The message that goes out from the ANCYL and thus indirectly from the ANC is that all land was stolen from all blacks by all whites. Not only Julius Malema makes these statements but many others who support him, so this is a serious issue which require serious clarity.
Let’s look at one small example. In 1834 the king of the Pondos, King Faku, gave land between the Mbashe and Mkomazi rivers to the Dutch settlers on the condition that they go and live there. He wanted them as a buffer between him and Dingaan who constantly stole his cattle and tried to chase him off his land. It is one example of some land that some whites legally acquired from some blacks. This stretch of land, and the farms on it today, certainly wasn’t stolen.
Our history is littered with such barters and gifts, where land was traded for cattle or in many cases given as a reward for returning stolen cattle from a neighbouring tribe.
The question is whether the land was Faku’s to give in the first place. He, or his predecessor, undoubtedly took it by force from another hapless tribe. Stealing, you may call it. Of course Dingaan also tried to get his hands on it.
He, and particularly Shaka before him, “stole” massive pieces of land; in fact they chased the Matabele people off their land, all the way to Zimbabwe where they still live. The Matabele may argue that a large part of South Africa rightfully belongs to them and that the current black inhabitants should depart.
Needless to say that, even before the black tribes started “stealing” land from each other, the San people lived here. They have the strongest claim of all.
To add a twist, by studying old documents and reading old diaries, you discover that vast areas of land were uninhabited when the Dutch arrived, basically no-man’s land. These areas got occupied and vacated almost at random, as a result of regional wars (or exterminations by other tribes) that took place from time to time. The only difference between the Dutch who settled there and the previous occupants, who were gone, was that the Dutch were able to defend their positions and were not driven away.
I’m not sure how to bring this letter to the attention of Mr Malema and those who think like him. It is a very serious issue since the disregard of treaties, no matter how old, tends to de-stabilise whole regions.
We need clarity about the grounds on which his claims are based. If Mr Malema is not interested in historic fact or the treaties that his forefathers entered into, if he simply wants to seize land belonging to whites, he is of course planning to steal it.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.