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Units : Center of Cultural Anthropology | ULB415
In several African states, the discussion about economic empowerment of indigenous people forms an integral part of most policy discussions. With indigenous peoples economic circumstances not improving in South Africa and Zimbabwe, in particular, it would be reasonable to investigate the existing economic empowerment policies in both countries. The evolvement of economic empowerment policies is worth investigating particularly looking at how they have benefited indigenous communities entrepreneurially. It is evident that colonialism in Africa left significant wounds through skewed land and business ownership, uneven education systems and unequal opportunities in employment and business. The apartheid system in pre-independence South Africa used tailored legislation and governance systems to dispossess natives of their land, train Africans for certain forms of labour through Bantu education and ensured Afrikaner economic empowerment and racial dominance over non-whites. The same could be argued for the colonial government in Zimbabwe which relegated indigenous people to poor agricultural land (reserves), and controlled the provision of education to ensure that the missionaries would not 'over educate' the indigenous people. Policies such as Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in South Africa and Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (IEE) in Zimbabwe have been in place for several years now. The question of this study, however is whether these policies have any impact on the designated indigenous entrepreneurship practice and if so, what impact is there? If not, where is the challenge and how can they be addressed? Qualitative research methods in a form of in-depth interviews and observations will be adopted, in a purposive sampled population of indigenous entrepreneurs in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The definition of indigenous people used in this study will follow the guidelines stipulated by the ACHPR in defining the rights of indigenous peoples in Africa.
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