Khoisan launch council

Members of the Western Cape Khoisan council.

Two months before heritage month in September, the Khoisan tribes of the Western Cape embarked on an historical journey to establish the Western Cape Khoisan Council (WCKC).

Cape Khoi tribes including the Attaqua, Cochoqua, Hessequa, Gouriqua, Outeniqua, Hamcumqua, Goringhaicona, Ghainoqua and Goragoqua, from the Western Cape, covering the Cape Metro, Winelands, Overberg, Karoo, Klein Karoo, Boland, Overstrand and Cape Aghulhas, attended the meeting in Montague, on July 7.

The aim is to unite the Khoi tribes in the Western Cape.

Chairperson chief John Jansen, from Retreat, said: “The Khoisan tribes form part of the National Khoisan Council (NKC) which represents five main groups: the San, Nama, Corana, Griqua, and the Cape Khoi. These groups were researched during the former President Nelson Mandela’s presidency, in 1998.”

Mr Jansen said the NKC was currently involved in negotiations with the national government for the lawful constitutional accommodation of the Khoisan peoples.

“This process is already at Bill level as the NKC have been engaging in formal discussions with national government, to explore options for the Khoisan tribes’ lawful recognition.”

It is part of the vision of the WCKC to advance the course of the Khoisan in the Western Cape and to have decisions taken on a national level implemented in the Western Cape, said Mr Jansen.

“There are structured stories to be told as no history of the Khoisan is displayed in South African museums. Only the colonialism and apartheid history feature in museums. Khoisan stories have been miss-portrayed and we would like to stop the abuse of our history,” said Mr Jansen.

One example he mentioned is the history of Krotoa.

Named Eva by the Dutch, Krotoa was a Khoi woman who served as a translator for the Dutch during the occupation of the Cape.

“Krotoa’s history was written by white men. There is a movie out currently called Krotoa, where they do not portray the true history of her. No one can portray our history better than ourselves.”

Mr Jansen believes the Khoisan and “coloured” community has lost their “identity through white colonialism and apartheid.”

History shows the blatant attempt to destroy their rich heritage.

“If you read the report of Lord Thomas Macaulay when he addressed the British Parliament after his visit to Africa in 1835, it explains a lot,” said Mr Jansen.

Lord Macaulay’s report was found in a newspaper clipping.

In it, he states: “I have been travelled across the length and breadth of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Africans thinks that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

Mr Jansen said: “If you look at what is happening to our people in areas such as Retreat, Lavender Hill, Ottery, Hanover Park, Manenberg, Mitchell’s Plain, etc… Our people do not know our heritage. What Lord Macaulay said, when people are told that foreign and English is better, they lose their own culture and self-esteem, is happening.”

Mr Jansen said people in the areas where gangsterism is rife, are those who do not know their identity. “We have had many meetings where we have invited our indigenous people, the Khoisan, and we share our true history.

“We informed the Premier of the Western Cape (Helen Zille) about this Western Cape structure with the intention of creating a working relationship to develop the Khoisan culture, heritage and values.

“We are also aware that there is no legislation in place currently for the Khoisan in South Africa.”

He said South Africans find themselves in a transition, whereby fundamental transformation is taking place. “The restoration of the Khoisan should not be an exemption. Part of this Western Cape Council is to have the existence of the Khoisan as a collective, in order to be more effective in what we want to achieve.”

blob The Western Cape Khoisan Council will have a cultural event at Zoar Mission Station for Khoisan peoples, on Friday October 6 to Saturday October 8.

For more information contact Mr Jansen on 078 532 8880 or email or call the secretary Glynis October on 062 307 0319.