The Cornel

At the top of this land reform act you have two committees: one represents the war veterans and one representing the land itself. Understanding the war vets association is something I’m still trying to do, however this particular piece is more about the guy in charge there we call The Cornel [Mostly because he is a war vet and that’s his rank but also because I can’t pronounce his surname let alone spell it!]

He’s not a bad guy. He actually tries to do what’s best for the country and its agriculture. Usually this benefits the true farmers. By true farmers I mean those who actually produce products on their farm for people outside their household a.k.a. the weekend farmers and land grabbers. These weekend farmers are the ones who leave hectares and hectors of land untended after forcefully removing the original farmers. The weekend farmers are the ones who allowed the country to slip into a famished-state and they are the ones we don’t like.

Throughout this whole land reform period of about 11 years, he has gotten to know this family very well. He was also partially responsible for asking them to come back here and fix the farm that was taken from them years ago… only to have it taken again right at the brink of success.

When he found out that someone had already started moving into the property during the Clause 17 24hour period, he was properly pissed off. Firstly because he is supposed to have a say in who get’s the land the WVA and the Land Office have to be in agreement. In this case they seem to have by-passed him in an effort to bulldoze this family of their farm. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been this upset if it wasn’t for the fact that the guy who now lives there also had a farm given to him a few years ago [a brilliantly running farm that he has managed to run right into the ground in only a few short years]. Of course the fact that he understands the state of the countries food supply and how important this dairy farm was and knowing that he convinced them to come back with the promise that the land is theirs, must have weighed in.

He’s not a bad guy and when he saw for himself how quickly those vultures moved in, he instructed his driver to go to town. Now as small as that gesture sounds, it actually implies that he got into his car and drove straight to Bob. In case you aren’t fully in the loop: ‘Bob’ is the president. The Cornel is so well respected that he can actually do that. He can actually drive right past the presidents guards and walk in to see his old friend.

What this means exactly, we won’t know for a while and I’m not even sure it will really change any plans but just the fact that someone sees how much this one family has survived and what they actually mean to the community and country as a whole, is a nice gesture in tough times like these. There has been a lot of speculation that the family will either get their farm back [for the 3rd time] or at least a piece of it with the house and dairy on. To tell you the truth that was all the family really wanted anyway, they were fine with only keeping 100 hectares and allowing the government to redistribute the other 700. At this point it’s just a matter of manners and people who keep going back on their word or who are overruled by land grabbers.

Whatever happens, at least this time the family isn’t fighting by themselves. All of their employees are devastated by their departure and even most war veterans admit that taking this land from these farmers is a mistake. With The Cornel standing up for this family and the land they have nourished, there is still a glimpse of hope.

Just for the record: this is just one family! I can only tell you what I see with my own eyes but I can assure you that there have been thousands of others too. I’m tempted to say that there will still be thousands more but unfortunately that would be a lie since there are less than a hundred farmers left who do not qualify to retain their land. By the looks of things, come elections mid 2011 even those farmers will no longer posses their lands.

These are interesting times we live in and I just hope that more people realize how needed these underappreciated farmers really are.

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