Thursday, 23 June 2011

Thulani Ndlazi Introduces Mabogo More's 'Without Land There is No True Liberation'

Mabogo P. More's recent paper on Fanon and land question in South Africa is online here. It is introduced, below, by the Reverend Thulani Ndlazi from the Church Land Programme.

British and apartheid colonization of what is known today as South Africa was based mainly on the "conquest of national territory and oppression of indigenous people", argues Mabogo Percy More in his article titled "Fanon and the Land Question in (Post) Apartheid South Africa". As long as the issue of land remains unresolved there will be no peace, justice, reconciliation and above all, no true liberation in South Africa. Evidence of this is the echoing and increasingly deafening lamentation for freedom from the silent dispossessed majority. This echoing is manifesting itself through, but not limited to, social formations such as Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), Rural Network (RN), Landless People's Movement (LPM) and many other local community uprisings currently ongoing in South Africa.

South Africa obtained 'freedom' in the early 1990s. It was dubbed by some as the "South African Miracle" - and yet South Africa has one of the highest numbers of public protests in the world. Where did we go wrong as a nation? Through Franz Fanon's prophetic lenses, Mabogo P. More eloquently argues that what is called the "South African Miracle" transition, was actually a disastrous compromise by the new bourgeoisie trying to take over from the colonial oppressor. More argues that what was actually miraculous was that Fanon had not only already predicted consequential repercussions of negotiated settlements/freedom, but that the chief negotiating liberation movement (ANC) went into the colonizers' trap (CODESA) and compromised the indigenous people's right and means to own their land again(restitution and reparations) with eyes wide open. Therefore, More insists, the more than four centuries old struggle for justice, understood as repossession of land, was "transformed (perverted) into a crusade for peace and democracy..."(More quoting Baregu 2002:5).

According to More, by the end of the negotiations, the majority of dispossessed indigenous South Africans got what Fanon calls "flag" or "pseudo" independence instead of "real" liberation. Through Fanon's lenses More argues that the problem with negotiated settlements between the master and the slave is that there is no true liberation unless "decolonization qua liberation occurs at two levels, (1) the physical level as an act of freeing the land from the colonizer, (2) the psychological level as an act of freeing the consciousness of the colonized from the fear of the master, inferiority complex and self-hate". He also argues that the South African negotiated settlement affirmed Fanon's view that: "in the negotiations on independence, the first matters at issue were the economic interest: banks, monetary areas, research permits, commercial concessions, inviolability of properties stolen from the peasants at the time of the conquest, etc" (Fanon, 1967b:121).

Reverend Thulani Ndlazi