VANDALISM OF PAUL KRUGER STATUE
It is with shock that the Afrikanerbond learned that the statue of Paul Kruger and the Boers were damaged with green paint by political vandals. It smacks of extreme political immaturity. It leaves a bad taste and must be condemned.
Although it is shocking, it is not unexpected. The vandalising of the Paul Kruger statue took place on the eve of Founders Day or Van Riebeeck Day and we are only too deeply aware of the suspicion from government circles about Van Riebeeck and the more recent debacle over statues and names from the colonial past.
It is clear that the heritage and cultures of minorities are increasingly marginalised, whether through political mischief or by total incompetence, as in the case of the closing of the Road of Reconciliation between the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park in Pretoria, because the state has not contributed financially to the maintenance of the road.
We once again state our view on the history, heritage and conservation of these heritages, and with urgency. Only if we respect and understand each other’s culture, background and history can we proceed with much needed reconciliation in South Africa. Actions such as the vandalising of the Paul Kruger statue is totally unnecessary and polarise communities even more. There is not only one history in South Africa.
The diverse composition of the South African society, each with its own culture and history testifies to a long and rich past, good and bad, which must be recognised and preserved. It is not in the hands of political parties or immature politicians to rewrite history through irresponsible actions.
We therefore appeal to leaders of political parties to state clearly and unequivocally on what exactly their views are on monuments and cultural heritage and the role of such heritage in the reconciliation process in South Africa. Conflicting statements about this are confusing and may be wrongly interpreted.
It is regrettable that the cultural heritage of Afrikaners are treated in this way. No one’s history in South Africa should be treated this way. It is increasingly clear that a careful and responsible conversation should be held with those who want to rewrite the history of the Afrikaner and others in this manner. The Afrikanerbond declares unequivocally that we accept all cultural heritages as an asset which provides deeper meaning to the rich diversity of our nation.
Issued by Jan Bosman, Chief Secretary of the Afrikanerbond