Could South Africa be a real-life Wakanda?
South Africa is the middle of serious change. Earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma resigned from office after nearly nine years, ending a standoff with leaders in his own African National Congress party. A wealthy business man and close friend of Nelson Mandela, Cyril Ramaphosa is the new president.
Now, another change in South Africa — the South Africa parliament voted to confiscate White-owned landed with no compensation. News.com.au reports the vote will amend the country’s Constitution. “The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, and passed overwhelmingly by 241 votes to 83 against. The only parties who did not support the motion were the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party.” Malema said, “The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice. We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa supports the amendment, saying, “We must see the process as accelerated land distribution, as an opportunity, rather as a threat. I’d like to invite all South Africans not to see this issue — this pain that many of our people our still going through — we should never see it as threat, we should rather see it as a great opportunity.” Watch below:
Whites own 72 per cent of farmland in South Africa, a number which is clearly rooted in colonization and the apartheid. Of course, white South Africans are not happy with the amendment. Pieter Groenewald, leader of the Freedom Front Plus party that represents the white Afrikaner minority, said, “If you continue on this course, I can assure you there is going to be unforeseen consequences that is not in the interest of South Africa.” Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive of Afriforum, called land expropriation without compensation “semantic fraud” and “racist theft.”He insists not all white South Africans own land “by means of oppression, violence or forced removals.”
Land exportation without compensation was attempted in Zimbabwe and was not as successful as people hoped. The country suffered an estimated $12 billion in lost agriculture production. However, some critics have argued the reason why exportation without compensation failed in Zimbabwae was due to the leadership of former President Robert Mugabe, who was plagued with corruption scandals. South Africa might be much different. Moreover, whether or not white South Africans want to admit it, the roots of this land run through robbery and colonization. Righting the wrongs might be a first step to something close to a real-life Wakanda.