by Amir Chetty – March 17, 2017

Chief KhoiSan SA 1.jpg Chief KhoiSan SA and Crawford Fraser

A Port Elizabeth Khoisan leader will put his best foot forward when he embarks on a walk from the city to Bhisho to hand over a memorandum calling for the removal of the term Coloured from official documents.

Speaking in Cleary Park, Chief Khoisan said the reason for the expedition was to rid the indigenous Khoi people of a name “which had been forced on us by Europeans”.

Chief Khoisan, dressed in traditional attire, said the seven-day walk from Port Elizabeth to Bhisho would culminate in the handing over of a memorandum from the people of the northern areas, who were looking to regain their true identity.

Nine other people, including two women, will tackle the journey along with Chief Khoisan.

They have also invited spiritual leaders from different faiths and religions to attend the send-off in Gelvandale on Tuesday, Human Rights Day.

They will be making stops in towns including Colchester, Alexandria, Klipfontein, Port Alfred, Grahamstown and King William’s Town, with the aim being to reach Bhisho by March 27.

There they will hand over the memorandum to the provincial legislature.

They will also hold talks and workshops about the meaning of the term coloured, and how indigenous people were given that name.

“The memorandum was drawn up as people from the northern areas are not happy about the term coloured, which has caused a lot of negativity among us,” Chief Khoisan said.

“Our children are confused. They are gangsters because they long for their own identity. They don’t know where they belong.”

Asked if people who had previously referred to themselves as coloured should now be referred to as Khoi, Chief Khoisan said: “We want to have workshops throughout the northern areas and the Eastern Cape informing people about the history of the term coloured.

“We want the people themselves to come out and say ‘I am not coloured’.

“We don’t want to tell them, we want them to make the decision themselves. Informed people make informed decisions.”

Chief Khoisan invited members of the public to join him on the first leg of the walk to Colchester, with transport being provided to bring people back to Port Elizabeth.