Apartheid, the regime of racial segregation that existed in South Africa between 1948 and 1990, reached into all spheres of public life. Black people, oppressed by the white minority, were not allowed to vote, to select their own jobs or to live in certain residential areas. In the countryside, they had no right to be landowners and they had their property taken away.
Although it has been more than 15 years since the end of segregation, Blacks have not recovered their lands. "When we began to vote and elect our representatives, we realized that there was no change", stated Mangaliso Kubheka, of the Landless People’s Movement of South Africa.
According to Kubheka, the movement was founded in 2001, after the election of two presidents who had committed themselves to the cause of the rural workers but who did not put these commitments into practice.
The main demand is for the government to compensate people for the loss of their lands. To put this subject on society’s agenda, the peasants camp in the areas that formerly belonged to them and demand the recovery of their houses. The occupations also demand lands on which they can plant. Political persecution is another remnant of the apartheid period. Kubheka already suffered attempts and threats by local landowners. Other members of the organization were imprisoned and tortured. "It is still a question of racism", Kubheka concludes. Blacks today make up about 85% of the population."
Maíra Kubík Mano