DITSONG: Museums of South Africa (DMSA) aims to become a catalyst for social cohesion, nation building and economic transformation. This is partly achieved through establishment of dialogues between diverse cultures.
The land question continues to be contested by different ideological persuasions in South Africa. The majority of left organisations and movements believe that the land should be equitably distributed. Organisations and movements to the right believe that land redistribution will affect food production and would lead to hunger and starvation, citing examples in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. In contrast, left organisations and movements believe that the land question is firstly about one’s birth right and secondly, that this right can be exercised in order to earn a living.
Recently, Parliament debated the matter and undertook national road shows to hear the views of the people. On the 4th December 2018, Parliament adopted the report on the expropriation of land without compensation with 209 members of Parliament voting for, and 91 members of Parliament voting against the motion. As expected, the votes were according to ideological and historical differences.
The DITSONG: Museums of South Africa as a cultural and heritage institution is a perfect space where cultural, linguistic, and heritage rights could be safely discussed and debated without fear or favour. As the museum, we wish to provide space to different communities, interests groups and civil society formations to come and debate this matter with a special focus on the following questions:
(a) Who owns the land? Is it individuals, banks, the state etc.?
(b) Whose land will be expropriated without compensation and on what basis?
(c) What would be the impact on food production?
(d) How will the transfer of land be managed?
(e) Who will be the beneficiaries, and who will be the losers?
(f) Does ethnicity and race matter in this debate, and why?
(g) What was the CODESA and Multiparty talks resolution on the land question in South Africa?
(h) Why did the negotiators arrive at such a conclusion?
(i) What is the place of heritage institutions in this debate, and do they have a stake?