5. Random Thoughts – Wild Coast Hike

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  • The whole stretch of the Wild Coast is prime beach side real estate. Most of the area is owned by AmaMpondo. We know that there was massive land dispossession in this country. What I’m interested in knowing is why and how did the early settlers overlook izwe lamaMpondo when they were stealing land from black people. What did AmaMpondo do right to keep their land. I am looking forward to learning about that.
  • Secluded beaches are white folks’ sanctuary from the overwhelming blackness of this country. Because we did the hike during holiday season, we met them along our trail. Just enjoying the sun and the ocean breeze, partying and drinking. In Saldanha Bay, access to public beaches is being closed off to the rest of the public because when black people come there, they get drunk and disorderly. I guess being drunk and disorderly at the beach is only unacceptable when black people do it.
  • You know white monopoly capital wasn’t just gonna sit back and let AmaMpondo keep their land lol. One of the interesting things I noticed during the hike was how beach side property is slowly being transferred to white hands. On almost all the villages we passed, shore facing property was reserved for white holiday makers while the rest of the community lived further inland. Moneyed white folks, with the help of the chiefs, are scooping up beach side real estate on the cheap and if rumours are to be believed some lucky capitalists even secured property that would normally cost tens of millions for a bottle of brandy. Under the guise of job creation, prime land is being sold for cheap and all the community gets in return are low paying service jobs. Welcome to South Africa. How long before the whole of the wild coast is just another white owned holiday resort? Is it still gentrification if it happens in the rural? What white washed version of history will be manufactured to explain this land dispossession?
  • When the media was reporting on the situation in the Wild Coast community of Xolobeni they suggested that Eco-Tourism was best for the community as opposed to Mineral Sand Mining. I’m not sure they were correct in that assumption. I’m not saying letting mining – with it’s social and environmental degradation – continue is the way to go, I just feel that letting the community rely on low wage service job is an injustice. A better way that lets the community really benefit from the richness of the wild coast has to be found ’cause what I saw there was pitiful (which is important to tip your guides, ferry operators, hiker’s huts owners etc. ’cause what they are currently getting is not enough).
  • It’s currently breeding season in the Wild Coast. Fishing is not allowed because fishing stocks have to get replenished. On our second day of the hike a man from the village we were sleeping overnight at got arrested for fishing. On the subsequent days of the hike we came across lots of lily white folks and their lily kids and their lily white pets with their lily white fishing rods, lily white fishing. We have yet to hear of any one of them getting arrested for contravening the Marine Living Resources Act of  1998. welcome to South Africa.
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