JOHANNESBURG18°CDURBAN17°CCAPE TOWN16°C
13 Dec, 2018

Tsheola Mapalakanye

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10min930

The land issue, as it is commonly referred to, is one of the most emotive topics South Africa is yet to resolve. In a bid to be consistent with the values of democracy, parliament has facilitated a process of public participation to address the issue. Of the over 700 000 written submissions, that of AfriForum was the most polarizing.

It came at a time when US president Donald Trump echoed the lie that white farmers are facing genocide at the hands of the black majority in South Africa. That narrative predates Trump’s Tweet in American white supremacist circles.  In 2012, the ADL Centre on Extremism reported that neo-Nazi and racist skinhead movements were preparing to protest against “genocide of whites in South Africa.”

AfriForum has a similar stance on what they term “farm murders” which when quantified, accounted for 74 of the 20366 murders reported by the SAPS from 1 April 2016 to 1 March 2017. The term “genocide” is an unnecessary hyperbole.

The written submission by Afriforum was a plethora of mistruths and lacked substantive solutions and suggestions. Afriforum isolated three methods through which white settlers acquired land. These modes were the settlement on unoccupied land, purchases from tribal leaders and conquest. In addition, they claim that conquest was the least significant of these modes of acquisition. Although they claim they sympathise with the plight of the landless African majority, they suggest land reform should be conducted in a “historically accurate” manner. We are yet to be enlightened on what the litmus test for the historical accuracy is.

Farm lobbying group, Agri SA states that 73.3% off agricultural land in SA is white owned. In 1994, government and “previously disadvantaged” individuals owned 14.9% of agricultural land and 26.7% in 2016. Government ownership of land accounts for 29.1% of the land value and 46.5% of the production value. This is disproportionate using any measure, even in the absence of a comprehensive land audit. In the same breath, it is short-sighted to place all our focus on agricultural land. Only 12% of the country’s land is suitable to cultivate rain-fed crops. The primary agricultural sector contributes 2% of GDP. The idea that food security will be compromised as a result of land expropriation is absurd.

South African farmers are dwarfed by Chinese farmers who, due to stable water sources, are able to “double crop.” This technique allows for rice to be cultivated in June/July and a less productive crop in October/November using the same size of land. Agriculture and geography will help debunk the first myth that whites occupied unoccupied land.

The nomadic lifestyle of precolonial South Africa was not a function of underdevelopment but rather, a function of Africa’s geography. Africa is three times the size of Europe so it is reasonable to assume that there are vast vacant areas. Africa is a large landmass and deserts like the Sahara and Kahari form easily inland 30 degrees from the equator. Rainforests form on the equator while savannas form between the rainforests and savannas.

Rainfall is unpredictable. Savannas starve when there is little rainfall while the soil in rainforests gets eroded when there are heavy rains. These dynamics make agriculture extremely challenging in Africa. Large static and urbanised communities can only be sustained by large-scale farming. There were exceptions to the nomadic societies. Great Zimbabwe and Kilwa Kisiwani are such exceptions. Since the border between Zimbabwe and SA is artificial, we can use the story of Cecil John Rhodes to debunk the second myth that land was acquired legally through sales.

Rhodes left his brother’s cotton plantation to join the diamond rush in Kimberly.  The Rudd Concession was used to obtain the Royal Charter but it also granted De Beers exclusive mining rights in Lobengulo’s territory which would be restricted to 10 mines. This was in exchange for protection from Boer settlers.

Armed with maxim guns, he hired 1400 mercenaries, each promised 6000 acres of land and 16 claims to mine gold Rhodes killed 3000 of Lobengula’s warriors. As President of the British South Africa Company (BSAC), Rhodes managed to obtain a Royal Charter from the United Kingdom. The Royal Charter was granted under the guise that Rhodes would control parts of Mashonaland and Matebeleland that were “not in use” by the native Africans. The Royal Charter gave BSAC to establish a police force, create financial institutions and fly its own flag.

By 1895, BSAC had imposed a hut tax, native reservations and introduced passes to restrict the movements of the African majority. By 1914, the African majority (97% of the population) occupied 23% of the non-productive land. As Prime Minister of the British Cape Colony, he oversaw the implementation of the Glen Grey Act which sought to further dispossess blacks. This act ensured that blacks were not allowed to sell land without the consent of the governor and were barred from subletting land. To ensure that landlessness was a generational phenomenon for blacks, the act also stated that blacks were not allowed to give land as an inheritance to more than one heir.

