Violations of farm women’s land and housing rights continue on farms where they are evicted from their land when their husbands pass on. Many are not aware of the existing land reform programme, and are unable to secure greater protection and faster transformation of rural landownership.
Mrs Mhlongo, Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal
After living on a farm for generations, Mrs Mhlongo, a widow was denied the right to bury her husband. Two weeks after his death,the farmer informed her that she was not needed anymore and asked her to leave with her children. She was devastated because Babu’Mhlongo, had been working for the farmer for over 21 years as a labour tenant, and was given grazing land as a form of remuneration.
Mrs Mhlongo took the matter to the DLA and the farmer denied ever attempting to evict her, suggesting that he would never impose such a thing. Though the matter was reported, Mrs Mhlongo received nothing in writing to secure her tenure and use of the land.
Having been unsuccessful in evicting Mrs Mhlongo, the farmer has impounded her cattle, saying that he is not happy with the number she owns. She now keeps her cattle away from home and sends her sons to check on them.
“Things have not been easy for us,” says Mrs Mhlongo who now has to find school fees and food without the support of her husband, and deal with the farmer who has made her life a misery.
All she wants, is to live with her children at her homestead and not feel threatened that she might lose all she has and all that she knows.