No comments yet

The Burning Land Question: Are we ready for it?

Land expropriation without compensation has been a sizzling topic for a long time now and everyone has their own opinion on the matter. While many agree that the land should be returned to its rightful owners, others feel that proceeding with this process will lead to an epic failure; making references to failed states that have tried to follow the land expropriation path.

Political parties like the African National Congress (ANC), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Black First Land First (BLF) have passionately expressed what they feel and like the majority of people, they believe that the land should be returned to its rightful owners (which are the black people of South Africa) and that there should be economic transformation that will benefit the black majority. I fully concur with this point of view but the question is: are WE ready?

I think that we are. We have been working in farms for decades, even in farms that were taken away from us during colonial times. I have seen some articles about black farmers who own plots of land and are making good use of them. I have also seen posts that are usually shared on various social media platforms about black farmers and the fresh produce they sell. These kind of articles and posts dispute the false notion that black people can’t farm and that should the land be returned it will lead to farms being deserted and food production running short.

Although it is understandable that not everyone wants to be a farmer, the government should make it a mission to ensure that black people are ready to reclaim their land by encouraging the participation of individuals in the agribusiness sector and to also provide training & necessary farming equipment to aspiring black farmers.

I feel that reclaiming the land will lead to economic transformation. Having our land back will restore a sense of confidence in us as black indigenous people. It will make us believe that we can also compete with the big ‘white businesses’ in the country’s economy. I see a lot of potential in our black communities.

The reason why I love writing for the business section in this publication is learning about all the black businesses out there and exposing them to a particular audience. Learning about how they started makes me shout, ‘black child it’s possible!’ we can do it. Seeing someone turning a passion to a business is honestly one of the best things to learn about.

What I have observed though is how we as black people tend to underestimate ourselves despite the amount of potential we possess. We would rather have a 9-5 job working for someone else than pursue a business opportunity. Now I understand that not all of us can be entrepreneurs but what is stopping you from starting a business that you are passionate about?

I have been following Dr Khulani Sikhosana who recently published his book, “Ubuntu Economy”. I have had the opportunity to interview him for one of the business section articles and must say that he is the best inspiration for us. His book is the perfect economic program for black society.

We are able, no doubt, but we still need to fix some things. For us to be successful in transforming the economy we need to know and respect ourselves as black people. We need to be united but unfortunately we lack unity. It is embarrassing to know that we still have South Africans who refer to other Africans as ‘foreigners’. Why do we keep on having xenophobic incidents every year?

It is revolting to see how poorly we are treating our fellow African sisters and brothers who come from other countries. While the rest of the continent is welcoming towards other Africans, we are the total opposite. Not respecting a person with the same skin as ours means that we do not respect ourselves.

We are not supporting our own. We glorify foreign brands and mock local entrepreneurs. Recently a guy named Tshepo shared a post about his business of jeans, a proud local and black owned product. Instead of supporting him, many made a mockery of the jeans and complained of the design which has Tshepho’s name written on it. The saddest part is that the same people who complained about ‘having another man’s name on my clothes’ are the same people who will proudly wear Tommy Hilfiger and Gianni Versace. So what exactly is wrong with Tshepo, or does it lack the ‘whiteness’ that makes it a good quality brand?

For us to be ready for the Land and Economic Transformation, it means that we should start loving, supporting and protecting our own.

~ Thabile Shange

Post a comment