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How we work

LARC aims to successfully challenge government policies and laws that set the former homelands apart from the rest of South Africa as zones of chiefly sovereignty and undermine the citizenship rights of the 18 million people living within them. We see research, litigation and active networks of rural communities as three necessary and interlocking components to achieve this objective, believing that how these three components articulate with one another is crucial to the success of our joint endeavors and rural people’s ability to assert their rights and hold those in authority accountable. LARC's objectives in relation to each of the three components are as follows:

  • To successfully challenge the new laws both legally and discursively – to show through detailed empirical research that they built on distorted versions of colonial and apartheid customary law that are inconsistent with living customary law. Through action-research methodologies and partnerships with others to conduct research in a manner that breaks down knowledge and disciplinary silos and instead articulates different forms and kinds of knowledge with one another to successfully challenge the premises and discourse of ‘official’ customary law by reference to actual practice and the historical and ethnographic record.
  • To provide a convening and analytical role in relation to developing and supporting strategic litigation approaches that draw on an expanded evidence base and target the new laws in partnership with the Legal Resources Centre and others litigating in the area of customary law.

To successfully support rural communities and leaders so that they can engage directly and effectively in research processes and in policy and legislative processes such as public hearings. To provide information to and regularly engage with a network of rural leaders and activists who are able to provide direction and leadership both on the ground in rural struggles and in policy and legislative debates.