Dispossessed, unrecognised and facing a ‘cultural genocide’, South Africa’s Khoikhoi and San community are petitioning the government for full recognition of their rights as indigenous people.
They claim that their history of oppression and dispossession has long been overlooked, with government preferring to focus on rectifying the evils of apartheid’s land policies.
Indeed, South Africa’s indigenous population have lived in the region of the Cape for thousands of years, but lost their and land and water to the first settlers who arrived in 1652. The current Land Restitution Act however, only considers claims for land that was dispossessed after the 1913 Native Land Act came into effect.
Zenzile Khoisan, a spokesman for the Khoi and Boesman National Assembly argues “In 1913 most of our land had already been usurped by various entities including the colonial authorities. Under the Land Restitution Act it is impossible for us to claim because we were the first in opposition of colonialism.”
Their grievances came to the fore in a march on Cape Town’s Parliament Buildings on Saturday 4th September, as reported by the U.K Guardian. They have issued a memorandum to President Jacob Zuma outlining their demands for recognition as the original inhabitants of South Africa. (more…)