Insiders Insight: Namibian land reform & the ongoing fight for freedom
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This week’s free preview section (scroll down) is about Namibia’s debates over land reform, but first here are all the sections non-subscribers are missing out on:
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Namibia debates land reform
South Africa received a lot of unwanted – and unwarranted – attention last month after US President Donald Trump falsely accused the country of taking land from white farmers as part of a land reform agenda. The country is only debating potential land reform options.
A similar discussion is playing out in the north in Namibia, where President Hage Geingob has called a national land reform conference in October to discuss critical issues about land distribution in a country where the minority white population holds an outsized portion.
Germany colonised Namibia in the 1880s, brutally suppressing uprisings. The German government only last week returned skulls of Namibians killed in those uprisings and sent to Germany in a bid to “prove” European superiority. In the midst of World War I, South Africa seized the territory and the apartheid government administered it through 1990.
In the aftermath of colonisation, Namibia has wrestled with reallocating land to its disadvantaged black population. But Geingob acknowledged that the standing principle of willing seller, willing buyer has not worked. He is calling for a national discussion to expedite efforts to 43% of the country’s arable agricultural land in the hands of black farmers by 2020.
A variety of proposals are being floated, including expropriation with appropriate compensation, though Geingob appears intent on reaching some kind of resolution. “Government is opening up these difficult policy conversations,” he said, when announcing the national dialogue, “because no one should be under the illusion that our fight for freedom is complete.”
- ‘It’s true whites stole the land, but they also have Namibian blood’: President Geingob (Sunday Times)
- Namibia to hold land talks in October (Reuters)
Compiled by @_andrew_green
This week’s editorial team: @PeterDoerrie, @_andrew_green, @jamesjwan
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