The KwaZulu-Natal government has commemorated the 1838 Ncome River battle in Nquthu north of the province.
The battle between the AmaZulu nation and the Voortrekkers on 16 December 1838, saw the Ncome River turn red with the blood of thousands of AmaZulu warriors.
However, Premier Sihle Zikalala expressed disappointment after it emerge that another group observed the same event, commemorating only the Voortrekkers.
Zikalala says the Ncome Battle commemoration which was held just hundreds of metres away from government’s official event, is undermining Reconciliation Day.
Zikalala says they have in the past tried to engage the organisers of the other commemorations but were unsuccessful.
The KZN premier says the December 16th Ncome Battle is about the dispossession of land for the AmaZulu nation.
“It didn’t start as Reconciliation Day but it was a war between the Zulus and Afrikaaners here and that war was a war against dispossession of land against the Blacks and Black people fought all over we are here to commemorate this event as you see us we are grateful that the National Department of Arts and Culture working with our Provincial Government built this monument which is a museum that seeks to provide the remembrance of this day.”
Zikalala has called for the two commemorations to be merged. “It is, however, clear that the Reconciliation process has not been completed as you would see there is this celebration or commemoration on this side and there is a commemoration on the other side, the two are not linked. The other one is led by government, the other one is led by the Voortrekkers Monument Centre, a national organisation which looks on the Heritage of Voortrekkers in South Africa. We will continue to engage with the national department on how to ensure that the two are merged to become one we have tried on several occasions but we have faced resistance from the other side.”
In the video below, SABC News Reporter Bongani Ngema gives an update on the commemorations in Nquthu: