THE BIGGEST LIE IN COLONIAL HISTORY OF AFRICA is “expropriation of land in South Africa without compensation”: By Dr. Motsoko Pheko

Today, Africans have no land in South Africa even water because some ANC

leaders misled them on the political history of their country and on how

colonialists manipulated international law. In the constitution of South Africa the ANC dealt with the symptoms of the disease apartheid instead of the real disease colonialism and the African people’s dispossession of land. This was in 1994 when they accepted Section 25 of “New South Africa.” In 2020, twenty five years after the ANC made this blunder of the first magnitude; they are repeating it in a new form and many white colonialists are spreading false propaganda that their land is being “expropriated” from them without compensation.

The whole history of colonisation of the African people in South Africa (Azania) is ignored and manipulated to suite imperialist interests despite a glaring history of dispossession of land.

The long settlement of colonialists in South Africa by force of arms has not passed any right to them to own this African land at the expense of its rightful owners. It does not matter how long Europeans have been settlers here. Azania remains the land of African people by right of first occupation on this continent of Africa; and by divine design and plan. This African country cannot be negotiated on terms that suit the colonialists.

The fact is, In South Africa colonialists expropriated land from Africans without compensation and dispossessed them of land. They [colonialists] have no right to reject “expropriation of land without compensation.” They did not do this when they took this country from Africans through colonial terrorism and barbarism.

The land question will never be resolved in South Africa for Africans until the truth is faced. Battles of Keiskamahoek, Isandlwana, Thababosiuu, Blood River, Qalabane and many others were over repossession of land. They were fought against expropriation of land from Africans. What is required in this African country now is not this monotonous and misleading debate about “expropriation of land and compensation;” which will lead nowhere.

The issue is on the implementation of the demand that was placed before King George V in July 1914 by the 1912 ANC. It said, “…that the natives (Africans) should be put into possession of land in proportion to their numbers, and on the same conditions as the white race.” This was justly and vigorously pursued by the Pan Africanist Congress since its formation on 6 th April 1959.

In 1913 Africans were allocated 7% of their own country by white settles. When this was totally inadequate. 6% was added to this in 1936. At that time Africans were five million people. Settlers were 349,837. Today Africans in South Africa are 47 million and whites are about 4.7 million.

They are making “expropriation of the land” without compensation a diversion from the main objective of dispossession of land which requires the equitable distribution of land. That is that Africans must own more land according to their majority. This has not happened since Mandela ANC rule for 25 years. In fact, the Africa majority is sinking in poverty deeper and deeper.

Colonial Deception That A Colony Can Be “Independent”

The biggest lie in the colonial history of Africa and the world is that South Africa was granted “independence” in 1909. In international law if Britain granted South Africa independence under colonial-settler rule, this would have been illegal. That kind of “independence” is not the meaning of self-determination. It, therefore, was null and void because it deprived the African people of their right to self-determination.

Moreover, the purported “independence” would have been an unlawful reneging of the declared British colonial policy that the interests of Africans in its colonies were paramount.

The Joint Select Committee of the British Parliament restated the British colonial policy in 1931. It declared, “The doctrine of paramountcy means no more than that the interests of the overwhelming majority of the indigenous population should not be subordinated to those of a minority belonging to another race, however important in itself.” (The Joint Select Committee of [British] Parliament 1931)

The British Government warned the settlers in its colonies of the consequences of any betrayal of the paramountcy of the interests of the indigenous people over those of the settlers. “Any derogation from this solemn pledge would in the view of His Majesty’s Government, be not only a flagrant breach of trust, also in view of its inevitable effect upon the natives [indigenous Africans] a serious calamity from which the whole colony would not fail to suffer.” (Ibid)

How did the African people in South Africa end up being the only ones “negotiating” their freedom not with Britain but with the colonial settlers? How is it that South Africa is the only British colony in the world that was not decolonised by Britain when it had been a British colony?

