President Ramaphosa and the Afrikanerbond
We remain involved in dialogue and the search for solutions
In a historic moment, the president Mr Ramaphosa, addressed the 100th anniversary of the Afrikanerbond on 7 June 2018 in Paarl. Through his attendance and speech at the event, Mr Ramaphosa joined the ranks of Mr Nelson Mandela and Mr Thabo Mbeki who had addressed the Afrikanerbond on previous occasions.
In 1707 Hendrik Biebauw declared in Stellenbosch "I'm an Afrikaner." During the discussions of the Afrikanerbond National General Meeting (the Bondsraad), we also reaffirmed our place in South Africa. We could once again declare that we are not only Afrikaners, but also South Africans and people from Africa. The Afrikanerbond, whose values are founded in a Christian Democratic creed, once again acknowledges that we are part of a diverse South Africa with a multitude of languages, communities and cultures, and that we strive for freedom within a fair dispensation. We know that as Afrikaners we cannot isolate or remove ourselves from South Africa, its problems and its challenges.
During his speech, the President reaffirmed the particular identity of Afrikaners by saying that "Afrikaners are by name and by definition Africans. They are as part and parcel of the South African nation as any other community. Their language, their culture, their needs and their aspirations are no less important – and no more important – than those of their compatriots.” This affirmation must be welcomed, because there has been enormous alienation/polarisation over the past few years.
In our invitation to the President in February this year to address our National General Meeting (Bondsraad), we identified the need for interaction between government, political parties and the Afrikanerbond because there are important issues such as education the economy, agriculture and land ownership to discuss. Our invitation was to hear first-hand from Mr. Ramaphosa what his views on these issues are and his vision for South Africa.
Many of these challenges have been highlighted by President Ramaphosa in his speech at the Afrikanerbond’s Bondsraad. Although we wanted to learn more about the issues that we are particularly worried about, we received an invitation for further discussions. This will most definitely be pursued as the Bondsraad expressed further concerns about the land issue as well as Afrikaans education during subsequent discussions. Although the President has broadly referred to these issues, there is still great uncertainty.
Because the Afrikanerbond has always been solution-oriented in terms of the problems and challenges in South Africa, we have declared our willingness in finding solutions through dialogue and we will continue to discuss this with a government that should apply the South African Constitution to all inhabitants of the country.
We are well aware that criticism has been raised that the Afrikanerbond cannot speak on behalf of all Afrikaners. We have never claimed as much and we will never do so. Our members, however, are all Afrikaners and it is on this basis that we want to play a role because we need to care for their interests across various spheres of society.
We also want like to reiterate our thanks and appreciation to President Ramaphosa who engaged with the Afrikanerbond and shared his vision with us at a time of political uncertainty. We look forward to future conversations with the President to share our vision with him.
Statement issued by Jan Bosman, Chief Secretary, Afrikanerbond, 11 June 2018