Land Symposium

This week I was honored to attend a land symposium here in Cape Town. The land symposium was located in Khayelitsha which is a more impoverished area of the Western Cape.  The first speaker, Sabelo Mcinziba spoke about how he used to take commuter trains from this area into the city and how he used it as an opportunity to empower and educate his fellowmen on the train.  He explained that often it is missionaries and evangelists on the trains spreading their word of God but rarely was it education or issues that affected the South Africans commuting to work.  The main topic was that Africa is for Africans and that labor wars are always land wars in the end.  The name of the Symposium was called the Anni(misery) of the Land Act of 1913: Marking an Inherited Loss.  The speaker emphasized the naming "Anni(misery)" and how vital naming is to the cause.  He spoke about one of the negative outlooks through legislation, one banning more than 5 families on farmlands which creates an excess of  squatters on the land.  This has huge negative effects on black South Africans.  He spoke about how in South Africa- black South Africans must think critically even when speaking about their homeland.  In many cases that homeland was land that the white settlers did not want instead of their actual homeland.   He spoke about the history of the black people in SA who have a history of loss and loss and poses a question to the audience about the effect that would have on black people generation after generation. 


The second speaker was Constance Mogale who spoke of the current struggles for tenure security in South Africa.  She also went through the history of dispossession in SA starting before 1913 where only 7% was left for native South Africans.  Thus, the Land Act of 1913 wasn’t a victory for local South Africans.  In 1996 they enacted the Restitution of Land Rights Act which in her works shifted the goal post.   She also spoke about how Makhasaneni and the other 32 villages are under attack again by the Jindal mine.  And the damages and dangers that are affecting South Africans today.


 Bevil Lucas was the next speaker, he spoke about an area in Khayelitsha called Greenpoint.  There is also a neighborhood called Greenpoint in the CBD which is beautiful and is near the water.  But this Greenpoint was named such because of the green tents that were provided but the government people would build their shacks between. It portrayed the stark difference between the two Greenpoint neighborhoods.  They also spoke about how the workers who work in the CBD cannot afford to live them but instead after work but run back to the townships and even 30 years after Apartheid ended not much has changed.  He also discussed how there are around 15 golf courses in the areas surrounding the CBD but that land lays waste while the low-income and impoverished South Africans are overlooked for useless land such as golf courses.