Africa, including southern Africa continues to have the highest proportions of its populations living in rural areas. Poverty continues to be most concentrated in rural areas while agricultural production remains central to most economies. Thus, the re- emergence of land reform combined with water reform has become a major policy instrument for addressing historical inequities, dispossession, poverty and development. We have chosen two areas in Limpopo Province with its high value, intensely irrigated L uvuvhu and Letaba Catchments. Most of the commercial farmland in Limpopo Province is under land claim and processes of land restitution are under way. We will contrast the South African processes with those in the neighboring nation Zimbabwe. We will a ssess if and how land and water reform in the two Luvuvhu and Letaba Catchments are affecting poverty. We will examine what considerations and commitments are required to enable land and water reform to be more effective in reducing poverty in the contex t of a gendered approach. The three theoretical frameworks we employ are: a human rights based development approach since secure tenure and property rights (broadly defined) are part of a general right to a decent standard of living and to life and dig nity. A negotiation and political economy approach to property rights. We will focus upon the negotiation processes for access and use of land reform within the contexts of power and economy. The third approach is political ecology, which emphasizes th e asymmetries of power, the unequal relations between different actors in explaining the interaction between society and the environment. n different actors in explaining the interaction between society and the environment.