30 October 2013

SAHA engages with the youth on the legacy of the 1913 Land Act

Some of the students who participated in the 1913 Land Act Project workshops.As part of SAHA's Land Act project exploring the legacy of the 1913 Land Act, the organisation visited three rural communities during Heritage Month (September) to engage with high school students in a one-day workshop on the history of land struggles in each community.

The three communities visited were Driefontein in Mpumalanga, and Mogopa and Braklaagte in North West. These are the communities with whom TRAC (Transvaal Rural Action Committee) activists of the Black Sash supported in their battles against forced removals and forced incorporation into homelands. 

One may be forgiven for assuming today's youth of school-going age would not have much interest about issues of land, let alone have an opinion on the matter. However, the workshop with these learners painted a completely different picture.

They were very much aware of the struggles fought by their elders for the land they occupy. They were concerned about the strategies employed to return land to individual farmers, and they had a strong sense of belonging in their community.

These communities are plagued by poverty, unemployment, lack of social services like youth empowerment programmes and facilities. Due to this, some of the young people are disgruntled, yet others still have hopes and big dreams about their future in the same communities. Others expressed the desire to live and work in the cities, but recognised the need to bring skills back to their communities, whilst some reiterated that they will be buried in the same communities alongside their ancestors who fought for their land.

Read more about the SAHA Land Act Project
View the Gille de Vlieg Photographic Collection (AL3274)