A scramble for a piece of pristine coastal land by the rich and wealthy has plunged poor families who have lived off the fertile ground for generations into a life of fear and dispossession.
The OnguMnini village near uMgababa on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has become the latest to be engulfed by this scourge in which traditional leaders sell off land and force their subjects out to make way for rich property developers and aspiring homeowners.
The OnguMnini village has seen a high influx of wealthy business people and developers who are targeting the region to build holiday homes, residential apartments and tourist resorts.
Commonly known as uMnini, taken from the isiZulu word umnikazi (owner), the area is surrounded by breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and rolling green hills. The area also boasts fertile soil ideal for commercial and subsistence farming. Villagers believe that this geographical feature has now become a curse and turned their lives upside down.
At the centre of the residents' woes is the alleged illegal sale of their land allegedly by the local chief inkosi Phathisizwe Luthuli, the leader of the Luthuli traditional authority, with his indunas who are accused of hounding residents off their...