Today, however, the Northern Cape is prominently featured in a Sunday Times article that covers a "small Khoi San community’s" refusal to sell or lease their land to a film company.
Desert Star Studios, a South African company, sought to draw major international film companies to the Northern Cape.
One project envisioned building a Jerusalem set to film "episodes of the BBC’s Visual Bible project over the next eight to 10 years ..."
There were also plans to build a cowboy town and a "replica of King Solomon’s Temple."
The Khoi San of Pella, a severely impoverished indigenous community close to the town of Pofadder, have however flatly rejected the R252-million deal (approximately $36 US).
The deputy secretary of the Pella Indigenous People Group, Rosina Second, said on Monday:
"We told them we will never, ever sell our land. Our land is very precious to us, and we will not sell it to anyone."The decision has frustrated the efforts of Premier Dipuo Peters who is very eager to draw investment to South Africa's poorest province.
Premier Peters joined Desert Star Studios to lobby the Pella Indigenous Group. The Sunday Times says that they offered "more than three times the market value" for the land and even promised to "build a mobile Aids clinic and high school" in Pella.
The decision has caused a rift among the people of Pella. The unemployment rate is more than 70% and the promise of 1800 jobs over 12 years was no doubt quite alluring.
Nontheless, the decision is principled and flies in the face of the neo-liberal thinking that drives the interests of Premier Peters and her party, the African National Congress.
In recent weeks Premier Peters has also been embroiled in a housing development scheme that threatens the the Lesser Flamingo colony (one of only four in Africa) resident at Kamfers Dam just outside my hometown of Kimberley.
In either case, the lure of bringing money into the Northern Cape is the driving ambition.
Nontheless, the Pella people have dealt a decisive blow to the mindset of selling and buying anything in the name of capitalist development.
Here in my dry, dusty, and desolate province, there are principled people who believe that money can't buy everything.
The ancestors must be proud.
Picture Credits: Map and Flamingos
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