Khoi, San activists burned old IDs reflecting race classification

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Port Elizabeth members of the Khoi and San community have burned old identity documents reflecting race classification as a symbolic gesture to Nelson Mandela’s burning of his dompass in 1960.

They have vowed to continue to destroy documents denoting racial demographics that reflect the so-called Coloureds, but omit the Khoi and San.

The Khoi and San Communities have vowed to continue to demonstrate against being classified as coloured, until change is implemented.

In honour of the late former President Nelson Mandela, a group of Khoi and San activists burned old identity documents, saying they contained racial classifications.

In 2017, the group embarked on a march from Port Elizabeth to Bhisho where they handed over a memorandum demanding the removal of the term ‘Coloured’ from the statutes of South Africa.

Khoi and San activist, Christian Martin, says the old identity documents they burnt today reflect discrimination.

“The ID documents that we are still carrying around still have digits like 01 which is white, 02 which is coloured and 03 which is Indian and I can go on, to burn that it is declaring on this birth date of Mandela that we have achieved at least that one.”

Khoi and San activist Crawford Fraser says they are trying to redefine themselves. Fraser says the term coloured was created by the colonisers and it is a derogatory name. He says these communities demand equality.

“I burned my Mother’s ID, we want government to understand that the identity that was put upon us, and the identity that was reflected concerning us is not only derogative and discriminatory, it’s putting us on a bracket of a non-human.”

Activists from the Khoi and San communities say they believe that the removal of this term could mean a better future for all of them.

The activists say the group that has destroyed their old Identity Documents will apply for new ones, but they hope these will not reflect any racial classification.

The Department of Home Affairs says the old documents are discriminatory as the government consulted all relevant stakeholders before the new identity documents were introduced.

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