"The oral testimonies of the indigenous people, men and women, community leaders and ordinary people, who give a face to this country, need to be recorded if an all-inclusive history of South Africa is ever to be written"  
Courageous Conversations

175th Commemoration of the Battle of Blood River/Ncome & a nation’s striving for reconciliation

“True reconciliation does not consist in merely forgetting the past.” 

 FORMER President Nelson Mandela

Date: 6 - 8 November 2013

Venue: Ncome Museum (43km from Dundee, 24 km from Nqutu)

On 16 December 1838 the Zulu people and Voortrekkers were locked in a deadly battle with one another. This was the result of a protracted period of mistrust, conflict and antagonism towards one another. From thereon there was on-going suspicion and ill feeling. Southern Africa over time continued to be caught up in tension and turmoil.

In the latter part of the 20th century the country experienced a seriously damaging struggle for power and liberation from oppression.

Finally the humanity of mankind triumphed and a new era was born with the first fully democratic election of 1994. 

This year we are commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ncome/Blood River and in this conference we hope to speak honestly and courageously with one another as we continue to strive for reconciliation, social cohesion and nation building. Or put simply to find one another as fellow human beings and to live in honesty, trust and in a spirit of understanding and acceptance.


We wish to address the following themes at this conference: 

  • To discuss issues related to the Battle of Blood River/Ncome - Looking back and looking towards the future. This historical event is commemorated each 16 December on Reconciliation Day. What developments have taken place since 16 December 1838? 
  • How have we been commemorating the 16th of December as a nation? 
  • How far have we come in our quest for reconciliation and social cohesion?
  • What challenges do we face today – 175 years after the battle? 
  • What programmes and initiatives have we implemented since the birth of our Democracy and how have they contributed towards nation building?
  • In 2014 our country will commemorate 20 years of Democracy – what have we achieved, what struggles do we face today and where can we improve?

We hope that this conference will contribute towards a better understanding of one another, of an honesty with one another and of a further contribution towards finding one another.

Please send your title & abstracts to Elrica Henning at 

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