Khoisan leaders are up in arms after their most illustrious ancestor, Princess Krotoa, was honoured with a bankie – again.
About 40 Khoisan leaders and activists descended on the Castle of Good Hope on Friday after they heard Krotoa would be honoured with a wooden bench, and a ceremony to “release her spirit”.
The activists said they were only invited to the ceremony on Thursday and then decided to hold a silent protest to show their displeasure.
Khoi Chief Basil Coetzee says they were “roughly” told to leave by military officials, but they refused.
As part of Women’s Month celebrations, Defence and Military Veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula decided to honour Krotoa by hosting an event at the castle, which started with a church service.
But Coetzee says the entire ceremony was an insult and a contradiction of their beliefs.
“Burial of our people is the final step. We don’t call on spirits. That is not our way,” he says.
“Krotoa is the mother of our nation and this entire event was done by the Nguni tribe who called her spirit to the castle,” says the Chief.
“That plaque can only be read if you go on your knees.”
Chief Coetzee says they will demand that the bankie be removed.
Castle of Good Hope CEO Calvyn Gilfellan says it was not possible to invite “every KhoiSan person” to an event for 700 people.
He says: “This event was planned with some of the leaders from the indigenous tribes. The bench is a symbol made of 350-year old iron wood from the castle’s property.
“It’s a marker, a memorial of her final resting place and a place for people to sit next to and honour her. It is not meant to be sat on.”
Eight KhoiSan activists are still appearing in the Cape High court after they destroyed a concrete bankie with a mosaic of Krotoa’s face on it at the Civic Centre.