Keywords: South Africa - Agrarian reform - Makuleke community.
In post-apartheid South Africa, land and agrarian reform policies aiming both at poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas are a key issue of the politicaldebate, in that they attempt to conciliate competing interests and actors in a context thatis the result of forty years of apartheid government. In the South Africa case, in fact, the current situation has to be analyzed in light of the historical relation between the model of territorial separation of the population and the economic policy of the apartheid government and the current attempts to link poverty reduction to rural economic development in the context of decentralization. Within this debate, the article focuses on the relationship between land, tradition and the current market-oriented policies in Makuleke - a rural community living in the northern area of the Limpopo province - in the period between 1950 and 2008. The case of Makuleke is particularly interesting in order to understand the complexity of the land question in South Africa and to discuss the consequences of the private sector intervention and the shift from subsistence to commercial agriculture in terms of rural development, poverty reduction and gender equality.