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South Africans Still Fight to Reclaim Land Taken During Apartheid

_78097870_redhillruins2Many South Africans are still fighting to reclaim land taken away from them during apartheid. The BBC’s Sophie Ribstein spoke to a family about their ordeal.

It is a beautiful piece of land, a windswept nature reserve just above the bay of Simon’s Town. Walking through lush vegetation, you can see the wild rocky hilltops of the Cape peninsula in the distance.

But the magnificent mountain landscape, bathed in light, has been the theatre of a troubled history.

At the far end of the African continent, Redhill was once a village, home to more than 70 predominantly mixed-race (or coloured, as they are referred to in South Africa) families.

Today, the ruins of their houses are a refuge for baboons. Roofs and windows have been destroyed, blown away by the passing of time.

But stone walls are still standing, reminders of a precious past for those who were forcibly removed in the late 1960s by South Africa’s white minority regime.

“Here was the lounge and this used to be the kitchen with a fireplace and the small bedroom at the back,” says 78-year-old Lily Lawrence, walking through the old stones that were once her home.

What was apartheid?

  • Introduced in 1948 by the Afrikaner-led National Party government
  • Black people regarded as inferior
  • Only white people allowed to vote
  • Races segregated in all aspects of life, including housing and schools
  • Prevented Black people from owning land in most of South Africa
  • Reserved most skilled jobs for white people
  • Banned sexual relations between Black and white people
  • Scrapped in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela as first Black president

The Group Areas Act, passed in 1950, was a pillar of the brutal apartheid regime.

Among other things, it led to the removal of non-whites from real estate considered desirable by the government. Over the following decades, thousands of families were forced to leave their homes and relocate to barren land.

‘Heirlooms’

The effects of this policy have yet to be reversed. Even in post-apartheid South Africa, much of the most fertile territory is still in the hands of a few thousand white commercial farmers.

The pace of reform has long been criticized as too slow.

Just after his re-election to a second term in office in May, South African President Jacob Zuma announced the creation of another window for lodging claims for the restitution of land. Many people had missed the previous window, which expired in 1998.

Zuma also hailed the progress made so far in returning land to its rightful owners.

However, Lawrence and her relatives are not among the lucky ones.

In March 1970, the families at Redhill were given seven days’ notice to move. The authorities told them they wanted to build a dam — a project that has never been pursued.

Lawrence has vivid memories of happy years at Redhill.

“We all loved walking to the mountains, picking flowers and just smelling the aroma of the herbs,” she says. “There were animals — pigs, fowls, horses, milking cows.”

 

Read more at bbc.com

What people are saying

33 thoughts on “South Africans Still Fight to Reclaim Land Taken During Apartheid

  1. Zelda Hancke says:

    Of course, the biggest problem facing land restitution, is corruption in the ANC run government. This regime is more concerned about lining their own pockets than running an efficient government or seeing that justice is done where needed.
    The main obstacles here are funds and inefficiency. The abuse of power sees land being allocated to cadres, family and friends. Unless you are a member of the ANC – you will pretty much get nothing.
    There have also been many cases of farmland being given to black farmers (formerly farmhands) without providing a support system. A HUGE percentage of farms have been abandoned because the black farmer either just doesn't have the ability to make a success (farm management isn't easy) or because of lack of education and support.
    There simply is no process of forethought by the government in deploying the restitution process. That's why it doesn't work. Even the farmlands the ANC officials have allocated to themselves – like that of parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, failed miserably; animal left dying, starving, disease ridden and farmhands not being paid for weeks – are being abandoned.

    So that is truth for you.

  2. Farntella Graham says:

    Black people have a different relationship with the land then do white people. everywhere on this earth where there are white people, the indigenous people have a different relationship with the land then do white people. this made it easier for the whites to stake a claim. many white people have land that they did not pay for but they want the indigenous people to pay THEM for THEIR land. all of this is beyond bizarre. .

  3. You mean to tell me, that black farmers(formerly farmhands) can't plant crops?
    I wonder how did we feed ourselves for thousands of years without, white folks???

  4. Zelda Hancke says:

    Korielle Hampton Did you try to read what I said or is your racist nature just ready to start telling ole whitey off? What I said is that if you planted crops as a farmhand – that doesn't automatically make you a manager. What you idiot on this page failed to comprehend is that the system here is failing the (black) people (under the black government) because there is no SUPPORT STRUCTURE to help the new land owners become successful.

    And YES of course people should be compensated for land that they purchased with their own hard earned money – even if it was taken from the original owners by somebody in the past.

    But you RACISTS on these pages understand nothing BUT that you have sole right on Africa AND being everywhere ELSE in the world as well.

    AND for your information – we are NOT talking about SUBSISTENCE FARMING but COMMERCIAL farming enterprises here – a big difference.

