Africa Now October 22, 2014 Land Reform in South Africa

Topic and Guest: Land Reform in South Africa WPFW has continuously been YOUR BEACON OF LIGHT AS THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES and with that spirit, today’s Africa Now! will highlight Land Reform in South Africa.  Twenty years after apartheid South Africa land ownership still resembles the past when 87% of the land was in the minority white hands and 13% in the majority black population.  The African National Congress (ANC) in 1994 had said by 2014 it would transfer one third of South Africa’s land from white farmers to black residents: but a few years ago the deadline was moved to 2025.  On June 30 President Jacob Zuma of South Africa signed into law the Restitution of Lands Amendment Bill.  The bill seeks to quicken the pace of the land reform which the ANC promised when it came into power after the first democratic non-racial elections in 1994.  Restitution of Lands Amendment Bill will enable the reopening of lands claims process which ended in 1998 for those forcibly displaced from their lands during apartheid and colonialism with the use of laws such as the Lands Act of 1913.  

Dr. Bernadette Atuahene

Dr. Bernadette Atuahene

In her new book, We Want What’s Ours: Learning from South Africa’s Land Restitution, Program Professor Bernadette Atuahene provides a bottom up view of the successes and failures of land restitution in South Africa.  Dr. Atuahene’s book is based on interviews with 150 South Africans who were forcibly removed from urban areas, and who received compensation through the land restitution program.  

Dr. Bernadette Atuahene is a law professor at Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law and Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation.  She has written extensively about land issues and has worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the South African Land Claims Commission.  She also directed and produced a short documentary film about one South African family’s struggle to regain their land, which was the official selection in several film festivals.   The film’s title is Sifuna Okwethu (We Want What’s Ours).

Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC.  Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).