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The degree to which the traditional concept of property can be adjusted in order to accommodate basic constitutional concepts such as freedom and social duty, is analysed by the author. The focus is placed on recent reforms in the land law of Germany and South Africa. Remarkable similarities in the history, structure and interpretation of German and South African property law and constitutional law are indicated and a link between private law, constitutional law, land reform and legal comparison is established. This is of particular significance for the implementation of the constitutional objectives of land reform by the South African judiciary and legislature. It furthermore provides an overview of the intricate system of constitutional property protection that has been developed in German law.