And chief

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Re­sent­ment about this has been brew­ing for years. Maskanda mu­sic leg­end Phuzekhemisi cap­tured this col­lec­tive ire of ru­ral folk in his 1992 hit Im­bizo. In it he ques­tions why tra­di­tional lead­ers are forc­ing peo­ple to pay an­nual tribal levies.

The hear­ings also pro­vided in­sight into how izinyanga, san­go­mas and herbal­ists, who rely on plants to cure peo­ple, are affected. Stud­ies have shown that the ma­jor­ity of black South Africans rely on tra­di­tional medicine.

San­goma Fik­ile Kunene said she sup­ports ex­pro­pri­a­tion and hopes it will help to re­solve the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by many of her col­leagues who want ac­cess to sa­cred sites, which are on pri­vately owned land. Own­ing land would also af­ford tra­di­tional heal­ers the op­por­tu­nity to grow the plants, she said.

The hear­ings are also serv­ing as a barom­e­ter for po­lit­i­cal par­ties to gauge their sup­port. The Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF), which ap­pears to have done more ground­work than the other par­ties to pre­pare its sup­port­ers for the hear­ings, res­onated with many of those who at­tended, with both young and old pledg­ing their loy­alty to party leader Julius Malema, who is a mem­ber of the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee. Some of the elders be­came emo­tional, telling the com­mit­tee they never thought they would ever get to see Malema in the flesh.

Congress of the Peo­ple leader Mo­siuoa Lekota, who clashed with Malema in Lim­popo last week, has had a tor­rid time, and many peo­ple have ac­cused him of sell­ing out his prin­ci­ples and black peo­ple by join­ing ranks with white-aligned po­lit­i­cal par­ties and farm­ers’ or­gan­i­sa­tions that op­pose ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

The ANC, which didn’t have much of a pres­ence in the Lim­popo leg of the hear­ings, en­joyed huge sup­port in Mpumalanga.

The Demo­cratic Al­liance also had a pres­ence among black youths, who ap­peared to be more in­ter­ested in the free blue T-shirts and the party’s spon­sored meals at lunchtime than in the de­lib­er­a­tions.

But if the sen­ti­ments ex­pressed dur­ing the hear­ings are any­thing to go by, it ap­pears the EFF and Malema, who was even com­pared with the bib­li­cal leader Moses by one speaker, have won the hearts of many land-hun­gry black peo­ple, who hope they can de­liver on the prom­ise of restor­ing land to them. — Muku­rukuru Me­dia

Pylon as tomb­stone: Mthakathi Simon Makhanya (right) vis­its the gravesite of his father, Lang­wane Jand­luma Makhanya, on what used to be the fam­ily farm where cat­tle and goats would graze freely. In 1954, gov­ern­ment bull­doz­ers moved in and the Makhanya fam­ily was dumped ‘in the bush’ more than 50km away.

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