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Khoisan liberation walk reaches end of the road

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About 30 Khoisan started their journey in Victoria West in the Karoo on February 17 and ended it at the Castle of Good Hope

LONG TREK: Liberation walkers !Xam and Northern Cape Chief !'aru Ikhuisi Piet Berendse on the R27 from Langebaan to Cape Town, as they finally complete the 1 000km Indigenous Liberation Walk from Victoria West. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

A GROUP participating in the annual Indigenous Liberation Walk completed their final 120km of a 1000km walk to arrive in Cape Town last week.

About 30 Khoisan started their journey in Victoria West in the Karoo on February 17 and ended it at the Castle of Good Hope.

They have been doing so every year since 2013.

Their route followed the legendary one taken by Kalahari Khomani San leader, Dawid Kruiper, in 2004.

Indigenous rights activist /Namtakhob Neal Hartman Ligter said this year’s walk was dedicated to water, as the drought crisis was affecting every community in the province.

“We have seen the rivers and dams are running dry and the attention should not just be on Cape Town.

“We are not just walking for those who identify as indigenous peoples, but the greater so-called coloured community because who is looking out for them?”

He said they had been given water, blessed by a Canadian indigenous tribe, which they used for ritualistic purposes.

Gillian von Langsdorff, 55, and her daughter, Tanisha La, 30, also participated in the walk. The mom-and-daughter duo now lives in Canada, but said they are from indigenous Cape descent.

Northern Cape activist Billy Steenkamp was one of the founding members of the initial walk with Kruiper.

“I have found that there was a hunger for identity, but the older generations know who they are and find no insult by being referred to as Boesman or Hotnot.

“My grandfather was born in 1889 and he lived in accordance to his indigenous roots, long before it became fashionable.

“It had become a misnomer, but it would be an insult to my ancestors if I did not identify myself as indigenous.”

He said he had been invited in the past to deliver presentations on the plight of indigenous people in the Karoo before government, but their response had been underwhelming and the assistance non-existent.

Northern Cape Chief !’aru lkhuisi Piet Berendse, said there was still no recognition of their language, culture or the celebration thereof.