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Martin Legassick and Hermann Giliomee in Historical Debate Over Salem Land Claim

The Struggle for the Eastern Cape, 1800-1854Martin Legassick, author of The Struggle for the Eastern Cape, 1800-1854, is involved in an historical debate with Professor Hermann Giliomee, who is objecting to a land claim in Salem in the Eastern Cape. The local Xhosa community is laying claim to the thousands of hectares of Salem commonage which was divided up amongst the 1820 settlers and is currently home to several farms.

Giliomee is arguing that there is no evidence that the Xhosa people occupied that area but Legassick says that “old-fashioned histiographies were often blinkered and exclusive concentrating mainly on whites” and therefore the accounts we are now left with may not be accurate:

Two world-renowned South African historians are squaring up in the Land Claims Court in Grahamstown over events that happened between 70 and 200 years ago.

Celebrated left-wing South African historian and theoretician Martin Legassick is taking on prolific South African historical and political author Professor Hermann Giliomee over a massive land claim in Salem, some 15km south-west of Grahamstown.

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