Patric Tariq Mellet is a liberation movement veteran and retired advisor to a minister and senior public servant. His latest book titled, The Lie of 1652 was released by NB-Uitgewers/Publishers this year. In this Q&A session with EW Blog contributor, Malcolm Tsagane, Mellet talks about the lie(s) of 1652, the arrival of Jan Van Riebeeck in South Africa, the land question, restorative justice and the role of traditional leaders in South Africa.
Question: Firstly, congratulations on the new book, The Lie of 1652. I think for the benefit of our EW Blog readers, let’s start with who is Patric Tariq Mellet?
I am a retired advisor to a minister and senior public servant, liberation movement veteran who was exiled for 14 years after my life as an internal resistance man came to an end in 1978. In exile I worked in the trade union arena, and in the broadcasting, printing and publishing arena of the ANC Department of Information within the office of President OR Tambo. I worked on underground resistance materials as well as materials for our international push. I also took up arms in pursuit of the liberation struggle as MK cadre, while then being a member of the SACP and the SACTU. During these years I served in a number of countries in Africa and elsewhere.
I grew up in the District Six, Woodstock, Salt River in poor working class communities of Cape Town, under apartheid. I had a single mother who belonged to a union and worked as a laundry shopworker in District Six and had been working in factories since aged 13 with her first wage being ten cents (a shilling) per day for a seven-day week. I started working at the end of my 15th year also in factory work and joined a union and was a youth activist in the Catholic left (liberation-theology & black theology) – Young Christian Worker Movement. My first wage was ten rand for a 60 hour, 6-day week. That was my stepping-stone into the political arena.
Our family has always been multi-ethnic – a mix of Coloured, Indian and poor white in terms of Apartheid silos. As Apartheid was being instituted in my childhood and teen years it caused havoc in our family who had a range of piments and features. My two grandmothers were labelled ‘Coloured’ and two grandfathers an Englishman and an Afrikaner (whites). I faced huge problems because I physically did not neatly fit the Apartheid silos and had a contrary consciousness which developed in the direction of Camissa African consciousness. We have 26 direct family members who were enslaved persons, another 8 indirect family who were enslaved; plus 5 Cape Khoe; and 19 non-conformist Europeans who married across the colour bar. Over 370 years, my enslaved ancestors were from Angola, Ethiopia, Madagascar, India, West Bengal, Myanmar-Siam, Sulawezi, Java and Timor. The complexities of my resistance to race classification and as a result civil resistance to the military (SADF) resulted in my arrest and interrogations, physical abuse, death threats and so on… and finally entered the classified world of “Other Coloured’ one of the seven sub-divisions of that classification.
I also started two free newspapers – Young Voice and New Voice which were successively banned by the Apartheid regime. I was labelled a terrorist and communist. For the record, my personal political philosophy is Communitarian Socialism with African Characteristics. In the course of my life I have been influenced strongly by Latin American liberation theology and resistance movements including Cuba which I have visited on a few occasions, but I have also been influenced by Western European and Eastern European political trajectories, as well as Chinese and Southeast Asian political movements. I have widely travelled and lived across Africa and count the African and Africa Diaspora influence as the strongest in my life. I prefer not to be pigeonholed into one tight political mould, particularly the European paradigm which has given us the dubious mould of a marriage of a version of socialism which is a combo of state-ism, nationalism and socialism with much martial thinking to such an extent that it hard to see the wood for the trees.
Question: Without giving away too much, what would you say is, The lie of 1652?
The “lie” is actually a “series of lies” which starts with an assertion that South Africa was an empty land for the taking, considered only populated by a few wandering ‘noble-savages’ with no economy or sense of property ownership. The Papacy underwrote this approach which was backed up by the assertion that where there were no Christians and there were no people with legitimate interests. The “lie” is the negation that there was any social history, no built environments, no economies including trade, no real communication nor ideas of philosophy and faith. This was presented as Africa being sans civilisation. The year 1652 and the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck is presented as the beginning of social history and everything preceding this date is seen as part of ‘natural history’. The ‘lie’ blossoms with a negation even of the engagement and impacts between Europeans and Africans over 180 years prior to the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck, and particularly the negation of recognition of the indigenous role-players in establishing a proto-port between 1600 and 1652, servicing around 1500 ships stopping at Table Bay with around 120 000 travellers.
