New base for indigenous KhoeKhoe and San

Chief Hennie van Wyk at the launch of the Cape Royal Council of Indigenous KhoeKhoe and San.

The Western Cape KhoeKhoe and San Tribal leadership officially opened their office last week.

The Cape Royal Council of Indigenous KhoeKhoe and San will be run from the Pama building at 299 Main Road, Tokai, and will be the administrative and information office for matters relating to indigenous people.

It will also be a place where KhoeKhoe and San indigenous people will be able to visit to learn more about their origin and history.

Paramount Chief Hendrik “Hennie” van Wyk said it was an auspicious occasion and another step in the right direction to ensure the voices of the indigenous people are heard.

He said the provincial and tribal leaders, with their tribal advisers and elders, work through the office to provide advice and recommendations to the provincial government and national government about matters concerning the indigenous people.

The umbrella structure of the Cape Royal Council, which was established last year, will include an advisory council to ensure that the Khoe and San communities are represented by indigenous experts in academia, education and industry to ensure that the Khoe and San communities benefit from the development of their cultural and natural resources.

“The opening of the office needs to send an important message to our government and those who want to invest in the Western Cape and South Africa that we are open for business. It will also be a centre where people can come to ask questions and get information about the indigenous people,” he said.

“This is part of a process that we started in 2018 and we engaged with leaders from different tribes across the province to start a forum. Our responsibility is to address the shortcomings that exist and that our government has had with us as indigenous people.

“From here we will look at a national assembly of the Khoekhoe and San people and we encourage this process to be repeated all over the country,” said Mr Van Wyk.

Chief Shedriek Kleinschmidt from the Boland /Xam tribe said indigenous people have not
had a base and have been meeting at various locations.

“If people wanted to know about the KhoeKhoe, Bushmen or San leadership or any other information there was nowhere to go to. So for us this is very significant because it is important to have a base and we are reachable to give people information about us and to meet to discuss the issues affecting our people,” said Mr Kleinschmidt.

Some of the things the council will advise government on include:

Resource revenue and benefit sharing with Khoe and San communities.

Promoting and increasing procurement and business opportunities.

Creating education, training and employment opportunities and equity.

Strengthening environmental protection and stewardship and reconciliation, recognition, respect and responsible development.

For more information contact Jeanette on 084 548 0825 or visit the office of the council at 299 Pama House, Main Road, Tokai.