In this article I think through the recognition of the “ontological legitimacy” of iqaba—a concept that is found in South Africa, owing to the ontological split among Blackness/Indigeneity that was promulgated by colonial incursion. I do so using the question: “How will black people, long accustomed to dispossession and deprivation, adjust to a new condition of not being racial victims,” which was initially posed by Zoë Wicomb in the early 1990s. It is a question inspired by the end of apartheid and the looming promise of democracy. I juxtapose this question with a close reading of Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi’s “Intshayelelo: Imbali.”

Simply, the thesis of this article holds that iqaba possesses ontological legitimacy, iff [sic] they take heed of the instructions outlined in Mqhayi’s propositions of the importance of historical self-knowledge. Moreover, ontological legitimacy and an inclusive national identity are two sides of the same coin of recognition.

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