With this goes an embellishment of the persona of Jan van Riebeeck and most important a downplaying of the seizure of land and livestock and expulsion of Africans from much of the Western Cape within 70 years. Jan van Riebeeck states clearly in his journal that Autshumao and the Ammaqua resisted his every move, and that Autshumao insisted that it was he that had first started the incipient trade as agent of the English. He further notes a lengthy and well-articulated argument by the Khoi after the first Khoi-Dutch war where consciousness of property ownership was made clear and the Dutch challenged as to whether the Khoi could go to Holland and act as the Dutch had done at the Cape. Ultimately Jan van Riebeeck says – “We had to tell them (the Khoi) that they had lost their land to us by the sword (warfare)”. The greatest lie was that the Khoi gave up their land, socially coherent structures, and livestock economy, making themselves impoverished, landless, livestock-deficient and unable to sustain themselves by means of treaties.
The South African land issue has been the subject of much political opportunism in recent times, do you think that there is genuine will to resolve the issue from our current leadership?
I maintain that no aspect of our cocktail of burning issues, including that involving the land question, can be resolved in terms of Restorative Justice, without first honestly tacking the issue of Restorative Memory. Unless we can know and understand our past much more deeply than the surface or cosmetic manner in which the past is dealt with by the political estate – from the governing ANC through every party engaged in howling at each other using slogans that have not always been thought through, often borrowed from European politics – left or right.
You cannot even begin to resolve a problem if one cannot properly articulate it, track its genesis and then work from an honest foundation. Those who have always been in the oppressor/repressor seats remain in denial. They don’t believe they did anything wrong and even believe that Africans owe white colonialism accolades of appreciation. Then on the other-side politics has become dominated by opportunism where the tiny few in the Political Estate develop arguments not based on in-depth Restorative Memory but rather is orientated around empowering a new neo-colonial black elite made up of politicians, extended families and friends.
Politics has become a Pyramid Scheme with patronage at its heart. There is a huge gap between the Political Estate and the Communitarian Base. A mix of neo-fascist and neo-liberal European politics laced with crude narrow-nationalism has replace National-Liberationism and most have no understanding about what the difference is between nationalism and the Tambo way – national-liberationism. In a nutshell opportunism reigns supreme in this arena of the Land Question even among those voices projecting as left.
There is no sharp concise defining of the Land Question with its full historical genesis – not simply the 1913 lens. There is a tendency to see land as ‘Real Estate’ (expensive turf) and that the struggle is one of turf wars between the ancient regime and nuevo regime. The holistic issues of land involving sustainable livelihoods, shelter and habitat, nurturing built environments, spiritual rootedness, food security for all, source of minerals and mineral beneficiation that is invested in human advancement, environmental wellbeing… and peoples alienation from all of these is just not the subjects that dominates political discourse.
When politicians talk about land, the dual areas of urban and rural needs do not feature. Building a base of at least 200 000 African farmers from the decreased base of 25 000 white-farmers and increasing employment on farms from 800 000 impoverished African farmworkers to a few million African farmworkers in dignified employment and transforming rural towns into inclusive environments for all, requires projects like agricultural colleges being opened, seed banks, land banks, implement cooperatives and much, much more. Societies like Thailand which went from point zero in 1948 to 13 million farmers holding title deed and as many farmworkers paid attention to all of these things. We have lazy thinkers in politics. There has been nothing happening while there is nothing standing in the way of these things being rolled out together with people to build a culture of self-reliance. There is nothing radical nor transformative about the discourse within the Political Estate. The big issue of the inter-reliance of the National Question and the Land Question is just not addressed at all.
