In the eyes of the South African public – and indeed the international one, inasmuch as it concerns itself with matters in the region – conflicts over land are primarily concerned with race. By the same token, the proposed resolution of such conflicts requires that racial tensions be resolved. This interpretation has been particularly prevalent since public awareness was sharpened by the Zimbabwe land invasions. Media reports and photographs of Zimbabwean white farmer families confronting hostile crowds of armed black land invaders gave a starkly racial view of the conflict, and they depicted the transfer of lands from members of one race group to those of another as inevitably accompanied by violence. Closer to home, Steinberg’s 2002 book gives a gripping account of KwaZulu-Natal ‘farm attacks’ in which equivalent dramas are played out.1 Although motivated by a complex combination of factors, the attacks are depicted in the book as occasioned by race hatred. They also have effects on racial land access. By contesting the frontier of racial power, these attacks have pushed back the physical boundary, apparently so immoveable during the apartheid regime, between communal African land and the white farms.