Khoi and San groups welcome recognition of their status
Cape Town - The Cape Town Khoi-San community has welcomed the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act (Act 3 of 2019) which became law last week. The Act gives recognition to the Khoi and San communities and their leadership positions.
Kei Korana Chief Vincent Valensky said the Act left much room for uncertainty; however, he welcomed it as a move in the right direction.
“After 500 years of colonisation and being marginalised, the government of the day has recognised us. Our history is in the archives and recognises us as the first people of South Africa.
“However, the government took long to recognise us. We are working to have our ancestral land back. We want to claim back the Cape Colony, which originally belongs to the Koranas. We need our land and our status back so that we are able to govern and rule ourselves,” he said.
Khoebaha of the Transfrontier Korana Melvin Arendse said they were concerned by the lack of capacity and infrastructure support.
“After 480 years, there is a lot of technical merits required by this law in terms of genealogy and ancestry, and there are no resources or support coming from the government in order to help Khoi and San communities prepare their submissions for recognition, which is a very complex process and difficult.
“The other main concern is the distance between this piece of legislation and the restitution of land. For us, recognition as Korana the title of kingship, and the title of our leaders means nothing if we are still segregated from our land.
“What does it mean for us sitting with titles in the house of traditional leaders, if our people sit landless, with the majority of our descendants sitting as backyard dwellers?” he said.
Arendse said the Act should bring about a new intersection for the Korana people.
“As king, I would rather prefer that my son succeeds me in my title one day as opposed to being king over destitute, landless and poverty-stricken people. It is my resolve to lead the Transfrontier in all aspects of emancipation, structure buildings, development programme while we navigate this recognition process which is not clear at this point,” he said.
Chief Adviser of Genadendal Royal House of Khoi Khoi Claude Pietersen said with the funds that would be available, the Khoi-San leaders should tap into the resources to help the community that has been struck by poverty.