XOLISA PHILLIP: Land occupation defies a broken system
‘Ukundlova’ — the search for vacant land — predates the EFF and will probably be around for a long time
Visit any black area in the Eastern Cape and you will find a section called eNdlovini. This has a double meaning: the first literal translation is "at the elephant/place of the elephant". The second meaning is more nuanced and slightly loaded: "the place at which we charged in and settled". The Xhosa word for elephant is "indlovu", so eNdlovini invokes — at least for mother-tongue speakers — a powerful image of resistance. The second meaning also denotes a unified force, while it also connotes defiance against the establishment. Although the latter definition is a loose translation, it speaks to a phenomenon that has been prevalent throughout the Eastern Cape: "ukundlova". Ukundlova is the act of identifying a vacant piece of land on which to settle. Thereafter, a list of names is drawn up from backyard dwellers, new arrivals in the city and young adults looking to leave home. Once that is done, residents come together to partition the vacant land, so those in need of space are appo...