“In Abundance of Water the Fool Is Thirsty” – Water Work vs Wage Work.
“Well above the timberline and only a short distance from the top of Mount Katahdin in Maine, where the sun first hits the United States each morning, is a spring of water. Above it is only hard rock. So where does that water come from? It cannot be rainwater percolating down from above. It’s primary water, and it comes from way below the base of that impressive mountain.” – Sig Lonegren, Dowsing for Water (page 137 of Masaru Emoto’s The Healer Power of Water, 2004)
It is now not a mystery that my upcoming book, the House of Plenty is a work that is shaped like a jig-saw puzzle or even a spinning chessboard. In this scheme of things and telling’s, there is neither respect for time nor standardized rules of literature. We are dealing with the simplest as well as the most complex of Afrikan problems. Next to finding workable creative/economic programs and models for creative cultural networks, Land is high up on the agenda.
I will be quoting from essays I wrote between 2018 to 2020 while I also add emerging concepts and thoughts to the foundations of this House, the walls, windows, and the roof will be built by our children and their offspring. This is an intergenerational mission. We do not write to entertain but to regenerate and sustain a Ma’atic civilization.
It is the year 2021 and South Africans are still debating the merits and demerits of the Expropriation of Land Bill.
At its 54th National Congress, the ruling ANC decided that the land reform program had to be sped up. The ruling party announced that it would pursue a policy of land reform without compensation if it were done in a sustainable manner that would not disrupt the economy or the agricultural sector. To this end, much dialogue between opposing parties, the state and the citizens has occurred.
Some heated debates have been aired on state and private broadcasters, civil society groups have issued out questionnaires and much robust conversations have been had around the details of this issue, but it appears as if not much progress has been achieved in the implementation aspects.
The actual decision to review the bill by an amendment of Section 25 of the Republic’s constitution was made in 2017. Some scholars and economist offered many reasons why the ANC should not pursue such a decision, citing the ‘Zimbabwe situation’ as one of the scare tactics. In fact, the so-called Zimbabwe situation has always been brought up in the last two decades whenever South Africans even mentioned land redistribution, or what some more Pan Afrikan and Black radical citizens prefer to call Land Restoration.
This essay will not delve on the pros and cons of a constitutional amendment, but instead we will try to point out that the Land question is tired to the not so hotly debated challenge of water and climate changes. Both these challenges are also tied to the critical matter of Afrika’s regional integration which is also linked to the core focus of this book: Creative and Cultural Unity of Purpose of Black people, beginning in the South.
We are on a mission to define a new economics. We seek to grow wiser and then share the wisdom of both our Ancestors and the new generation, within and beyond the 4.0 generation. In this pursuit of Self realization and self-determination regarding Land, we ought to be very mindful of the past to ensure that it is not repeated. Despite what the various scholars have to say about the matter of Zimbabwe, we should not that just like in all the countries throughout this continent, millions of people were displaced and rendered slaves. Consider these excerpts from some notes I jotted down from a library in Harare:
“Between October 1893 and March 1896, anything from 100 000 to 200 000 cattle were seized from the Ndebele. Armed gangs of settlers and contingents of B.S.A. police equipped with Maxim guns roamed across the countryside, taking what they could.
Although the invaders were sometimes driven off by a show of force, refusal to reveal where cattle were hidden could end in death, as indeed it did for four women shot in cold blood.” (Phimister, 1988, p.16) – The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe, 2010.
“Marandellas* (Marondera) District was established as a trading station in 1892 when Cecil John Rhodes offered land to any group of European settlers willing to accommodate traders between Umtali and Salisbury. By 1896 the British South Africa Police had already claimed more than 1023538 acres (409415 hectares) of land in exercise of its powers over the land as enshrined in the Order-in-Council of 18 July 1894.” (Palmer 1977: page 182)
Addressing the challenge of land redistribution is a simple matter, only complicated by how we approach it. It is important for people to have a healthy appreciation for the significance of land, it increases respect and value. The settlers simply and forcefully took possession of land belonging to Abantu and proceeded to trade with it as they pleased. As Afrikans we have an Ancestral and futuristic duty to restore our land and proceed to use it as we see fit. All other debates about constitutional amendments and what any settlers have to say about it should be secondary.
Just like the water springing up from Mount Katahdin in the United States, the water belongs to the mountain like we belong to this land. The sacred duty of each Afrikan is to strive towards restoration of land in this generation and we can then begin the secondary tasks of whether we need to save an economy founded on stolen goods. This is not a negotiated settlement, it is a war, a battle for our very survival and wellbeing.
The unmaking of Zimbabwe and its socio-economic conditions cannot be solely blamed on its corrupt leadership, but it is based on a historically progressive erosion of Ubuntu and communal values among its ‘first citizens’, the ruling party structures, its systems as well as a neglect of the principles that defined its people before the aggressive arrival of European and other settlers. Let us take a brief look at Zimbabwe, its cities, towns and a historical perspective on Harare.
“Before the arrival of the Pioneers Column in 1890, the main part of Salisbury District was Chief Gutsa’s territory. Originally a member of the Mutukedza and Nyashanu Chieftaincy in Uhera, part of the Nyanja Confederacy. Chief Gutsa accepted by Chief Seke of Chitungwiza into the area and allowed to co-exist with Chief Mbari who ruled part of the Salisbury District around Mount “Hampden” area. (p. 65, The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe)
This book describes the occupation of Harare as a series of balancing acts where rural and urban development, the industrial and agricultural economy coalesced to form a new reality for the natives and the settlers. It shows just how there is a seeming separation of these equally vital economies. The people who live and work in the cities and urban areas need the produce of the land just as the rurals who work the land need their sisters and brothers emadolobheni*. The symbiotic relationship makes any separation of these peoples rather superficial, but it has been the legacy of colonialism to ensure that Afrikan people are as divided psychologically as we are spatially.
