Autochthony and insecure land tenure

the spatiality of ethnicized hybridity in the periphery of post-conflict Bukavu, DRC

Fons van Overbeek*, Peter A. Tamás

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyzes the interaction of the traces of war with institutional hybridity in shaping the use of space in the periphery of Bukavu, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. In peri-urban Bukavu, the urbanization of previously rural areas has created an uncertain mixture of land allocation mechanisms that are not adequately explained by representation in terms of a clash or mixture of statutory and customary law. This hybridity has created uncertainty for both newcomers and early settlers in which the othering and violence required to justify both encroachment on, and the protection of, land are supported by discourses of autochthony. Large parts of peri-urban Bukavu, in particular the area of Kasha, are gradually being balkanized by quasi-voluntary socio-spatial practices of segregation by ethnicities whose existence and salience are constantly, and at times forcibly, re-negotiated. While initially perceived as a safe haven, the city’s periphery is becoming an area of acute insecurity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-309
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Issue number2
Early online dateApr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018



  • autochthony
  • DR Congo
  • hybridity
  • migration
  • post-conflict
  • Urbanization

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