Context of the land question


As a result of the industrial revolution, European countries had acquired an ambition to compete for resources to cultivate their industrial production. Consequently, these nations seized large areas of Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. African countries were dominated politically, economically and socially. Some historians also attribute the rise o colonization to the up rise against slave trade. “Armed with new weaponry and a sense of entitlement, as if overnight” Europe had captured a continent.

World war one saw the “the scrumble for Africa”. This vexatious impudence for Africa is defined as “The process of the invasion, occupation, and domination of African territory by European powers” particularly between 1880 and 1914. In 1884-85 an event that obstructed and changed natural life in Africa took place in Berlin. Fourteen European countries held a conference and discussed how they would take land from the African people and divided it among themselves. Only Ethiopia and Liberia remained free from colonial rule. It is the discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1886 in South Africa that amplified the potential Africa has and that lured the colonialists to the continent.

It is well documented that the first Europeans to settle in South Africa had been the Dutch, when they arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 and constructed a way station for their ships sailing between the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands. Also known as Boers, the Dutch settlers took land from the African people and later quarrelled with the British over land and slaves. In what became known as the Great Trek, the Dutch moved north to escape the British in the 1830s. The British invaded the Zulu nation in 1879 after the army led by King Cetswayo was defeated in what is known as the Battle of Ulundi. The British controlled the Zulu nation in 1887.

The African continent was taken through the barrel of the gun. Imperialists arrived in African and pushed its people out of their land and extremely exploited them. For example, in the 1900s in Kenya, chiefs in the villages were used as bag carriers in the wars that had nothing to do with the African people. Women and children were forced to work the land and if they were found not to have produced enough agricultural material for these imperialists, their hands would be cut off.

King Leopold II of tiny Belgium took control of the Congo which was rich in rubber, timber, and palm oil. During the 20 years that Leopold was in power, over 10 million people lost their lives. The land question is not a subject of hate against the white man but about taking back the dignity, wealth and self-determination of the black man which inherently belongs to him. History has shown that the African land has always been occupied and that no white man acquired land through “legitimate” means in the beginning.