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Reconciliation Day:
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Cedric Offline

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Reconciliation Day:
Reconciliation Day:

16th December 1838, the Battle of Blood River, as us whites know the day, as we know the history passed down by the Afrikaner descendants of the ‘war’ between the Afrikaner Trekkers and the Zulu warriors, and we have allowed the 16th December, to be celebrated as our ‘Day of the Covenant’ and now, the ‘Day of Reconciliation’.

Today, on the West bank of the river, the Blood River Heritage site, representing the history and ideology of the Voortrekker and their strong believe around the idea that their prayers and promises to God, the Vow that they took to God, should God provide them with victory, which he did.

One the East side of the River, the new Ncume Museum has been erected, and as I visit it for the first time, attending the COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS Conference, November 2013, my first impressions make me feel very uncomfortable. The Ncume Museum, established to depict the Zulu version of the events of the 16th December 1838, instead, gives added confirmation to the Blood River Heritage sites version of the events that took place on that day in 1838.

On registration I am faced with mural depicting the battle, maybe 20m long, and 5m tall, that dominates the conference centre. I am uncomfortable, this mural was influenced by the Afrikaner version of the battle. I am unable to take a photograph of this mural, as a white, I do not wish to be seen in awe of this mural. It belongs on the West bank of this river.

A stainless steel bridge erected across the river to symbolize reconciliation, the building of bridges, is the central feature of the mural. At this stage I believe that it is only part of the reconciliation idea, and no more. After coffee I walk out onto the verandah, and discover that the bridge already exists, I walk down to it and find no beauty in the bridge, with the stainless steel locked doors on either end, and barbed wire to keep the enemy, or maybe just the criminal, out. I am not in Rural Africa, no, I could be in Sandton, looking through the typical structures that separate us.

I turn around to return to the conference venue, and then see the idea of the Ncume Museum, it depicts the formation of the Zulu Impi, behind shields, ready to attack. I look back at the Trekker laager behind me, depicting the Afrikaner in the defence mode, ready to defend his property and families from the attack by the black.

The irony of this entire museum, is that it depicts the typically Afrikaner, liberal-Afrikaner, English South African’s attitude today, when I warn of the poverty rising up against the wealthy, effectively the black rising up against the white, they will all answer, “I am not afraid, we will defend our families and our property to the bitter end”.

The white needing to defend their property and family, in the face of the threat from the black poverty group, is depicted in the combined Blood River Heritage Site and Ncume Museum complex. Yet, it is off this basis that we are trying to build reconciliation in our country.

I did not go into the Ncume Museum area, but its relationship with the Blood River Heritage site appears to ignore the Zulu version of events, which differs from the history that I was brought up on as a white South African, a debate that is not part of this blog, but I need to comment briefly about:-

“The Voortrekker was invading the Zulu territory, they were the invaders not the defenders. Piet Retief was on a mission, not approved by the Trekkers when he died. Retief did not respect the Zulu Culture and Monarch. Did the Dingaan-Retief treaty ever exist? Andries Pretorius was on instruction to dethrone Dingaan, the Trekker was the invader. Was the river ever blood red?”

I know many whites that will say that “we have done nothing to the blacks that require reconciliation”, and on the other side there are many blacks who feel the same.

Why the 16th December, why Blood River when I had nothing to do with it. It was an Afrikaner / Zulu issue?

Ignoring the major conflict that exists between a small group of Afrikaner Trekker supporters, and the Zulu nation, about the accuracy of the details related to the history of the 16th December 1838, the unintended depiction of the events of that day by the two sites in the larger complex area, extends to all South Africans, reflecting just how differently we see one another and our history, our heritage.

Here, at Blood River and Ncume, we can reconcile our heritage, through prayer, discussion, and interaction, so that we give the idea of ‘ready to attack, ready to defend’ museum status in our future South African legacy.

Join us in discussion and preparation for the Event on the 15th & 16th December 2013, as we go through the Uku gezwa kwe Mikhonto process, yes it is the time for the washing of spears

It is time for the washing of spears.
Uku gezwa kwe Mikhonto.

Washing of Spears

The Event

(This post was last modified: 11-09-2013 11:41 AM by Cedric.)
11-09-2013 11:40 AM
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