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“We need a new way to look at the future.” Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is not your populist demanding the return of stolen land. Readers of his book Land Matters are treated like a jury as the advocate builds up his compelling case stretching from the days of Jan van Riebeek, colonialism, the 1875 Berlin Congress and apartheid right up to decades of the ANC floundering on the matter.

His case for the enormity of the injustice is all the stronger for the absence of populist rhetoric. He lets the facts, as well as the perpetrators, speak for themselves. In 1952 the German government, in terms of the Luxembourg Protocols, agreed to pay reparations for the persecution of the Jews. Reparations were also paid by Austria and some of the big German corporations. In 1973 the UN declared apartheid a “crime against humanity”. While acknowledging that apartheid was not the same as the Holocaust, Ngcukaitobi observes: “The restoration of land must therefore be understood as an impera...

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