Devastation of the Land Act still real

Image: Adrian de Kock

The powerful quote by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Presidential land restitution ceremony that took place in Moretele Park, Pretoria, recently, laid bare the atrocities that black people suffered during the enactment of the 1913 Natives Land Act.

The ceremony was to restore land to the descendants of the Mahlangu and Malobola clans whose land was dispossessed in the aftermath of the 1913 Land Act.

The president quoted Sol Plaatje who told a story of an African family evicted from their land who had to bury a child under cover of darkness because they had no right or title to the lands from which they were evicted.

The quote by Sol Plaatje read, "Even criminals dropping straight from the gallows have an undisputed claim to six feet of ground on which to rest their criminal remains, but under the cruel operation of the Natives Land Act little children, whose only crime is that God did not make them white, are sometimes denied that right in their ancestral home."

The quote sent chills down my spine as a I pondered how life must have been then. However, fortunately today I have taken cues from the remnants of apartheid and colonial rule that transcended the ages and whose legacy is also felt by the current generation.

Themba Mzula Hleko

Rosslyn Gardens, Pretoria

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