HUMAN Rights Day is celebrated annually on March 21 to commemorate those who lost their lives while standing against discrimination.
It also raises awareness of the importance and protection of human rights.
The South African Bill of Rights, contained in Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution, is a cornerstone of our democracy. It enshrines the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. These include the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to restitution of property.
Section 25(6) of the Constitution stipulates that a person or community whose tenure of land was legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an act of Parliament, either to tenure which is legally secure, or comparable redress.
The Fynn Descendants Association (FDA) was established by the late anti-apartheid activist and eThekwini living legend Morris Fynn in 1995. Fynn’s vision, which the FDA embraces, was to return to the Fynns their birthright and rich heritage as children of the soil and a true part of the KwaZulu-Natal legacy.
The Fynns have a strong link to enkosi enkulu uShaka kaSenzangakhona, kaJama, uZulu who awarded us a chieftainship in the Umzumbe area, where he visited the Fynn Kraal. Fynn Chief Colin lies buried in Nyangwini and Chief Duka in Port Shepstone.
The Fynn birthright, held in trust for the Fynns by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, includes Lot No.8, Location 15848, held in trust for Duka Fynn and his family; Lot No.9, Location 15849, held in trust for Charles Fynn and his family; and Lot 10, Location 158450, held in trust for Thomas Fynn and his family. However, despite the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform being in possession of the original Deed of Grant G4668/1875 with supporting surveyor general diagrams with reference number: KN 8/5/8/1/160-162, these Lots have never been returned to the Fynn families or the FDA.
Instead, there has been a systematic dispossession through land invasions, burning fields, housebreaking and murder as reported in an article originally published in the Mercury on May 5, 2008.
A heartbreaking effect of this dispossession is that 75% of Wentworth, Newlands East and Sydenham is made up of Fynn relatives who are marginalised, disenfranchised and subject to inhumane socio-economic conditions categorised by gangsterism and drug abuse.
Our Freedom Charter proclaims that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. However, many of our people had been robbed of their birthright of land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality.
Our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, and enjoy equal rights and opportunities without restrictions on land ownership based on racial discrimination.
The High-Level Panel on Land Reform, chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, agrees that there is a fundamental correlation between vulnerable forms of tenure and the geography of spatial inequality and poverty that remained entrenched
Chapter 6 of our National Development Plan 2030, which is championed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, articulates the need to combat the marginalisation of rural communities.
At the same time, KZN land reform conveners Mike Mabuyakhulu and Sihle Zikalala have stated that informal settlements springing up in urban areas show the dire need for land reform and called for the land reform process to be pro-poor.
As champions against dispossession and discrimination, Morris Fynn and the FDA also espouse the values contained in article 13 of Freedom Charter and articulated by OR Tambo, Chapter 15 of National Development Plan 2030 and the Preamble of the SA Constitution.
These are values of peace and friendship, a spirit of social cohesion, nation building, transformation and being a voice against all forms of discriminatory practices.
Let March 21 be not only the day we commemorate a tragedy, but also the day we celebrate our humanity.
Let us focus on compassion, respect, love, dignity and equality. And let us remember what it is to be truly human, and to treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves.