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Southern Africa

ole timer Jan 31, 2015

  1. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    They resemble us, but in appearance are the colour of pumpkin-porridge…
    They are rude of manners and without any graces or refinement.
    They carry a long stick of fire.
    With this they kill and loot from many nations."
    Zulu impression of first white men, taken from Zulu epic poem, Emperor Shaka the Great, translated by Mazisi Kunene, drawing on the memories of a number of Zulu oral historians.

    In the early part of the 19th century the history of southern Africa is marked by the massive expansion of the Nguni empire under the military leadership of Shaka. This had a knock on effect throughout southern Africa displacing other peoples.

    People in southern Africa also felt the economic and political impact of a minority of Europeans from the 17th century onwards. These Europeans set about taking over, and profiting from, other people's land.

    Farming and mining were the principle activities from which white settlers profited, with the Dutch, or Afrikaners as they became known, mainly interested in agriculture.

    The Englishman Cecil Rhodes led the initiative to exploit the country's mining potential. His long term goal was to colonise the whole continent with white settlers.

    The Afrikaners had a huge social impact on southern Africa. Wherever they set up a community they pursued a policy of racial segregation, based on a belief in the racial superiority of Europeans, wherever they set up. This reached its most organised form in the system of apartheid created by the National Party of South Africa from 1948 until the 1980's, when it began to be dismantled.

    While most of Africa had achieved independence by the early 1960s, it took much longer for southern African colonies to become independent. Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and Lesotho all achieved independence by the end of the 1960s. But Angola and Mozambique had to wait until 1975. Zimbabwe achieved majority rule in 1980. Namibia shook off South African domination in 1990.

    It was not until 1994 that South Africa itself was returned to her people and governed through majority rule
  2. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Zulu Rise & Mfecane

    In the first two decades of the 19th century, the Zulu people grew in power and expanded their territory under their leader, Shaka. This expansion, was in some measure a response to drought, putting pressure on the Zulus to find new land.

    In addition, the movement of Europeans into new territory, which was not theirs, contributed to a situation of flux of which the Zulus took advantage. However, the Zulu expansion and the defeat of rival Nguni kingdoms is hard to imagine without Shaka's hugely forceful personality and exacting military discipline.

    From the tales of the war and their fame in Nguniland,
    the Zulus knew how popular their fight was against Zwide.
    Shaka, proud of these achievements and eager to encourage his army, addressed the regiment:

    "Great nation of Zulu,
    You have shown courage against a superior enemy.
    The nations that spoke of you with contempt are chilled by your songs.
    Kings and princes shiver in their little thrones.
    Enemies flee to hide in the mountain caves."
    This excerpt celebrates Shaka's victory against King Zwide of the Ndwandwe Kingdom, in 1818 at the Mhalatuse River. Taken from Zulu epic poem, Emperor Shaka the Great, translated by Mazisi Kunene, drawing on a number of Zulu oral historians.

    Shaka created a standing army of 40,000 warriors, made up of regiments separated out into age groups. The communities he defeated were plundered for cattle and grain. These attacks were not free for alls, with Zulu soldiers taking what they wanted, but highly organised raids, with all the booty becoming the property of Shaka.


    The Ngwane moved northwards in response to form the Swazi kingdom.

    The Ndwandwe also went north to establish the Gaza kingdom.

    The Ndebele moved in 1840 to what is now south western Zimbabwe.

    MFECANE 1817-1828
    More destruction was caused by those whom Shaka defeated, than by his own forces. Such was the case of the Hlubi and the Ngwane. Bereft of all social order, these refugees took to looting and pillaging wherever they went. They reduced the landscape in the Natal and much of the Orange Free State into a wasteland. This period of change became known as the Mfecane, which is said to derive originally from a Zulu word meaning "crushing". For the past ten years the word and ideas behind it have aroused much debate and argument.

    Many South African historians now believe that Europeans, and slave traders in particular, played a much larger part in upheaval in the region in the first quarter of the 19th century than was previously thought, and that too much emphasis has been put on Shaka's impact.

