So a few months back, just before the national lockdown in fact, I attended a meeting with my grandfather, the induna.
After the meeting I asked him about the land of our great ancestors, which is being given away freely to strangers, without our input or consent and his response sounded as if his hands were tied. I reminded him nicely that the chieftancy which Mdambiso rejected (because he didn’t want to deal with the English) is ours, a fact which the Dumas (current chiefs) acknowledge.
I decided to leave the conversation there, because:
1) I am not the child-bearing type (So I can’t speak for non-existent offspring)
2) I am a woman and not the marrying type (women cook, clean and care for families around here, they don’t discuss land)
3) I have learned the art of picking my battles and staying firmly in my own lane. Not yet mastered it!
I was clearly not the only person observing this trend of giving our land away willy-nilly, because at Babomncane’s funeral the issue resurfaced (and no, I wasn’t part of that discussion).
Most of the men in our family/clan have passed on, so we are vulnerable and easy to intimidate and dismiss.
Yesterday the young men of the clan showed bravery when they summoned the powers that be and asked them to reserve land for them and their children to build homes. A move that I support wholeheartedly. It is this altruism, that I inherited from my dad that made us the rime targets for ‘political killings’ in the 90s. A story for another day.
At this point we must just forget about having gardens in the future. We are slowly becoming a township and I find this sad, because we don’t have a lot of economic activity in the area. We need agricultural land, even if it’s just to sustain our households.
Ilali is losing its laliness (I have just invented a word!!!)