Khoi San protesters demand recognition at ANC conference

The group of men say their main demands are the recognition of the Khoi as the original owners of the land and the recognition of their indigenous languages. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

The group of men say their main demands are the recognition of the Khoi as the original owners of the land and the recognition of their indigenous languages. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

While ANC bigwigs and delegates arrived at Nasrec in flashy sedans and fleets of buses, three Khoi San activists stood barefoot in their traditional dress, made from animal skins, near the venue for the party’s 54th national conference.

They are there to demand recognition as the first indigenous people in the land which now makes up the Republic of South Africa. “The ANC is trying to convince the whole world that there are no more Khoi San people in South Africa,” said Chief Marble, president of the Khoi San Mass Movement. “I am not Nguni, I am not Afrikaans. I want to speak my language like everyone else.”

His comrades have been holding vigil at the Union Building gardens in Pretoria for the past two weeks. They have since gone on a hunger strike until their demands are met.

“We want to enjoy the rights that everyone in this country enjoys,” said Headman Reuben Rustoff, one of the three protesters holding placards in Nasrec Road. The protesters received sympathy from passing motorists, who hooted and raised their fists in salute.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe received a memorandum of grievances from the Khoi leaders at the Union Buildings last week. Some of the demands in their memorandum include the scrapping of electricity bills and complaints about former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe’s pension payout.

However, Marble said their main demands are the recognition of the Khoi San as the original owners of the land and the recognition of their indigenous languages.

The ANC conference will deliberate on the land issue. — Mukurukuru Media

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