Taking their territory with them when they go
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The Makandezulu region of Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park is Maluleke territory. That is, the population of Makandezulu, which is dominated by the Maluleke xibongo or clan name has control over environmental resources here and, more importantly, people's relationships with respect to them. With the establishment of Mozambique's Limpopo National Park in 2001, however, the Makandezulu region has also become national and transfrontier conservation territory. Following park implementation and having concluded that resident aspirations for the park were not compatible with conservation goals, conservation managers with support from international donors are developing an extensive resettlement program for people residing along the Shingwedzi Watershed including the Makandezulu region. This dissertation assesses the history of resident mobility among Makandezulu residents, how residents established access to and control of resources both within this region and when they moved, and the relevance of this relationship between access and mobility in the context of conservation related resettlement. My examination of the political ecology of access and mobility in Makandezulu illustrates significant changes in Maluleke territory over the last two centuries which are grounded in three broad arguments. First, for Makandezulu residents, mobility was a means to avoiding the displacement context of external or non-Maluleke groups. Second, both within the Makandezulu region and when residents moved, residents established access to resources through a variety of mechanisms; however, there was an important difference between establishing access and control. Third, the establishment or loss of group level resource control was synonymous with the establishment or loss of territory.