[ 2006-12-14 17:10 ]
每年的12月16日是南非政府法定的“种族和解日” （原为纪念祖鲁族人大屠杀的“许愿日”——the Day of the
Prior to this the day was celebrated as "The Day of the Vow", a public
holiday commemorating the
Voortrekker victory at the Battle of Blood River in 1838.
In the spirit of
promoting reconciliation and national unity, the day was given a new meaning and
was renamed the "Day of Reconciliation" in 1995.
A historical event related
In the early hours of the
morning of 16 December 1838, a battle was fought between the Voortrekkers under
the leadership of Andries Pretorius, and the AmaZulu warriors of Dingane near the Ncome River.
The AmaZulu suffered heavy fatalities, losing more than 3000 men, while the
Voortrekkers purportedly had only three non-fatal injuries. The Ncome River became red with the blood of the
slain. Hence the Ncome River became
known as "Blood River".
After the defeat of Dingane, the Kingdom of the
AmaZulu was hurled into political strife. Mpande, the half-brother of Dingane,
taking advantage of the political uncertainty overthrew the latter and seized
the leadership of the AmaZulu. Since Mpande was open to the demands for land by
the Voortrekkers, Andries Pretorius declared him King of the AmaZulu, and a
vassal of the Voortrekker Natal Republic. Large areas of his kingdom were
annexed by Natal. While Mpande's vassalage lapsed when the British colonial
administration annexed the Natal Republic, the AmaZulu did not regain their
land. However, they did undergo a period of stability and economic
For the greater part of the twentieth century 16 December had
been observed as a public holiday, with Afrikaans-speakers attending special
church services or visiting the Voortrekker Monument. Until the National Party
seized power in 1948, this day was observed as "Dingaan's Day". After 1948 the
National Party government set about politicising this day to legitimise their
apparent uniqueness and historical relationship with God. Hence in 1952
"Dingaan's Day" officially became the "Day of the Covenant". In 1980 in the face
of protracted resistance towards and rebellion against the white minority state
by the black majority, the National Party appealed to old racist sentiments in
the Afrikaans community and renamed the day the "Day of the Vow".
South Africa elected its first non-racial and democratic government. In the
spirit of promoting reconciliation and national unity, the day was given a new
meaning and was renamed the "Day of Reconciliation" in 1995.
meaning and significance had already been accorded this day in the past: on 16
December 1961 the African National Congress launched its military wing, Umkhonto
we Siwze, the Spear of the