How did a British colonial parliament have the power of imprisoning Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe in Robben Island without even a mock trial and have in its record the “Sobukwe Clause”? How deep is European racism? To this day, Africans in “New South Africa” are still land dispossessed. The national liberation of the African people has at the end of the day been thrown into the dustbin of “apartheid” when it was clearly fundamentally colonial, by all standards of international law.

On this matter of colonisation of Africa, the British colonial policy had been stated on many occasions. In 1923, particularly with Kenya in mind, another British colony; it was the Conservative Secretary of State, Duke of Devonshire who proclaimed that “Primarily, Kenya is an African territory and His Majesty’s Government think it necessary, to record their considered opinion that the interests of African natives, is to be paramount and if, those interests and the interests of immigrant races should conflict, the former should prevail.” (Ibid)

During the First European World War in 1914-1918, Africans in South Africa as loyal British subjects fought for His Britannic Majesty. They were optimistic that they would be rewarded with freedom and decolonisation of their country. In 1917, on behalf of the British Government Sir Richard Winfred, a Cabinet Minister wrote to Sol Plaatje the Secretary of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC). That is the 1912 ANC before betrayal by the 1955 ANC of today.

He said, “At the close of war we shall do all in our power to help you regain that justice and freedom to which as loyal British subjects your people [Africans] are justly entitled.” (Presidential Address 8 th Annual Conference of the South African NativeNational Congress, 6 May 1919)

There have been many kinds of colonial tricks to deceive the world that racist colonial South Africa was an “independent state.” For example, it was argued that South Africa’s membership of the League of Nations was proof that South Africa was not a colony.

This was deliberate dishonesty. Article 1(2) of the League of Nations stipulated the conditions for membership. It provided that a state or colony could by a two thirds majority vote of members of the League of Nations be admitted into membership of this League.

In fact, the Union of South Africa 1909 Act to constitute the union of the four British colonies as South Africa declared that “The Union shall have full powers and authority within the limits of the colonies…” Even by its own law Britain had initially pronounced the Union of South Africa as a colony.

India, a British colony was a member of both the League of Nations in 1919 an of the United Nations in 1945.

This applies to the Philippines which was an American colony. India became independent on 15 August 1947. South Africa does not even have a date when it can be said to have been given official independence by Britain. South Africa also signed and ratified The Statute Of Permanent Court Of International Justice of 1921. So, did India another then British colony.

It is not surprising that the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), an African Liberation Movement easily got South Africa expelled from the United Nations in 1982 and South Africa’s status as a “state” in international law rejected, reversed and terminated.

Instead the United Nations granted the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) a UN observer status. PAC shared that status with its sister organisation the ANC. The ANC of course, had played no role in the fight to expel South Africa from the United Nations; since it held that South Africa was a “sovereign state.”The ANC held this erroneous position from 26 th June 1955 through what it called “Freedom Charter” which is really nothing but the Freedoom Charter or Freedom Cheater.

Indeed, the Australian writer John Pilger has reported Nelson Mandela after visiting P.W.Botha of the apartheid colonialist regime as later saying, ‘I came out feeling that I had met a creative, warm head of state who treated me with all the respect and dignity I could expect.

It is puzzling in the superlative degree, how that in Kenya Jomo Kenyatta was imprisoned and so many Kenyans had to die before their country was returned to them by Britain considering the above utterances of British officials. It is mind-boggling to understand how Britain never fulfilled its promises concerning the decolonisation of Africans in South Africa even after Sharpeville and Soweto massacres where Africans died demanding their land and the right for proper education. Instead, South Africa under Hendrik Verwoerd was allowed to rebel, break away from Britain as a colony and declared itself a “Republic” in which Africans had no say.

Colonialism Wherever It Came Was Illegal

International law shows that colonial settlers could not legally acquire the country of an indigenous people by terrorist invasion or by merely because they have lived in it for a long time in it. In essence the expropriation debate is premised on the wrong principle. We can not discuss expropriation with colonial settlers. Here are some examples to illustrate this point. The Chinese territory of Macao was occupied by the Portuguese in 1549.The colonial power settled its inhabitants and claimed this territory as its own. The Peoples’ Republic of China rejected this Portuguese colonial assertion.

