South Africa’s history and symbols should include everybody

Dr Pieter Mulder

An exclusionary approach to the country’s history, its statues and symbols is divisive and wrong and cannot promote nation building, Dr. Pieter Mulder, leader of the FF Plus says.

Dr. Mulder during the debate in Parliament on the relevancy of symbols and the attack thereon, said only two approaches to history could be followed. One is inclusionary or inclusive and the other is exclusionary.

He said South Africa has a divided history for many reasons. The current South Africa only came into existence in 1910, a mere hundred years ago. To a great extent it leads to different heroes and different interpretations of our history.

According to Dr. Mulder it is the wrong approach to say that only the one who is in control at a given time may make decisions about history and who the heroes of a country are and that all other statues and symbols should be removed.

“The problem with that is that no government is permanent. Let us, for example, accept that the PAC will be the next government. Then Hani and Zuma’s statues must be removed and replaced with Sobukwe and Makwetu. Then the EFF comes to power and statues of Malema and Ndlozi should be erected and the others removed.

“Go and look at the British Parliament how statues of Cromwell who had destroyed the monarchy, and Charles I, whose head he had chopped off, stand next to each other.

“Our own castle has a history which lends itself to different interpretations of oppression and colonialism. Under the previous dispensation, the flags of all the previous periods were hoisted. From the Union Jack to the Dutch flag. That is the inclusive approach. The ANC has changed everything and there is only one flag now. That is the exclusionary approach.

“My grandmother Mulder was 16 years old and in the concentration camps when her mother died. Her brother Gerrie died aged three because people whose fathers or families who were still fighting only received half of the food rations.

“Little Gerrie died and as a sixteen year old she had to bury him there. At Merebank near Durban a monument was raised and Gerrie’s name is also there. Do we now have to destroy it too? My grandmother saw this war as a struggle against British imperialism.

“The Freedom Charter says South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. That is why the Freedom Front Plus believes an inclusive approach is sensible in our diverse country. People can’t tell me I am part of South Africa and my taxes are good enough, but my heroes and past aren’t. Then we are going nowhere – not as far as nation building is concerned,” Dr. Mulder said.


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