    The black south African writer and journalist Sol Plaatje wrote movingly about this period after Shaka's death, in a novel. Entitled Mhudi, it focussed on the Ndebele defeat of the Barolong in the 1830's. This is believed to be the first novel written in English by an African.

    "Mzilikazi's tribe (the Ndbele) originally was a branch of the Zulu nation which Shaka once ruled with an iron rod. Irritated by the stern rule of that monarch, Mzilikazi led out his own people who thereupon broke away from Shaka's rule and turned their faces westward.

    Sweeping through the northern areas of Port Natal, they advanced along both banks of the Vaal River, driving terror into man and beast with whom they came into contact.

    They continued their march very much like a swarm of locusts; scattering the Swazis, terrifying the Basuto and Bapedi on their outposts; they drove them back to the mountains at the point of the assegai; and, trekking through the heart of the Transvaal, they eventually invaded Bechuanaland where they reduced the Natives to submission."
    Taken from Sol Tshekisho Plaatje's book Mhudi.

    Other people profited from the chaos, and new kingdoms arose, notably the kingdoms of Gaza and Swaziland. The Sotho under the canny leadership of King Moshoeshoe, retreated to the mountain of Thaba Bosiu. Here he built a mountain kingdom (modern Lesotho) that was easy to defend against invaders.

    He also cultivated the friendship of missionaries as a way of purchasing guns and horses. But he remained in danger of being swallowed up by the Afrikaners of Natal Province. For this reason, he agreed to become a Protectorate under the British (Basotholand), forfeiting some of his land in the process
  3. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Oppression Of Khoikhoi and Xhosa

    The hunger for land is a central theme of southern African history from the 17th century onwards. It generated conflict, sparked off wars and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

    The first Europeans in southern Africa confined themselves at first to the western part of the region, centring their activities on the Cape of Good Hope. Here the Dutch East India Company was established in 1652. Gradually the Dutch colony expanded north and east, displacing, in the first instance, the oldest known inhabitants of this region, the Khoikhoi (referred to by the Dutch as 'hottentots').

    The Khoikhoi were part of a larger group called the Khoisan, spread across southern Africa, sharing much of the same language. The San branch were hunter gatherers; the Khoikhoi were herdsmen. As a whole, the Khoisan needed large amounts of land in order to hunt and graze their cattle. The Dutch refused to recognise their traditional grazing and hunting rights.

    The Dutch both stole and bought cattle off the Khoikhoi. In 1659, the Khoikhoi fought the Dutch over grazing land south of able Bay and lost. Soon the Khoikhoi way of life disintegrated.

    "They objected that there was not enough grass for both their cattle and ours.

    'Are we not right therefore to prevent you from getting any more cattle? For, if you get many cattle, you come and occupy our pasture with them, and then say the land is not wide enough for us both! Who then, with the greatest degree of justice should give way, the natural owners, or the foreign invader?'"
    Jan van Riebeek describing the Khoikhoi objections to the Dutch invasion of their pastures, quoted by Kevin Shillington in History of Africa.

    The Dutch, who came to be known as Afrikaners (as well as Boers, which means farmers) started to expand their activities. They cultivated land and hunted across large distances. Subsequently, they acquired the title of Trekboers, when they embarked on long journeys or treks to get away from British officialdom in the Cape Colony.

    The Khoikhoi often ended up as slaves, either working in the Cape Colony, or as farm labourers for the Dutch. The final blow came to them in 1713 when they fell victim to a small pox epidemic brought on a Dutch ship. The descendants of the Khoikhoi and San can be found in the deserts of Botswana and Namibia today.

    The second group of original inhabitants who suffered in the 19th century were the Xhosa. They had their western settlements between the Bushmans River and Fish River. They came into conflict with both the Dutch and then the British.

    There were two major battles in the 1830's and 1840's. By 1854 the British had stripped the Xhosa chiefs of power and planted them as salaried functionaries in the colonial administration.

    The loss of power and land was devastating, materially and psychologically. The final blow came when their cattle became infected with a lethal lung infection, killing as many as 80 per cent of some of the chiefs' cattle. Their world order and sense of purpose collapsed and the Xhosa turned to their religion to find the reasons behind these disasters.