Which aspects of South African cultural history would you like to see discussed more earnestly by our media?
There is a fickle pop approach to culture and it is always discussed within a framework of the dominant European-American framework. Culture is the heartbeat of all peoples and the battleground of culture is in the minds of people. People are overwhelmed in the mind and “none but ourselves can free our minds.” If you are imprisoned in your mind you will never be motivated to take your destiny into your own hands. It starts with the negation of our past and the denigrating of our past and the European propaganda that we were simply pre-civilisation primitives until Europeans brought the light to the dark African continent as conveyed by UCT’s lit-lamp against a dark background representing ignorant darkest Africa. At the Tricentenary of Jan van Riebeeck’s first landing at the Cape, the UCT float in the parade depicted chained darkest Africa being brought the light of civilisation and progress.
This entire paradigm needs discussion more earnestly by us all. Media could help by lifting the imposed veils. What do we know about Southern Africa 3000 years ago or 15 000 years ago? What do we know about multi-ethnic ethnic societies across Southern Africa in the first millennium and the early second millennium? We know just a little, and distortedly so, about the San peoples across Southern Africa. The Khoi peoples who lived and moved across most Southern African countries and their history is one of the most distorted in SA. Few know of the Kalanga people who like the San and Khoi are foundation peoples of us all.
The great pastoral states or kingdoms that arose in Southern Africa before any of the social group names that we know today are not known – Mapungubwe, Butua/Khami, Mutapa, and the Rozvi Empire. These help us answer who we are today and how social group and kingdom formation occurred. The slow migratory drifts that first start in the last millennium BCE and then became a slow circular migratory drift in Southern Africa which drew in many external cultures including that of the priestly king – Nkosi. How did the peopling of Southern Africa occur? What is the opposite of the empty land doctrine and why is it important to our mental state today.
If Southern Africa was trading with Arabia, China, India and Southeast Asia when the Europeans were still in the dark ages, and produced steal before Europe how does this empower our minds today? These things need much greater discourse in the media today. Thabo Mbeki once talk a lot about an African Renaissance, but the start of mental empowerment and a great leap forward today is to first Restore our Memories.
Have you found that there is an appetite in our mainstream News media establishment to discuss the issue of restorative justice?
No unfortunately our media is so caught up with the Political Estate and their shenanigans and are totally consumed with factional battles. They do not even deal intelligently nor are investigative about crime; crime in SA links with global crime; linkages with global crime and politics.
Both Restorative Memory and the quest for Restorative Justice hardly features in our media except where we have special days revolving around the symptoms of our problems…. Eg: crime, GBV, child abuse, protest (most often projected as criminal), racial strife, alcoholism, road carnage, tik addiction, gangsterism. In many ways the Media Estate, like the Political Estate has become a middle-class world far removed from the social reality of the majority of poor and struggling South Africans. The quality of journalism has plummeted as media has become more monopolised by oligarchs. This puts a huge responsibility on fringe media both in hardcopy form and in social media form and community radio and TV.
In the book you mention that the term ‘Coloured’ is problematic and has been used to amalgamate a diverse collection of African identities. What would you like to see replace the term?
The term “Coloured” has a history and is part of a de-Africanisation project of Colonialism just like the term “Native’ when it was first used. More than 120 African societies were panel-beaten into two frameworks. On the one side about 70 African societies were forced into the mould of nine linguistic nations that could be controlled by Europeans and in an act of de-Africanisation these were declared ‘Native Linguistic Nations’.
