South Africa must read the writing on the wall.

Author:Plaatjie, Thami ka
Position:Guest Column

A report by the University of Western Cape's programme for land has indicated that at the current budgetary levels, the South African government's land reform process will take about 150 years to complete. That is not good enough!

We are bombarded with images of white farmers arrested in Zimbabwe, and the bleeding liberals in our midst will naturally collapse in disbelief at this intolerable treatment of white farmers by an African called Robert Mugabe.

As I watched this footage, I recalled the Poqo (PAC military fighters in the early 1960s) cadres who were sentenced to Robben Island chained in rows of twos, just like the African slaves shipped across the Atlantic.

History has a funny way of repeating itself. The humiliating evictions suffered by white farmers in Zimbabwe pale in comparison to the one that our people in South Africa were subjected to in the not-so-distant past. An extract from Solomon Plaatje's Native Life In South Africa is instructive in this regard. He relates the sad story of the Kgobadi family who lost more than their pregnant goats in the forceful evictions imposed by the 1913 Land Act:

"Mr Kgobadi's goats [were about to give birth] when he trekked from his farm, but the kids, which in halcyon times represented the interest on his capital, were now one by one dying as fast as they were born and left by the roadside for the jackals and vultures to feast upon.

"Mrs Kgobadi carried a sick baby when the eviction took place, and she had to transfer her darling from the cottage to the jolting ox-wagon in which they left the farm. Two days out, the little one began to sink as the result of privation and exposure on the road, and the night before we met them, its little soul was released from its earthly bonds.

"The death of the child added a fresh perplexity to the stricken parents. They had no right or title to the farmlands through which they trekked: they must keep to the public roads--the only places in the country open to the outcasts if they are in possession of a travelling permit.

"The deceased child had to be buried, but where, when, and how? This young wandering family decided to dig a grave under cover of darkness when no one was looking, and in that crude manner the dead child was interred amid fear and trembling, as well as the throbs of a torturing anguish, in a stolen grave, least the proprietor of the spot, or any of his servants, should surprise them in the act.

"Even criminals dropping straight from the...

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