A framework for a sustainable land use management system in traditional Xhosa cultural geo-social zone of the rural Eastern Cape South Africa
Williams, A. D.
MetadataShow full item record
Spatial planning in the Eastern Cape has generally pursued an ethos or set of rationalities that were founded in the colonial and apartheid eras. These rationalities were also embedded in the pursuit of modernity and a specific development trajectory which favoured the white community. In line with these ideological pursuits Xhosa culture and the geographic space it occupied were systematically reduced to serve a very distinct set of activities involving fulfilling the racially prejudiced demands for cheap and unskilled labour for the mines, industry and commercial farming sectors of the country. In spite of the unbelievable hardship and inhuman manipulation associated with these eras, Xhosa culture has survived. The heart of this culture is bound up in the dictum “I am because you are” and the journey of “becoming human” and nurturing “relationship” to achieve this. Relationship spans the living, the unborn and the departed. The geographic space that resonates with this dictum has been shaped by it: space then in the context of the Xhosa culture is a social construct and land is one medium through which this is realised. Access to land and the pursuit of Xhosa culture is a birth right. The drive to establish one spatial planning land use management system across the Province has raised concerns in that is this actually possible given the existence of such diverse rationalities between those pursued by traditional customary Xhosa culture and the modernist driven culture of spatial planning? This explores this complex web of cultural ideologies within the history and context of this Province in order to establish an answer to what is a critical question. Implicated too are notions of justice and international best practice. The prospect of the top down imposition of a state driven set of foreign developmental concepts that undermines or does not promote Xhosa culture may be regarded as unconstitutional. Notwithstanding, any culturally unacceptable imposition has within it the potential to undermine social cohesion and any real prospect for sustainable development. Spatial planning should seek to transform and enable in line with cultural norms and standards. Spatial planning should seek to serve.