    A sixteen year old prophetess claimed to have been in touch with the ancestors who called on Xhosa leaders to create a new beginning for their people. This, the ancestors said, could only be done by wiping out the old, and that meant killing the remaining cattle.

    "You are to tell the people that the whole community is about to rise again from the dead. Then go on to say to them all the cattle living now must be slaughtered, for they are reared with defiled hands, as the people handle witchcraft.

    Say to them there must be no ploughing of lands, rather must the people dig deep pits, erect new huts, set up wide, strongly built cattlefold, make milksacks, and weave doors from buka roots…"
    The words of the spirits, talking to 16-year-old Nongqawuse, as recorded by W.W. Qqoba in his narrative of the Cattle killing, based on oral sources. Quoted by J.B. Peires, in his book The Dead will Arise.

    The Xhosa people became completely divided over what to do. The amathamba 'soft' believers thought they must obey; the amagogotya or 'hard' unbelievers rejected the culling.

    In February 1856, the Xhosa began killing their cattle. A total of 400,000 were culled. 40,000 Xhosa died as a result of this and many of those that survived had to work in Cape Town or as labourers on farms.

    "Every day King Williams Town was thronged and its inhabitants distressed at the sight of emaciated living skeletons passing from house to house. Dead bodies were picked up in different parts within and around the limits of the towns, and scarcely a day passed over, that men, women or children were not found in a dying state from starvation.

    My consulting room was every day surrounded with emaciated creatures craving food, having nothing to subsist on but roots and the bark of the mimosa, the smell of which appeared to issue from every part of the body, and to whom it would be a mockery to say, you must seek employment, or proceed on to the colony."
    Dr. John Fitzgerald Founder of the Native Hospital, King Williams Town. Quoted by J.B. Peires, in his book The Dead will Arise
  4. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Afrikaners Versus English

    The British arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1795 and immediately came into conflict with the Dutch over the issue of slavery. The initial aim of the British was to secure a stop-off on the way to Asia, but they soon became involved in the business of the colony. In 1807, the British banned slave ownership.

    The British finally subdued the Dutch in 1806, and in 1834 they banned the trade in slaves. The Afrikaners hugely resented this and set off north over the Orange River, taking their cattle, wagons and servants with them to pursue their own way of life. Ironically, the land they occupied, the Transvaal, became a magnet for every European speculator in the region, since it contained some of the largest gold deposits in the world. By moving north, the Afrikaners clashed with the Ndebele, and most famously with the Zulus in 1838 at the battle of Blood River.

    The Afrikaner Republic of the Orange Free State was established in 1852; that of the Transvaal in 1854. The British meanwhile set up a colony in the west of South Africa in Natal. Here, they appropriated land and created reserves for Africans, bringing in large numbers of Indians to work on five year contracts.

    In 1890, Cecil Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. Five years later the British acquired a new Secretary of State, Joseph Chamberlain. Aggressively imperialist by nature, Chamberlain and Rhodes proved a lethal combination. First they took on the Afrikaners in the war of 1899 (known as the Boer war) and then many Africans. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 30,000 Africans fought alongside the British in the Boer War.

    The most famous African to support the British effort was Solomon Plaatje who kept a diary throughout the famous siege of Mafeking. Sol Plaatje was a hugely talented writer and journalist. On the political front he is remembered for being the founding Secretary General of the South African National Congress (later renamed the ANC). He was born of Tswana-speaking Barolong parents and was a prolific writer, journalist and lecturer.

    Listen to Sol Plaatje singing Nkosi Sikele, ANC official song, now converted into South Africa's National Anthem

    The Afrikaners were far harder to beat than the British had imagined; towards the end the British grew increasingly ruthless, resorting to a scorched earth policy and the confinement of Afrikaners - women and children - into huge concentration camps. Nearly 28,000 died of disease and dysentery.

    Far away in Imperial Russia great interest was taken in the plight of the Boers (Afrikaners). The song, "Transvaal, Transvaal, My Beloved Country", was composed in support of the Afrikaners.