Then over 50 other African people who did not speak any of the Southern African Bantu languages along with other Afro-Asian descendants of enslaved and indentured labourers were de-Africanised in 1911 a year after the Union of South Africa was formed. Prior to 1911 the term “Coloured” originally introduced by the British was an umbrella term for Xhosa, Mfengu, Thembu, Sotho, Tswana, Hottentots, Bushmen, Masbiekers, Liberated Africans and those called Mixed-Other – in other words all people of colour. Between 1865 to 1900 these terms gradually began to be used differently by officialdom spurred on by the father of race-classification, a German anthropologist by the name of Wilhelm Bleek. Between 1911 the term was further developed in meaning and in 1950 through the Apartheid regime it was first sub-divided into seven sub-categories like the none native groups, but by 1959 three of the groups were put into its own silo called “Asian” – namely Indian, Chinese and Other Asiatic.
Those remaining ‘Coloured” were Cape Coloured, Malay, Griqua and Other-Coloured. By this time, the term Coloured was considered to be the same as “Bastard” people. The entire demeaning Apartheid system of race classification. The race classification board, disenfranchisement, forced removals and so on was a humiliating package accompanied by police state tactics.
Liberation from Apartheid – a crime against humanity, was the dream of those classified as “Coloured” who defied the system. Just like the millions of those classified as “Black” who collaborated in the Bantustan system, some of those classified as “Coloured” did the same, but like other African youth who rose up in 1976 to 1977 to fight the Apartheid System, many sacrificed much in the hope of being free of Apartheid indignities and depravations including the struggle to be seen as Black and African. For those classified “Coloured” under Apartheid and remain classified “Coloured” under the ANC government this is a very sore point. Why was this Apartheid labelling a Crime Against Humanity under Apartheid but no longer so now?
Those classified “Coloured” should be restored their African identity and be called Africans like everybody else. As part of the Black oppressed, we should also be recognised as such. Like all other Africans we have diverse ancestral-cultural heritages. This includes Nama, Korana, Griqua, San, Cape Khoi (9 groups), and Camissa Africans. The latter by far are the majority descendants partly of Khoi but also of other Africans from SA and the continent, enslaved Africans, Masbiekers, Liberated Africans, West African Kroo, East African Zanzibaris, Lascars, enslaved Indians, Malagsy, Enslaved Southeast Asians, Caribbean migrants and others of the African Diaspora, St Helenians, Chinese and a number of other African-Asian tributaries as well as some assimilated Europeans. (195 roots of origin) After 370 years of ethnic coming together these identities no longer separate out and is a unique African identity no different to those found in every African port and island. Many of us today refer to ourselves as Camissa Africans.
Camissa is an old Nama/Kora word that has been creolised from Khamissa meaning sweet water for all and was the name of many of Southern African rivers around which the peopling of the South (Mzansi) took place. A Camissa River flows through Cape Town, now forced underground and was where the first Khoi ǀǀAmmaqua people known to the Europeans as the Watermans (water-people) Traders. The Camissa embraced all who came to her for sustenance indigenous people, enslaved and indentured who came into union with each other with a culture of facing adversity and rising above it. Camissa Africans honours our ancestral-cultural heritage and is neither a colourist term nor a race. It speaks of a multi-ethnic African people.
I could never be proudly “Other Coloured” and all that goes with it…. But I am proudly Camissa African, South African, Pan African and an Internationalist. I call on my fellow brothers and sisters in communities labouring under the classification “Coloured” to celebrate our cousin connections with all other Africans and never allow racism to divide us. Os is! We are!
Given our history of colonialism and racial oppression in Africa, is there a place for non-racialism in our future?
Non-Racialism has become a bit of a meaningless word ..… perhaps it’s always been meaningless. It would seem that “Non-Racialism” means pretty much the same as “Multi-Racialism” in South Africa. If “Race” is a non-scientific social construct and is the theoretical base of the very real scourge of “Racism” why do we say in our Constitution “without regard to ‘RACE’ as though we accept “race” and theories about ‘race’. “Racialism” or do we really mean “Racism” is what we want to neutralise in a commitment to “NON” – saying NO to racism.
