A rural village household in Zimbabwe

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Zimbabwe 1894-1969: The Land Husbandry Act (1951)

  • Europeans saw that the Land Apportionment Act could not suppress the desire of Africans to own land
  • The land and environment were also deteriorating at a faster rate in natives reserves
  • So to improve the situation they passed the land Husbandry Act of 1951
  • The act was to replace communal ownership of land among natives with private ownership
  • Each family was allocated 8 acres of land which could not be subdivided among their children and this conflicted with existing traditional beliefs
  • The power to distribute land was stripped from chiefs to distribute land and given to the District Commissioners
  • Compulsory conservation methods were introduced to regulate farming practices
  • These were the construction of contour ridges, destocking and storm drains
  • The number of cattle owned by African families was limited to five
  • Those who failed to get in the reserves had to work for Europeans in mines and factories
  • Africans were forced to get involved in public projects such as construction of dams, bridges and roads
  • Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act was subject to punishment either by fine payment of imprisonment
  • The act was rejected by natives and paved way for the starting of the Second Chimurenga
  • This project failed, was abandoned in 1961 and replaced by the Land Tenure Act.

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