History of land disempowerment in Africa
Manungo, Kenneth D.
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It is important that there be a general acceptance of the premise that "access to and ownership of land” are at the centre of the discourse of this book. If that is accepted, then the "control and utilisation of this asset" should precede all the other debates and discussions. There is, therefore, the need to go back to the past and find out how humans worldwide have related to land. The emphasis on "humans worldwide” should never be lost sight of. Land is at the centre of the human being’s existence all over the world. Let us take the simple beginnings of the human being at birth. In the Zimbabwean experience, or more specifically the Shona experience, when one is born the ‘umbilical cord’ is cut and then buried in the ground. This is a very significant step in the life of a human being in Zimbabwe, and perhaps worldwide. For the Zimbabweans, that simple step of burying that which gave life to the newborn signifies the connection between the newborn and the land in which the umbilical cord is being buried. For that reason, there is that connection which is permanent between the two: the land and the human being. God in His wisdom, decided to place each group of human beings in its own geographical location on this earth. The Africans, in their different groupings, were placed in Africa. The Asians, in their different groups, were given their own locations. The Native Americans too were placed in their own areas. The problems started when individuals and some groups among the different groups became greedy and, subsequently, expanded and encroached on other people’s lands.