ANTI-RACISM is my ‘non-racialism’. It is NOT where notions of ‘race’ are maintained but engage in feel-good huddles holding hands singing kumbaya and then go separate way to affluence or to poverty. There is no place for that kind of interpretation of Non-Racialism in our future.
There has to be a place for ANTI-RACISM in Africa. Our lives depend on it…. Our futures depend on it. A positive manifestation of an ANTI-RACIST SOCIETY is the embrace of diversity of peoples with different ancestral and cultural histories and heritages. This requires two things – a determined push of zero-tolerance of RACISM and secondly, educating people about ancestral-cultural diversity so that we understand and embrace respect for these as part of our ONENESS.
The notion that ancestral-cultural heritages must be crushed and assimilated into SAMENESS is as bad as RACISM. Our future should be a future of living in harmony with diversity and there has to be a place in Africa for that because Africa has over 3000 diverse African peoples speaking more than 2100 different languages.
Pan African ONENESS is not equal to SAMENESS which is racism’s twin. Internationalism is also part of the ONENESS movement and the ANTI-RACIST MOVEMENT but is something very different to what has become known as GLOBILISATION.
So Non-Racism, rather than Non-Racialism, and countering Ethnic-Chauvinism has to be more than simply finding a place for ‘White-ness’, ‘White-ism’ and ‘White-fragility’ in a Kumbaya framework called ‘Non-Racialism’. Likewise, for another colourist product of racism – ‘Colouredism’. The Apartheid colourist/race silos of the ethnicised form of ‘Black’ created by PW Botha to replace Bantu and Native, along with ‘White’ and ‘Coloured’ has to go. The post 1994 ANC government approach of pouring new wine into old Apartheid wineskins has to go. We do not need it and should not use it to deal with solution finding. In moving away from embracing this it does not mean that we are ignoring the reality of ‘White-ism’ and the privilege that goes with it. Nor does it mean that we are ignoring the Black experiencing as per the world understanding of Black as in BLACK LIVES MATTER. We are simply saying that our social construct cannot be Apartheid defined nor use Apartheid tools.
We all know South Africa is 92% Black in the universally accepted meaning of the term ‘Black’. We also know that Black was previously disadvantaged and that the vast majority of Black People are poor. If we focus on the advancement of the poor in a country where class and colour corelate we will naturally address the advancement of the majority. But where a tiny minority of Black people who ally with ‘White-ism’ are able to use an Apartheid designed racist system for dominating self-advancement for a few, as we have seen since 1994, then we are going down a neo-colonialism path. The latter kind of colourist approach is naturally going to occur in a ‘multi-racial’ paradigm (or ‘non-racial’ paradigm when it means the same thing. Anti-Racism looks at a bigger picture of social advancement of the majority Black poor.
While we deal with isolating ‘White-ism’ we cannot encourage it at the same time by being wedded to Apartheid ‘colourist’ silos. The entire system needs to be thrown out and the state should not meddle in identity politics. In South Africa we have three broad families of peoples each with many diverse sub-identities. People should self-determine where they fit. All persons who have at least one forebear who is indigenous to Africa is an African according to international convention. In South Africa we have people whose ancestral-cultural identity are Africans and that includes most identities under the label “Coloured”. We also have Afro-Europeans of great diversity and we have Afro-Asians of great diversity. The diverse South African society have all three of these ancestral-cultural affinities and under each we celebrate great diversity. The state should respect this and stay out of classifying people and ordering people. It is quite possible, and will likely be more successful, to deal with neutralising racist “White-ism” and advancing the disadvantaged Black majority in a systematic planned manner, outside of Apartheid’s race-silo system.
