by Ndumiso Mlilo JOHANNESBURG
South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s National Heritage
Council (NHC) has called on the country’s black historians to
make an effort to correct the distortions of history in some
books by white historians.
This was said on Friday night by the NHC CEO Advocate
Sonwabile Mancotywa at the launch of Black Sacrifice, a book
about British warship SS Mendi which sank in 1917, killing 646
soldiers with the majority being black South Africans.
The book was written by Gladstone Sandi Baai who passed away
in 2012 after submitting the manuscript to the NHC. Mancotywa
said the book is the first one written by a black scholar about
the sunken troopship.
"This book will remove some distortions and contradictions
about SS Mendi by white scholars.
"We do not know a lot about ourselves.
"This is the decolonization of the African heritage narrative
and participation of the Africans in the World War I," said
He said South Africans were recruited as slaves and laborers
and used as soldiers in some wars which were not theirs.
Mancotywa said Africans were segregated when fighting alongside
the British while they also staged their own in the ship.
He said about 150 wars were fought against the British and
called on that to be documented.
Jeanny Morulane, general manager of the Constitutional Hill,
one of the country’s heritage sites, agreed that history needs
to be corrected to tell the true story about the black
participation in the World War I and local ones against the
"The sinking of the SS Mendi remains one of the worst
tragedies of World War I.
"We continue to mourn as South Africa and many generations to
come will do so.
"There was no compensation by the British for the loss of the
black, some who had never seen the sea," she said.
Professor Muxe Nkondo said there had been a fundamental
antagonism between Africans and the Europeans, and liberation
movements in the continent have failed to address it.
Nkondo said Europe failed to apologize and compensate
Africans for their sacrifice in fighting their (European) wars.
He said there are still many questions about why and how the
ship sank because some lies were peddled about it.
Another South African scholar Nomboniso Gasa Gasa said there
is a frosty relationship between Africa and Europe.
She criticized some white historians for mysticizing the
tragedy, blaming the blacks for doing death rituals before the
"These are not closed chapters, black historians should
continue researching and write the correct history.
"The SS Mendi is more than a historian’s memory, it shows the
border interaction of Africa and Europe and the entire colonial
history and the annihilation of the African people," She said.
Gasa added that Africans should demand compensation from
Europe for colonization.
South African president to appeal court ruling ordering
removal of NPA head
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (Xinhua) -- President Jacob Zuma will
appeal a court ruling ordering the removal of Shaun Abrahams,
head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Presidency
said on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, the North Gauteng High Court ruled that
Abrahams quit his job due to his unfitness to hold office.
The NPA is an important institution in South Africa’s
constitutional democracy, and the appointment of its leader is
not made lightly, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga
Together with judges, who likewise are appointed by the
president, the NPA head plays a vital role in the criminal
justice system, Ngqulunga said.
"Minded by the principle of the separation of powers,
constitutional legality and the rule of law, the judgement will
be appealed," said Ngqulunga.
For the past decade, the NPA has been viewed as politically
captured and accused of shielding Zuma from corruption charges.
In October this year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA)
decided to reinstate corruption charges against Zuma.
The SCA said a 2009 decision to withdraw corruption charges
against Zuma was "irrational."
Also on Friday, the ruling African National Congress (ANC)
said it will allow the parties involved to reflect on the
judgment and its implications as well as decide whether to
appeal or not.
Whatever decision taken shall be in the interest of the
administration of justice, the NPA and the country as whole, the
ANC leadership battle heats up over rape charges against Zuma
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The African National
Congress Youth League (ANCYL) on Friday threw its weight behind
President Jacob Zuma over a brawl pitting the president against
his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a statement emailed to Xinhua, the ANCYL accused Ramaphosa
of directly attacking Zuma by publicly voicing belief in
decade-old rape accusations against the president.
This came after Ramaphosa said in an interview with Radio 702
on Thursday night that he "would believe" the rape accusations
against Zuma in a case dated back to 2005.
Fezeka Kuzwayo, popularly known as Khwezi, fielded a lawsuit
against Zuma in 2005 when he was deputy president, accusing him
of raping her. Zuma denied the accusations.
