President Cyril Ramaphosa meets some of the Afrikanerbond members at Rhebokskloof in Paarl last year to mark its centenary celebrations. File photo: ANA/Henk Kruger

DURBAN - The Afrikanerbond (league of Afrikaners) said on Thursday that it had been disappointed by president Cyril Ramaphosa's Reconciliation Day speech, which painted Afrikaners as "invaders". 

"History must be judged in the context of the time and not with today's ideology," Afrikanerbond chairperson Jaco Shoeman said via an emailed statement.  

"During Reconciliation Day, president Ramaphosa went out of his way to provide a contemporary ideological context to the Battle of Blood River. His own interpretation is that the Zulu impis were freedom fighters who fought for the freedom of their land against 'invaders', namely the Voortrekkers," said Shoeman.  

Ramaphosa made no mention of historical context, the brutal murders of Voortrekkers and their leaders, treason, or "the bloody history and massacre between black tribes during tribal wars at the time".

"This kind of one-sided interpretation of our history is not worthy of this president," said Shoeman. 

By referring to the Voortrekkers as "invaders", Ramaphosa had joined the "Colonialism of a special type" views of his predecessors, added Shoeman, which was another indication of the "prevalent, dismissive attitude and views" towards certain sections of the South African population. 

"Unfortunately, the president is also continuing with the trend of the last few years, which indicates a one-sided history honouring only the ANC, its leaders and heroes with a disdainful attitude towards the history of virtually all minority groups.”

The ANC, through its actions and statements, interpreted the history of South Africa as it fit them and their circumstances, he said. 

Recent events had left minority groups, and specifically Afrikaners, "somewhat disillusioned".  

"Someone once said: 'Whoever has the power, writes history'. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in South Africa. The current land debate is being fabricated around the big lie about land ownership, and the President has now also joined the ranks of the big lie and a distortion of history. The present government, however, is rarely bothered by the truth."

 Shoeman said Ramaphosa was at risk of alienating himself from the Afrikaner minority. 

"His actions and statements on Reconciliation Day, during which Afrikaners also celebrate Day of the Vow, are unsolicited. The President's persistent ineptitude and dismissive views of farm murders have started to pave  the way for alienation."

The Afrikanerbond urged Ramaphosa and government to "abide by the facts and the truth" and to respect the history of Afrikaners.

"This also applies to the current land debate and populist untruths about land theft. Afrikaners are descendants of pioneers and Voortrekkers towards freedom and not of 'invaders'. This reference is therefore rejected with contempt," said Shoeman. 

African News Agency (ANA)