The emotional pain and the financial cost of historical land dispossession are enormous. For millions of people the loss of their land and homes is embedded in family memory and identity. The financial consequence was to condemn them to generations of poverty. The importance of redress and restitution have to be the starting point of any discussion on land. Land reform must take place for reasons of fairness and for the pragmatic reason that it is an essential part of building a sustainable future. The social environment in which we live — 50% of the population live below the poverty line — is not sustainable. It is especially not sustainable when those people are almost without exception black and African; whose forebears were dispossessed through colonial conquest. This is what the land reform discussion should have been about. It should have been an opportunity for black people to voice their anger and pain; and for white people and the society as a whole, to be brought to a real...

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