Inequitable land distribution a challenge in South Africa

A Sept. 9 contributor to Letters wrote about land reform in South Africa where landownership distribution is a major challenge: 75 percent of the country’s farmland is owned by whites who represent 9 percent of the country’s population.

According to the letter writer, white landowners (Boers) acquired their land honestly through hard work and toil only later to be outnumbered by immigrant blacks. What the writer omits is acknowledgement that under the rule of these European colonists, most black people were stripped of their right to own property, were barred from entering areas designated for whites, and interracial sex and marriage were made crimes.

In other words, a completely inequitable and repressive social order founded on apartheid was put in place by whites in domination over blacks, and through this unjust system, whites accumulated and continue to own most of the country’s land.

Through the calm and heroic leadership of Nelson Mandela, a remarkable nonviolent transition out of apartheid began, but the troublesome fact of inequitable land distribution remains, presenting a huge and continuing challenge for the country.

Under the presidency of Donald Trump, some white nationalists have seized on South Africa’s struggle with its ugly past to suggest that white people here in America are similarly under attack — by immigrants and people of color. This is despicable race-baiting hogwash and a good reason the Trump presidency can’t end soon enough.

Mark Hyde