As bad as the ANC using the Apartheid race-silo system, is the Democratic Alliance notion of Non-Racialism as a cover for not dealing with “White-Supremacy” and white social-economic advantage and Black disparity. The DA has a notion of EQUALITY which is interpreted as 50/50. But in South Africa equality would mean 92% to 8%. In a province like Western Cape there are around 1 million “Whites” to 5.1% Blacks (2,8M classified ‘Coloured’ and 2,3M classified ‘Black’) The entire infrastructure, built environment and economy is dominated by and favourable to the White minority, as well as the political representation. This state of affairs only continues because of the White manipulated ‘Divide & Rule’ tactics employed of stirring up racism/colourism between so-called ‘Brown’ vs ‘Black’. Claims of non-racialism based on a formula of 50/50 and not seeing ‘disparity’, supremacy and disadvantage is central to what is a multi-racial paradigm that has been in politics of white-nationalism and black-nationalism for a long time.
Our media, our education and our politicians are not guiding people on these different discourses and thus people do not know how to separate Multi-racialism, Non-racialism and Anti-Racism.
What role do you think African traditional leadership should be given in local and regional administration?
When we talk of African Traditional Leadership we break into two camps – an antagonistic camp which almost takes a page out of the colonial handbook of critique that Africans and African society is primitive – and the second camp are those who elevate traditional leadership to a form of ethno-nationalism and an embrace of the divine right of kings.
But there is a third way of looking at this – African traditional leadership as servant-leadership of communities bound by ancestral and cultural links. Community and service to community is the bottom line. Servant-leaders and better still forms of elected servant leaders at community level is the nucleus of Traditional Leadership most especially of the oldest San, Khoe and Kalanga foundations when hereditary royals did not feature and councils of elders and spiritual leaders, male and female, governed by consent rather than ruled, at a time before the Priest-King (Dombo or Nkosi) influence merged with Southern Africans. But even since this new tradition grew in the second millennium history has shown us both bad and good leadership traits among traditional leaders.
At the end of the day, we get the leaders that we allow ourselves to have. Education on the responsibilities of community leadership whether of the modern zonal type or of the ancestral-cultural type is the best way in which to ensure accountability. In Africa we can never say that we can do away with traditional leaders and at the same time say that we accept community leaders. I have travelled widely in the world and in Africa and I have witness some kings and traditional leaders being as in touch with the people and rolling out transformative programmes as a socialist leader like Castro (who I have also met). I have also seen so-called socialists who are as self-serving despots as the worst of monarchs and traditional leaders of the same type.
All forms of leaders, even those in holier-than-thou democracies have to embrace accountability, humility and servant leadership to be relevant…. And it is up to the people to hold them to being relevant and accountable. The original Greek term DEMOS KRATOS is directly translated as PEOPLE POWER and in English DEMOCRACY. Inherent is the role of holding representatives to account. In many democracies, arguably even in our own, there is no PEOPLE POWER. Instead we have PARTY POWER and usually based on the notion of democratic centralism, which Joe Slovo heavily critiqued as the system that destroyed socialism in Eastern Europe (in his booklet – Has Socialism Failed?) DEMOS KRATOS was OR Tambo’s watchwords….. FORWARD TO PEOPLE POWER! It was more than a slogan. All of the ANC’s troubles can be linked to not following the OR Tambo way of building PEOPLE POWER…. accountability to the people. Smaller empowered local government. Not expensive Provincial Governments and an NCOP. A lean National Assembly… strong government departments, strong workable provincial administrations and even stronger local government, shadowed by voluntary (unpaid) Peoples Councils made up of active civic-minded membership-based civil society organisations holding their public representatives to account.
The second house alongside the elected National Assembly in a unitary state should likewise have a voluntary (unpaid) People’s Council working to hold the Politicians to account.
Traditional Leadership should have no special political Status and it should be community-based and be run like churches without state-funding either generating its own funds through projects or by a voluntary giving system in communities. This will ensure servant leadership and avoid despotism. Traditional leaders would be just one representative element in voluntary people’s councils. The only thing non-voluntary would be that People’s Councils should be a part of our Constitutional make-up. This would truly Africanise our political space and create a dynamism second to none.
