According to Solidarity, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his message on Reconciliation Day, “distorted and abused” history for his own political ideology on land, says Solidarity.
This follows after Ramaphosa referred to the Battle of Blood River on December 16, 1838 at the official Reconciliation Day celebrations in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal.
He mentioned that apartheid leaders had proclaimed that day to Vow to commemorate the brutal struggle at the Ncome River in 1838 between the Voortrekkers and Zulu warriors under the leadership of King Dingaan.
“In that historic battle, brave Zulu warriors with assassins perished in large numbers because of the firepower of the Voortrekkers. It is said that the Ncome River flowed red from the blood of the freedom fighters, ”Ramaphosa said.
He then turned away from his prepared speech, adding: “because they were freedom fighters who fought for the freedom of our land and they sacrificed a great deal in the fight against invaders.”
A video clip in which Ramaphosa says these last words has been shared among social groups since Monday.
Solidarity chief executive Dirk Hermann, in open letter, defended Ramaphosa’s description of the Zulu warriors as “freedom fighters” and accused him of “convenience” that history also includes the invasion, incorporation, extermination and expulsion of people, especially among king Shaka, included.
According to Hermann, Dingaan and Piet Retief, leader of the Voortrekkers, negotiated land. According to him, Dingaan was prepared to give land to the Voortrekkers in exchange for cattle stolen from Dingaan. Retief allegedly brought the cattle back on January 11, 1838, and on February 4 a treaty was apparently signed under which a certain portion of Natal was surrendered to the Voortrekkers.
According to Hermann, Retief and his company, including his son, were tortured and killed on 6 February. He also refers to the “defenseless” camps of the Voortrekkers that were attacked on February 17 and one of the “biggest child murders” – 185 children and 56 women killed.
According to Hermann, it is the run-up to the events of December 16, 1838 that “conveniently” releases Ramaphosa. He claims 464 men with 64 wagons were confronted on that day with a “huge Zulu force of 15,000.”
“These are the kind of freedom fighters you commemorate in 2019. Freedom fighters who brutally kill women and children are not freedom fighters, ”Hermann’s letter reads.