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Prof Chris de Wet

Prof Chris de Wet


BA (Anthropology, Latin, Political Philosophy) – University of Stellenbosch

BA Honours (Political Philosophy) – University of Stellenbosch

MA (Anthropology) – University of Stellenbosch

Post-graduate Diploma in Social Anthropology – Oxford University, UK

PhD (Anthropology) – Rhodes University

Research Interests: Rural Development; Human Displacement; Refugees; Resettlement; Water resources and impact of dam-building; Land Restitution in South Africa; Development Ethics.

Tel: +27 (0)46 603-8334/8532

Email: c.dewet@ru.ac.za

Contact Details

Name:  Prof Chris de Wet, Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University

Phone: +27 (0) 46 603-8334/8532

Email:                    c.dewet@ru.ac.za

Qualifications:   BA (Anthropology, Latin, Political Philosophy) – University of Stellenbosch

                                BA Honours (Political Philosophy) – University of Stellenbosch

                                MA (Anthropology) – University of Stellenbosch

                                Post-graduate Diploma in Social Anthropology – Oxford University, UK

                                PhD (Anthropology) – Rhodes University


Chris was trained at Stellenbosch, Oxford and Rhodes Universities. His PhD research was on the socio-economic impacts of resettlement arising out of a government development programme in a rural settlement in what was then the homeland/Bantustan of Ciskei. His subsequent research and consultancy work  in development and resettlement issues has seen him involved  more widely in southern Africa, and India, as well as in international resettlement policy issues. He taught in the Department of Anthropology from 1978 to 2013. He is currently a researcher with the Institute of Water Research at Rhodes University, and is affiliated to the Department of Anthropology, where he supervises thesis students, and participates in departmental activities.


  • Rural ‘community’ studies, social change
  • Rural development, land issues
  • Development-initiated group resettlement
  • Development ethics
  • Integrated development
  • Integrated water resources management
  • Students

Chris has taught a wide range of courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in Anthropology. He has supervised, and/or is currently supervising, 11 MA and 11 PhD students



DE WET, C.J. and BEKKER, S.B. (eds.1985)Rural Development in South Africa: a Case Study. Pietermaritzburg: Shuter and Shooter.

DE WET, C.J. (1995) Moving Together, Drifting  Apart: the Impact of Villagisation in a South African Homeland. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

DE WET, C.J and WHISSON, C.J. ( eds. 1997 ) From Reserve to Region: Socio-Economic Change in the Keiskammahoek District of Ciskei, 1950 to 1990. Institute of Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

DE WET, C.J. and FOX, R.C. (eds. 2001) Transforming Settlement in Southern Africa. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, in association with the International African Institute (U.K.)

DE WET, C.J.(ed. 2006) Development-Induced Displacement: Problems, Policies and People. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Recent Book Chapters

DE WET, C.J. (2009) “Does Development Displace Ethics? The Challenge of Forced Resettlement” In  A. Oliver-Smith (ed.) Development and Dispossession, pp. 77-96.  Santa Fe: School of American Research.

DE WET,C.J. (2009) “Why Do Things Often Go Wrong in Resettlement  Projects?”  In A. Pankhurst,  and F. Piguet (eds.)  Moving People in Ethiopia: Development, Displacement and the State, pp. 35-48.  Oxford: James Currey.

DE WET,C.J. (2009) “Contested Space or Common Ground? Perspectives on the Displacement and Resettlement Debate in India”. In R.Modi (ed.) Beyond Relocation: The Imperative of Sustainable Resettlement, pp. 83-101. New Delhi: Sage.

DE WET, C.J  and MGUJULWA. E. (2010) “The Ambiguities of Using Restitution as a Vehicle for Development : an Eastern Cape Case Study”. In C. Walker,  A. Bohlin, R. Hall and  T. Kepe  (eds.) Land, Memory, Reconstruction and Justice: Perspectives on Land Claims in South Africa, pp198-214. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.

DE WET, C.J ( 2010 ) “Where Are They Now? Welfare, Development and Marginalisation in a Former Bantustan Settlement in the Eastern Cape, Post 1994”. In  P.  Hebinck and C. Shackleton (eds.) Reforming Land and Resource Use in South Africa,  pp. 294-314.  London: Routledge.

DE WET, C.J. (In Press) “The State, Involuntary Resettlement and Unintended Agency: Some Reflections from Southern Africa”. To appear in 2012 in  F. Stammler, T. Heleniak, 
E. Khlinovkaia-Rockhill, P.  and Schweitzer(eds.) Moved by the State: Population Movements and Agency in the Circumpolar North and Other Remote Regions. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

DE WET, C.J. (In Press) “Achieving Better Resettlement Outcomes Through Capacitating Effective and Responsible Resettlement Officers: An Opportunity for Indian-African Synergy”. To appear in  A.K. Dubey (ed.) India and Africa: Partnership for Capacity Building and Human Resource Development. New Delhi: MD Publications.

DE WET, C.J. (In Press) “Process, Context and Risk: Building on Michael Cernea’s Analysis of Resettlement Risks”.  To appear in S .Guggenheim and W. Partridge (eds.) Banking on Development: Essays in Honor of Michael Cernea. Oxford University Press

Recent Journal Articles

DE WET, C.J.  (2008) “Reconsidering Displacement in Southern Africa”. Anthropology Southern Africa, Vol 31, No 3 & 4 : 114-122.

DE WET, C.J (2009) “Continuity and Change Over Sixty Years at Household Level in a Rural South African Village”. Africa Review, (Delhi), Vol 1, No 1:55-71.

DE  WET, C.J. (2012) “Towards Ethical Outcomes in Displacement: a Search for Coherence, or a Fine Balance?” Ethics and Development Thematic Group

http://developmentethicsthematicgroup.wordpress.com. June 2012.

DE WET, C.J.( 2012) “Is International Resettlement Policy Applicable in African Villagization Projects? ”Human Organization, Vol 71, No 4: 395-406.

Last Modified: Wed, 10 May 2017 13:05:22 SAST