LETTER: Land goes with dignity

2016-11-17 06:01

The Black Squatter Camp Revolution is like any other social issue facing Blacks in South Africa daily.

Suffice it to say that the Black experience in this country is one plagued by poverty, unemployment, crime, lack of education or skills and homelessness.

Black people who identify with any of the above mentioned social vices often thinks that its a making of their own, or their fault; that they are lazy and didn’t work hard enough, and should shoulder the blame for their woes.

The results of such thinking removes any culpability on the part of white people and their ill-gotten privileges.

Black Consciousness stalwart, Ntate Strini Moodley speaks of two kinds of psychological effects engendered by structural oppression: a mea culpa syndrome and tua culpa syndrome exhibited both by the oppressed and oppressors, respectively.

The former is an acknowledgement of blame and fault, the self-crucifying and self-beating by the oppressed in the belief of failure not as a result of structural challenges but their own faults.

While the latter is even more devastating, its an arrogant insult and belief by oppressors that the oppressed are lazy, live off by looking out for handouts from government and should realize that nothing comes easy in life.

Needless to say that these two syndromes finds full expression within the South African Black/White experience respectively, where we have a meritocratic rubric of DA and white civil society that keeps out Blacks from institutions of power and influence and projects Black people as uneducated people who are forever complaining about everything.

Applying the above logic within the South African housing crisis, and the predominant liberal narrative that the state builds houses for Black people, who in turn, either sell or rent out those houses, only to return to shacks, so its their fault and not government or White peole.

The problem with this liberal discourse is that it doesn’t contextualize this “selling of houses” and forgets that the problem of informal settlements has been a national crisis bedeviling government for a very long time.

Informal dwellings are a direct creation of apartheid spatial planning and designs.

However, the overarching politic stance here is to politicize and contextualize the Black Shack revolution as an inevitable result of land dispossession of Black people in South Afrika.

Viewed in this light, even those Blacks who received RDP houses but have not sold or rented them are simply delaying the inevitable.

In the context of land dispossession, Black’s shall forever remain hobos, because they don’t have their land which is a basic need for survival.

Frantz Fanon states that “for a colonized people, the most essential value is Land, which will give them bread and shelter, but above all dignity”.

Government and liberals should approach the national housing question by addressing and resolving the historical question of land dispossession, which is interwoven with any other national issue Blacks have experienced in the country.

The ANC must do as it is mandated by history and repossess the land of our forebears so that we may break structural relations.

Resolving the land question means resolving education, health and housing etc.

People with land will have access to economic emancipation and can therefore access better housing opportunities themselves and don’t need the government with its poor services dubbed as “hand-outs” by some and let be warned that any deferral of addressing the Land question quickly will also defer addressing secondary questions that arises from the initial question, the Land question. #iZwelethu

Mandisi Gladile via email

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