The year 2013 marks 100 years since the Natives Land Act of 1913 which was enacted in South Africa. The Act became law on the 19th of June 1913 limiting African land ownership to 7% which later increased to 13% through the 1936 Native Trust and Land Act of South Africa. The Act restricted black people from buying or occupying land except as employees of a white master. It however gave white people ownership of 87% of land and leaving black people to scramble for a mere 13%.
It is against this backdrop that black people found themselves displaced in their own land hence Sol Plaatjie's famous quote "Awaking on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth,".
That piece of legislation made life horrendous for the black populace until the Commission of Restitution was established in 1994 to provide equitable redress to victims of racially motivated land dispossession, in line with the provisions of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994 (Act No. 22 of 1994). In the year 2013 the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform will be marking the centenary of this act. The theme for the Project 2013 is "Reversing the legacy of 1913 Natives Land Act".
The Reversing the Legacy of the 1913 Natives' Land Act Exhibition, is currently on a nationwide tour to all the provinces in South Africa.
The biggest exhibition of its kind ever undertaken in the country, it is unique in that it offers the general public an interactive view of the last 100 years of South African history since the 1913 Natives' Land Act was passed.
In addition to the 24 shipping containers of artefacts, expo material and props that make up the exhibition, the public will be informed and educated by a team of professional actors and performers who bring the past alive – with anecdotes of forced removals, injustice and despair – while also highlighting the progress made in recent years and providing hope for our future of our land.
According to the Director-General for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Mr Mduduzi Shabane, the exhibition is aimed at creating awareness especially among the Youth, about the journey travelled thus far and the progress made by the government of the day towards reversing the negative legacy of the 1913 Natives' Land Act and related racially motivated laws.
1913 Natives Land Act Centenary related documents