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Thulare family currently lives in Steiloop, a peri urban area situated about 35 kilometers from Baltimore. The family used to live while … works on the farm Kosmopolitan in Balt imore until they were evicted just after the 1994 elections. The family has left three graves on farm Kosmopolitan. In early February 2014, the family bought three tombstones with the intension to erect and unveil at the end of February. They made arrangements with the land owner to erect and the land owner agreed to give them access to the graves located on his farm. They then proceeded to make preparations for an unveiling ceremony.
The erection was to happen on a Friday and followed up by the unveiling on Saturday morning. When the company contracted by the family to erect the tombstones on the appointed Friday, the owner refused them access to the farm, saying “my farm is not a graveyard”. This was despite the fact that the family had made solid arrangements with the land owner in advance. It must be noted that the owner did not dispute the fact that the family had ancestral graves on the farm and had already incurred expenses towards the erection of the tombstone and unveiling ceremony. For instance, a beast had been slaughtered a beast, groceries purchased, food prepared and tent and chairs were hired for the ceremony.
Relatives had travelled from far for the ceremony too. Relatives travelling from far away places had already arrived. At the request of the family, Nkuzi intervened to inform the family of their right as stipulated in the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (ESTA). The Act allows farm dwellers and even those people who are no longer residing on farms the right to have access to graves and perform cultural rituals on the farm. A meeting was facilitated by Nkuzi between the land owner and the family with view to finding a solution.
The owner had since agreed to grant them access and the family has successfully erected the tombstones of their loved ones. Lessons learnt from the case study Land owners are not reliable. One day they agree to do this and tomorrow they change their mind and they do not care about the implications of changing their mind to the other party. We need to advise our clientele to insist on written consent from parties they negotiate with as lack of that leaves them with nothing to can hold the other party responsible. Client communities and/or individuals must be made aware that negotiations may take a long time. Thus, they need to start processes for negotiation at least three.3 months in advance in order that other options can be pursued should the land owner decide against their wish.