Land : Major factor in struggle for independence

By Admire Huni

AS the country celebrates 41 years of independence this month, it is an opportunity for Zimbabweans to celebrate key achievements such as the land reform programme which has opened up vast economic opportunities for the previously disadvantaged black majority.

Mashonaland Central Province has flourished on the basis of agriculture and mining, with 70 per cent of the workforce absorbed in the two productive sectors.

But; productive land was the preserve of the white minority before independence and even after as the settlers refused to relinquish the land.

Mazowe farmer Fleming Dhlamini relives the struggle he went through just to get 20 hectares to produce maize.

I started piggery in Chiweshe where I actually came in 1992. I did not have enough grain to produce stock feed. I spoke to a number of white commercial farmers to see if they could give me, I was looking at say 20 hectares only to plant grain so that I could use that for stock feed and none of them could give me anything at all, he said.

Dhlamini’s turn to control the means of production, however, came with the Agrarian Land Reform after he was allocated Kildram farm in 2002 where he now boasts of 130 hectares of maize.

So when the land reform programme was introduced I couldn’t believe and I was on those firsts who knocked on the doors of the lands ministry and here we are today it has transformed my life.

According to Bindura University Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Dean, Professor Charles Pfukwa, land was always a grievance from the onset of colonial occupation as it forms the basis of all production.

We don’t want to see the land issue as a factor that is necessarily immersed in the Second Chimurenga, we must trace it back to the years of European occupation, the years dating back to 1890. They usurped the land. They usurped the basic means of human existence of our ancestors, noted Pfukwa.

To enjoy the fruits of independence, Zimbabweans must continue to sustainably utilise the land.

There is no excuse there is no looking back especially for the younger generation. You can talk of other resources but all of them you travel back to the land. So, any discourses of relevance to the nation are necessarily tied to the land, he added.  

The bumper harvest now being delivered to grain silos is a reflection that the aspirations of freedom fighters in the liberation struggle were not in vain as the nation marches towards industrialisation espoused in Vision 2030 which is the final frontier towards economic freedom.

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