Join Friends of Pambazuka

Subscribe for Free!



Donate to Pambazuka News!

Follow Us

delicious bookmarks facebook twitter

Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
Buy now

Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
Buy now

China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
Buy now

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
Buy now

Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

AU MONITOR

This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Perspectives on Emerging Powers in Africa: December 2011 newsletter

Deborah Brautigam provides an overview and description of China's development finance to Africa. "Looking at the nature of Chinese development aid - and non-aid - to Africa provides insights into China's strategic approach to outward investment and economic diplomacy, even if exact figures and strategies are not easily ascertained", she states as she describes China's provision of grants, zero-interest loans and concessional loans. Pambazuka Press recently released a publication titled India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power, and Oliver Stuenkel provides his review of the book.
The December edition available here.

The 2010 issues: September, October, November, December, and the 2011 issues: January, February, March , April, May , June , July , August , September, October and November issues are all available for download.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Features

Land is at the heart of our struggle

Lindela S Figlan

2012-10-30, Issue 604

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85114

Bookmark and Share

Printer friendly version


cc B S
Yes, I have to be bold and proud of being South African. But I am not proud because our lovely country is in the wrong hands. Our struggle began with the question of land and land remains at the centre of our struggle today.

In the old days the people in this country were so united. Even those who were not interested in politics ended up in politics. This unity came from the fact that they were crying for the land of their forefathers that had been confiscated by those who thought the land was supposed to be under their authority. The people's land had been stolen, fenced and sold.

The land issue is really serious and it is really dangerous. When the minority government was pressurised on the land issue they often decided to shoot and kill our fathers and mothers. Some died on the streets because of the struggle for land. Others had their limbs amputated because of the struggle for land. Some lost their eyes because of the struggle for land. There were so many struggles for land. There was the war of the heads in 1906. There was the struggle of the women of Cato Manor in 1956. There was the battle on Ngquza Hill in 1960.

When Mandela returned and then became president there were so many speculations among the people. They were expecting the government to do miracles about the land issue. But up to now they are still crying the very same tears they have been crying before. People are still crying for land in the rural areas and in the cities. People are still struggling for a place in their country. That struggle remains serious and it remains dangerous.

When our movement was first formed, one of Inkosi Bhambatha's grandsons joined our struggle. He was living in the Jadhu Place settlement. One man whose mother was in Cato Manor in 1956 also joined our struggle. He was living in the Arnett Drive settlement. My own father was on Ngquza Hill in 1960. I was living in the Burnwood Road settlement. All of the settlements that joined our movement were founded by land occupations. In some settlements people had been defending those occupations by resisting evictions for 20 years or more. The history of the struggle for land was a living history inside our movement. When we formed the Poor People's Alliance we aimed to unite the rural and urban land struggles.

The land struggle is not the only struggle. People are also struggling for houses, for better wages, for good schooling and against the councillors, BECs and unions that are controlling the people. But the land struggle is the foundation of many other struggles. This is why we say 'Land & Freedom!'; 'Land & Housing!' and 'Land, Justice & Dignity'.

People are still being evicted in rural areas. The government is trying to strengthen the power of the chiefs in the rural areas. The Bantustans remain. And people are still being evicted from the cities. They are being left homeless or dumped in transit camps.

And the struggle remains dangerous. If you join the struggle you will face violence from party members and the police. We can loose our lives if we are not careful. After the attack on Kennedy Road in 2009, the murder of Andries Tatane in 2011 and the Marikana Massacre in 2012, is there anyone who can still say that they will get shocked if what happened before 1994 can happen again now?

Our government is a capitalist government. It is a government for the rich. It is making some people very rich and it is slowly changing the colour of the people who are rich. It is always saying that there is a problem with the colour of the people that are rich but it never says that there is a problem which is that the rich, all of them together, have too much land, too much money and too much power.

In my way of understanding, I won’t feel shocked if more of us are killed in the struggle for land. Now that the government is loosing the confidence of the people in the cities and on the mines it has decided to use violence to silence us and to intimidate us. This government wants to defend the system that is making them and their families rich while everybody else is suffering.

When the Kennedy attack happened in 2009 it was so clear that the government was supposed to take that attack very seriously because most of the people who most lost their homes regarded it as an attack to those who were not born in this province. Instead they were arrested while they were running away from those who were shouting ‘PHANTSI NGAMAMPONDO’. The government did nothing to stop this. When the headlines on the papers came as ‘ETHNIC TENSSION BOILS OVER IN KENNEDY’ they quickly tried to stop those headlines. But those who came to my shack made it clear that those from other provinces must go back. The government said that the problem was just that we were 'criminals'. Even now we are still suffering with nowhere to stay while the government is not even trying to meet us halfway.

Andries Tatane died the same way that the people were dying before 1994. He was not the only person to be killed like this but the whole world saw this murder on TV. We were promised that after 1994 everybody would freely enjoy their rights without being intimidated by the police. But the police in South Africa are still behaving the very same way as they were behaving before 1994. We were busy blaming the government of those days for how the police behaved towards the people while on the other side this government is doing the very same way. Some of us made the mistake of blaming the apartheid government because their colour was not the same as ours. But really it is about humanity. People tend to forget that we were not really against anyone’s colour but that in fact we are against the system that they were using. That system is commonly understood to be the same to the present one.

The Marikana Massacre was the most terrifying one. When our president gave a speech about this massacre he sung a song called ‘SENZENI NA’ before he delivered his speech. That song we used to sing it even before 1994. But even now we are still singing the same song. Why? When that song continues there are words that say ‘OUR SIN IS OUR COLOUR’. Are we still sinning even to the government that we fought for? There must be something very, very wrong.

If the government cannot recognise our humanity than we have to recognise our humanity ourselves. Please let’s make sure that even under threatening conditions like these we go forward to claim what belongs to the people. Now is the time for all of us who are landless to show what it really means to fight for land in the rural areas and in the cities. With land we can start to be counted as citizens of this country. Land has to be distributed according to social need and not according to who has money.

We need to fight jointly to make sure that we defeat this demon which is embracing our country. But if those who are suffering are not showing anything, how will other people know that they are supposed to join the struggle and to support us? Every land occupation is a small step towards making this a country for all who live in it and breaking the power of money over land.

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.


Readers' Comments

Let your voice be heard. Comment on this article.




↑ back to top

ISSN 1753-6839 Pambazuka News English Edition http://www.pambazuka.org/en/

ISSN 1753-6847 Pambazuka News en Français http://www.pambazuka.org/fr/

ISSN 1757-6504 Pambazuka News em Português http://www.pambazuka.org/pt/

© 2009 Fahamu - http://www.fahamu.org/