In the book you make the point that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world, and because of our history of racial oppression, the colour of one’s skin is still a predictor of their economic class. Do you think there is a valid case for financial reparations for black and brown South Africans?
As I have said before class and colour almost corelate completely in South Africa, whether you use the Apartheid Race-Silo system or not. The vast majority of those who are Black (as in all people of colour) are poor, and the vast majority of people classified as white lead lives at levels considered particularly well off and opulent in terms of world standards. Most less well-off whites are not as poor as Black and are numerically negligible. A small and growing number of Black South Africans have joined the wealthy white South Africans in terms of wealth and the power that goes with it, and have tended to adopt the attitudes that go with this new prosperity.
Class rather than colour therefore becomes the barometer of poverty and poverty alleviation and empowerment. Whereas the vast majority of Black are poor not all people of colour are poor. The disparity between classes are highly visible and starkly contrast Black and White lives. Power, privilege and wealth of white South Africa makes the small black elite visibly disappear in the landscape of South African wealth.
This disparity directly relates to 370 years of a continuum of violence alongside the forcible estrangement of Black People from their land, successful sustainable livestock farming and mineral wealth. This too went hand in glove with destruction of African social cohesion and systems of governance, trade and development, and social cultures and spirituality. European colonial notions of civilisation and development were imposed at great cost. Africans were turned into slaves and servants and other people of colour brough to South Africa as slaves in chains and forced to do backbreaking and skilled work with no compensation under brutal conditions. A series of crimes against humanity over more than three centuries ranged from genocide against the /Xam to Apartheid.
The case for Restorative Justice and Reparations is clear and unassailable. Unfortunately, the paradigm of Truth and Reconciliation was used in the moments of Euphoria in the early 1990s and it completely failed the majority Black population of South Africa. There was neither Truth nor Reconciliation and this was read as a assign of weakness for white-ism in South Africa. The fact that there were no consequences for all who participated in and benefitted from Apartheid, a system very little different than Nazism, emboldened an unremorseful white population who were left to continue their racist and supremacist practices. Denialism, on their part soon gave way to nostalgia about the “good old days” and triumphalism and a return to behaviours of the Apartheid era.
Restorative Justice cannot happen in a vacuum. Reparations and restitution cannot happen in a vacuum. There has to be a culture of Restorative Memory, no denialism and remorse that can pave the way to Restorative Justice. The present political framework makes much use of emotive and radical posturing and sloganizing. Both the ANC and the EFF mouth and perform lip-service to transformation.
The Political Estate lives in a bubble. The Da and various other small parties also mouth and postulate with empty meaningless phrases will enjoying the status and spoils of a middle-class political game.
There are a range of methodologies that could be used if there was political uprightness and the will to embrace transformation paths, and here I don’t mean the cliche of RET. By tying our approaches to epochs of memory we could hone particular strategies, I believe, with some success. Under Dutch VoC rule until 1806, through use of grazing licences, commandos and a leasehold (leningplats) system where rentals were amassed as a fortune by the VoC. The united Dutch East India Company operated under licence of the Crown. On giving over the entire Cape Colony to the British the Dutch Batavian Government were paid out 6 million pounds sterling. With the rates of interest since then, this huge sum of money rightfully belongs to the African people of South Africa.
The British turned these leasehold farms into freehold farms from 1814. The British military invasion and flooding the Eastern Cape with first British and then German settlers should have a further price put to this. The genocide against the ǀXam and ethnocide against the Khoi, and the expropriation of labour, and theft of livestock all could be quantified financially just like the British payment to the Dutch. This type of Restorative Memory has not been pursued by lazy thinkers in the Political Estate.
The case for reparations has never been followed up as it should have been because of politicians who thought just of themselves and the little fortunes they could amass along with inflated salaries allowing them to become a noble class of a sort. Anything is possible if minds were set and shoulder put to wheel. But I would not hold my breath about anyone seeing reparations anytime soon.
Thank you for your time, Mr Mellet