KhoiSan want their ancient nation back

We were here first – but now are served last

Southern Africa’s first nation, the KhoiSan, have been reduced to the generic status of ‘coloureds’ by the current black Nguni-tribes ruling South Africa. The co-ruling triad: the African National Congress, the SA Communist Party and the Cosatu trade union movement, do not recognise the ethnic rights of the KhoiSan. The won’t even talk to KhoiSan leaders about it.

KRUIPER David KhoiSan leader Oom David Kruiper, beloved KhoiSan leader: and healer addressed the UN about their indigenous rights, starred in the movie The Gods Must be Crazy II, and walked from the Kalahari desert to Cape Town to plead with then-pres Thabo Mbeki to grant the KhoiSan their rights. Mbeki refused to see him… He died on June 6 2012 in Upington. He was buried in the traditional KhoiSan way in the Kalahari. No-one from the SA-cabinet attended.


Cape Town: it’s KhoiSan name is Hui !Gaep: the place where clouds gather…

CAPE TOWN FEB 16 2012 BY PAUL GLEESON                                 Cape Town Feb 16 2012: picture by Paul Gleeson

On June 28 2012 – the Khoi-San announced that they have no rights under the SA Constitution, that all their human- and civil rights to survival as southern Africa’s First Nation have been taken away – and that they want their ancient nationhood back.

Cultural Genocide of the Khoi-San

They accuse the black-African dominated ANC-regime of conducting a Cultural Genocide against them. On June 29 2012 a small group of KhoiSan decided to highlight their plight by the unofficial ‘renaming’ of the city of Cape Town.

They planted a large sign at the oldest building in South Africa, the VOC-Castle (1666) at the corner of Darling and Buitenkant Gracht  with the name they’ve always used for the entire region, namely Hui !Gaep. It means ‘Place of the Gathering Clouds’. The KhoiSan, it it very clearly seen from the archeological and linguistic history of Africa, have been at the southern point of Africa for thousands of years.

Afrikaans journalist  Elsabé Brits described the event on the video below: at the VOC-castle in Cape Town:

Hui !Gaeb was their name for Table Bay where the first buildings of what would become Cape Town were built: appropriately they planted their sign at the Dutch East-India company (VOC) ‘s Castle. Erected by the Dutch merchant-company in 1666 as a fortress. The majestic Table Mountain – where the clouds flow across so frequently like a blanket – has a Khoi-San name: !Hoerikwaggomountains rising from the sea, saidtribal spokesman, Francisco McKenzie.

“The people who came to this place,’ he explained, ‘referred to our people as ‘animals in the form of humans’ ”. And they gave us blankets which were infected with the smallpox-virus.’ About 30 people participated in the proceedings. McKenzie said the group didn’t obtain permission to raise the name-sign:  “we aren’t going to ask permission from white or black people,’ hwas quoted as saying. “The KhoiSan are not included in the Constitution and we do as a the unique first nation of South Africa, do not get any recognition. Everybody is seeking our votes – the ANC and the Democratic Alliance – but when it comes to our ethnic-rights, they rape those.’

‘ We are not coloureds: We are KhoiSan ‘

They reject being grouped under the generic nomer of ‘coloureds’. “We reject the racist etiquette of being referred to as a ‘brown’ or ‘coloured’ person – because this labelling takes away our economic- cultural- social- and constitutional rights,’ he said. The sign was sponsored by the Institute for the Restoration of the Aborigines of SA ..


