The proverb "Hope does not kill" has universal resonance. Without hope we have no strength to carry on, and people risk turning on each other — a Lord of the Flies scenario. So it is fantastic to see South Africans riding on the pedestal of hope again, if I may borrow from President Thabo Mbeki’s address on taking over from the first democratic president of SA, Nelson Mandela, in 1999. Today, one of the pillars of hope for historically disadvantaged people centres on the ANC’s much-hyped promise to confiscate land without compensation, which some believe is their way out of extreme poverty and inequality. But, putting aside the rule of law and other complex implications of expropriation, is that promise real or an illusion? What about the likes of Palesa Mosa — who was arrested as a 13-year-old pupil in 1976 for being an activist for freedom, then jailed, tortured, and robbed of an education? Will the expropriation of land improve her life socially and economically? Will her child, ...

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