PICS: Indigenous tribes attempt to reclaim Table Mountain

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – A collective of tribes and organisations belonging to the Khoe and /Xam indigenous nations are occupying a site at Table Mountain.

Shaun (|khaeb) Macdonald said there have been about a dozen people on any given day at the Cecilia Forest site since the occupation began on October 24.

He said the action was protected by international law, namely the Aboriginal title and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was officially adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007. The Aborginal title refers to the intrinsic right to land for indigenous people.

“Hoerikwaggo, now known as Table Mountain, has a strong spiritual link to our people, and we are occupying the mountain to create a space where we can yet again learn and practise our culture, traditions and language in the same spaces our ancestors did,” Macdonald said.

The intention behind the reclaiming of the area is also economically motivated, as many people were “grossly-excluded” from the economic benefits of Table Mountain, he said.

Cochoqua Khoisan Tribe counsellor Miles Jacobs said the people who occupied the site were from the Cochoqua, Goringhaiqua, Goringhaicona and the Gorachouqua tribes.

He said the action was taken by them to reclaim the mountain for the Khoisan indigenous people, and to restore the Khoina Kingdom.

SANParks spokesperson Lauren Clayton said members of the public had reported that about six people had erected structures in a section of Cecilia Forest on October 25.

She said a land invasion complaint had been lodged at Wynberg police station.

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