This is definitely not the first time that the KhoiSan are trying to get their rights back. In fact their much-loved tribal chief and healer David Kruiper – who died on June 6 2012 in his beloved Kalahari desert – worked relentlessly for the rights of his people: during the Mbeki-reign he walked from the Kalahari north of Upington to Cape Town to talk to then-president Thabo Mbeki about the land-rights question and the precarious situation the KhoiSan were in. Mbeki refused to speak to him.  He went all the way to the United Nations in Geneva to speak in support of the adopted resolution  that the first indigenous nations have to be given land-rights.  Mr Kruiper died:  never realising his dream. KRUIPER DAVID 71 DIES JUNE 6 2012. KALAHARI

Lawsuit in Equality Court: Sept 2010

In September 2010, the KhoiSan community launched a suit in the Equality Court regarding a the cultural genocide and discrimination against the Khoisan Nation. They denounced  both the previous apartheid-regime and the present  ANC-regime for classifying them as “coloureds”. Francisco Mackenzie of the Institute of the Restoration of the Aborigines of South Africa said being called “coloureds” was a “classification that helped to keep us in bondage”.Mackenzie said the constitution of the country discriminated against his people, as it did not recognise their rights as the Khoisan people. Frank Smith of the Circle of Elders and Indigenous Leaders said: “In 1950 white people passed a law to declare us as coloured. We fought in the struggle to have the name ‘kaffir’ removed –   now how about ‘coloured’? These are rude names. We are saying that Bushmen (Boesmans) want to be called Bushmen, the Khoisan wants to be called Khoisan,” he said.Khoi Mclaren Holloway, a community leader from Atlantis, said that they were demanding the government to recognise their leadership and 18 clans that included the Namaqua, Griqua and Hessequa.


And destitute KhoiSan tribal member Mrs Irene Grootboom of the Bloekombos community near Kraaifontein won a victory on the Constitutional Court for land- and housing-rights for her people: although she never benefited herself: The Constitutional Court ruled that the state had to provide her with a home. However, she died before she got her house.


sources and related background:

Above:  Traditional leader and healer of the Khomani-San of the Kalahari in South Africa, Oom Dawid Kruiper, died on June 6 2012. Kruiper is well-known for his acting role in the 1989 movie by Jamie Uys, ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy II’. Kruiper addressed the United Nations in Geneva on the rights on indigenous people in 1994. He led the way for land-claims in South Africa for the San people – who according to the linguistic and archeological record of Africa have lived throughout the continent of Africa for many tens of thousands of years. The secretary-general of the Khoi San Council in Gauteng and the Provinces of the North, Gordon Cassin said Kruiper’s death was a great loss to the Khoi San nation and South Africa. It is noticed that Mr Cassim referred to their own community as the ‘Boesman’ .

We now are served last : Petrus Vaalboom

The recent congress of of First Indigenous Leaders of of South Africa(Irasa) claim that the ANC government are persisting with cultural genocide against descendants of the Khoisan-and have lodged a complaint against President Zuma his cabinet- and the National house of traditional leaders and have lodged their case with the clerk of the equality court. Cape Times Tuesday July 23rd.
The Khoisan congress said the govt had failed to respect a UN protocol on the rights of Indiginous people around the world because it refused to recognise the Khoisan as a antion or give it the first nation Status as aboriginal status as aboriginal nations in other countries.Let it be said at this point that the Khoisan , San or Bushman have lived in Southern Africa for 22 000 years -meantime many ANC Blacks accuse whites of stealing Black land yet the ANC government does not recognise the rights or status of the Khoisan and recognise them as the original occupants of South Africa-and throught their policies continue to systematically wipe out their history, rights and cultural heritage .

The Government of South Africa versus Irene Grootboom: the right to housing:  “The court held that the state was obliged to take positive action to meet the needs of those living in extreme conditions of poverty, homelessness or intolerable housing. The interconnectedness of the rights and the Constitution as a whole had to be taken into account in interpreting the socio-economic rights and, in particular, in determining whether the state had met its obligations in terms of them.[10] Section 26 as a whole placed at the very least a negative obligation on the state and all other entities and persons to desist from preventing or impairing the right of access to adequate housing.