The High Court in Johannesburg later acquitted Zuma of the
rape charges, saying there was not enough evidence to suggest
that the sexual act between Zuma and Khwezi was not consensual.
On Friday, Zuma hit back at Ramaphosa, saying he has not been
found guilty of any crime and the rape allegations against him
were properly considered by a judge of the High Court.
Ramaphosa, one of the candidates in the presidential race of
the African National Congress (ANC), is hopeful to succeed Zuma
when the ANC holds its elective conference later this month.
Ramaphosa’s comments about the rape accusations is believed to
have added controversy to the ANC’s leadership battle.
The ANCYL described Ramaphosa’s remarks as "unfortunate" as
they constitute direct attacks on a sitting president of the
ANC, also the president of the country.
"This is bile because this is an act of a desperation at a
full demonstration and prove that his conscience has long left
him and not under any circumstance does he show that he can lead
the ANC," ANCYL national spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize said.
The ANCYL is shocked that a dead person would be used to
advance a selfish personal agenda despite the fact that an
independent judicial organ of the state has made a judgment on
the matter, said Mkhize.
"We call upon this fellow (Ramaphosa) to publicly respond for
this recklessness or face the full might of the ANC rule book,"
Ramaphosa, by attacking an outgoing ANC president, will never
increase his chances to even come close to his self-serving
ambitions, Mkhize said.
The ANCYL, a political force to be reckoned with in South
Africa, has voiced support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ANC MP
and former chairwoman of the African Union Commission, to
succeed Zuma, who is also believed to support Dlamini-Zuma, his
Some South Africans went to social media to voice their
opinions. Some support Ramaphosa, but more accuse him of using
Khwezi’s memory to win the presidential campaign.
"It’s time for Ramaphosa to walk the talk and prove himself
to the nation & the world. Restore our dignity!" one tweet
"Why didn’t Cyril believe Khwezi when she said she (was)
raped by Zuma then? This (shows) Cyril Ramaphosa is an
opportunist," reads another tweet.
South African ruling party condemns United
recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The ruling African
National Congress (ANC) on Friday condemned "in the strongest
possible terms" the decision by the U.S. Administration to
officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
"This blatantly provocative move severely undermines the
spirit of multilateralism and is a significant setback to a
fragile and already stalled peace process," the ANC said in a
statement emailed to Xinhua.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced earlier this week that
his administration will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to
The decision has drawn worldwide condemnation and
sparked a number of protests in Jerusalem and elsewhere.
Several armed groups in the region have labelled Trump’s
announcement as "a declaration of war".
The ANC concurs with the sentiment expressed by many world
leaders that the U.S. position is a violation of a number of UN
Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions regarding
the status of Jerusalem in any final settlement between the
Israelis and the Palestinians, ANC Deputy Secretary General
Jessie Duarte said in the statement.
The U.S. move is a further indication of the recklessness
with which the Trump Administration has chosen to both pursue
and communicate its foreign policy objectives in a highly
volatile region, Duarte said.
"A very real possibility exists that this announcement could
reignite the tinderbox of violence and cause the region to once
again descend into bloodshed," Duarte warned.
On Thursday, the South African government also added its
voice to universal condemnation of the U.S. decision,
reiterating South Africa’s principled position that
unilateralism threatens the global balance of power, security
and stability in a relatively volatile environment.
The ANC wholly agrees with the position of the South African
government that reinforces the supremacy of multilateralism as
the only way to secure a sustainable solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as a rules-based
international order, Duarte said.
"The ANC remains committed to the two-state solution and this
unilateral pronouncement by the U.S. does harm to Palestinian
aspirations for an independent, peaceful state coexisting side
by side with Israel, based on the 1967 borders and with East
Jerusalem as its capital," said Duarte.
She voiced concern that the United States, instead of
positioning itself as a credible advocate for a just and lasting
solution to the Israel/Palestine issue, "is showing itself to be
wholly partisan and favoring Israel", Duarte said.
She called on both Israelis and Palestinians to take steps to
urgently resume talks to restart the peace process.
The ANC further calls on the U.S. Administration to
reconsider its decision in the light of the negative
ramifications for the cause of a just and lasting peace, Duarte
The sinking of SS Mendi was a major loss of
life for the South African military