Khoi-San establishes its own chamber of commerce

Khoi-San are the indigenous people of South Africa but have not been very active in the South African economy.

From yesterday that was set to change as the Khoisan community formed their own chamber of commerce and industry.

At a conference yesterday, leaders of the five main groupings of the Khoi came together to form the chamber, and also agreed that all land claims would be lodged as a single group.

Ruben Richards was unanimously voted as the chamber’s first president and said he would make use of all the skills he acquired while working for the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

“This is a significant moment in the life of the indigenous people of South Africa because up until now we have not been afforded recognition to contribute to our economy.”

He was not shy to say that he was fired from the Cape Chamber for trying to work with excluded people.

“I have been around the Khoi-San and their issues for a while and I am interested to find a way to include them in the economy… many people, including the government, write them off and all I can say is watch this space.”

Richards said he will make sure people in South Africa know that the Khoisan people have more than land issues.

“They are South Africa’s oldest indigenous people and thus my role will embrace both a business and cultural role. It won’t be a political one. The vision for the Khoisan has broadened beyond the narrow confines of land claims.”

Chief of the Nama, John Witbooi, voted as the chairman of the chamber, said the chamber hoped to open offices in Cape Town over the next two weeks.

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