China claimed Macao as its own territory in international law. Macao was restored to China on 20 th December 1999. China demanded the same for Hong Kong which Britain had claimed as its own since 1842. This territory was to be restored to its rightful owners, the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1997.

In Africa the territories of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde Island, Angola and Mozambique were occupied and settled by the Portuguese colonial forces in 1440, 1482 and 1497 respectively.

The African liberation movements of these African countries refused to accept the Portuguese argument that because they had settled in these territories for a long time, they were entitled to ownership, and could usurp sovereignties of these African countries.

When Portugal persisted in its illegal and terrorist colonial occupation, the national liberation movements of these territories –African Party of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde Island, FNLA, MPLA, UNITA in Angola resorted to an armed struggle against Portuguese colonialism and imperialism. FRELIMO and COREMO did likewise in Mozambique.

Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde regained their independence on 5 th April 1975 Angola 11 th November 1975, and Mozambique 25 th June 1975. Guinea Bissau had been under Portuguese colonial rule through colonial terrorism for 533 years, in Angola for 493 years and in Mozambique for 475 years.

The view that long colonial settlement does not transfer the land of the indigenous people to colonial invaders and aggressors was articulated by India’s Representative in the United Nations Security Council. From 17 to 18 December 1961, India ordered her troops to seize the territories of Goa, Donao and Diu on the Indian subcontinent.

On 18 th December 1961,Portugal which had settled these territories for over 400 years by conquest; asked the UN Security Council to act against the aggression of India and order India to withdraw from these territories forthwith.

Ambassador C.S. Jha for India submitted that, “This is a colonial question, in the sense that, that part of our country is illegally occupied by right of conquest by the Portuguese. The fact that they [Portuguese] have occupied it for 450 years is of no consequence….

I would like to put this matter very clearly before the Council, that Portugal has no sovereign right over this territory…since the whole occupation is illegal as an issue. It started in an illegal manner. It continues to be illegal today and it is even more illegal in the light of Resolution 1514 9(XXV). (987 th meeting of the United Nations Security Council 17 th December 1961)

The American Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, led the Western countries – most of which like Portugal were colonialists and imperialists. They criticised India. But India was adamant on this matter. Sri Lanka, Liberia and Egypt vigorously supported India’s position as being correct in international law.


“One who wants to create a future must not forget the past” Dr. Muziwakhe Lembede a great scholar, lawyer, political scientist, philosopher and shining star of the 1912 Congress Youth League in South Africa said in the 1940’s.

“Until the lions have their own history, the history of the hunt will glorify the hunters,” Prof. Chinua Achebe that prolific African writer and scholar proclaimed through this African proverb.

“History is a clock that tells a people their historical time of the day. It is a compass that people use to locate themselves on the map of human geography. A people’s history tells them where they have been, where they are now, more importantly, where they still must go,” Dr. John Henrik Clarke a leading African American scholar.

The 1955 ANC betrayed Africans on the land question a long time ago. It will never do anything serious about this and realistically until there is an uncontrollable explosion in the country; as they did about the water crisis in Qwaqwa where the African people there had been robbed of not only land, but of even essential commodity as water.

Perhaps I must close this discussion by saying that King Moshoeshoe seems to have been right when he said, “It may be you white people do not steal cattle, but you steal whole countries, and if you had your wish you would send us to pasture our cattle in the clouds.”

The 1912 ANC never deviated from a position of equitable distribution of land.It is unjust and democratic for a minority to own more land than the majority, especially in a country that was a victim of colonialism and land dispossession.

In April 1960 Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe of the PAC told a white magistrate court which tried him and his colleagues for the Sharpeville Uprising of 21 st March 1960 that: “We believe in one race only,

The human race to which we belong….

We stand for equal rights for all individuals

But the whites have to accept allegiance

To Africa first………………………….

Once a truly non-racial democracy

Exists in South Africa, all individuals

Shall be accepted as Africans.

As individuals, we do not count.

We are but tools of history which

Always find new tools.

We are not afraid of the

Consequences of our actions

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