A South African expat wanted the Day of the Vow to be celebrated in New Zealand. During Apartheid, 16 December marked the Day of the Vow or the Day of the Covenant. Afrikaners commemorated the 1838 Battle of Blood River when the Voortrekkers fought and defeated Dingaan’s army. In 1994, the Day of the Vow changed to Reconciliation Day.
The new Reconciliation Day was celebrated for the first time on 16 December 1995. No longer was it solely reserved for Afrikaners, but now also marked the day that the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe, was founded on 16 December 1961.
Reconciliation Day in New Zealand
Not happy with the turn of events or being burdened with having to be “politically correct,” an expat in New Zealand, Rudi Du Plooy, gathered approximately 20 people back in 2017 to revive the Afrikaner “holy day.”
Even though the group of expats claimed that the revival of the Day of the Vow was to renew their covenant with God and that it was in no way racist, their comments suggest otherwise.
His followers believe Apartheid “was great”
Garret Pelser, a follower of Du Plooy based in Auckland, told reporters that he is a proud Boer and that Apartheid was the “greatest period” in South African history. He said:
“When I say the system [apartheid] was great, I’m coming from an angle where we all respected one another, but yet we all had our own areas where we were allowed to live, to promote and further our cultures. If we can wake up tomorrow morning and all of a sudden I’m back in pre-1994, I would drop to my knees, and I would say thank you, God, because we all respected one another, we all lived happily ever after.”
Pelser also, for reasons unknown, believes that Black South Africans should thank white people for Apartheid. A reporter pointed out that Black citizens were not allowed to vote or use public facilities, but Pelser held his ground.
“If I had to be in their position I would say thank you very much, thank you for what you’re doing, thank you for keeping us safe, thank you for your security forces, thank you for all the beautiful jobs, thank you for the infrastructure and thank you because I can put my head down on my pillow, and we are all safe in our suburbs where we live. I would be very grateful for what the whites did.”
It should also be noted that the Day of the Vow was praised on the American Ku Klux Klan website when it was still active, by the grand wizard David Duke no less. Still, Du Plooy insists the revival was not racist.
In the same breath, he said that God helped Afrikaners “triumph over evil” when they defeated Dingaan’s army in the mid-1800s. Du Plooy prays that God will intervene now again “with the slaughter of innocent farmers.”
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Reason still prevails
Many South Africans in New Zealand have slammed Du Plooy for his teachings, and labelled his sermon as undeniably racist. History professor Professor Albert Grundlingh had the following to say:
“The whole piece is shamelessly biased, though as I said, for propaganda to succeed it must be seen as plausible, and the basic facts about the event are all there, though I am not too sure about the numbers. It made no attempt to be even-handed and also makes far-fetched claims ascribing a kind of essentialism to black people.”
Pat Pilcher said he was “gobsmacked” when he heard Du Plooy’s sermon, and said his views had no place in New Zealand, a country that prides itself on “serious intolerance of racism of any kind.”
He also felt that Du Plooy’s speech was in breach of the Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act of 1993. Pilcher was disappointed that New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioners Office had received no complaints about the sermon.
“While this bullshit may’ve been celebrated in South Africa during white rule, there is absolutely no good reason for it to be celebrated [in New Zealand.]”
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