The Day of Reconciliation is a public holiday in South Africa, held every year on December 16th. The day was known as the Day of the Vow and Day of the Covenant or Dingaan Day.
The holiday became effective in 1995 after the finish of apartheid, to promote reconciliation and national unity for the nation. The date was picked because it was huge to both Afrikaner and African societies. The government picked a significant date for both ethnic groups since they perceived the requirement for racial harmony. The celebration of the Day of Reconciliation can appear as remembering the previous history, perceiving veteran’s contributions, marching, and different celebrations.
The roots of the celebration for the Afrikaners goes back to the Day of the Vow, celebrated on 16 December 1864 in remembrance of the Voortrekker triumph over the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River. For African individuals, the date has been huge as one of both peaceful protests against racial injustice and of the establishing of the more aggressor Umkhonto we Sizwe by the African National Congress (ANC) on 16 December 1961. Nelson Mandela and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission picked a day that was extraordinary for both ethnic groups in the nation to deal with recuperating the harm done by apartheid.
Day of Reconciliation History
Under the standard of politically-sanctioned racial segregation, December 16th was honored as the Day of the Vow, otherwise called Day of the Covenant or Dingaan Day. The Day of the Vow was a holiday celebrating the Afrikaner triumph over the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River in 1838.
In the initial segment of the 19th century, numerous Afrikaner farmers left the eastern cape and moved inland. One group of farmers was the Voortrekkers, Afrikaners who were challenging British expansionism and looking for their own independent republics on what they saw was an empty land.
In any case, the land was not empty and conflicts with the indigenous individuals were inescapable. In 1837 the Voortrekker leaders went into negotiations for land with Dingane, the Zulu ruler.
Regarding the negotiations, Dingane guaranteed the Voortrekkers land on condition they returned cattle to him taken by Sekonyela (the Tlokwa chief). This Retief did and obviously, he and Dingane signed a treaty on February 6th, 1838. During the ceremony Dingane had Retief and his escort killed. In resulting fights between Zulus and Voortrekkers throughout the next few months, various lives were lost on the two sides.
On December 16th, 1838 around 10,000 soldiers under the command of Dambuza (Nzobo) and Nhlela attacked the Voortrekkers, yet the 470 Voortrekkers, with the benefit of gun powder, warded them off. Just three Voortrekkers were injured, yet over 3,000 Zulus were killed during the fight.
Before the fight, The Voortrekkers took a Vow before God that they would build a church and that they and their relatives would observe the day as a day of thanksgiving should they be granted victory.
December 16th is additionally the establishing date of Umkhonto We Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress, co-founded by Nelson Mandela in 1961 in the wake of the Sharpeville slaughter.
With the advent of democracy in South Africa, December 16th held its status as a public holiday and was first celebrated as Day of Reconciliation in 1995.
As indicated by a statement issued by the government, Reconciliation Day: “aims to promote national unity, social cohesion, constitutional democracy, human rights, and equality by highlighting and advancing the constitutional values and principles that bind together all South Africans.”
Falling near Christmas, Reconciliation Day is viewed as the ‘official’ beginning of the festive season.
The date for the Day of Reconciliation was selected because of its significance to both the Afrikaner and African individuals. For the Afrikaner it was known as the Day of the Covenant, a religious holiday celebrating a triumph over the Zulus by the Voortrekker’s in 1838 at the Battle of Blood River.
For the Africans, it was the day of one of a significant protest in 1910 against racial discrimination. In 1961 the Umkhonto we Sizwe, the “Spear of the Nation”, was set up, an armed force of the ANC. The first acts of treachery and violent resistance against the apartheid pioneers additionally occurred on that day ever.
The date was picked to agree with two beforehand existing significant dates: the Afrikaans’ Day of the Vow and the anniversary of the establishment of the Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military branch of the African National Congress in its battle to end Apartheid.
The Day of the Vow is so named because, on this day in 1838, Afrikaaners promised to God to build a church and save for a him a perpetual day of thanksgiving should be satisfied to defeat the Zulu armed force at that point surrounding them. At the Battle of Blood River, against all odds, the petition was obviously replied, for against all odds, an Afrikaans force of 470 routed 10,000 Zulu warriors who attacked them from each side.
Custom says that only three Afrikaans soldiers were injured, while 3,000 Zulus were killed. On the 100th anniversary of the fight, the 1938 classic film They Built a Nation re-sanctioned the event on the silver screen.
With regards to the ANC and its battle against Apartheid, on December 16th, 1961, 69 dissenters were killed by the gunshots of South African Police in the notorious Sharpeville Massacre, Nelson Mandela and different leaders of the ANC concluded that armed resistance was essential. They established Umkhonto we Sizwe, signifying “Spear of the Nation,” which started attacks on government establishments.
The group was soon named a “terrorist organization” by South Africa (and the U.S.) and accused of “fomenting violent revolution.” After negotiations for a new, democratic South Africa started on August 1st, 1990, the armed group stopped its activities. In 1994, the first democratic elections without Apartheid were held in South Africa, and the ANC’s military wing was incorporated into the South African military.
In 1995, the Day of Reconciliation was pronounced a national holiday in South Africa, and December 16th was picked for its current significance to those of both African and European descent. Today, the holiday likewise denotes the start of the festive season toward the year’s end, including Christmas, the Day of Goodwill, and New Year’s Day. During this period, numerous organizations close, and laborers spend time at home with their families or participate in different celebrations.
Day of Reconciliation is to remember the Rainbow Nation, to remember forgiveness and above all acknowledgment and love of one’s neighbor regardless of historical war or tribulations. South Africa has come to a far route in fostering peace between her people and all the different societies that she conveys however peace has generally been practiced and keeps on being reinstalled in the individuals of the country.
December 16, remaining parts a National holiday in South Africa, yet now represents reconciliation and national unity, where the exercises and complaints of the past can fashion new seek after the nation and her residents. All South Africans are asked, particularly on this day, to reestablish their commitment to the ideals of human dignity and equality.