PRETORIA - The Khoisan community representatives who are camped at the Union Buildings in Pretoria demanding a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday threatened to "rise" and take back their nation if the government continues to sideline them, particularly from the ongoing land debate as they are the "rightful citizens" they claim.
Reading out a memorandum addressed to Ramaphosa, leader of the community, Chief Khoisan SA, said his people are prepared to fight for what is theirs.
"Let us make it clear to the government - the land does not belong to the blacks, Nguni and white people. It belongs to the first nation of South Africa. We have welcomed everybody to our country, as we are a loving and caring nation [but] now we found ourselves without what is most precious to us - the land," Chief Khoisan SA read from the memorandum to journalists at the seat of government.
"Our people have been labelled so many things, and we find ourselves deprived of our culture, our heritage, our language. We know who we are and yet we are constantly reminded about the past. We are giving this government to respond immediately to us."
Referring to King Goodwill Zwelithini as a "foreign king", Chief Khoisan SA said the threats made by the Zulu monarch will become a reality if his people's demands are not met.
"Mr president, we are appealing to you to do the right to the aboriginal people of this land, or the threats that were made by the foreign King Zwelithini will become reality when the aboriginal people rise to take back what is rightfully ours. Do not do as those before you when they repelled against us. Blood was shed to get the land back," said the Khoisan leader.
Earlier this year, King Zwelithini said if the Ingonyama Trust Act is effected by government’s plan to expropriate land without compensation, he will fight to have KwaZulu-Natal declared a separate Zulu homeland.
On Thursday, Chief Khoisan SA said his community is fed up by being constantly sidelined in the democratic South Africa, and would be "taking back" their nation.
"We, as the rightful owners of this country, will be taking our country back as the natives of this land. We have been engaging through many avenues, to appeal to this government to give us what is rightfully ours. It all fell on deaf ears, and we are still sitting in the same situation that we have been when foreigners invaded our land and our people had to go through the worst genocide in the world," he said.
"We were told that it's going to be better when we fought against white domination, and black domination for the democracy that we are not part of, in our own country. We, as the first nation, the aboriginal people are being subjected to inhumane behaviour in our own country, and we are treated like dogs by this government that is preaching to the world that it's a caring government."
Chief Khoisan SA said his people had been treated with "so much disrespect" by the current government.
"Return our land. Return it to the rightful owners. We have been put here on this land by the creator of heaven and earth, as custodians of this country. Everyone in this country is fighting over land - black and white - yet the rightful owners of the land are not being engaged. The land belongs to the first aboriginal nation, the first people," emphasized the Chief Khoisan SA.
The group of Khoisan people were in Pretoria last year, and had a meeting with then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, after going on a hunger strike and camping at the seat of government for days.
This time, the group walked to Pretoria from Port Elizabeth and Durban.
"The first [demand] is that we want the government to recognise us the first nation of South Africa. We want our languages to be official languages of this country. The Xhosa and the Zulu languages, which have got our clicks, are official. Ours are not. Thirdly, the the Land Claim [Act] of 1913, we want it to be scrapped. As the first nation, we want to also own land."
The Khoisan community is also fighting for the so-called "Coloured identity" to be scrapped.
"We have received no communication from the president, or the government. We have not had any engagement in talks on the demands that were put forward. Instead, the government is pushing the issue of land expropriation without compensation but they are not including the rightful owners of the land," said the Khoisan leader.
African News Agency (ANA)