Reggae music has always been an integral part of the African struggle. During the days of apartheid, no other genre of music fought against apartheid like Reggae and its offspring, dancehall. Peter Tosh, Admiral Bailey, Papa San, Brian and Tony Gold and many other Jamaican artistes had music protesting apartheid.
So it was no surprise during the Nelson Mandela’s presidency when Mutabaruka did not think enough was being done for the advancement of Black South Africans, he made sure his was heard. Mutabaruka did so in the form of a song called “Beware”, where he sternly warned Mandela not to share out the Black man’s share.
One of the most profound lines in the song Beware was when Mutabaruka told Mandela to “Take back the land”. Of course Mandela did not listen as forgiveness and compromise was the essence of his presidency.
Fast forward two decades, the beloved Mandela has completed his earthly journey and his protégé, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been sworn in as the new president. Ramaphosa’s first order of business is to take Mutabaruka’s advice and return South Africa’s land to its rightful owners, the Black South Africans.
“The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate the redistribution of land to black South Africans,” said Ramaphosa, who was sworn into office to succeed Jacob Zuma as president last week.
The millionaire ex-businessman Ramaphosa promised that land expropriation operations will not be a “smash and grab” exercise and promised to handle the matter properly, adding that people “must see this process as an opportunity.”
“No-one is saying that land must be taken away from our people,” he said, “Rather, it is how we can make sure that our people have equitable access to land and security of tenure. We must see this process of accelerated land redistribution as an opportunity and not as a threat,” he added during a speech to parliament on Tuesday.
Such a drastic move would not damage the country’s agriculture or economy, the South African president promised.
“We will handle it with responsibility. We will handle it in a way that will not damage our economy, that is not going to damage agricultural production,” he said.
More than two decades after the end of apartheid in the 1990s, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party is under pressure to tackle racial disparities in land ownership in South Africa. The country is home to over 50 million people, with whites owning most of the land.
According to a recent study, black South Africans constitute 79 percent of the population, but directly own only 1.2 percent of the country’s rural land. Meanwhile, white South Africans, who constitute 9 percent of the country’s population, directly own 23.6 percent of its rural land, and 11.4 percent of land in towns and cities, according to the Land Audit report.
Black people are waking up and taking back what is theirs and reggae music is playing a huge role. That is why it is so utterly disgusting to see idiots like Ziggy Marley openly and proudly embracing apartheid.