Featured Image: Artwork by established black artist Dathini Mzayiya Photo: Dathini Mzayiya/Facebook
By BO Editorial Team
The resolution of the land question is central to the realization of the black liberation project. CHAPTER 1 of the BLACK AGENDA on land Intimates that the only solution is for our people to organise and take back the land by any means necessary without paying for it. Please read, discuss and engage this offering. Send your questions, comments, feedback, etcetera to the following email address: [email protected]
“For a colonised people the most essential value, because it’s the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”- Frantz Fanon
All of the South African land in white hands was stolen from black people. Therefore, all white people who hold land are in possession of stolen property. Justice will only prevail once the land which was stolen from the black majority is returned. However, thieves are not known to be generous people who voluntarily return stolen goods. This places the responsibility of redress and justice on the shoulders of the dispossessed. The battle for land by any means necessary is not only a battle for an important economic commodity (land amounts to more than just its economic value), it’s also about who we are and about those who perished in the many brutal colonial wars in defense of the land. Land return shall heal black people!
It is the sacred duty of all black people to fight for the return of the land. It’s the duty of parents to teach their children about land dispossession and the covenant with our heroines and heroes that we shall fight until the land is returned. It’s the duty of revolutionary teachers to spread the truth that without land we are nothing! Any people that lose their land lose their national sovereignty, their sense of being and their dignity. Right now blacks are a people without roots – landless and floating in the air. The majority of black people live in townships and as sophisticated squatters in the cities where they rent places of impermanent abode from whites who stole the land and wealth.
Land is pivotal for black people. The great warrior against British land theft, Prince Maqoma, expressed this truth more succinctly when he said, “(w)e are to have land again….Our land is us. We are our land. You took our land …. Without land we cannot be.” This has been the truth that the principled leaders of the African people have maintained. The land belongs to black people! It was taken illegally from us.
In 1955 in Kliptown, the ANC, which became the ruling party in 1994, sold the land rights of blacks to whites with the adoption of the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter proclaims that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it both black and white”. How could this be true? Who gave the land rights to whites? Since when did whites stop being settlers and foreigners? How can the country be equally shared amongst the oppressed and the oppressor? Where on earth has this ever been practiced? The Freedom Charter was correctly seen by Robert Sobukwe as “a colossal fraud ever perpetrated upon the oppressed, exploited and degraded people. It clearly bears the stamp of its origin. It is a product of the slave colonial mentality and colonialist orientation”.
Maqoma and Sobukwe’s position was endorsed by Steve Biko, who put it squarely that, “(a)bove all, we Black people should keep in mind that South Africa is our country. The arrogance that makes the whites to travel all the way from Europe to come and balkanise our country and shift us around must be destroyed … whereas whites were guests to us on arrival in this country, they have now pushed us to 13% of the land and are acting as bad hosts in the rest of the country. This must be put right”.
After more than 350 years of land dispossession and more than 22 years of cowardice by the ruling party, the message of land return has to be clear and uncompromising again. We want our land back simply because it’s ours! What we shall do with it is none of the business of the land thieves and their apologists. Right now, as pointed out above, only 35 000 white families including businesses own up to 80% of the land in SA. We note new pseudo-revolutionary movements have adopted the Freedom Charter and gone ahead and given land rights to whites so long as such land is “in use”. These agents of white supremacy have yet again surrendered the land of African people to the settlers.
The BLACK AGENDA calls upon the landless to take all necessary steps to reclaim their land without paying for it. The return of the land must be guided by the principle of “by any means necessary”. What must be resisted is “any means” to buy back the land. All the land must be returned without paying a cent. The organising principle of the land revolution is that land in white hands is stolen property and it should therefore be returned black people. After all, ityala aliboli (a crime/case doesn’t rot away)! From this point of view, the foundations of the South African constitution are anti-black because it gives legitimacy to colonial land theft. The SA Constitution is a document of surrender, not liberation.