Communities thank democratic government

Saturday, May 24, 2014

By Gabi Khumalo

Pretoria – For almost three decades, Joseph Brandt from Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, felt like an outsider in his own country.

He’s had to contend with not being treated like every other South African, with most people thinking he “belongs in the bush”.

However, since the dawn of democracy in 1994, Brandt says he has regained his human dignity. Twenty years on, he is happy to be recognised and says he is receiving all the benefits received by other South African citizens.

Along with other community members from the Northern Cape, Brandt spent 17 hours on the road travelling to the Union Buildings, as he wanted to witness and celebrate the Presidential Inauguration of the man he respects -- President-elect Jacob Zuma.

“I’m very excited to be part of this memorable event. We’ve come very far as Khoisan people and our democratic government has brought positive changes for us.  

“I’m excited because all cultures, including Khoisan, are now recognised and respected in this country. Unlike in the past, there are opportunities for all of us and Khoisans are now being included in government programmes,” Brandt said.

Brandt said he was most impressed with the progress made by the country to date, including job creation, building of schools and hospitals, as well as access to learnership programmes.

“What is important is that we are able to tell the government when it is not doing well and commend it when it is doing well. South Africa is a democratic country and I thank the ANC for the Freedom Charter,” said an emotional Brandt.

Since there is already a lot of development currently taking place in his home town, Brandt said he couldn’t ask for more.

“I cannot say I’m expecting better things for my area because the opportunities are already there and we see new things happening every time. I’m a Khoisan and I’m benefitting from this freedom… we have definitely seen more positives in the past 20 years.” –