    Or maybe in your racist mind, the African in Africa should still be reduced to planting a little patch of land to feed only his family?

  5. Zelda Hancke says:

    You obviously don't know history well

  6. Zelda Hancke says:

    Farntella Graham And what do you base this absolutely idiotic piece of idiocy on? You are a racist, because you ascribe certain character traits on a person based on their skin colour.

    You don't know nothing. Why should white people and black people relate to land differently?

    Could you PLEASE PLEASE name and shame the white people that got land for free? Damn – here I am having paid for mine while you say whites got it for free! I missed out…

    NO you ignoramus; the government uses revenue gained from taxes paid by the citizens (from white people too) to purchase land back from whites and GIVE it to BLACK people. BLACKS are the ones getting land for FREE.

    Next time, speak on a topic you know something about, please.

  7. Farntella Graham says:

    Zelda Hancke you are correct when you say there is no structural support like the white settlers received from the south african and european governments.
    the south african government is suppose to be doing that for the indigenous farmers, too. africa is the home of BLACK people, just as europe is the home of white people. Black people have no claim to europe and white people have no claim to africa. how do you expect us to feel about you? nothing wrong with subsistence farming and self-sufficiency. people do not have to depend on you. with the excess grown, communities can sell to those who do not farm but do something else to sustain the community. I understand that in your mind, this is socialism, you cannot exploit and use people as is your custom. zelda, I want you tell me how I am suppose to feel about white people. based on the past and present interactions between our people.

  8. Farntella Graham says:

    Zelda Hancke you are the one doing the name calling. I cannot give you names and addresses of white usurpers of african land, what a ridiculous request. I'm sure, if you paid anything for your land, it was little or nothing, something that would never happen in your own country. you have no say about the land Black people receive in africa. this is not your business. go home to your own country and pay the tax there if you have a problem paying taxes to an african government. I know all I need to know about you and your people.

  9. If I'm a racist, I had to have learned it from Whitey…

  10. @Zeldahancke
    There is no justification for Apartheid…
    Just like there's no justification for slavery, or Jim crow, you bigot!!!

  11. The black south Africans are another, group that needs to be Compensated.. (yes I said it.. reparations!!!)
    it's time to charge the world bank, a fee…

  12. Errol Cooper says:

    Zelda Hancke So you think that part of the world was originally inhabited by people who looks like you? how is that genetically possible Ms. Superior race! what cave did your family originate from! the cave of heathens ? that's what the Bible describe you people as being! and history shows us your kind has always been savages!

  13. Errol Cooper says:

    Farntella Graham Yes we view it as a gift from God ,not to be own , but to be havrvested for food. These explores love to exploit everything they encounter. That's why they came here and started fencing off what they perceive as theirs???

  14. Errol Cooper says:

    Yo! Brother they aren't worth hating, we are a loving people! and you're right living with demons kind of rub you the wrong way! We feel your pain!

  15. Zelda Hancke says:

    Farntella Graham Say what???? Don't you even understand sarcasm when you see it? How the hell would you know what I paid for my land? I bought my land in 2004, 10 years after the black ANC party came into power. Before that, I was renting, like every body else.
    Could you explain to me please where is this country that is supposed to be the country where I am from? The one that I am supposed to go back to?
    I was born in South Africa and my family has been here for almost 300 years. We arrived here 700 years after the black tribes.
    Before that, this land used to be inhabited by the KhoiSan, of light yellowish-brown skin colour; a race now being marginalised by the black government.
    The Khoisan are the only original inhabitants of Southern Africa – their history (archaeologically proven) goes back 100,000 years. Yes – one hundred thousand. Not seven hundred.

  16. Zelda Hancke says:

    Errol Cooper I really have no idea what you are on about? What exactly did I say to make you think that I implied my race originated in Southern Africa? Again with the name calling. Shows you just who is the savage around here.

    Being a SOUTH AFRICAN myself, the country of my birth, I think I am better qualified to speak on what is happening in MY country than a bunch of black supremacists in the USA.

    I have supplied FACTS here, not my opinion. This IS the CURRENT SITUATION in the country. Not my opinion of it, not my 50cents worth. Unlike the rest of the commentators on this page, who are expressing their opinions.

    You don't even have the slightest inkling of what the issues are that South Africans (blacks) are fighting for in this country. They are not fighting about a little patch of land to erect a dwelling.

    It is about COMMERCIAL FARMLAND – which is used for the business of farming to feed the country. What South Africans (blacks) are complaining about, is that the government (which is a black ANC government) is not establishing black farmers fast enough. Instead, they are more interested in lining their own pockets, selling off state assets and pocketing millions personally.

    There is land available for sale – and much has been sold and GIVEN to black farmers; who voluntarily gave it up after a couple of years because they could NOT MAKE A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS.

