The Legacy of British Colonialism in South Africa Today
The article below discusses the problem of the denial of land ownership to South Africans that was imposed by the British Imperialist Empire. A similar British colonial policy of denying land ownership to native Africans existed in Zimbabwe. After the failure by the US and UK to honor the 1980 Lancaster House Agreement to financially support the transfer of land, President Mugabe took matters into his own hands, and gave fertile land held by white Rhodesians to black Zimbabweans. This led to various efforts of regime change against President Mugabe instigated by the UK. Providing equitable land ownership in South Africa could cause a deeper crisis than in Zimbabwe. The transfer of farm land under consideration in South Africa does not include the land containing trillions of dollars of valuable mineral resources that are still owned by the London based financial and commodity cartels.
“This Land Is Our Land”
South Africa’s ruling party has failed to redistribute land to the black majority for over two decades. Can the new president defuse a ticking time bomb?
By Lungisile Ntsebeza-May 3, 2018
For almost 24 years after the end of apartheid, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) supported a land reform program that was based on a willing-seller, willing-buyer policy. The policy required the consent of both the seller and buyer for the purchase of the land, with the consequence that sellers, almost exclusively white, would determine which land they wanted to sell. After decades of ignoring criticism of that policy, the ANC’s leadership has changed tack, at least rhetorically. It is now advocating a radical policy of land expropriation without compensation.
The unresolved land question in South Africa is a time bomb. One out of every two South Africans was classified as “poor” in 2015, with the poverty rate increasing to 55.5 percent from a low of 53.2 percent in 2011. This translated into more than 30 million out of 55 million South Africans living in poverty in 2015. Ongoing struggles for housing in urban areas and grazing in rural areas reveal the full extent of the country’s poverty crisis. The ANC government now seems to realize that for both its survival as a ruling party and the preservation of democracy, something drastic must be done to reverse the vast inequalities that plague land ownership in South Africa.
When the ANC came to power in 1994, it inherited a deeply uneven playing field. For more than a century, land ownership, access, and use of land had been determined by race. This was the direct result of European colonialism and the arrival of white settlers who violently dispossessed indigenous black Africans of their land. Early settlers established “native” reserves for blacks and, in 1913, the white-led government of the Union of South Africa passed legislation restricting the black majority to just 7 percent of South Africa’s territory, which by then was already overcrowded and overgrazed. This paltry percentage of the land was increased to 13 percent in 1936, a situation that prevailed until the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994.
Even after being relegated to faraway reserves, black South Africans often did not actually own their land. The state owned most of the land in the rural areas of the former reserves, granting only rights of occupation to its residents, rather than the freehold title deeds that were common for white landowners. While white colonialists
were initially committed to promoting a class of African farmers in the reserves, they changed their minds in the late 19th century, when minerals and gold were discovered throughout the country. They saw rural areas, including the reserves, as reservoirs of cheap labor to stimulate capitalist development. Lacking adequate land, black Africans were forced to sell their labor, cheaply, in the booming gold and diamond mines across the country, as well as on farms and as workers in the emerging white-controlled towns and cities.
Meanwhile, in the native reserves (later rechristened as “Bantustans”) the administration of land was in the hands of compliant state-appointed “headmen.” Having fought wars with tribal chiefs, colonialists appointed headmen as administrators of land whenever they defeated chiefs. With the advent of apartheid in 1948, chieftainship was revived — and only chiefs who were prepared to execute the apartheid government’s policies were appointed.
Although headmen and chiefs did not own the land, colonialists and the apartheid state officials made chiefs and headmen their gatekeepers by giving them land allocation powers and tremendous authority that came with it; no rural resident could be allocated land without the approval of chiefs and headmen….
When Nelson Mandela became president of a democratic South Africa in 1994, this is the deeply unequal system he inherited.
