By Kim Heller
“For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.” – Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
I am a foreigner. A settler on stolen land.
I don’t understand whites who claim that they are Africans. For we have robbed Africa and its people.
Like every white South African, past, present or future, I am a child of privilege. The beneficiary of a loyalty club dating back to 1652, which still rewards us daily, at the expense of our “fellow” black South Africans.
Last week, in my column, I wrote of the vast expanse of white wealth and the unrelenting sweep of black poverty that stains our post-democracy horizon. The after-birth of colonialism and apartheid which mother-nature, even at her most devilish, could not have delivered.
Yet the looking glass of white South Africa is never casts upon its own creation – black poverty and inequality – which is birthed on the back of forced, brutal extraction of land, cattle and labour, in the advancement of white power, accumulation and dominance.
If white people in South Africa had any moral compass, we would have returned stolen land by now.
I wrote last week about how the ‘apartheid after-party of plenty for whites’ must end.
In the President’s State of The Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday evening, he stressed the need to work together as fellow South Africans to “transform this country into the land of plenty for all, where the nightmare of apartheid will just be a faint memory of the past”.
He quoted the words of former President of the ANC, Walter Sisulu, who in 1981 said, “it is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole”.
What is inconceivable to me is that 23 years into our democracy, white privilege still remains king in a stolen land where less than 10% of arable land has been returned to black South Africans.
The ANC government has been far too timid on the land issue and whether the ruling party is able to move South Africa out of the shadow of “racial supremacy and exploitation” is still to be tested in the ordinary plains of our country.
What is inconceivable too, is that white South Africans have shown little resolve to end their economic feasting. They have failed to move beyond rasps of punctuated outrage on Penny Sparrow-style racism, or crumb offerings towards restitution.
White South Africans must now boldly admit culpability for atrocities committed under colonialism and apartheid by their forefathers, reparations must begin in full force and land must be returned. It is not only a transformation imperative – it is a moral obligation.
The Rainbow Nation has long gone into extra time. This is a storm warning. I will shed no white tears for you if one day your land is forcefully taken back from you.
Article was first published in Expose