No. 10 Downing Street Owes Reparations To Blacks, Not Tea

2016-01-25 06:58

Number 10 Downing Street Owes Blacks Reparations, Not Tea

On Monday, at Number 10, the secret service will prime face recognition security software to enable entry to South African heroes through the globally famous front door located in London, Downing Street.

The door that saw significant public relations “photo ops” aimed at keeping the apartheid system accepted and excused. From the time of Jan Smuts to P.W. Botha; from various Number 10 occupants, Prime Minister James Callaghan to John Major; the address was a significant place for Black lives in Africa and South Africa in particular.

The occupant of Number 10 between ‘1979 to 1990’, Margaret Thatcher, is the most colourful in apartheid’s recent memory due to her iron fist, which resembled that of her South African counterparts, B.J. Voster and P.W. Botha. Voster took office as South Africa’s Prime Minister from ‘1966 to 1978’, and President from ‘1978 to 1979’.

Today, these apartheid masters will be turning in their graves as their evil spirits feel the grounds of Number 10 shake when current occupant welcomes Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Dennis Goldberg with their Rivonia treason trial lawyers George Bizos and Joel Joffe.

What makes the visit even more significant is the make up of the three former prisoners, an African, a White and an Indian; South Africans who united beyond race to tackle the question of race relations which continue to bedevil South Africa. United under the ANC, which remains the beacon of genuine non-racialism, there could be no better photo image to hold up high during this time.

ANC leaders before these invited three, before apartheid, risked rough seas travelling to London to protest for land and against the Land Act 27 of 1913 in particular.

In 1913, ANC leader Solomon Plaatje wrote in his book ‘Native Life of South Africa’“Awaking in Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.”

The Minister of Land then had gone to parliament to complain that the natives were buying a lot of land and traditional leaders were allocating land to native families, thus the native was focussed on farming for themselves and no longer available as labour for white farmers. The Minister referred to natives as “squatters” who were doing their own farming.

A member of Parliament, J van der Walt in 1913, in parliament alleged that natives were "buying land via ill-gotten gains of cattle theft".

At the Senate House of Assembly, a Senator said; “The natives had encroached on the preserves of the White man. They were enabled to do so by the wages they were paid on the mines.” Needless to say this statement caused not only for the Land Act to be passed but also for wages to be brought even lower in the mines.

ANC, President Langalibalele Dube and Secretary General Solomon Plaatje led a delegation, which visited London to protest against the Land Act No 27 in 1913. Here we are. There were numerous other visits by the ANC to Number 10 after that including the young Thabo Mbeki in 1960 who knocked at the door to hand over our demands.

As we honour Dube, Plaatje et al, who will be sure smiling in their graves as their successors get honoured in London today, the next delegation to travel to Number 10 will be the one that demands to be honoured as it will carry with it a set of demands, demands for reparations over colonial and apartheid debt London owes African people. African people are owed colonial and apartheid reparations and shall make a case against Her Majesty’s government to pay. These are due and very payable and London can afford to pay.

Apartheid reparations will also be made due and payable by Whites in South Africa in a form of apartheid tax for pain, loss and trauma. The South African Constitution did not make these reparations un-payable.

As our great stalwarts down tea in Downing Street, they will be best advised to tell Mr Cameron Africans are coming to collect what is due.

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