    The other fight, for which there often are violent protests and in which black police from the black government have shot and killed a NUMBER of black protesters, is about FREE HOUSES; which the black government promised and ISN'T PROVIDING! The money is there – but the black politicians preferred to pocket the money themselves. Well, either that or they misappropriate the funds because they are incompetent for their jobs.

    What else can you expect in a country whose president didn't even finish 'elementary school'? There are no excuses for that. Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki before him, both had university degrees (that they studied for).

    This country, my country, is being run by a band of greedy, uneducated fools. That is all there is to it.

  17. Zelda Hancke says:

    The so-called mixed-race (coloured) people that this article refers to, are a mix of the (various) white European and Khoisan races. So they are our half-brothers. The Khoisan are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa. (100,000 years)

    They are also a minority group in South Africa, just like the white people and Indians. The predominantly black ANC regime marginalizes all minorities and discriminates against them. Jacob Zuma said in parliament that we (minorities) have lesser rights because we make up a small portion of the population. Therefore black people are entitled to almost everything.

    Which is really rather strange that you are putting this article here, as the article is not about black people. The article is about the descendants of the European colonists and the Khoisan, with whom they inter-married. They eventually became a race group of their own.

    The coloureds, as they call themselves, are fighting the black government because they fail to hear their pleas for restitution – as the government regularly treats them as outsiders; setting ultimatums.

    The sad truth is, that the people the article refers to, are simply not black enough to deserve restitution in the eyes of our black government., Eat that Errol Cooper!

  18. Errol Cooper says:

    Zelda Hancke Probably knows it well enough to know that you aren't the original inhabitants of that land just as must as the rest of the world knows!

  19. Errol Cooper says:

    Zelda Hancke Probably knows it well enough to know that you aren't the original inhabitants of that land just as must as the rest of the world knows!

  20. Errol Cooper says:

    well if these so-called coloureds as you refer to them, agrred with that racist regime that proceeded the ANC then, they should leave by the same trail in which their raist fore fathers came !!

  21. Errol Cooper says:

    well if these so-called coloureds as you refer to them, agrred with that racist regime that proceeded the ANC then, they should leave by the same trail in which their raist fore fathers came !!

  22. Zelda Hancke says:

    Errol Cooper You obviously know nothing about South African history; just like most 'Afrkan' Americans on this website know nothing about South Africa OR the rest of Africa, for that matter.
    So you would deny justice to people who were dispossessed of their land, based on what? I said whites and Khoisan inter-married or had sexual relations. This happened many years ago – starting in 1652 when a Dutch man called Jan van Riebeeck landed here to establish a port of call for ships passing from Europe to Asia – to supply fresh vegetables and meat. His wife died at sea and he took a Khoisan woman for a wife.
    I did not say the coloureds agreed with the (recent) apartheid government. They were marginalized then as they are now.
    .
    My point is that today's black government is just as racist, just as oppressive as the previous government was. No better, in fact they are a lot worse. Like many African despots, they steal and enrich themselves, while their countrymen (yes black people too) live in utter poverty.

  23. Zelda Hancke says:

    Jacob Zuma, biggest joke of a president, has managed (through his ANC connections) to escape standing trial on 783 counts of racketeering, corruption and fraud; to overthrow Thabo Mbeki's in 2008 – in a bloodless coup.
    Many South Africans did not realize it then, but it was a coup. Mbeki wanted Zuma prosecuted; but Zuma, through his criminal connections and brothers in the ANC became head of the party in 2008 and had his eyes on the presidency.
    Mbeki was given the ultimatum – vacate the presidential chair or you will be murdered. The Rev. Frank Chikane (ANC activist) revealed in a book recently published, how Mbeki was threatened -to vacate the presidential home or be stabbed to death..
    So this Zuma, being hailed here for the 'reform' he has introduced in opening land claims again – has no such aspirations do ACTUALLY let any of that take place. Instead he has built himself a private 'Afrikan' palace with R240million + of TAXPAYERS money. He lives in the lap of luxury while the citizens of this country have no water, no services..
    For this amount, he could have built 7000 free houses for the people who live in squatter camps; in utter filth, amongst their own excrement and rubbish. Not out of choice, but because the BLACK ANC GOVERNMENT DUMPED THEM THERE! Yes, they were chased off their land and dumped on wetlands by a black government.
    Read about it here:
    http://mg.co.za/article/2013-11-14-a-perpetual-life-of-mud-shit-and-fire.
    This was done so the black ANC officials could make money in shady deals out of the 2010 world cup..
    So please tell me how 'Afrikans' are the superior race!
    I can go on and on about how billions are being stolen, misappropriated. Scandal after scandal rocks our country. Almost every one of them a black face guilty of fraud, falsifying qualifications and ending up in top jobs (because they are connected) – and the more we (all South Africans of all races) scream injustice! The more they perpetuate their crimes..
    Well, that is just Africa for you… That is just part of African culture, that's all..
    So it doesn't surprise me at all that people on this website think nothing of reinventing history and being so blatantly racist. It is a very Afrikan thing to do! Truth and honesty don't matter… not in Africa.

