What is Land Grabbing?
With the advent of a newly elected president of South Africa came, among many other events, the direction of constitutional change to allow land expropriation without compensation.
Based on various statements of general political rhetoric, the tune is, “They (The Boers) stole our land, now they must give it back, without compensation”.
How does a population of a country of 54m of which 80% are black and 8% white (Boers are classified as white) deal with these statements in the light of our race distribution?
In trying to help all to have a clear understanding of the reality of the situation in South Africa, let us consider;
The universe, and that includes our ‘Earth” is in a constant state of evolvement (not to be confused with the Darwinian theory of evolution). In short, this means that everything is changing, however minuscule, every second.
The History of humanity teaches this fact in a very real way.
If we take the circumstance of, what is currently referred to as ‘land grabbing’, we might be surprised to find that the term did not begin with the ex president of Zimbabwe, Mr Robert Mugabe. Interestingly the term was first coined by an organisation called “Grain”.
Land grabbing, however, was healthily practiced 6,000 years ago as explained in the Old Testament records. but, from anthropological and archaeological findings, the practice goes back further, to the cradle of humankind in Africa, more than 100,000 years ago! (It’s just that we do not have written evidence, only scientific findings).
As interesting, is the history of Sub Saharan Africa, where Bantu tribes, Khoisan and finally Dutch Boers engaged in the practice.
In terms of modern ‘land grabbing’ you might be interested to know, that it is a global practice, even to this day, as it has always been in the past.
It took the 21st century and Grain, to establish the brand name for a practice that has been part of humanity, since time began.
To move onto a more provincial stage, let us consider land grabbing in the light of our own South African context.
As mentioned, Sub Saharan land grabbing started with the Bantu Tribes, then the Khoisan and finally the Dutch Boers.
It may probably be that next in the hall of fame will be the ANC. Maybe in the following 20 to 30 years, the Chinese, who knows? But land grabbing will take place, or history will be changed (fortunately we all know, this is not a possibility).
Look, I don’t like the term ‘land grabbing’, it reeks of violence, whatever manner in which comes about. So let’s use the term, “Land redistribution”. I honestly accept that if I believe in evolvement of society, then this is the more sober term to use.
So, regarding the issue of land redistribution in South Africa, here are some very rough stats:
Currently, agricultural land is owned by 70% whites and 30% blacks. There are no stats showing what percentage of the white farmed land is individually or corporately owned. In many cases we don’t know the origin of the corporate owners. Note that the global trend is for corporates to buy up agricultural land and the general reason for this, apart for generating profits for shareholders, is the fact that food production, after water, is going to be the most powerful and profitable business in which to be engaged in the future.
On the domestic front, latest stats show that growth in black ownership of home, by size of land, since 1994, has rocketed to 52%, whilst whites are at 42% and shrinking.
With or without our government’s support, land distribution is actually taking place. Conversely what is also very real is that for many displaced peoples, particularly around city and industrial centers, this process is not happening quickly enough.
We all need to accept that, even if South Africa had access to the world’s most highly skilled economists, city planners, financiers and anthropological genii, the issue of land re distribution could not be solved overnight; let alone by a government that has been established in only a short period of some twenty years or so.
History has proven that people will find the solution to bringing about what is best for the people as a whole, without the aid of political rhetoric.
History will also show that a people in unity will accomplish far greater achievement than any political rhetoric ever will.
There is a saying, “A problem defined, is a problem half solved”.
Let me put this into other words:
Citizens of South Africa and the globe at large, let us work together to bring solution to our challenges, through individuals, caring and any other nongovernmental groups. In this way we will see miracles come to pass.
You and I will make the difference.
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