Soon after taking power, Mandela’s ANC adopted a land reform program that had three components: land restitution for those who lost their rights in 1913, land redistribution to redress racial imbalances in ownership of commercial land, and land tenure to protect the rights of farm workers and dwellers, labor tenants and those residing in the of the former Bantustans.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy magazine: This Land is Our Land
British Imperialist Tony Blair Sinks His Fangs Into South Sudan
August 10, 2012
On the eve of the first anniversary of the creation of South Sudan, it was announced that Tony Blair’s “African Governance Initiative (AGI)” has become an official advisor to the government of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Consider this the “kiss of death” for this new nation, which also bodes ill for its northern neighbor, Sudan. Blair represents the Liberal Imperialist faction of the British Empire, and is using the AGI to expand its influence in the governments of Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Liberia, Guinea, and now South Sudan. If you have any doubts that Blair’s new operation is a continuation and expansion of the Britain’s financial empire in Africa, take note of the support for AGI by Baroness Lynda Chalker, the Minister of State responsible for the Commonwealth’s “Overseas Development” of Africa from 1986-2007, essentially the British Colonial Office
Kick Out the British Imperialism in Africa; Implement FDR’s Anti-Colonial Policy
January 5, 2011
But the real problem, in order to achieve peace, is, you have to remove the cause of the problem, which, as I said, is British geopolitics—the manipulation of Africa through the decades. That has to be removed. And the Obama Administration’s support for the British policy of supporting rebel groups, separatist groups, and so on and so forth, should be stopped. That’s a precondition.
So, you have to return to the policies of Franklin Roosevelt, and get rid of the whole British colonial policy. And you have people in the United States like [U.S. Ambassador to the UN] Susan Rice, who is an admirer of the British policy, and who, like Henry Kissinger, hates the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt. She should be removed as the representative of the United States at the United Nations. There are other more interesting people, with better knowledge and better moral standards, in the State Department in the United States, who should be brought in, in order to re-implement the Roosevelt kind of policy
Zimbabwe Amb Mapuranga: Why the British Hate Zimbabwe
Interview by Lawrence Freeman
April 12, 2008
These sanctions were part of what Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, when he was addressing the House of Commons in 1994 and also in 2004, was saying: that our policy toward Zimbabwe is “regime change.” In other words, they are funding the opposition—and this is not a secret. You can visit the website of the Westminster Foundation: The three parties in the British Parliament, the Liberals, the Labour Party, and the Tories, or the Conservative Party—they vie with each other to make contributions to the MDC, and what they call “civil society,” the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe that are opposed to the government. Here in the United States, you need to read the 2007 reports of the Department of State. They give a global report on human rights. Now, if you go to the section on Zimbabwe, they say the U.S. government spent money on the opposition and the civil society organizations that are opposed to the government. So, they are coordinating their efforts for what they call regime change. And maybe this explains why the British, more than anybody else, have been very much interested in the outcome of the Zimbabwe elections: because they wanted the party which they are sponsoring to win the elections.
To Understand the Crisis in Kenya, Know the British Empire
February 22, 2008
After weeks of fighting following the flawed Kenyan election of Dec. 27, 2007, over 1,000 Kenyans have been killed, as many as 600,000 have been driven from their homes, two members of Parliament have been killed (one was an unmistakable assassination), and Kenya’s tourist-dominated economy has already lost several billions of dollars. Because Kenya’s main seaport at Mombasa on the Indian Ocean serves most East and Central African nations, the conflict in Kenya has the potential to affect over 100 million Africans living in Southern Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, who depend on the shipment of food and fuel, according to the United Nations’ IRIN news service. British Origins of the Crisis
British Origins of the Crisis
“If you’re looking for the origins of Kenya’s ethnic tensions, look to its colonial past,” wrote African historian Caroline Elkins, one week after Kenya, a country viewed as the most stable in East Africa, was thrown into profound crisis. Elkins continues in her early January commentary:
“A distinctly colonial view of the rule of law saw the British leave behind legal systems that facilitated tyranny, oppression, and poverty rather than open accountable government. And compounding these legacies was Britain’s famous imperial policy of divide and rule, which often turned fluid groups of individuals into immutable ethnic units, much like Kenya’s Luo and Kikuyu today. We are often told that ageold tribal hatreds drive today’s conflicts in Africa. In fact ethnic conflict and its attendant grievances are colonial phenomena. … The British had spent decades trying to keep the Luo and Kikuyu divided, quite rightly fearing that if the two groups ever united their combined power could bring down the colonial order.”
London’s Sudan Policy: Britain’s 1930s apartheid policy in southern Sudan
by Linda de Hoyos
June 9, 1995
In 1930, the British administrators redefined their southern policy of separating the north from the south. It had in fact begun in 1902, and had been furthered in 1922, because they feared that the newly emerging anti-British sentiments in the north, encouraged by Egyptian factions, might spread into the south, and from there into British East Africa territory. On the 25th of January it was decreed that the object was “to build up a series of self-contained racial and tribal units with structure and organization based, to whatever extent the requirement of equity and good government permit, upon indigenous customs, traditions, usages, and beliefs.” From The Secret War in the Sudan: 1955-72, by Edagar O Ballance