THE town of Kokstad was named after Griqua leader Adam Kok III, who arrived in the area in 1862 in the territory known as “No Man’s Land”.
However, the question being asked by many is this: Who owns the town of Kokstad, as more than two royal tribes claim that the town belongs to them.
The issue of different tribes claiming ownership of Kokstad has resulted in the Mayor of Greater Kokstad Municipality, Bheki Mtolo, announcing his plan to appoint qualified historical researchers to find out who the real owners of the town are.
“It is our plan to appoint qualified historical researchers to research where Kokstad comes from. This will happen in the next financial year,” said Mtolo during a Social Cohesion Dialogue held at Kokstad Town hall on Sunday, September 23.
Mtolo said it is possible that history has been distorted, as many books were written by the apartheid government, that is why they are planning to appoint researchers to conduct intensive research.
The people of East Griqualand, a Khoisan community based in Kokstad, and the AmaMpondo from the Faku clan confirmed that they have already lodged a claim over Kokstad.
Prince Vusilizwe Matomane, from the Royal family of Mzintlanga, claimed that Kokstad belongs to the AmaMpondomise tribe under the Faku treaty and should be known as the AmaMpondo Kingdom.
“We believe that Faku are the sole rulers of Kokstad area between Umzimkhulu River and Umthatha River from the Indian Ocean to Drakensberg Mountain which is the original land of King Faku,” said Matomane.
He said, constitutionally, Kokstad falls under King Zanozuko Sigcau not Griquas.
East Griqualand land claim representative Cyril George Gangerdine disputes that the land belongs to any other tribe.
“Kokstad belongs to the Griqua nation and I have a verification document. Anybody can claim what they want and I wish them good luck,” said Gangerdine.
He said that, in fact, the whole KwaZulu-Natal province belongs to the Khoi and the San people.
“People should know that rock art has been found in the area of KwaZulu-Natal providing further evidence that the Khoisan were the first people in KZN,” said Gangerdine.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders Chairperson Nkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza said Kokstad belongs to the Zulu nation and anybody who disputes history must come back with valid evidence.
He said the traditional history of the Zulu nation is also being researched and nobody can dispute it.
House of Traditional Griqua Council Speaker Ralph Ruiters said they welcome the initiative of the mayor to appoint researchers.