For ages, the country today known as South Africa was no more than a loose band of separate communities. The Nguni tribes, which settled on the Southern tip of Africa around the 10th century, neither considered themselves a single nation, nor did they consider the Khoisan people already inhibiting the area part of their collective.
By the time I met Cyril Ramaphosa in 1992, he was Nelson Mandela’s choreographer at the negotiations that would eventually bring three centuries of white dominion to a thrilling and relatively peaceful end. Every day a polyglot, multiparty assembly — of former prisoners and their onetime oppressors, Communists and Bantustan autocrats and Afrikaner nationalists and union militants — mingled in a conference center outside Johannesburg to discuss what would be, in effect, the terms of surrender.
Has this person conveniently forgotten that as prescribed by the Bantu Land Act of 1913 and the Bantu Trust and Land Act of 1936, certain areas of the country were demarcated for black citizens? What this means is that, land was taken from people and those who were once able to feed themselves, their families and communities went straight to having nothing. You see, land is not ‘’just land’’ as many often insinuate. It is right at the centre of some of our most pressing problems today. Despite being an overwhelming 80% of the South African population, the land allocated for black occupation is believed to have been only 13% of the territory comprising the South African state. People were taken off land that had been in their families for generations and were taken from their homes. For some, it was the only home they had ever known.