South Africa's Khoisan people demand recognition

24th May 2013, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's first inhabitants, the Khoi and San people, want official recognition of their identity and reject the mixed-race tag they've been carrying since the end of apartheid, a leader has said.

The country's first indigenous people want to benefit more from policies to address abuses under white minority-rule, provincial leader Raymond Trollip said at a conference.

"Our black brothers and sisters drive nice cars and live in nice houses and we are lower down the scale. We want to be equal with them," Trollip was quoted as saying in The Times newspaper Friday.

The Khoisan people, as they are collectively known, are also sometimes called bushmen and are famous for the clicks in their languages.

Trollip said they have lost much of their identity under colonisation and white minority-rule, which ended 19 years ago.

They demand the same benefits as the country's black majority enjoy under policies like Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), which give certain population groups preference for jobs and government contracts.

"The government has BEE for our black brothers and sisters. We want something similar," said Trollip.

Thought to number a few thousand, the Khoisan are officially classified with the mixed-race people who make up nine percent of the country's 52 million people.

Known as "coloureds", which is not an offensive term locally, the mixed-race people are the descendants of Indonesian and Malay slaves as well as a mix of Europeans and Africans.

They have fewer benefits than blacks under current government programmes because they are considered to have suffered less under apartheid.

© 2013 AFP

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