Namibia: This Land is Ours

DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, WRITER SARAH COLT / AUGUST 2005

Namibia: This Land is Ours examines how black and white Namibians are struggling over who should own Namibia’s farms and cattle ranches. This same issue has engulfed neighboring Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe’s disastrous policy of forcible takeovers of white-owned farms has led to economic ruin and food shortages. Namibia is different. The government has adopted a more conciliatory approach to land reform, forbidding illegal land seizures. Nevertheless, Namibia’s leaders — who fought a long war against South African apartheid-style occupation, winning independence in 1990 — are committed to redistributing land in a country where there is still a vast disparity in land ownership. Whites make up only about 6 percent of Namibia’s 1.8 million people but own most of the arable land, including the flower farm and the cattle ranch featured in the film.

What is playing out in Namibia over land reform is a continent-wide debate in microcosm: Given Africa’s history of colonialism, and its ongoing disparities in wealth between blacks and whites, how is it possible to redress those inequities fairly without causing economic collapse?

Initial filming was completed as part of an International Reporting Project Fellowship, formerly called the Pew Fellowship in International Journalism, while subsequent filming was funded by PBSā€™s FRONTLINE WORLD.

Click to watch Namibia: This Land is Ours on the FRONTLINE WORLD website.