Smallpox: “Human diseases such as smallpox and measles developed from diseases among domestic animals. Farmers handling the animals eventually become resistant to those diseases – however hunter-gatherers like the KhoiSan don’t: so when hunter-gatherers first come into contact with farmers, they tend to die in droves from the farmers’ diseases (“The Arrow of Disease,” October 1992, Discovery Magazine). (…) “Eurasian germs played a key role in decimating native peoples in many other parts of the world as well, including the Pacific islands, Australia, and southern Africa. Europeans used to attribute those ‘conquests’ to their supposedly better brains. But no evidence for such better brains has been forthcoming. Instead, the conquests were made possible by Europeans’ nastier germs, and by the technological advances and denser populations that Europeans ultimately acquired by means of their domesticated plants and animals.’

Current tourist site Castle of Good Hope

How Africa Became Black: the Destruction of the KhoiSan by the Bantu-speaking peoples from Cameroon and Nigeria:   “The nearly 200-million Bantu-speaking people now flung over much of the map of Africa arose in Cameroon and Nigeria. Linguistics tell us not only that the Pygmies and the Khoisan, who formerly ranged widely over the continent, were engulfed by blacks; it also tells us that the blacks who did the engulfing were Bantu speakers.

The enslavement and decimation of the KhoiSan by the black Bantu-speaking Nguni tribes:  South Africa was  home to some of the earliest humans on earth. Archaeological evidence suggests that human populations evolved in the broad region of south central and eastern Africa, perhaps as early as 2-million years ago, but at least 200,000 years ago. Fossil remains of Homo sapiens in eastern South Africa have been tentatively dated to 50,000 years ago, and other remains show evidence of iron smelting about 1,700 years ago in the area that became the northern Transvaal. It is clear that the San and Khoikhoi (also called Khoi) peoples have been in southern Africa longer than any other living population. San hunters and gatherers and Khoikhoi herdsmen, known together as Khoisan because of cultural and linguistic similarities, were called “Bushmen” and “Hottentots” by early European settlers. Both of these terms are considered pejorative in the late twentieth century and are seldom used. Most of the nearly 3million South Africans of “mixed-race” ancestry (so-called “coloureds”) are descendants of Khoisan peoples and Europeans over the past three centuries.” Black Bantu-speakers who arrived in southern Africa from the north  displaced or killed Khoisan peoples they encountered – but not always: they did allow many others to live among them peacefully. Most Bantu societies were organized into villages and chiefdoms, and their economies relied primarily on livestock and crop cultivation. Their early ethnic identities were fluid and shifted according to political and social demands. For example, the Nguni or Nguni speakers, one of the largest Bantu language groups, have been a diverse and expanding population for several centuries. When groups clashed with one another, or their communities became too large, their political identity could easily shift to emphasize their loyalty to a specific leader or descent from a specific forebear. Historians believe that the ancestors of the Nguni-speaking Xhosa peoples were the first Bantu speakers to reach the southern tip of the continent. The Zulu, a related group of small chiefdoms, arrived soon after, and by the early nineteenth century they had evolved into a large, predatory kingdom. Zulu armies displaced or destroyed many small chiefdoms, and in the upheaval some of those who fled north probably retraced the pathways their ancestors had used centuries earlier as they moved into the region. Others were subjugated and assimilated into Zulu society, and a few–the forebears of today’s Swazi and Sotho peoples–resisted Zulu advances and withdrew into mountainous regions that would later become independent nations. European travelers and explorers visited southern Africa over the centuries and, after the mid-seventeenth century, began settling near the Cape of Good Hope. Dutch immigrants moved inland from the coast in search of farmland and independence, especially during the nineteenth century, when their migration became known as the “Great Trek.” British merchants, farmers, and missionaries arrived in large numbers during the nineteenth century. Asians, including merchants and traders as well as laborers and slaves, arrived from India, China, Malaya, and the Indonesian archipelago. South Africa began to develop a multiethnic mercantile, trading, and financial class, based primarily on the country’s mineral wealth after the discovery of diamonds and gold in the 1880s.

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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