Ben Cousins

Professor Ben Cousins holds a DST/NRF Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He established the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at UWC in 1995 and was its director until 2009 (PLAAS is now the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies). He holds a DPhil in Applied Social Studies from the University if Zimbabwe, and was in exile between 1972 and 1991. He helped to establish and operate a training centre for small-scale famers in Swaziland from 1976 to 1983, worked in agricultural extension and training in Zimbabwe between 1983 and 1986, and returned to South Africa in 1991. In 2013 he received an inaugural Elinor Ostrom Award for his contribution to scholarship on common property (‘the commons’). He is often called upon to comment on land reform and related issues in the media.