Khoisan four end hunger strike
Khoisan four have ended their strike after meeting new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, who were striking on the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria and handed memorandum of grievances and dressed in traditional Khoisan attire. The four Khoi activists, MPL Christian Martin, Shane Plaaitjies, Chief Khoisan SA and Brendon Billings have been demanding to meet either the President or Deputy President. Originally three members of 49-year-old Chief Khoisan SA,Shane Plaatjies, 23 and Bredon Billings, 37, they travelled 1 200km to Pretoria where they were joined by MPL Christian Martin who said he did so after the three had been turned away.The four left Port Elizabeth on foot on November 13 for the journey to the Union Buildings to hand over a list of demands. They arrived on November 30. Recently, the four spoke out against the alleged harsh treatment they received after security staff at the Union Buildings in Pretoria denied them access. As one of those who have been following this case since it came into public domain, today was the 23rd day since they began their quest for justice after walking all the way from the Eastern Cape. Apparently, one of the activists is admitted to hospital but that hadn’t deterred others from continuing with the strike. Ramaphosa made a commitment to the Khoisan four that he was taking their demands seriously and they would be given consideration by government.On the other hand, Khoisans expressed their appreciation that Ramaphosa had taken time from his pre-Christmas schedule to meet with them. They expressed happiness they would be heading home for Christmas themselves.There are reports that activists are expected to fly to Port Elizabeth on Sunday in order to get home in time to spend Christmas with their families. In a video clip appearing on twitter, one of the activists said “This morning, I spoke to the Lord and I said I leave it all in your hands, my dreams have now come true.”
The Khoisan first demand was for the South African government to officially recognise the community as the first citizens of the country. Also, they want their language, which was emblazoned on South Africa’s coat of arms to finally be included as an official language.In addition, they want the 1913 Land Claims Act to be scrapped or amended, as it was holding them from owning land.Khoisan believe they had land long before that time being the first nation and don’t want to be referred to as coloureds, rather wanted to be called Khoisan, bushmen, san or nama but not coloureds. It is not the first time we are making this call but this time it seemed that they were prepared to wait for the government to accept Khoisan memorandum and there’s no doubt that their patience has paid off with that Ramaphosa meeting. For those who don’t know, Khoisan is a unifying description for two groups of communities of Southern Africa, who share ethnic, cultural, and putative linguistic characteristics namely the hunters and gatherers San, and the pastoral Khoi Khoi. What the hunger strike by Khoisan tells us is that the agitation by peaceful means succeed in bringing about a number of changes. However, while the meeting with Ramaphosa was important, discrimination against Khoisan is still massive and hopefully they will get justice this time round.In your blogger’s view, the recognition will be beyond a significant symbolic victory. It will be a definitive moment of equality in South Africa that had long fought for, although the social inequalities are still facing rural communities today. The success of Ramaphosa saying that he takes the Khoisan seriously, lies in the recognition of community as part of South Africa and individuals that will contribute towards the fight for rights and equality of the Khoisan. The granting of citizenship will pay homage to these individuals and efforts and their desires and intentions will be fulfilled, they will be able to elevate the status of Khoisan’s in South Africa society without the sacrifice of heritage and culture.