Land ownership is about our heritage, not just a braai day
SEPTEMBER 24 is celebrated each year as Heritage Day. The central discourse around the day is our shared culture, diversity and traditions in context of a nation that belongs to all. However can we celebrate our heritage without land?
The land question is actually not about land. It is more about symbolism, hist- ory and inequality. Land is our identity. It enables us to belong, to express our culture and to produce bread.
The land is what connects us and it is worth fighting for because it the only thing we can leave our descendants.
Until it is returned, our heritage will continue to be reduced to a braai day. The illusion that our heritage is to wear “traditional gear”, dance, sing and braai is absurd.
Most, if not all, black South Africans feel justifiably strongly about the great injustice done to them and their ancestors by the descendants of the white arrivals of centuries ago by taking most of the land for themselves, a situation that hasn’t changed post apartheid rule. But the solution cannot be as simplistic as handing all the land to government to dish out to black citizens.
The very nature of land ownership, at least of agricultural land, has changed fundamentally over the decades. Agricultural land has shifted from being about identity to being more of a business commodity, a means to create wealth, job and food security. So as we discuss the land issue, we ought to come up with ideas of how we will best utilise it once it’s returned. That’s the heritage worth leaving for our descendants. Tshepo Diale