Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

For some of us land has long been the subject of discussion and now it has opened debate among people who sit comfortably in their houses and offices and don’t care about the life of the poor man in the street. Now that the debate threatens the property rights on which the market economy rests, they have woken up, but what is evident is that for some, it is an expression of black anger at the survival of pre-1994 inequalities.

The reason the land debate generates such heat is that for black South Africans land is a symbol of far more than an expanse of soil. For most people it has nothing to do with agriculture. White South Africans should try to understand that it is about much more than just reorganising ownership patterns.

It is also about history and inequality and even, among some, a need to have the white minority "put in its place" to make them feel the pain the majority has felt for so long.

Historically, the demand by blacks for the return of the land meant the return of the country to its people, which is why it was directed not only at ownership of farms but at minority control of the economy and society by a few.

This is why expropriation without compensation has become a rallying cry for people who have no interest in farming but who are angry that a quarter century of democracy has not ended white privilege. It symbolises a much broader demand for change.

Tshepo Diale
Nkwe Estate

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