Black families reclaim land seized 67 years ago

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Black families reclaim land seized 67 years ago

Unread post by 'X' » July 9th, 2007, 10:51 pm

Black families reclaim land seized 67 years agoBy Moyiga Nduru


RICHARDS BAY, South Africa (IPS/GIN) - “Today, we are here to say, ‘Never again shall our people lose their land rights because they are Black,’” said Lulama Xingwana, South Africa’s minister of agriculture and land affairs.

She was speaking at the handover of a section of land in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park, about one hour’s drive from the mining and industrial town of Richards Bay, which is eight hours by car from South Africa’s commercial hub of Johannesburg.

The land was seized by the government 67 years ago and transformed into a national park in what is today known as KwaZulu-Natal province. In early June, however, the land was returned to its previous owners.

Nelson Masondo is one of the delighted recipients of the property. The 52-year-old Mr. Masondo was not even born in 1940 when his parents were evicted from the land, which is located in the most populous province in South Africa.

As Mr. Masondo talked outside a tent where the function to return the land was being held on June 8, the interview was almost drowned out by blissful ululation and boisterous Zulu battle cries. “They are now signing the transfer document,” said Mr. Masondo, smiling as noise thundered from the tent.

Several community leaders, representing 6,702 descendents of the evictees, signed the document to transfer the 24,210 hectares of land. “Today, our hopes have come true. We are excited,” Mr. Masondo said. “We have been campaigning since 1994 to get our land back.”

Outside the tent, a dozen or so men celebrated the return of their land, sporting animal skins and carrying knobkerries.

Continuing British colonial patterns, hundreds of thousands of Black South Africans were uprooted and dumped in undeveloped areas or turned into tenant farm laborers when the Whites-only government launched its long-lasting campaign to seize land in 1913. The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park, where Mr. Masondo’s family was evicted from, is a case in point.

“The community was told to vacate the land under the pretext that the government wanted to rid the area of poisonous tsetse flies and buffalo ticks, which were allegedly causing cattle disease. The community vacated the area with the understanding that they would return after three years, when the situation was back to normal,” Ms. Xingwana said.

“Instead, the area was fenced off and converted into a game reserve. Through the action of the government of the day, the community [members] lost their right to the land which they had occupied for generations,” she said.


Community leaders, together with the villagers, have agreed not to occupy the park physically and not to disturb the elephants, leopards, rhinos, lions and buffalo that live there.

“Our aim is to make the park a sustainable business. We are planning to buy rare animals like white rhino and wild dogs to attract tourists,” Mr. Masondo said. The government has allocated about 63 rand million (about $9 million) to develop the park to this end.

Ms. Xingwana offered a piece of advice: “The land that you are receiving today has good potential for eco-tourism development. You are close to the potential trans-frontier park between Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa. There are great possibilities in terms of local economic development,” she said.

Unlike other parts, this land was not seized for commercial farming by White people. The democratic, Black-dominated government inherited the land in the form of a game park.

“It was politics,” said an official from the department of land affairs when asked by IPS why it took more than a decade for the department of environmental affairs and tourism to return the land to the community.

Playing down the delay, the official said the department is making progress in settling outstanding land claims. By March 2007, it settled 93 percent of the land claims which had been lodged with the state-run Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights since December 1998.

“Only 7 percent of land claims still remain nationwide,” said Godfrey Mdluli, a spokesman for the department of land affairs.

Ms. Xingwana warned that the government would expropriate land from White commercial farmers if they refused to sell their property within six months of negotiations.

“Landowners who make the loudest noise that a number of the restitution claims are not valid, must have a serious rethink and rather support our land programs,” she said.

“The spirit and purpose of our land legislation is to correct the skewed land ownership and to ensure restorative and redistributive justice and equitable redress for the victims of racial land dispossession,” Ms. Xingwana added.

The department aims to complete land restitution by 2008. If it does, the government hopes it will achieve the 30 percent target of land to be transferred to Black people by 2014.

