Don't distort our history - AfriForum

Organisation issues an open video letter to President Jacob Zuma

Open video letter to Zuma: Launch of AfriForum's campaign against the one-sided retelling of history

AfriForum today launched its campaign against the one-sided retelling of history, by publishing an open letter, in the form of a video addressed to the State President, on the organisation's website, and by encouraging members of the public to show their solidarity with it. Various well-known opinion makers have already pledged their support to the campaign and appear in the video.

Appearing in the video are the artists Steve Hofmeyr, Gerhard Steyn, Jakkie Louw, Adam Tas and Gerrie Pretorius. Spokespersons of several civil organisations, members of the public, and former members of the South African Defence Force (SADF) also appear in it.

The video, entitled We were there, focuses on the political misrepresentation Zuma told during the ANC's centenary celebrations when he praised Cuba for its contribution towards the so-called "victory" gained against "apartheid" at the "battle of Cuito Cuanavale". In the video, former members of the SADF explain why such statements are untrue, and the video appeals to all South Africans to engage with history in a circumspect manner, and to not abuse it as a weapon to achieve political ends.

The video also paves the way for the first ever social media walk to be organised in South Africa during which a delegation, comprising the persons who appear in the video, will walk to the embassies of Cuba, Russia, Angola, Namibia and the USA to hand over a memorandum in support of the balanced retelling of history. From there, the delegation will depart for the Union Buildings where the petition will also be handed over.

At the same time, English copies of Kraal Publishers' recently published book, We were there, will be handed to the embassies and the Office of the State President. This book is compiled by the former head of the SADF, Gen. Jannie Geldenhuys, and is written by several former SADF members. In it, the true history about the war and the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale is told by those who were there.

The public can show their support for the open video letter by registering their participation in the social media walk on www.afriforum.co.za/onswasdaar. The campaign already enjoys the support of the entire Solidarity Movement, which includes Solidarity, AfriForum, AfriForum Youth, Solidarity Helping Hand and Maroela Media.

Ernst Roets, AfriForum's Deputy Chief Executive, explained that a small group of representatives will physically undertake the walk, while the public at large could participate by following its progress on Facebook and by re-tweeting it on Twitter. It is estimated that around 300 000 members of the public will participate in the walk via the social media.

Roets added that the campaign is focused on the balanced retelling of history in all its facets, but that the video and the walk will specifically focus on the recent political lie about the Border War in view of the fact that many members of the public have lodged their complaints about this at AfriForum's office during the past month.

Statement issued by Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO, AfriForum, February 21 2012

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