Surplus People Project

Radical solidarity: Agrarian reform for food sovereignty

Surplus People Project (SPP)
South Africa | Founded in 1980s | Thousand Currents Partner since 2012 | 

Surplus People Project was first established in the 1980s as a national research project on forced removals under apartheid. This culminated in the publication of the seminal five volume SPP reports documenting some of these forced removals. In the late 1980s the organization named SPP was established, supporting communities in their struggles. As the political context in the country changed, SPP had to critically reflect on its role in a changing South African society.

With the dawn of a new democracy in 1994, SPP played a role in influencing land reform policies with a pro-poor agenda. This was in line with the government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme agenda and orientation. SPP emerged from the radical liberal tradition in South Africa, and in the post-apartheid era. SPP’s focus shifted to support community struggles for agrarian transformation for food sovereignty, equitable land ownership and alternatives to dominant models of production.

A wide range of experiences, skills and competencies enable SPP to support the activism required for agrarian transformation and broader social change. SPP works in two provinces in South Africa and also has national reach as part of the Tshintsha Amakhaya initiative, a collaboration between 10 civil society partners, movements, and community formations (in five provinces) aimed at addressing land and agrarian reform.

SPP’s work cuts across three areas of impacts: social mobilization; agrarian transformation; and agroecology.

Learn more about SPP’s work on our blog.