Dear Mr Malema, if you can win my Zurich land back, I’m out of here

Dear Mr Malema, if you can win my Zurich land back, I’m out of here, by Melt van der Spuy. The land debate has resurfaced as a hot topic in South Africa in recent times. Former ANC Youth League leader and now the head of the EFF, Julius Malema, has persistently called for expropriation of land without compensation.

As a Social Justice and Community Development Practitioner who works in the Church and NGO sector, I agree with you regarding the necessity of some form of restitution needing to be made for the theft of land during the Colonial and Apartheid eras respectively. …

‘Invasion, conquest and dispossession’ was the prevailing pattern of all colonisers from the time of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire and more recently the European Colonizers (whether Spanish, English, French, German, Dutch, Italian or Portuguese.) The fact that it was the prevailing pattern doesn’t make it right, it just serves to recognise that all of humanity followed this pattern.

Let me state equally clearly that ‘invasion, conquest and dispossession’ was the pattern of land theft followed by Mzilikazi, the Matabele leader whose very name means ‘trail of blood.’ During the Mfecane (‘the crushing’) which lasted between 15 and 18 years, he murdered his way across Southern Africa uniting the new Ndebele order and killing all who opposed his vision. ‘Be a part of us or die’ was the choice facing those even thinking about opposing Mzilikazi. …

Let’s also be clear about the fact that many European Settlers arriving in new lands were forcibly removed from their own lands in Europe, and had to flee because of the persecution they were facing in their home countries! …

Protestant Huguenots from as far afield as France and Switzerland fled to South Africa for reasons strongly faith related, rather than ‘with any agenda to rape, steal and pillage’. They were looking for a fresh and a free start. …

My heritage on my mother’s side, stems directly from these Swiss Huguenots. There is still a family castle outside of Zurich in a little village called Elgg. The castle is known as ‘Schloss Elgg’ …

My mother’s tribe was a short, squat (mostly fat to be honest), warmongering people by the name of Werdmuller von Elgg. …

The little Werdmuller clan was forced off their land near Zurich and made to flee Switzerland and heretical faith was the reason given for their expulsion. …

When land is (rightfully) given back to the native African people from whom it was illegitimately usurped (no debate about that at all), do the descendants of Mzilikazi give back the land they stole from the other African tribes and make restitution for the murder of the Khoi and San people they killed along the way, or are they off the hook? Does restitution apply only to white colonizers?

Since Switzerland has been independent from the Roman Catholic Church for some time now, to whom do I make claim for restitution of our few acres of land outside of Zurich? Jules, if you can get that back for me, I’m out of here. I promise to be gone by the end of 2017.

Brilliant.

hat-tip Stephen Neil