This profile was prepared when Ashley Westaway was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
During apartheid, black South Africans were all assigned to Bantustan “homelands” and, in many cases, the original residents of these areas were crowded out of farming and into townships within these boundaries. As a result the local farming economy in the Bantustans collapsed. Since then, the post apartheid regime has unfortunately refused to recognize the rights of the citizens living in the former Bantustans. Instead the government left key elements of the apartheid system in place, particularly the concentration of people in townships and welfare subsidies. Ashley Westaway is working to reverse the lingering effects of the apartheid system and completely reinvigorate these areas by introducing aggressive rural development that leverages existing financial and human capital and is based on widespread small-scale farming. By reclaiming dispossessed land and leveraging available community resources like local student populations and university partners, Ashley is sparking the development of vibrant rural economies.
The New Idea