A people’s land
The harsh environment of the Richtersveld has through the years witnessed a story of determined peoples with a strong attachment to the land. Initially belonging to a ‘Coloured Rural Reserve’, the land’’s ownership has moved in 2002 to the peoples of the Richtersveld. In this pristine land, devoid of mining scars and in harmony with transhumant pastoralists, an area of more than 160 000 ha has been put aside to create the Richtersveld Community Conservancy. But the story does not end here’
The Richtersvelders claimed their right to the coastal lands from where they had been removed in 1847 to make way for diamond mining. In a court case without precedents, they are entitled to claim the restitution of an area of 85 000 ha along the coast between Port Nolloth and Alexander Bay, compensation for the reduction in land value as a result of mining, and rehabilitation of the land. After the six years it took to reach this legal decision, the Sida !Hub Community Property Association in the Richtersveld is moving faster into a brighter and fairer future as laid out in their evolving land use plan for the coastal area.