Chris Jordan, the manager of property rights at the Pretoria-based Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa, which represents White commercial farmers, said by phone recently, that he did not believe that 70 percent of land will remain in the hands of White farmers by 2014.

“They will not stop at 30 percent. Our calculation is that Whites will be left with closer to 50 percent of the land they currently own,” he said.

South Africa is trying to carry out land distribution while avoiding Zimbabwe-style land grabbing. “If we go the Zimbabwe way, we may lose 15,000 farmers out of the total 46,000 commercial farmers by 2008 or 2010,” Jordan said. “The pressure on commercial farmers to hand over their land has become intensive.”

Some researchers and institutions say the government will not reach the 30 percent target by 2014. One of them, the Center for Development and Enterprise, a Johannesburg-based think tank, said in a 2005 study that only 4.3 percent of White farmlands had been transferred to Black hands between 1994 and 2004.

Refusing to accept defeat, Ms. Xingwana insisted that the government will meet the deadline. “We are going to disappoint our critics—we are not going to fail,” she said.

Mr. Masondo is more concerned about his new land and job than with the arguments of researchers and policymakers.

“We are going to run the property together with the park authorities. We do not have the experience, but we have got very good working relations with them,” he said.

The first conservation land transferred to evictees due to a land claim happened in the late 1990s, when the Makulekes received a section of the Kruger National Park. They have since continued to manage the land and the game in accordance with environmental regulations.

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Unread post by perongregory » July 9th, 2007, 11:20 pm

good to hear, all the blessings to the South Africans. By the logic of some of the peeps on here I guess it's all their fault the black pop. of the country is in the situation they are (the same situation we're-black Americans- in), I guess there is no correlation between the fact that only after colonizing forces came in and subjugated the people did we see them acting and living the way they do.

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Unread post by A Ghost » July 10th, 2007, 7:53 am

perongregory wrote:good to hear, all the blessings to the South Africans. By the logic of some of the peeps on here I guess it's all their fault the black pop. of the country is in the situation they are (the same situation we're-black Americans- in), I guess there is no correlation between the fact that only after colonizing forces came in and subjugated the people did we see them acting and living the way they do.
Think of it like this

Slavery and segregation put blacks into the situation they are into today, it was because of white racism.

But today, middle to upper class whites arent concerned with your average poor black guy. So its gonna have to be up to blacks to take every advantage they can get to bring themselves up from extreme poverty.


And as far as this thread, thats cool they got back what was taken from them...

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Unread post by perongregory » July 10th, 2007, 1:32 pm

A Ghost wrote:
perongregory wrote:good to hear, all the blessings to the South Africans. By the logic of some of the peeps on here I guess it's all their fault the black pop. of the country is in the situation they are (the same situation we're-black Americans- in), I guess there is no correlation between the fact that only after colonizing forces came in and subjugated the people did we see them acting and living the way they do.
Think of it like this

Slavery and segregation put blacks into the situation they are into today, it was because of white racism.

But today, middle to upper class whites arent concerned with your average poor black guy. So its gonna have to be up to blacks to take every advantage they can get to bring themselves up from extreme poverty.


And as far as this thread, thats cool they got back what was taken from them...
Yeah, it is but if others dont want to do their part how do you think blacks are gonna go about that? Radicalism only happens when the opposing ear closes itself off (you saw it in the 70's, you see it now in Israel). Funny thing, blacks aren't the only ones in this situation, the NA are too. I guess it's all their fault also.

And Ghost you read, you see the institutional barriers preventing people from leading a decent life. but like I said in the other thread, it's clear that blacks are usually talking about institutional or covert racism, and whites are talking about outright bigotry when it comes to race.

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Unread post by Anesis » July 10th, 2007, 1:54 pm

But the land that they got was a game reserve. I will be shocked if the blacks can keep it going, even if they were the true professional hunters on the safaris.

I seriously doubt that the previous clients who booked safaris with the Afrikaners will book safaris with whoever owns it now. There is big money is game hunting, but it doesn't sound like it's feasible to do with multiple owners.

I know an Afrikaner who owns a big game ranch in South Africa.

