Current Date: 3 Oct, 2023

Queen Elizabeth Colonialism: Cape Town Today, Is Still Being Haunted By Ghosts of The Past

Queen Elizabeth Colonialism: Cape Town Today, Is Still Being Haunted By Ghosts of The Past  

The passing of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II generated many polarised responses. Thereby allowing ghosts of the past to resurface.

Uju Anya, a Nigerian-born US professor, tweeted a severe criticism of the British monarchy where she recalled her family's traumatic experience during Nigeria's colonialism.

Jeff Bezos, a US billionaire businessman, didn't hesitate to join others in pouring scorn upon Anya on Twitter.

Anya was defended by many, but her university detached itself from her remarks. This demonstrated the influence the founder of Amazon, which is a digital retail company, has.

There are a few layers to discover here. Amazon discovers itself in the centre of controversy in Cape Town, South Africa. The construction of the Company's South African headquarters is on the Liesbeek River.

This site is historical and has sacred significance to the native people of South Africa.

The precolonial hunter-gatherers were subsisting off the environmental commons here, probably making a slight negative impact on the natural environment.

The Liesbeek River is as well a site of resistance against colonial dispossession. From the perspective of heritage, there is much at stake here for marginalised people.

There is a case by various indigenous Khoi leaders along with a local civic organisation that remains tied up in court. There is a report that despite them winning in a court interdict, construction continues at the site.

One of the blueprints we know as colonialism was commons enclosure. Commons enclosure is among the first steps toward the privatisation of public resources.

This policy was brought to Africa by the British empire and other Western colonisers. Common resources and land like the Liesbeek River were enclosed, and they were claimed to serve elite interests.

How this happened was shown by a history of common enclosure and the reason the passing of Queen Elizabeth II stirred up Africa's painful histories.

The first enclosure movement pushed commoners who lived off commonly shared natural resources or the commons - communal land for things like farming into a wage labour system, thereby cutting off one of their subsistence means.

This movement became a blueprint for colonialism. The misfortune of the commons was used to justify the enclosure of the commons. Commons enclosure is still in existence but in new ways.

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

I enjoy marketing, technology and business. I help businesses and brands connect with their ideal customer profiles and build products that excite them and solve their problems.