Zuma applauds reconciliation as he unveils symbolic bridge

2014-12-17 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma officially unveiled the Reconciliation Bridge joining the Ncome Museum and Blood River Monument near Dundee at the state’s official reconciliation ceremony yesterday.

Zuma said the unveiling was of “huge significance” that was represented by leaders of both the “Zulu and Afrikaner people”.

“Both groups have crossed the river and crossed the bridge in the literal and figurative senses, which ­demonstrates that reconciliation is possible if both sides make an effort,” said Zuma.

He added that the country will ­continue to seek “cultural redress” including the improved utilisation of African languages in public institutions, including schools.

“Both the bridge and the memory centre are a symbol of our quest to create a caring and proud society where everyone has a sense of belonging.”

He said this day in South Africa’s history “witnessed one of the brutal conflicts between the Zulu Nation and the Afrikaner people” known as either Impi YaseNcome, Slag van Bloedrivier and Battle of Blood River.

“For the Afrikaner people December 16 became the Day of the Vow or the Day of the Covenant, remembering the success over the Zulu Nation.

“For the Zulu people and the African people in general, December 16 became known as Dingane’s Day, ­symbolising resistance against colonial aggression,” said Zuma.

In 1994, it was decided that the Day of the Vow religious holiday would be renamed the National Day of Reconciliation.

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