Khoisan leader makes statement on red carpet at SONA

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A Khoisan activist and politician from the Eastern Cape arrived on the red carpet at the state-of-the-nation address on Friday in traditional attire, so that President Cyril Ramaphosa does not forget the indigenous Khoisan peoples.

Christian Martin, a member of the Eastern Cape provincial legislature, was one of four Khoisan activists who made headlines in December when they walked all the way from the Eastern Cape and staged a live-in protest and hunger strike at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Their 24-day protest only ended after then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa came out to meet them where they had set up camp on the Union Building lawns, but not before garnering the attention and support of thousands of members of the public.

For weeks, the group had appealed to President Zuma or his deputy to come and receive their memorandum in which the indigenous Khoisan is demanding recognition from the South African government as “first citizens” of the republic.

“We are asking for first nation status. [We want] our language to be made an official language. We want the Land Claim [Act] of 1913 to be scrapped because it is withholding us from making any land claims. The fourth one is that we want the coloured identity to be scrapped. That is not who we are,” said the group.

Martin was at one stage admitted to hospital after experiencing chest pains.

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