“South Africa farm seizures begin: chaos as first expropriation of white-owned farms starts” reads the headline of one of the mainstream media in the UK. Rightly or wrongly, depending on the side of this seriously dividing economic issue you stand, the fact remains that if anything happens to South Africa, Africa as a whole will find herself in a sad socio-economic situation of five steps forward and ten steps backwards.
It’s so sad to imagine Africa going through this rough page after the demise of the moral authority of our time and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Quite sad, this is happening at a time, one of Africa’s great diplomats and smooth negotiator, Mr Kofi Annan has gone beyond to join some of Africa greats!
Yes, white farmers in Africa may not be angels of our time but the truth remains that they have been quite useful in assisting to a large extent in using farming to address some basic socio-economic challenges in Africa. As an organisation that promotes farming in Africa, our organisation, FS Initiative first reaction to this development is, will this seizure of farmlands in anyway help in eradicating or increasing the number of subsistent and peasant farmers in South Africa?
As it seems obvious that this will rather trigger the increase of peasant farming which is a pointer to increase in poverty, why don’t we then think of another route to bridge this gap between the haves and have-nots which is basically part of what the redistribution of land is all about in addition to the correction of injustices of the past.
We find this seeming internal economic policy of the African National Congress (ANC) government quite disheartening given that, FS Initiative has just gradually started a project aimed at eradicating Subsistent and peasant level of farming in Africa. A painstaking exercise recently commenced almost with zero budget due to our extremely limited resources. The effectiveness of this information cum knowledge based project can only be determined by uninterrupted peace and continuous economic progress in Africa.
Giving this reality, one expected that the political leaders in South Africa would have looked at the options of passing relevant laws that will help enforce wage bills in that prosperous Aﬁican nation. Empower relevant stakeholders in the farming sector, introduce exemplary minimum wage for farm workers and ensure strict compliance thereby instantly eradicating extreme poverty within the farming sector.
Yes, South African activist and politician, Julius Maleme of EFF who many view as the architect of this move has every reason to be upset at the slow pace of economic empowerment for majority in his country who happens to be black and some minorities of colour. But then, we really don’t need to cut of our noses in order to spite our faces.
Understandable, history keeps repeating itself When the moral iron Nelson Mandela was at his age bracket, his generation equally were not disappointed. It’s not surprising that after many decades, one of his own, will rise up for history to repeat itself.
How privileged we are today, to be in an era when we have elders in Africa who understand international politics more than our forefathers. An era when we have ex-presidents who are proud to go back to the land and are happy to be called farmers - thanks to the pacesetter, former President of Nigeria, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo.
I don’t need to remind our elders about the international politics in farming, when they already have people like Dr. Obasanjo in their midst. If Soviet union could disappear and Zimbabwe economic fortune gone the way it has gone, none needs to be a Prophet to predict the future of South Aﬁ'ica if they follow this route as against the policy of willing-seller, willing-buyer introduced by ANC government soon after the end of apartheid.
KUDOS T0 ANC
It’s on record that since the end of apartheid in 1994, ANC has been able to quietly follow this almost tension free route that enables government to buy white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks who happens to be in majority to a great success.
Yes, progress via this route may look slow and sometimes frustrating for some vibrant political leaders in the country and elsewhere in Africa. But then, we need to remember the external instruments of communication and vibrancy of many including people in the entertainment industry who consistently pricked the hearts and minds of the whole world which helped to destroy apartheid.
Yes, progress certainly has been slow, which serves as a constant reminder to the age long adage that Rome was never built in a day. More so nation building set on a very high moral ground as building a rainbow nation — thanks to the moral iron of our time, former President Nelson Mandela.
DON’T DESTROY AFRICA — YOUR HOME
I want to plead with AgriSA, the vibrant farming industry group in the country to please manage their communication better in order not to escalate tension nationally and internationally. Always remember that in situations like this as the nation watches and the world listens, you need to assign the responsibility of speaking for the organisation to someone who is sensitive enough to handle emotions better. Please, ﬁnd a place in your hearts to see this development as one of those family affairs that could eventually tum out to be a growing experience for all parties directly or indirectly involved.
It’s so sad, as I watch my constituency, the farming sector which we have quietly built and are still building through advocacy, information, training and logistical assistance where necessary to go this way. Using the power of public relations, FS Initiative, an acronym for Farmers support Initiative has since 2007/8 directly and indirectly brought the farming sector to its” present socio—economic relevance in Africa. Check the socio—economic relevance of the farming sector in Aﬁica before 2007 and after 2007 to understand the impact of FS Initiative better.
We’re one of the few UK charities that have been in the vanguard of doing the needful rather than busy with projects that inadvertently sadly encourage recycling of poverty in Africa. This of cause is part of the essence of this intervention(news release) copied to relevant bodies and a couple of opinion moulders in Africa.