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The redistribution of land in South Africa is one of the most pressing debates in our young democracy. Due to a number of colonial and apartheid laws, most infamously The Natives Land Act of 1913, black people were dispossessed of their ancestral land and excluded from owning property in South Africa. I believe that the land issue is central to the question of who we are as South Africans today, and how we deal with the ghosts of our past.
Dylan Valley, Director, to Docubase
Azibuye – The Occupation is a stereoscopic 360 documentary about the issue of land redistribution in post-Apartheid South Africa. According to a land audit in 2017, black South Africans, who constitute 79 percent of the country’s population, own less than one percent of the country’s rural land while white South Africans own 24 percent. For this reason, thousands of homeless black South Africans are occupying empty privately-owned homes and developments.
Azibuye shares the story of Masello and Evan, two homeless black artist-activists who take up residence in a crumbling mansion in an affluent part of Johannesburg that has been vacant for over 20 years. They proclaim their illegal occupation to be an artistic and political act to address the ongoing racial inequalities in land ownership in South Africa. This piece takes a nuanced look that allows the viewers to decide on which side of history they stand.