Chief Khoisan SA was symbolically elected as the nation’s leader on Wednesday (Alex Mitchley, News24)
In an act of defiance, a small group of Khoisan chose election day to symbolically inaugurate their own chosen leader of South Africa.
On the steps of the Union Buildings in Tshwane, under the watchful gaze of the Nelson Mandela statue, Chief Khoisan SA was symbolically elected as the nation’s leader.
The choice to inaugurate Chief Khoisan SA follows months of waiting for government to declare the Khoi and the San people the first nation of South Africa.
READ: Khoisan chief camping at the Union Buildings, says smaller parties are the way to go
Chief Khoisan SA and a small group of other Khoisan have been camping outside the Union Buildings for more than five months, after walking over 1200km from Port Elizabeth to Tshwane in November 2018.
"For years, we have been calling to government to give us recognition as the first nation. For years, we have been handing over memorandums," Chief Khoisan SA told News24.
"Government won’t declare us, so now we declare ourselves as the first nation."
Inauguration of Khoisan Chief SA. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Chief Khoisan SA said that promises had been made to the electorate that wouldn’t be kept, but as the newly elected leader, he would ensure that politicians were kept in check.
"If they do not want to work with us, we will then lobby with the people on the ground, because people are fed up with empty promises made to them."
Sitting in a makeshift kraal, the inauguration ceremony started with the burning of impepho, which is a plant that is burnt to cleanse an area, ridding it of bad energies.
Impepho burnt at the inauguration. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Khoisan priest Victor Gelderbloem then anointed Chief Khoisan SA, declaring him the symbolic leader of the nation, who would lead all people into a new dispensation.
"Political parties must know that you are the head and they are the tail.
READ MORE: There's a Khoisan on Zuma's stoep
"You must lead them [politicians] and the nation. This country will only be blessed if they honour your position as the leader of this nation.
"The world must know the truth that the Khoisan nation is the first nation of this land."
Declaring sovereignty, Gelderbloem said this was an act of political defiance, as nothing had happened for the Khoi and San people in South Africa since democracy was declared 25 years ago.
Khoisan and politics
Previously, Chief Khoisan SA had called on all Khoi people not to vote for the ANC.
Chief Khoisan SA said the only support they had received from the governing party had come in the form of a towering Mandela statue, which provided them with shade.
"If I had the chance to vote, I would vote against this government, for the mere fact that I have been here for so long and they have not attended to me," he told News24.
"We have made a call when we went to the Western Cape, because the majority of our people are in the Western Cape and Northern Cape, so we made a call to those two provinces to not vote for the ANC government."
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