Am I right in thinking that if there had been no Native Land Act the apartheid legislation might have been difficult to introduce?
MOTSOKO PHEKO: I think you are right. Before the colonial settlers enacted the Native Land Act 1913, Africans had access to fertile land. They were prosperous farmers. They could mine minerals in any part of their country. They worked for themselves. They had economic power. Their life span was not the shortest. Their child mortality was not the highest as the case is today. The British colonial government had to import Indians to come and work on their sugarcane farms. They had to tax Africans in order to force them to come and work in the mines after the discovery of gold and diamonds.
When this failed, their colonial remedy was to allocate five million Africans 7% of their own land. Africans then began to be victims of massive poverty, ignorance and diseases such as TB. They lost economic control of their country. The Native Land Act reduced Africans to a nation of servants and workers for foreigners. Today many Africans do not have even a piece of land to build themselves decent homes, let alone to do some farming or mine some minerals such as gold, platinum and diamonds for themselves. They have no money to educate their children. They are third class citizens in the country of their ancestors