Ricochet News

‘War over land is coming to South Africa’ Biko’s best friend

By Afikile Lugunya - Apr 10, 2018
‘War over land is coming to South Africa’ Biko’s best friend

Future urban land and spatial restructuring towards exclusivity and greater access to all was the topic of discussion at the Urban Land Dialogue Series hosted by the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) in Port Elizabeth at the end of March.

The debate was facilitated by the CEO of the MBDA, Ashraf Adam, and featured Nelson Mandela University scholars among other stakeholders.

Pedro Mzileni, a Masters of Sociology student at the Nelson Mandela University, said that in Port Elizabeth race still plays a crucial role in how people live compared to the rest of the world.

He said that this also extended to how students lived on campus.

“For example, shuttles are most used by black and coloured students at NMU and our campus residences are occupied by black students,” Mzileni described, adding that when black students moved to school residences, white students moved out.

“While the standard of living in South Africa continues to improve, for the privileged they also continue to be more privileged.”

He also emphasised that where people live plays a crucial role in their lives and land determines where people live.

The former best friend of the late black consciousness leader, Steve Biko, Moki Cekisani, who is also a founder of the Ubuntu Environment Foundation, who was at the event, said he had been surprised that it was mostly scholars, who had gathered to discuss this very crucial issue.

“Those people, who were given the right to look after the land of the indigenous need to be here.

“This land you are talking about can never be taken Constitutionally, we don’t need academics to get the land back to the people,” Cekisani said.

He then warned that war is coming over the land.

“If you refer to any issues in the world, you will realise that they are mostly caused by land and the war of the land is coming in South Africa.

“Some have taken advantage of this, while some talk about land without expropriation,” he said.

“It is still upon us to suffer peacefully; others are talking about willing buyer and winning seller.

“The people that own 87% of land in South Africa need to just open their hearts.

“If they say that they are fellow South Africans, then why do they allow other fellow South Africans to suffer; why do they allow others to use bucket systems; why are we living in RDP houses, have we not been given the land by Nelson Mandela?

“This land belongs to all who live in it and that is what the ANC said, and the Bible goes on to say God created the land and the people to live in it, without specifics of race.”

Cekisani added that Robert Sobukhwe once said that there is only one race, which is the human race.

“The indigenous people, don’t own the land, they arrived while the land was here. Everyone can stay because we all found the land here,” he said.

“But, let us all share the land.”