“This Land” is an important new documentary about the resistance of the people of Makhasaneni against the threat of mining that premiered at the Encounters Film Festival this year. Come and watch it with us at CLP where we’ll be joined by a leading figure in the struggle of the people of Makhasaneni, and a good friend of CLP’s for a number of years, Rev Mavuso.
Introducing the documentary, Encounters Film Fest said: “In Makhasaneni, a hamlet in rural KwaZulu-Natal, scores of villagers are under threat of forced removal for the second time in as many generations. Forcibly moved here by the apartheid government, now their homes are under threat by a mining company in cahoots with the Entembeni Zulu Royal Family, and who seek to exploit the land over the heads of the people who live and work on it. An eloquent portrait of the activists and residents of Makhasaneni, This Land is also a brave and necessary exposé of the inadequacy of customary law in a predatory capitalist state.”
We’ve also attached a review of the film by Marelise van der Merwe for the Daily Maverick. She points out that the documentary “chronicles the battle for the land of Makhasaneni – a by-now familiar struggle. In 2011, residents discovered geologists prospecting on their land. Soon afterwards, crops began dying. The soil and water became too contaminated to continue farming. The land, they learned, had been sold to mining giant Jindal Africa by their chief, who got the go-ahead from the Ingonyama Trust. Ingonyama, set up at the tail end of apartheid, holds nearly three million hectares of traditional land in KwaZulu-Natal, with King Goodwill Zwelithini as the sole trustee. … ‘This Land’ also details the dispute between community members and Amafa/ Heritage KwaZulu-Natal, after the latter introduced a variety of wildlife to the area. … ‘We have suffered a lot under the name of heritage and tourism,’ one farmer observes wryly. It is not unusual for rural communities to lose their own heritage in the name of national heritage, national treasures, or simply the hunt for resources, says Mavuso”.