Thursday, February 16, 2012
President Jacob Zuma yesterday called for the re-writing of the country's history in order to acknowledge the role played by heroes of the past who fought against colonialism.
He said South Africans could forge unity and build a better society if all communities correct the false history that was written by the country's former colonisers.
Addressing about 2000 people in Cape Town at the 300th anniversary of Griqua chief Adam Kok, Zuma said now that a democratic government was in charge, it was time to correct the history of the country.
During the years of colonialism various ethnic groups had waged resistance wars against land seizures and as a result produced many heroes.
Zuma said the Khoi and Griqua communities, particularly Adam Kok, had played a pivotal role in the fight against land dispossession.
The time had come for South Africa to accord the heroes in the fight against colonialism and apartheid their rightful place in the history books.
"Our freedom will be meaningless and not complete if we do not go back and rewrite our history as we know it and correct the wrongs in the history that was written by colonialists who oppressed us," Zuma told the crowd.
"Remember that unity is the most important thing for all of us as this nation. Working together we can do more.
"Somewhere in the middle of the history of our struggle, after the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, all of us realised the need for unity and when the ANC was formed the call was loud and clear that we must work together.
"We have achieved freedom, we need now to unite more to build our nation to realise our history to be indeed one South African nation united in our diversity.
"Now the task is in our hands. In the past, before 1994, we could say we were not able to do anything because the wrong people were in government.
"Now it is we who are governing, let us do the right thing for ourselves."
Zuma further told the gathering that his administration was on a drive to recognise the identity of the Khoi-San communities through legislation. Parliament would drive that process through the Traditional Affairs Bill.
"It provides for representation in houses of traditional leaders and the participation of Khoi-San leaders in municipal councils," Zuma said of the bill. "The bill also provides for the establishment of an advisory committee to investigate and make recommendations on the recognition of Khoi-San communities and leaders."
In his address earlier, Griqua King Adam Kok V said he appreciated the efforts the ANC made to recognise his nation and the role its forebears played.
Although it had been 17 years since the dawn of democracy, Griqua and Khoi-San communities had not fully reaped the fruits of freedom.
"I would like to appeal to the government to give our people jobs and job opportunities in the same concept of black economic empowerment," Kok said.