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DNA tests prove human beings are 99.9% identical. So I’m in RW Johnson’s camp when he says there is no such thing as race. Differences which exist between members of our species stem from environment and culture – not from how we are wired. Yet those who would profit from it, persist in highlighting race as a differentiator, which is just sad. “Land reform” has become another convenient political football. With heightened hypocrisy, too. Massive tracts of un-utilised lands controlled by traditional leaders are not up for “reform”. But, like Zimbabwe, all white farms are, even if they happened to have legally acquired and paid for decades before. The self-righteous justification is that at somewhere in the past, ancestors of today’s farmers “stole” the land from the ancestors of others. And that date of the theft keeps shifting. President Jacob Zuma says the infamous 1913 Lands Act can no longer be used as the starting point. Because, he argued this week, very little land changed hands after it – so he simply backdates it to some undetermined date in the 1800s. South Africa’s first national census was done in 1904 at which time the country’s entire population was 5.2m (of whom just over a million were whites – 21.6%). As there are now ten times more of us (whites – 8.8%), it’s hard to conceptualise this huge country with so few people. Back then the vast plains were occupied by wild animals which migrated freely. Very little land was “owned” much less farmed in the modern sense. There has been ample time since the dawn of SA’s democracy to highlight where abuses occurred. Yet politicians and those they listen to persist in pounding a hypocritical land distribution drum which only serves to feed fear and greed. What a pity they use this as a tool to highlight the 0.1% where people differ. Rather than following the example of the iconic Nelson Mandela who focused on the 99.9% to forge a nation. – Alec Hogg
By Naledi Shange, News24
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.