Rural Livelihoods and Rural Development in South Africa. The Case of the Eastern Cape Province

Author: Phiri, Christopher
Draws on a broad phenomenological approach to understanding why the post-apartheid government’s top-down approaches has failed to alleviate poverty in South Africa. It provides an examination of the bottom-up approach to poverty alleviation by pointing out the vulnerability, capability and capacity of the rural people to cope and develop sustainable livelihoods approaches dependent on their available resources and networking relationships.


“Phiri’s book is an eye-opener on how post-apartheid government has strived to address inequalities…the book educates the reader on the dynamics and complexities of development in developing countries. The themes tap into the realities versus the optimistic development.”
-Jim Ocitti, Author,
Political Evolution and Democratic Practice in Uganda and Press Politics and Public Policy in Uganda.

“The book looks at how the farmers have used local farming knowledge and existing resources to survive in a changing South Africa… [It] shows the importance of the use of social relations and networks for farmers’ well-being and looks particularly at the relationship between the local government and its capacity to support rural and emerging farmers.”
Dr. John Mudau,
University of Venda

Table of Contents

0.1 Rural poverty and development
0.2 Phenomenology meta-theory
0.3 The micro and meso level institutional rural Interventions
0.4 Livelihood patterns in rural Eastern Cape
0.5 Poverty stricken rural district and local municipalities
0.6 District and Local Municipalities
0.7 Chris Hani District Municipality overview
0.8 Instika Yethu Local Municipality
0.9 Engcobo Local Municipality
0.10 Emalahleni Local Municipality
0.11 Amathole District Municipality
0.12 Mbashe Local Municipality
0.13 Amahlati Local Municipality
0.14 Nkonkobe Local Municipality
0.15 Alfred Nzo District Municipality
Chapter 1: Poverty Realm, Vulnerability, livelihoods and Rural Economy
1.1 Key Themes in understanding poverty
1.2 Poverty realms in Rural Eastern Cape
1.3 Sustainable Livelihood Approach
1.4 Livestock; a resource for the poor
1.5 Financial capital within the livelihood framework
1.6 Livelihoods and the notion of development
1.7 Actor oriented and ‘bottom up’ approaches to Development
1.8 Conclusion
Chapter 2: The Myth of Rural Agriculture in the Eastern Cape
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Overview of the livelihoods of the rural subsistence farmers
2.3 Betterment planning policy
2.4 Land reform, land redistribution and land restitution
2.5 The new dispensation beyond 2030; National Development Plan
2.6 Eastern Cape Provincial Government
2.7 Conclusion
Chapter 3: Livelihood Patterns and Strategies in Rural Eastern Cape
3.1 Social transformation in rural South Africa
3.2 Livelihood strategies
3.3 Village patterns and their link to betterment planning
3.4 Household composition and social set-up
3.5 Chiefdom and chieftaincy in rural Eastern Cape
3.6 Managing vulnerability through farming activities
3.7 Local government support to farmers
3.8 networking and social relationships through Livestock
3.9 Household labour relations
3.10 Cash transfer, vulnerability and livelihood Strategies
3.11 Case Studies
3.12 Making options out of livestock
3.13 Cattle: a source of status and value
3.14 Any cattle left with AIDS pandemic
3.15 Conclusion
Chapter 4: Local Integrated Rural Livelihoods and Rural Sheep Farming
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Broader context of sheep farming
4.3 GTZ strategy in supporting rural wool farmers
4.4 Roll out of the Shearing tent concept
4.5 Ruliv’s interventions in Wool Production in Emalahleni Local Municipality
4.6 Cumakala, Ntsinga and Zingqolweni Wool Association
4.7 Ruliv intervention in wool production in Mbashe Local Municipality
4.8 Market Analysis of Wool Prodcution
4.9 Wool Growers Association market trends
4.10 Case study: Ikwezi Wool Growers Association
4.11 Unsupported wool production at Kolozulu and Bolotwa Associations
4.12 Broader perspective of wool marketing
4.13 The market blues
4.14 Wool production within the province
4.15 Reflection on livelihood patterns
4.16 Concluding remarks
Chapter 5: Wool production, rural livelihoods, the Market and the community
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Coping strategies
5.3 material and income needs at household level
5.4 Household differences in managing vulnerabilities
5.5 Rural household expenditure and budget blues
5.6 Livelihood strategies: ‘The way I survive is so pathetic’
5.7 Local government support
5.8 Wool production for actual association members
5.9 managing vulnerability: Rhoxeni sheep farming
5.10 Well-being from the Rhozxeni village perspective
5.11 Conclusion