Due to their insatiable hunger for African land and minerals, the Boers in the Transvaal and Rhodesians had a bloody war. The first concentration camps were as a result of this war. The rationale for Rhodes’ aggression towards the Boers was simple. The revenues from gold would make the Boers a threat. If they were to join forces with German colonists in the west (Namibia) they would disturb his grand plans to move north and ultimately colonize the entire African continent.

Afriforum needs to enlighten us on how such contracts could have been legally binding if Lobengula and many other African leaders did not have contractual capacity to enter such contracts as they did not understand the language these contracts were written in.

Conquest was the most barbaric tool used to attain land. The legal steps taken to dispossess Africans were equally unjust and the most effective because the status quo remains. Populist politicians would have us believe that land ownership equals prosperity.

This may very well be the case in a situation where blacks are backyard dwellers and townships are densely populated. “I prefer land to niggers” is a quote by Rhodes that would sum up Afriforum’s stance to land reform.


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9min1620

Marriage is a milestone that most of us would love to reach at some point in our adult lives. The emancipation of women in most spheres of society has put the archaic gender roles in focus and as a consequence, the relevance and purpose of marriage as an institution has to be examined.

In order to do so, one needs to view the evolution of marriage through various historic and economic epochs. These economic ages played a role in morphing marriage into what we know it to be today.  Central to this exercise are the modern woman’s motivations to get married and sustain a marriage. I have decided to solicit the help of basic psychology and the recent marriage and divorce statistics to do just that.

“Marriage for the pursuit of love is a fairly new concept that gained traction in the 1500s…”

The most recent marriage and divorce statistics released by Statistics South Africa reveal that the rate of divorce has increased by almost 5% from 2012 to 2017. It is reported that 51.1% of the divorce proceedings were initiated by wives while 34.2% were initiated by husbands.

Many may argue that this statistic may be a reflection of the inability of modern South African woman to endure the challenges of marriage as women of bygone times have. As the microwave generation, instant gratification may be hard wired into our collective psyche. It is therefore not surprising that most divorces occur between five and nine years of marriage. The question of what may have hampered our ability to bekezela has piqued my interest from the rime of the release of the marriage and divorce statistics.

The court endorses three main reasons for the dissolution a marriage. These are an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, mental illness and the continuous unconsciousness of a spouse. Financial difficulty is a major driver of divorce as well. Couples who are not economically active account for a quarter of the divorces registered. Marriage for the pursuit of love is a fairly new concept that gained traction in the 1500s.

Initially, marriage was an institution reserved for the wealthy who wished to form economic and political alliances. With the end of feudalism and the effects of the renaissance, marriage was for lack of a better word; expropriated for the enjoyment of the ordinary man. For most of recorded human history, marriage was meant to serve the purposes of reproduction and economic survival.

The legal doctrine of coverture ensured that wives were reduced to the legal status of a minor. They had no authority over their own property and could not exist as independent legal entities. Wives were not permitted to enter legal contracts, draft wills or exercise control over their own wages. The underlying assumption was that man and wife were one being: the husband. Due to the subordinate status of the wife, her consent wasn’t required in the execution of any financial decisions. In light of such an oppressive system, marriage was by far the most critical financial transaction a woman could possibly undertake.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a basic psychological tool you may have come across in a life orientation class.  It is represented by a pyramid that houses five needs in order from the most primitive to the more complex needs that differentiate us from animals. The two lowest levels house basic physiological and safety needs. The middle tiers relate to psychological needs such as love, esteem and a sense of belonging. The need to self actualize is at the apex of the pyramid. Self actualisation is the need related to personal growth and the fulfilment of the purpose of one’s life. As is the case with any decent video game, one cannot proceed to address a higher need without satisfying the most basic needs.

Abraham Maslow’s. It is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review.

 

The gradual liberation of women has rendered marriage obsolete as a tool for women’s economic survival. The average age for women to get married has increased from 30 years in 2012 to 32 years in 2016. This is mainly due to the women pursuing tertiary education and choosing to climb the proverbial corporate ladder.

As women are increasingly able to satisfy their basic physiological needs in the absence of marriage, their motivations to marry and remain married elevate from the most primitive to more complex.  It is intellectually lazy to assume that character deficiencies lead to a higher number of women initiating divorce. Women increasingly initiate divorce in modern times because their needs are more complex than they were before.

Women who opt for divorce want out of the union more badly than they want to benefit financially from marriage. If the predictions of a fourth industrial revolution in our lifetime are true, marriage may increasingly be used as a tool of self-actualize and not so much as a tool to satisfy our most primitive needs.



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