I hope they can figure out a way to make money and keep the land in good condition. I really do.

I guess I'm just skeptical.

Did these people receive any training on anything before given this land? A part of me wonders if they are setting these people up to fail.

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Unread post by Sentenza » July 10th, 2007, 2:01 pm

Same shit happened in Kenya. British farmers rented land from the Massai in 1899 for 100 years. In 1999 when the Massai demanded their land back they killed some Massai and drove them off the land with force. I am pretty sure they wont be able to do that forever though.

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Unread post by perongregory » July 10th, 2007, 2:02 pm

It's so greedy, selfish and absurd, it's almost comical.

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Unread post by Sentenza » July 10th, 2007, 2:12 pm

perongregory wrote:It's so greedy, selfish and absurd, it's almost comical.
Yes. I am not surprised that many africans are mad like hell at the whites there. They had it coming and many of them now play all inncoent, when they are not. Ok but this doesnt go for all whites in africa, but many of them.
And now they are acting like little cry babies.

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Unread post by A Ghost » July 10th, 2007, 2:20 pm

perongregory wrote:
A Ghost wrote:
perongregory wrote:good to hear, all the blessings to the South Africans. By the logic of some of the peeps on here I guess it's all their fault the black pop. of the country is in the situation they are (the same situation we're-black Americans- in), I guess there is no correlation between the fact that only after colonizing forces came in and subjugated the people did we see them acting and living the way they do.
Think of it like this

Slavery and segregation put blacks into the situation they are into today, it was because of white racism.

But today, middle to upper class whites arent concerned with your average poor black guy. So its gonna have to be up to blacks to take every advantage they can get to bring themselves up from extreme poverty.


And as far as this thread, thats cool they got back what was taken from them...
Yeah, it is but if others dont want to do their part how do you think blacks are gonna go about that? Radicalism only happens when the opposing ear closes itself off (you saw it in the 70's, you see it now in Israel). Funny thing, blacks aren't the only ones in this situation, the NA are too. I guess it's all their fault also.

And Ghost you read, you see the institutional barriers preventing people from leading a decent life. but like I said in the other thread, it's clear that blacks are usually talking about institutional or covert racism, and whites are talking about outright bigotry when it comes to race.
I got what you mean when you talk about the different forms of racism.

When a white person hears a black guy talk about racism they expect to hear "The white guy called me a Ni--er and tried to kill me" when in reality racism has many different forms

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Unread post by 'X' » July 10th, 2007, 4:21 pm

A Ghost wrote:
perongregory wrote:good to hear, all the blessings to the South Africans. By the logic of some of the peeps on here I guess it's all their fault the black pop. of the country is in the situation they are (the same situation we're-black Americans- in), I guess there is no correlation between the fact that only after colonizing forces came in and subjugated the people did we see them acting and living the way they do.
Think of it like this

Slavery and segregation put blacks into the situation they are into today, it was because of white racism.

But today, middle to upper class whites arent concerned with your average poor black guy. So its gonna have to be up to blacks to take every advantage they can get to bring themselves up from extreme poverty.


And as far as this thread, thats cool they got back what was taken from them...

A ghost holla at your brother se11....Maybe you can teach him something...

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Unread post by A Ghost » July 10th, 2007, 4:35 pm

'X' wrote:
A Ghost wrote:
perongregory wrote:good to hear, all the blessings to the South Africans. By the logic of some of the peeps on here I guess it's all their fault the black pop. of the country is in the situation they are (the same situation we're-black Americans- in), I guess there is no correlation between the fact that only after colonizing forces came in and subjugated the people did we see them acting and living the way they do.
Think of it like this

Slavery and segregation put blacks into the situation they are into today, it was because of white racism.

But today, middle to upper class whites arent concerned with your average poor black guy. So its gonna have to be up to blacks to take every advantage they can get to bring themselves up from extreme poverty.


And as far as this thread, thats cool they got back what was taken from them...

A ghost holla at your brother se11....Maybe you can teach him something...
I already tried LOL He cussed a lot and told me he doesnt like you LMAO

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