Land, Labour, and South Africa’s Tumultuous Agrarian Landscape
When videos of abuses go viral in Angola
A farmworker pruning fruit trees on Thandi Farm in South Africa. Photograph by Trevor Samson/World Bank.
Land reform is crucial, but it will not be a panacea for all South Africa’s agricultural ills. Righting today’s wrongs will require more than just fixing yesterday’s.One hundred years ago, the enactment of South Africa’sNatives Land Act of 1913 meant that the majority of South Africans were suddenly prohibited from buying or occupying land outside “scheduled native areas”. The native South African woke up to find he had become, in the words of Sol Plaatje, “not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth”.
For the past two weeks, most Angolans that frequent Facebook and other social media sites viewed and shared two particularly gruesome videos. One showed prison officials severely beating incarcerated men in the Comarca de Viana (Viana Jail), while the other, even more heinous, showed several men brutally beating and abusing two women who had allegedly attempted to steal a bottle of Moët & Chandon from the shop the men owned. The latter video lasts 13 long, uncomfortable minutes and among its more difficult scenes is the one in which an attacker forcibly kisses one of the women while the others laugh, and another in which the shop-owner beats the women with the blade of a machete. The video shows several men participating in the beating, while others, including women, stand by and watch while egging on the attackers. Both videos went viral in Angola.
Zimbabwe’s Black Farmers Faring Better After Land Upheavals
Stuart Mhavei, 40, in one of the fields where he and his wife now grow tobacco on the Mutua Farm. “Why should one white man have all this?” he asked, sweeping an arm across the lush, rolling farmland around his fields. “This is Zimbabwe. Black people must come first.”
Credit: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times