Back land reform, Ramaphosa tells Afrikanerbond

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses members of the Afrikanerbond. (PresidencyZA, Twitter)
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses members of the Afrikanerbond. (PresidencyZA, Twitter)

For millions of South Africans, the Broederbond was an instrument of misery and hardship, but the Afrikanerbond must unify and progress, Ramaphosa told Afrikanerbond members at their centenary celebration on Thursday evening.

Ramaphosa also asked them to back land reform, saying it would be to the benefit of the whole country.

"Rather than seeing it as a threat, running to foreign capitals ringing the alarm bells, see it as an opportunity," he said. "Let us not see the issue of land as a reason to pack up and go."

The Afrikanerbond was previously known as the Broederbond – then a secret society for white, Christian, Afrikaans males who clandestinely controlled the political, economic and cultural levers of apartheid South Africa.

Ramaphosa said the organisation was born out of the suffering Afrikaners endured under the British. As they strove to realise their rights, they had denied those same rights to the majority of South Africans.

"To me, that represents a very big contradiction," Ramaphosa said. "This is a historical reality that we must acknowledge."

'Afrikaners are by name and definition Africans'

Ramaphosa said this year was also the centenary of former president Nelson Mandela and struggle icon Albertina Sisulu, whose lives' work was the antithesis of what the Broederbond had stood for.

"We now have a responsibility to build this South Africa from the ashes of the past," he said.

He said the Broederbond had empowered Afrikaners, and the Afrikanerbond had to now use its "know-how" to the benefit of the whole country.

"As we build an inclusive society, we look to the Afrikanerbond to unleash the economic potential of the entire country.

"The future of the Afrikaner is intrinsically linked to the prosperity of the country as a whole," he said.

"Afrikaners are by name and definition Africans," Ramaphosa said, to some applause.

Ramaphosa also quoted Beyers Naude, who was kicked out of the Broederbond when he voiced his opposition to apartheid.

He acknowledged that the Broederbond had played a role in paving the way for the National Party and some sections of white society to move away from apartheid. 

'We want our people to stay in this country'

Ramaphosa, who spoke Afrikaans during parts of his speech, received a standing ovation when he concluded with "Baie dankie (thank you very much)".

Among the several hundred people at the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate outside Wellington in the Cape Winelands, were DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald and FF Plus MP Corné Mulder.

Afrikanerbond chairperson Jaco Schoeman said the last apartheid president and former deputy president, FW de Klerk, and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi had also been invited, but had offered their apologies.

When Schoeman introduced Ramaphosa, he referred to his debut State of the Nation address as president, and what has come to be known as the "Thuma Mina (Send Me)" speech, saying the Afrikanerbond also wanted to be "sent along".

He said the Afrikanerbond's motto, "Wees sterk (Be strong)" was very similar to that of the struggle's cry of "Amandla!".

"We are not going to knock on the door of (US president Donald) Trump or (controversial Australian MP Peter) Dutton," Schoeman said.

"We want our people to stay in this country."

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