Property, Improperty, and the Mortgage
This chapter takes the insights taken and derived from the study and analysis of the Kenyan land tenure reform—the first nationwide attempt in Africa to individualize or privatize landholding. The case of Kenya offers an instructive test case of a 1950s-style modernization scheme based on nineteenth-century evolutionist ideas. In a sense, this bold scheme was not simply a program to title land, but can be considered to have played a role in the broader attempt to rationalize a peasantry, quell social dissent, boost an economy, modernize a way of life, and build a nation. As the previous chapters have shown, however, the land tenure reform is undergoing a slow and difficult process. This slowness is attributed to the difficulty of obtaining reliable data—a difficulty that can be seen as evidence that this idea of reform does not fit African cultural, social, or ecological realities as well. The chapter takes a look at the effects of mortgage and how it has affected African culture and society.
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