My Land Obsession
Winner of the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2023 Non-Fiction Prize
Bulelwa Mabasa was born into a ‘matchbox’ family home in Meadowlands, Soweto, at the height of apartheid. In My Land Obsession, she shares her colourful Christian upbringing, framed by the lived experiences of her grandparents, who endured land dispossession in the form of the Group Areas Act and the migrant labour system.
Bulelwa’s world was irrevocably altered when she encountered the disparities of life in a white-dominated school. Her ongoing interest in land justice informed her choice to study law at Wits, with the land question becoming central in her postgraduate studies.
When Bulelwa joined the practice of law in the early 2000s as an attorney, she felt a strong need to build on her curiosity around land reform, moving on to form and lead a practice centred on land reform at Werksmans Attorneys. She describes the role played by her mentors and the professional and personal challenges she faced. My Land Obsession sets out notable legal cases Bulelwa has led and lessons that may be drawn from them, as well as detailing her contributions to national policy on land reform and her views on how the land question must be inhabited and owned by all South Africans.