Crisis in South Africa

The terms I looked up on OneSearch was “Gracchi “land reform” Africa” and I found the article “South Africa’s Land Reform Crisis: Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid” by Bernadette Atuahene. I would say the audience the author intended for are people who are very well versed in the history and politics of South Africa. The article is very specific with statistics so the audience the article targets are people who already have a lot of prior knowledge on such information. The article I found goes into a lot of detail on the problems that are occurring in South Africa as they are trying to give back the blacks land the whites had taken from them. Land is being transferred from the whites to blacks because the land the whites had were taken under colonialism and Apartheid. Only some of the terms I used linked together. Gracchi didn’t appear anywhere in the article but “Africa” and “land reform” were mentioned a lot in the article, for example, “The ANC must realize that aggressive land reform would be far less destabilizing than a violent revolt.” From page 23 of the reading “The Romans, as they subdued the Italian peoples successively in war, used to seize a part of their lands and build towns there, or enroll colonists of their own to occupy those already existing, and their idea was to use these as outposts; but of the land acquired by war they assigned the cultivated part forthwith to the colonists, or sold or leased it.” This shows that the Romans gained their land through invading other lands and colonialism. Similar to the white people who took over and colonized South Africa to make their own. Also just like in South Africa, there isn’t an easy remedy for the way they deprived men of their land and homes. The rich won’t give up their land to the poor because they want to keep the benefits without any care for the poor even though they have the power to help.

Atuahene, B. (2011). South Africa’s Land Reform Crisis: Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid. Foreign Affairs, 90(4), 121-129.

-Alvin Zhao, Team Venus



Land Reform But To What End?

Appropriate Citation:

McInnis, Edward. “The Antebellum American Textbook Authors’ Populist History of Roman Land Reform and the Gracchi Brothers.” Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society; Oxford, Vol. 7, Iss. 1,  2015, 6 November 2017.

The main audience for this essay is anyone who is a student that needs to accurately learn about the Grachi land reform policy and its connection to the modern day American political system. We see the author merge the two topics after he briefly gives a backstory to the history of the Grachus brothers and then brings to the attention of the reader behind the reason the topics are connected “2,000 years later, American political leaders and commentators would resurrect parts of the history of the Gracchan reform effort to promote their own causes and agendas.”(26)

“What Gracchus had in his mind in proposing the measure was not money, but men. Inspired greatly by the usefulness of the work, and believing that nothing more advantageous or admirable could ever happen to Italy, he took no account of the difficulties surrounding it.”(Pg 25, Readings) An example showing that Grachus the originator of the theory that land reform would be beneficial to all was just like all the current power seeking American politicians who are ironically just seeking power and glory like Grachus

Bedirhan Gonul, Team Aphrodite


Throughout history, one’s symbol of status, a source of social and political influence and value/wealth was often determined by means of how much land he or she possessed. The value of land in an area is determined based on how scarce it is. Thus, the less amount of land that is available for use, the more valuable it would be. In turn, when there is a huge population and not enough of something, as with many things in life, the land is distributed unequally which causes conflicts in communities amongst economic and social classes/groups. This is where land reforms come in. By definition, land reforms are “a purposive change in the way in which agricultural land is held or owned, the methods of cultivation that are employed, or the relation of agriculture to the rest of the economy.”(Tuma)

“When the African National Congress (ANC) took power in 1994, with the black majority’s overwhelming backing, whites owned about 87% of South Africa’s farmland. The new government set a target for at least 30% of it to be transferred to blacks by 2014. More than a decade on, only 4% has changed hands.” (The Economist) Therefore, after the period of apartheid, the land was clearly not distributed fairly and the land reform did not work. The article uses the search term in many instances. For example, Mohammad Karaan, who chairs the National Agricultural Marketing Council states,”It’s not the lack of will but rather the lack of synchronization between state and market that fails land reform” (The Economist). The main reason as to why reform doesn’t work is because the reformers (government) proclaim to carry out certain objectives and make promises to appeal to the disadvantaged ones, the blacks in South Africa, but to no avail. There are, however many other contributing factors that play a role in the failure of land reform. The South African government blames the farmers for raising the prices of their land, the Department of Land Affairs is lacking the properly trained officials, files have been lost and when land is eventually sold many do not know how to run a farm and due to industrialization farm workers are left unemployed. Simply put,  the government and landowners need to work hand in hand to cater to each other needs instead of pointing fingers and casting blame. This article was written for the audience of the general public, specifically those interested in land reform in South Africa

During the Roman Republic, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus sponsored land reforms in an effort to restore the class of small independent farmers. In the section, Appian Civil Wars,8, he proposed, “that nobody should hold more than 500 jugera of this land” ( Readings on the Roman Republic page 24) the land that was acquired from the wars. He wanted any extra land that the rich owned to be taken away and given to the poor. However, he wasn’t successful because the ones who he proposed this law to, the Senate, were mainly the ones who owned the land because of their wealth. Eventually, “Gracchus himself … was slain at the door close by the statues of the kings”(page 26). Hence, it is clear to see that from the second century in the Roman Republic up to present day in South Africa, land reform is, in fact, tricky to implement. Both then and now land reform has the ability to help out the poor areas but rich people prefer to remain on top and become angry when anyone wants equality and change.

Chanté, Team Venus

Source Citations   (MLA)

“Why land reform is so tricky; South Africa.” The Economist, 5 May 2007, p. 60(US). Academic OneFile, Accessed 5 Nov. 2017.

Tuma, Elias H. “Land reform.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 3 Oct. 2013,