Rural South Africans working in agriculture face huge structural challenges

The documentary, Cultivating Unemployment, uses the case study of Weenen, an agricultural community in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, to highlight the severe structural challenges facing rural communities and agricultural workers across South Africa. It provides a very necessary insight into an important part of the South African landscape that is often overlooked in policy decisions.

The documentary was produced by PLAAS, a specialist unit in the School of Government, Economic and Management Sciences Faculty at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town. PLAAS focuses on research on land and agrarian reform, poverty, and natural resource management in South Africa and the southern African region. It also provides training, advisory, facilitation and evaluation services and is active in the field of national policy development.

To find out more about the research project, visit PLAAS.

Some background on Weenen:

  • population: 3126 of which 2608 are black African (2011 census)
  • main agricultural products: vegetable, citrus, groundnuts and lucerne
  • history: the site of a Zulu massacre of 282 European settlers (Voortrekkers) and 250 KhoiKhoi and Basotho in 1838
  • conservation: the Thukela Biosphere Reserve includes the Tugela, Bushmans and Bloukrans River valleys and incorporates the 6,500 hectare Weenen Nature Reserve. Game include black and white rhino, giraffe, red hartebees, eland, zebra, kudu and more than 251 bird species. Unfortunately the rhino population has been the target of sophisticated poaching syndicates over the past few years.