Many of you may have been acquainted with the Wild Coast region, formerly known as the Transkei region. The Wild Coast forms part of the eastern half of the Eastern Cape, which is inhabited by Xhosas mostly. From an agricultural and mineral perspective it is a region that was INCREDIBLY rich in natural resources. Yet absolutely nothing became of these resources for more than 30 years, when the region had independence from the apartheid government between 1963 and 1994.
The road network is practically non existent, apart from the potholed and livestock inhabited national road that passes through from Kokstad to East London. That national road covers a total distance of approximately 400 km between the region's northern and southern boundaries. It is for the brave hearted only due to frequent and horrific road accidents. The pic shows a typical track found in the coastal and mountainous regions, away from the national road.
These typical mud huts are found everywhere in the Wild Coast, from the mountainous inland areas to the coast. Brick houses are very rarely built outside the major towns, which are almost exclusively found along the national road.
I had the privilege of flying the entire region (approximately 45,000sq km) in a helicopter and observed the phenomenal extent of the damage to the natural landscape due to over grazing, subsequent soil erosion and alien weed invasion. I've worked with the communities to resolve some of their environmental problems. I've tried to get someone, ANYONE, to take ownership of the land. Aikona! (Translated from Xhosa - no f*cking way!) These communities only took ownership of the land when there were potential profits to be made, otherwise they let the land go to the dogs. NOTHING was ploughed back into land to ensure its sustainable use for future generations. The entire region is littered with valleys and wetlands that have been eroded due to over utilization.
Black Coffee's ilk will argue that these people didn't have the financial backing, knowledge and such likes to develop the region successfully. The horror or beauty of it, depending where you're coming from and how badly you are willing to make a point, is that pretty soon the rest of South Africa will degenerate into this state of absolute primitive existence. There are still traces of the old, glorious towns that were build by the Germans. (Ron, boer forefathers?) All that remained were the dilapidated, dirty old skeletons of once beautiful buildings.
I would love to know how people like Black Coffee can believe that Xhosas in the Wild Coast are developed, when they refuse to take responsibility for the management of their land even though they are the ones that would benefit from its responsible management.