Why land evokes such deep emotions in Africa
Land is often discussed in economic terms. Debates on the need for land redistribution in Africa focus on whether intended beneficiaries will put the resource to maximum economic and productive use and, moreover, whether they are able to ensure the food security of the nation and realise a surplus for export.
This is mainly the case in Zimbabwe, which has faced food shortages, and is currently the debate in South Africa.
Nonetheless, land remains an emotive topic in both contexts and throughout the continent.
This prompts a fundamental question: why should land be discussed only in economic terms? The answers are to be found in how colonial modernity was ushered in, as a gamut of historical experience comprising murder, genocide, destruction of existing knowledge and large-scale dispossession of indigenous occupancy.
These facts about the colonial enterprise, of which land was the basis, defined and redefined African agency and reality through subjection and rejection of African personhood as Europeans strove to claim land and eliminate all that occupied it.
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