Land expropriation without compensation is a fundamental right for the black majority. It is an appropriate dialogue that should be discussed until we have exhausted all our speaking abilities and got tired of the topic, and developed some more stamina to speak once more. I guess what I’m trying to say is; We should never tire to speak about the development of the black majority in South Africa especially.
Where are women on this land dialogue? Where are women who were denied ownership of land because they are unmarried? Where are the women who were kicked out of their marital homes because they divorced their abusive husbands and families? Where are women who were chased out of their homes because they got pregnant early or whatever the circumstance, where are women who are tired of leasing land for farming to traditional leaders and communities who in turn steal and damage their farms because they can’t comprehend women who intend on doing great farming business? Where are the women were raped and abused as farm workers and were left in destitute as they could no longer tolerate these indignities? It seems like there is an indirect deliberate shadow that seeks to invalidate the amount of gender indecency these land negotiations seem to be having. Where are the faces and voices of women who were told they cannot own any part of land because their identity didn’t attach itself to any man, unmarried or divorced?
The documentary (This Land) which was also covered by BET Africa, dated July 2017, vividly showed a community in North KZN (EMakhasaneni, Melmoth). This documentary covered a community in distraught when large amounts of land are given under the care of traditional leaders. These traditional leaders are selling land to foreign investors for next to nothing. The cry of the community is that there is little consideration for them and even their well being. One traditional leader gave an investor chunks of land to start mining coal just next to the community with no consideration of how much this will affect the health of the families of this community. First, it is important to recognize who the system trusts in order to care for the land of the community. It’s a deliberate patriarchal joke. In each community, there are a lot of men and women who have undergone vital educational training. Going to universities, colleges to obtain qualification and more importantly in this case, a broader sense of society and world understanding. These are prides of the community and have the ability to push the community forward. Unfortunately, these are not the traditional leaders who are given the task to lead the matters of land curatorship in our societies. The system makes sure that it takes the same route as political leadership. Older men clothed in the expensive cloth of patriarchy are the men who the system puts forward. Just like in this important documentary we see men who care little about the community let alone women’s right to own land is an abomination. The way in which patriarchs are set up. It took the rural women’s organization for land and farming to bring this issues to the table.
When we speak about women’s rights, let us include fundamentally their right to own land. In a matter of fact, land expropriation must take first preference the right for women to be given their place to fight for land, to be visible in all dialogues pertaining their quest to be given the land they deserve. Let us see the change, let us see rural women own land, let us see women from all walks of life have the ability to own land where married or not. It is important to tackle patriarchy to its core because it hinders this important land right for women.
This is a guest post by Nomfundo Zondi of Icebo Empowerment Network, South Africa.
About Nomfundo Zondi
Nomfundo Zondi, Founder of Icebo Empowerment Network, an Agri empowerment, and advocacy platform for youth and women in agriculture and climate change. Together with Icebo Consulting, consulting in agriculture and climate change. She is the founder of the hashtag #AgriWomenChatAfrica on Twitter.
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