I have a farm, which I started about a year ago. It’s not much land — about three acres, but it’s something. When the whole #BlackMonday thing happened last week, I realised that there were these farmers blocking traffic and stuff to protest these murders and I get that.
Nobody should be killed. Nobody. We’ve been talking about the land issue, but for me the big issue is people aren’t looking at pieces of land and saying, “I want some of that because my family is hungry.”
Yes, most of the really productive land is still in the hands of white people, but the #BlackMonday thing made me realise that now is the time for us as black people to really get in there — even if it is just by starting with planting vegetables in our backyards.
In addition to this farm, I also started planting vegetables in my backyard at home — beetroot, spinach, spring onion — and that tiny space created quite a big yield.
So, imagine if everyone did that and had their family members plant different veggies, you could feed entire families and even start selling.
Yes, there is a lot of red tape when applying for a piece of farmland — and you do need money — but I don’t think there is anything really stopping us from getting in there. If the interest and the will are there, all of us can get in there. Because if you start in your backyard, you’ll eventually see the need to scale up and try to get access to more land.
That’s the way we’ll get going. That’s the land conversation I’d like us to be having.
I believe the land thing will happen organically if we start talking about what we’re going to do with it. #BlackMonday made me see that now is the time for us to start.
Nonkululeko Britton-Masekela, 33, as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian