Magic Visions: An Online Exhibition by
The Centre for Visual Art, University of KwaZulu-Natal
THE LAND IN LIMPOPO
but was it yours to offer?
Possession means that one has control of the land. It says nothing about whether that person has a legal right to possess that land.
Limpopo is home to ancient lands and pre-historic secrets. This is home to Modjadji, the fabled Rain Queen, the Stone Age and Iron age relics of Makapansgat Valley and the treasures of Mapungubwe that date back to time immemorial. Historians reveal that the first black Africans moved across the great Limpopo before 300 AD. The Voortrekkers arrived in Limpopo in the early nineteenth century and numerous battles between the indigenous African people and the Voortrekkers took place.
The seminomadic pastoral Afrikaner farmers called Voortrekkers, in the mid-1830s, began to move northbeyond the borders of the Cape Colony with the aim of organizing an exodus from British-controlled territory. They moved north from the Cape, crossed the Vaal River and entered the area, where they settled,after driving the Ndebele north of the Limpopo River.In November 1837, the Voortrekker leader Hendrik Potgieter laid claim all of the land between it and the Vaal River.
The establishment of the South African Republic had its origins in 1837 when the commandos of Potgieter and Piet Uys defeated a Matabele raiding party of Mzilikazi and drove them back over the Limpopo river. Potgieter declared the lands north and south of the Vaal River as Boer lands.
In 1848 the British Governor of the Cape, Sir Harry Smith, issued a proclamation declaring British sovereignty over all the lands to the north and to the south of the Vaal River.
The Natives Land Act 27 of 1913. Through this Act of parliament, the colonial authorities ratified and legalized the exclusion of South Africa’s indigenous black majority from land ownership in favour of the white minority.
Between 1941 and 1965 communities in Limpopo Province, were dispossessed of their lands. Contemporary post-apartheid South African land struggles are haunted by a history of systematic and ideological dispossession. While apartheid-era forced dispossession is justifiably infamous, the history of colonial dispossession fundamentally shaped the South African landscape well before 1948. The Boer South African Republic's claiming of ownership of all land north of the Vaal River and south of the Limpopo was but the start of a long process of colonial and racially discriminatory dispossession.
KGOMOTSO PHALANDWA JOHANNES MASALESA is the cultural tour guide at the Mapungubwe National Park situated in the Limpopo Province. He describes the rocky outcrop in the parkcalled Serutu or Nyende (the place where the rainmakers prayed for rain) as being the inspiration for GERARDLEENDERT PIETER MOERDIJK’s design of the Voortrekker Monument. Moerdijk who was born in 1890 and died in 1958 (in the Limpopo Province), in turn, vacillated between his inspiration for the monument. Originally, he said it was the ancient Egyptian Temples and architecture; and,later, when criticised, said it was inspired by the biblical altar built by Abram.
Mapungubwe -place of ancestors-. Kgomotso Phalandwa Johannes Masalesa 2014
Who inspired the design of the Voortrekker Monument: Pharaoh or Abram? Dolf Britz 2018