SETTING THE STAGE FOR THINGS TO COME:
In the beginning of the enduring legacy of exclusion and the possession of land in South Africa dates back to 1652 with the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck. As a symbol, Van Riebeeck planted a massive hedge, with the intention of demarcating the extent of his property ownership and to prevent encroachment of neighboring tribes. As you can imagine this must have been a massive culture shock for the Khoikhoi who had up to this point had free access to all the land. The great Khoikhoi leader Autshumato, was cordial at first but slowly a mutual animosity developed over access to pastures. By 1657 Van Riebeeck “granted”, by royal decree, title deeds to nine Dutchman in what is now known as Bishopscourt. For Autshumato this was not taken lightly and so began their 150-year resistance to prevent the Europeans from taking their land.
By the time Van Riebeeck left in 1662, 250 Europeans lived in what was beginning to look like a developing colony making clear exclusion of the native people. In just eight years at the Cape, Van Riebeek had sown the seeds of a division that continues to harm us till this day.