a time to pray…as a difficult year nears its end members of a clan of land claimants pray at the site they believe is the burial site of one of their ancestors whose descendants were violently removed from the land they called home since the 1600s through systematic unjust laws between the 1850s and 1960s.

The burial site was pointed out by a diviner using a a spiritual satellite of the gods , a sacred divining instrument called mankgonyane during a visit to the farm in 2019.The claim they lodged on the land in 1998 under the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994 remains unresolved.To visit the farm in order to conduct spiritual and traditional rites they have to seek permission from the current occupier/owner.

On Tuesday 29 December they visited the farm after the occupier/owner granted them permission under strict conditions; only nine people could access the farm using one vehicle. They were also ordered to adhere to a tight time limit and were warned permission to access the farm would be withdrawn if they did not show up at the farm gate after 15 minutes of the agreed upon time. The time they were allocated on the farm was also strictly limited.

Hope you continue to follow us in 2021 as we tell this and other stories from the land, this land of Africa. It has been a difficult year, the hardest of times for billions of people all over the world due to the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands of people the world over continue to die from the pandemic, businesses continue to shut down, people continue to lose their jobs as businesses shut down and many continue to go hungry.

Ismael King, a beneficiary of the Helping Hands community centre after receiving a food parcel. Millions of people around the world faced starvation due to the covid-19 lockdown. Photo: Tshepiso Mabula ka Ndongeni

Thousands of our colleagues in the media business the world over have not been spared.We are among the fortunate few who managed to survive the onslaught and continued, albeit under the most trying circumstances with limited resources, on our mission to tell the story of Africa.

Someday in future we will surely look back on this and maybe find answers as to how we managed, because right now, it’s just a confusing mystery.

One of those mysteries came via a generous grant from the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund which allowed us to travel to far flung areas telling stories of how rural communities were affected by the covid-19 lockdown.

We even managed to bring out a special digital edition of Mukurukuru News focusing solely on the impact of the corona virus on rural communities.

a special edition of Mukurukuru News made possible by a grant from the Google Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

We remain forever grateful for the support from all; those who invited us to their homes in far flung villages to share their stories, for trusting us to use our pens and cameras to let the world know about them and the issues they faced.

We extend also a hand of appreciation, to those who agreed to publish our words and pictures, those who believed in our ability to tell this story of Africa in a fair, accurate, creative, African way.

Our efforts would have meant nothing if our work didn’t reach the eyes and minds of millions here at home, across the great continent of Africa and the world, who even in the most trying of times, spared their valuable time to read our reflections; shared the content in their circles, and gave us valuable feedback and even provided leads for us to follow more stories.

We remain ever grateful for the unyielding support.We hope to continue with our mission to tell these stories with African eye and perspective, to continue producing and training a new generation of journalists through our training initiative.

Our wish and mission is to keep walking, but unlike Johnny Walker the Scottish whiskey legend, we undertake to continue in the footsteps of our pioneering forefathers in journalism, the greats of our past, the great sons of this soil, John Tengo Jabavu, John Langalibalele Dube and Sol Plaatje who paved the way us to tell the stories of the people.The journey has been and remains a tumultuous one, uncertain and taxing in many ways.

Yet we have no option but to continue and take solace in the words of Thabo Mbeki, the former president of the Republic of South Africa.In his speech celebrating the adoption of the country’s constitution in May 1996, Mbeki told Parliament:

“This thing that we have done today, in this small corner of a great continent that has contributed so decisively to the evolution of humanity says that Africa reaffirms that she is continuing her rise from the ashes. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace! However improbable it may sound to the sceptics, Africa will prosper!”

Thank you for the continued support and we look forward to our interaction in 2021. Keep safe and remember to sanitise, maintain social distancing and wear your mask in public as the experts advice. Don’t spread the virus, rather, tell everyone about us -www.mukurukurumedia.co.za

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