There is a way of being a rural Afrikan which allows one to remain rooted not only to Nature but also to the values that have sustained our people for generations even before colonialism. The urban Afrikan however has been created or constructed out of the steely vibrations of industrial machines, a peculiar brand of Eurocentric education and ambition to become just like the European ‘boss’.
Very few Afrikans ever manage to escape this entrapment of affluence. Many stories have been told illustrating the dichotomies of the rural – urban exchanges and changes, suffice to state here that there is hardly an aspect of Afrikan life that has not been adversely affected by colonialism and its accomplices, Western religion, and racism. European settlers have not only tainted our bloodstream and thinking, but they have also effectively and literally polluted our life-giving waters.
A Poem: Songs for Trumpet / Dream Making
- And our lives are unfinished business.
Cynicism and optimism cohabiting the Amen Corner.
Both peddling dreams of utopia
We are both in the middle of a waking nightmare.
Visions steeped in darkness and ghetto squalor.
Yet our minds are ultra-light.
Once lost in the West
But our orient was found.
The journey took us through blood, chaos, blinded faith and Sounds not our own.
(Discordant Trumpet and Ngoma-drum)
Yes, the sound is our heat
The sparkle of blood on the tar
Sunbaked molecules swirling in the whirl of wayward uncivilizations.
We are becoming the culmination
Of all our ancestors libations
Yet our lives are unfinished business
The prayers of our enslaved grandparents
Sweat drenched parents
Burying their knees on concrete
Wood and stone and shifting sands
Offering all that we have
Crying faithfully to an earless
Eyeless, unkind, uncruel
Yet we must repent
For known and unknown sins
We must repent
For willful omissions and
We are the experience of the divine experiment
For polluting the Earth with noise, plastic and other toxins
Repent for committing present, past and future sins
For being all too human
When we know we have been divine
What does walking on water mean
When the forest is a spectre of shadows
Of trees struck by lightning –
And the poor are always with us –
Acts of God!!!
We live in a house of plenty
But we are begging for pennies
At the bottom of a snake filled wishing well
From the scum of the Earth
We are supplicating and bending over backwards
Ubuntu bethu in tatters
Like the ruins of our partitioned land
We need to re-examine the starts of our birth
Check the constellations
For what is the consequence of our collective breath – Ask the trees –
Our Ancestors bled for an Afrika for Afrikans
A lofty dream
Yet today what is it all worth?
We are still Gods bits of dry wood
Slammed from pillar to post
Trying to find who’s got the maps
And remind us how we used to dance.
How exactly are we to harness the Indigenous Knowledge Systems or the Afrika centered technologies to build a prosperous new Muntu? The maxim that says, umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu has been dealt some serious and almost deadly blows since the advent of the inexorable rise of industrial revolution, colonialism, Western theology as well as wage-labour. The latter has been the source of a multitude of false identities. The Marxists/communists have sufficiently dealt with the essential dynamics of the precarious class wars …. We now should be in a better position to offer a perspective that goes beyond simply countering capitalism and private property lore. We should be looking at interventions that reflect the desire to implement laws and actions that show wisdom of two hundred years of knowledge. This is because we are the generation that has seen great tribulation.
We must now be able to take the lessons of the past 500 years and begin to construct ways of being that are not only unique but also in harmony with Nature. There are several avenues which we can pursue towards doing this, beginning with Education. A transformative education requires the participation of many sectors o society. It also requires a re-view of how we use Land, Water, and other resources at our disposal. We ought to pursue a transformative education that is based on an evolved, involved and resolved appreciation of Water.
SANKOFARING: Consider the Source and Uses of the River Nile
Inside one of the pyramids in Khemethi (Ancient Egypt), there is a lake. While there are other waterways and water related rituals and customs in the Beloved Land of the First Times and there are still mysteries yet to be uncovered. Did the pyramid builders build this structure on top of an existing spring and then widen it for their purpose or is it a completely man-made?
It is up to us to study deeply, reflect, meditate and rediscover how our Ancestors were able to utilize these Waters. Our lives depend on the resurrection of such memories – the proper use of the post-Atlantean wisdom.
What does this have to do with the politics of land today? The landmass we call Earth, rests upon watery foundations. The beings that exist on the Earth are all composed of parts of carbon and even larger parts of water. The water is something which is worth much more than gold. Yet we have been fooled into believing that it is Land and the minerals and other treasures in it that are more precious and to some people, even worth dying for.
Wars are fought over territory and finite resources and contentious matters of who owns what and who deserves which share are part of the historical underdevelopment of humanity. Humanity has found many ways to digress or become distracted and far removed from what our priorities should be.
When we consider the supposition that the next world wars will be about the struggle for Water, what should we be preoccupied with right now? The work of the scientist and the philosopher and the guardian of Ancient ways should be all connected to the preservation of Water.
Let us tell you why:
‘How We and Them A Go Work It Out’: A new way is possible
“The roots of underdevelopment lie in the entanglement of African societies in the mercantile capitalist system of the world through the nexus of international trade. The main architect of Africa’s underdevelopment was, and remains, Western capitalism.” – S.Ndlovu-Gatsheni, decoloniality as the Future of Africa, 2015
Disclaimer: The title of this essay is inspired by a line from Bob Marley and the Wailers Song, Rat Race.