Thursday, November 05, 2009

Why Apartheid?

"How dare he try to justify apartheid, a crime against humanity!" Justification is one thing; providing information that may help to bring about insight, is something else.

What could motivate a group of people to deny the majority of the people in the country democratic rights, and try to cling on to political power in the face of overwhelming opposition?

This video examines some of the motivations behind the policy of Apartheid.

The early years of Apartheid should be seen against a background of a First world zeitgeist (a remnant from the colonial age) of superiority over the indigenous peoples of the third world an idea that was losing favour rapidly in the western world throughout the 20th century, and also in SA by the 1970s. This was manifested in petty Apartheid, or early Apartheid up to the late 1970s when, along with changing times internationally, these petty apartheid discriminatory laws were being repealed one after the other.

The second layer of background arises from a history of British repression, which only increased unity among Afrikaners, fuelling a determination to achieve freedom and independence. This contributed to their reluctance to part with these, once finally attained. Power sharing with the vastly superior numbers of black Africans in the same geographical area seemed to mean certain loss of their freedom. This gave rise to the homeland system and separate development. The rapid growth of the black population meant that separate development was inevitably unequal.

The following factors also played an important role:

1) A history of Afrikaner struggle against an imperial superpower that caused the death of 26, 000 women and children, wiping out almost half their child population. After the Anglo-Boer War, the British continued a policy of repression of Afrikaans language and culture.

2) This led to the rise of a strong national pride amongst Afrikaners, with aspirations of freedom and independence.

3) The Cold War and increasing Soviet influence in Sub-Saharan Africa, with strong communist tendencies displayed by black political movements (ANC-SACP-COSATU Alliance) and

4) the disappointing and alarming track record of other African countries under black majority rule, as the wind of change swept across Africa, provided further impetus for Afrikaners to resist democracy in SA.

Over three centuries the Afrikaner had become as much part of Africa as any black African tribe. Links with Europe were tenuous, the Afrikaner was totally committed to South Africa, and had no other country in the world they could call home. Under the circumstances described above, how could they be expected not to do everything in their power to preserve their heritage, and try to secure a future for their children?

However, changes in the world and the rapidly growing urban black population (matched by their political aspirations) were overtaking them. How could it be expected of them to just suddenly hand over all power to the black people? They saw themselves as waging a legitimate war of self-preservation in a hostile continent, under threat of declining prosperity as seen in the rest of Africa on the one hand, and communist rule on the other.

How could power sharing be a realistic option when a simple democracy meant merely counting the numbers: 35 million vs. 3.5 million?

Apartheid laws were being repealed one after the other since the late 1970s, but the black activist movements were not interested in these reforms, and would not be satisfied until all power resided in their hands.

Source: MasakhaneSA

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

The most important reason for Apartheid has been ignored although vaguely alluded to here.

The suppression of the Boer community by the British following Union was so intense that a massive population of poor whites was generated by the end of the 1930's. Remember that the British destroyed their farms and took away their livelihoods and way of life. They were proud people with little or no skills and unable to compete in the labour market.

When they discovered that they were in the majority of voters they used their unity to take control of Government and apartheid laws were put in place to raise the Boer population by giving them access to jobs and education which they had been competing for with the black population. A tactic used by all political parties since democracy was implemented.

I am not a Boer and am ashamed of the treatment meted out to a proud people who just wanted to lead peaceful farming life in lands they opened up and developed. As a former Rhodesian we suffered the same fate at the hands of our liberal kith and kin.

It is my hope that these liberal fags will one day realise the real human cost of meddling in countries for pure greed (read Rhodes and his banking backers et al)