  24. Zelda Hancke says:

    Errol Cooper What does 'original' mean? You are not an 'original' inhabitant of N. America so you need to move out there, right now! Stop fighting for your rights there! You have NO right in America. You don't belong there! You are a settler, unwanted. Living on stolen land… You deserve nothing on American soil. Go back to Africa, where you belong. (That's according to your theory)
    You SHOULD be oppressed and disregarded there. Get out! You are but a worm there!

  25. We dont count those marriages, because that poor woman was a slave…
    That man was a perverted and a rapis…
    not to mention, D.N.A analysis has confirmed that Europeans came to south Africa much later… YOU HAVE NO CLAIM TO AFRICA!!!
    And you don't know your history

  26. Zelda hancke..
    you need a history lesson. .
    dna proved that to be false… your people got to Africa MUCH later..

  27. Zelda Hancke says:

    Korielle Hampton Huh? what you on about? We have exact dates for when Europeans first came to settle here. I don't know how DNA is supposed to 'know' when we settled in Africa. We even have buildings (now museums – if you know what a museum is…) with dates on them as well as countless artfefacts.
    .
    But UNLIKE the Sub-Saharan African; my European ancestors actually had a WRITTEN language way back in 1652 when the first Europeans settled here for good. by HERE I mean SOUTH AFRICA. My own family arrived in 1678 from Antwerp in Belgium.
    .
    Prior to that, the family had to flee France as part of the Catholic Church's purge of Protestants. My family name is written on a plaque at the French Huguenot's museum in Franschhoek, South Africa – together with the dates of arrival.
    .
    Uhm so, NO I don't need a history lesson.

  28. Zelda Hancke says:

    Korielle Hampton Huh? what you on about? We have exact dates for when Europeans first came to settle here. I don't know how DNA is supposed to 'know' when we settled in Africa. We even have buildings (now museums – if you know what a museum is…) with dates on them as well as countless artfefacts.
    .
    But UNLIKE the Sub-Saharan African; my European ancestors actually had a WRITTEN language way back in 1652 when the first Europeans settled here for good. by HERE I mean SOUTH AFRICA. My own family arrived in 1678 from Antwerp in Belgium.
    .
    Prior to that, the family had to flee France as part of the Catholic Church's purge of Protestants. My family name is written on a plaque at the French Huguenot's museum in Franschhoek, South Africa – together with the dates of arrival.
    .
    Uhm so, NO I don't need a history lesson.

  29. Zelda Hancke says:

    Korielle Hampton On the other hand, it is common knowledge and an extremely well documented fact, that the KhoiSan (previously known as the bushmen) have been the sole inhabitants of Southern Africa for the past 100,000 years.
    Artifacts as well as DNA testing has proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
    .
    Khoisan are very yellow-skinned and DISTINCTLY different from black people like yourself; as well as the black people who now claim they have the sole rights to South Africa. These black people are marginalizing and oppressing the Khoisan descendants; not treating them as 'equals' as they are not black enough.
    .
    Yet the dark skinned African has been in Southern Africa only for the past 1000 years; a mere 700 years longer than the Europeans..
    .
    THIS POST about land restitution is the plight of Khoisan people's descendants – of whom some are still pure Khoisan and some have intermarried or had interracial relations, to produce a unique race of people who are referred to as COLOUREDS in South Africa.
    .
    And even if they are of mixed race, half of their ancestry dates back 100,000 years

  30. Zelda Hancke says:

    So, Korielle Hampton , maybe if you weren't self schooled in the school of hard knocks and by the university of life; you would be more informed and would GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!

  31. Zelda Hancke says:

    Korielle Hampton That woman was no slave. How DARE you dismiss ANY of my countrymen and their offspring as WORTHLESS because of whom they were born of? Any child born in MY country has a RIGHT to live here!
    .
    And really – with regards to DNA – go read my answer above. We have the exact dates because 'we' could read and write and worked with calendars…. way back in 1652… Not like the black man in Southern Africa who didn't even have a written language…. By the way; you understand DNA wrong my friend… it isn't carbon-dating or any other dating method. I am afraid misquoted here…

  32. Zelda Hancke says:

    Korielle Hampton I REALLY think you should vacate the LAND that BELONGS to the CHINOOK! Go away you settlers! Go home! You live on stolen land! Shame on you!

  33. Zelda Hancke says:

    Well said…. You have just admitted that just about everything you know, you have learnt from Whitey. At least you admitted that. Big of you.

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