Uncanny Lore: From resistance to re-existance - legal empowerment, reclaiming heritage, ancestral land & justice in Southern Africa

Project: Internally funded project

Project Details


The project investigates how a holistic understanding of indigenous peoples’ cultural practices can legally empower them to secure and protect access to ancestral land and preserve cultural heritage in order to improve indigenous peoples’ livelihoods. Legal empowerment and the rule of law, adjusted to indigenous peoples’ needs, can provide a robust and inclusive legal framework as part of the recognition that culture can play an important role in the achievement of dignity, secure access to land and natural resources and recognition of human rights of indigenous peoples. The project feeds into a wider research programme that provides evidence to inform changes in national legislation to reform cultural heritage management, access to ancestral land and rights of nature. The longer term project also explores the legal reform that is needed so marginalised communities can voice their concerns in Courts and mobilise their culture, beliefs and worldviews as a source of law. The wider ethos of this project is to boost local capacity so indigenous communities can use effectively the rule of law to protect and preserve their ancestral land and cultural heritage. The project also strives to enhance health and welfare of indigenous peoples through a greater understanding of indigenous health practices and applications of traditional healing. This is part of a wider quest to decolonise law and legal practices.
Short titleUncanny Lore
Effective start/end date20/06/1824/06/18


  • cultural heritage
  • customary law
  • legal pluralism
  • Southern Africa
  • San


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