We Want Whats Ours: Learning from South Africas Land Restitution Program

Paperback | February 27, 2016

byBernadette Atuahene

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Millions of people all over the world have been displaced from their homes and property. Dispossessed individuals and communities often lose more than the physical structures they live in and their material belongings, they are also denied their dignity. These are dignity takings, and landdispossessions occurring in South Africa during colonialism and apartheid are quintessential examples. There have been numerous examples of dignity takings throughout the world, but South Africa stands apart because of its unique remedial efforts. The nation has attempted to move beyond the morecommon step of providing reparations (compensation for physical losses) to instead facilitating dignity restoration, which is a comprehensive remedy that seeks to restore property while also confronting the underlying dehumanization, infantilization, and political exclusion that enabled theinjustice. Dignity restoration is the fusion of reparations with restorative justice. In We Want Whats Ours, Bernadette Atuahenes detailed research and interviews with over one hundred and fifty South Africans who participated in the nations land restitution program provide a snapshot of SouthAfricas successes and failures in achieving dignity restoration.We Want What's Ours is globally relevant because dignity takings have happened all around the world and throughout history: the Nazi confiscation of property from Jews during World War II; the Hutu taking of property from Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide; the widespread commandeering of nativepeoples property across the globe; and Saddam Husseins seizing of property from the Kurds and others in Iraq are but a few examples. When people are deprived of their property and dignity in years to come, the lessons learned in South Africa can help governments, policy makers, scholars, andinternational institutions make the transition from reparations to the more robust project of dignity restoration.

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Millions of people all over the world have been displaced from their homes and property. Dispossessed individuals and communities often lose more than the physical structures they live in and their material belongings, they are also denied their dignity. These are dignity takings, and landdispossessions occurring in South Africa during...

Bernadette Atuahene is a Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, and a faculty fellow at the American Bar Foundation. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and Harvards Kennedy School of Government. She has done extensive research, writing, speaking, and consulting on land issues. We Want Whats...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.47 inPublished:February 27, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198783353

ISBN - 13:9780198783350

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Dignity Takings1. Dignity takings: A Theoretical Framework2. Dignity Takings: The South African CasePart II: Dignity Restoration3. Dignity Restoration: The Importance of Process4. Dignity Restoration: The Importance of Communication5. Dignity Restoration: The Importance of Restitution AwardsConclusionAppendix 1: Critical MethodologyAppendix 2: Codebook

Editorial Reviews

"This book is a sober and nuanced reflection on the dignitary harms that accompany displacement of a people from their place on earth. Atuahene favors remedies that acknowledge and respond to those harms while revealing the successes and failures of South Africas approach to this problem.Atuahene suggests ways to improve such responses not only in South Africa but in the many places around the world that have suffered dignity takings. A compelling and humane contribution to our understanding of what we owe each other." --Joseph William Singer, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School