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Analysis: Land politicised, land divided

Author: Greg Nicolson

“In fact it is beyond comprehension how a land as majestically stirring, as abundantly endowed with human and natural resources, as fertile in producing both food and feelings of intense joy and longing, can create nothing more than this shabby and repetitious growling of constitutional misreading, statistical embellishment, land-grabbing hysteria and food security myths, mostly led by intimidating, small-eyed, thick-necked, greedy men,” writes Antjie Krog in a new collection of essays, Land Divided, Land Restored.

Issues of land remain some of the most emotive in local discourse, chained to personal identity, livelihood, oppression, and violence. Yet the complex history and post-1994 systems of governance and redress are most often reduced to slogans, used and abused by coffee-shop-revolutionaries and campaigning politicians. Since the Economic Freedom Fighters emerged, voicing anger over land dispossession and the failure of transformation policies, efforts to lead the conversation have detached “land” from land, while actual work on the issue founders.


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