    Listen to Transvaal, a famous Russian folksong, which supported the Boers against the British

    The war generated a powerful image of martyrdom, bravery and defiance, which became mythologised by the National Party in 1948. The memory of the British aggression was ingrained in the minds of many Afrikaners.

    "It [the house] was full of people - women and children - including …Mrs. P. Sidzumo. It pulled and shook the whole house upon them: pieces of shell or the house cut off her toes, shattered legs and injured her face and head. The left leg was broken below the knee (and the thigh completely shattered). The other people remained alive in the debris. The poor husband, coming to see the remains of his house, was met with the ruins of his wife just pulled out of the debris.

    He became so senseless that he returned to the fort hardly knowing what he was doing until they told him his wife wanted to see him. He jumped up in joyous bewilderment - for he had imagined that she was dead already - and had a look at her before she was moved to the hospital. This was 3:45 and she died at 6:00 in the evening, leaving the husband and a little girl to mourn her loss."
    Extract from Sol Plaatje's Diary of the Siege of Mafeking, 14 December 1899.

    It took another 11 years for a solution to be hammered bringing the Transvaal, Orange Free State, Natal and Cape Colony together into the Union of South Africa. The cultural differences between the two remained sharply defined. The Afrikaners held on to their language (a dialect of Dutch) and the majority clung to the idea of racial superiority.

    On paper, South Africa was a self-governing Dominion of the British Commonwealth. British interests were entrenched commercially. Politically and culturally the British continued to be in conflict with the Afrikaners for years to come, but happy in the main to take advantage of a system which provided cheap African labour and a high standard of living for whites
  5. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner


    The 1860's saw the British embark on serious mineral exploitation. They started diamond mining in Griqualand West. Gold mining began in Witwatersland in 1886.

    Southern African gold had been exported for thousands of years to the Arab Peninsula and the Persian Gulf, but it had never been exploited on a massive scale. Now it was to be the focus of reckless European speculators and the investment houses of the world.

    In 1889, Cecil Rhodes, already hugely wealthy from diamond mining, set his ambitions north of the Limpopo and tricked Lobengula, the King of the Ndebele into handing over his land. Ndebele thought he was granting Rhodes a limited mining concession.

    In August 1889 the King wrote to Queen Victoria to complain:

    "The white people are troubling me much about gold. If the queen hears that I have given away the whole country it is not so."

    Cecil Rhodes made his views on African rights clear, eight years earlier, when he wrote to his friend W.T. Stead in August 1891:

    "I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race."

    Between 1903 and 1973, 42,000 men died on the gold mines. Ninety per cent of these were African. African miners were not allowed to move on to skilled work, which was reserved for white miners.

    Between 1911 and 1969, salaries of white miners rose by over seventy per cent in real terms, while those of black miners remained the same. White miners had their own union, and carried out a number of strikes, notably in 1922 with the Rand Rebellion. But white miners showed no solidarity with their African fellow workers.

    In 1941, African workers formed the African Mine Workers Union. In 1946 they called a general strike. Nine men were killed, and seventy men were dismissed. The union was subsequently banned. The need for more cheap black labour after the Second World War led the South African government to look for migrant workers outside South Africa, mainly from Mozambique and Malawi.

    "A trade union organisation would be outside the comprehension of all but a few educated natives of the urban type; it would not only be useless, but detrimental to the ordinary mine native in his present stage of development."
    South African Chamber of Mines quoted by Francis Wilson in Labour in the South African Gold Mines 1911-69.

    In the 1970's Anglo American was the biggest mining group in southern Africa. It had a high commercial profile, worldwide. Anglo American had a controlling interest in mines in Botswana and Zambia
  6. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Imperial Racism

    The Afrikaners had a fixed belief that they were racially superior to all Africans, and that the people of Africa had no rights. In general, the British were less doctrinaire about the issue of race than the Afrikaners. They did not see racial purity as a key to survival of their own people, which was the case with Afrikaners, and with Germans under Hitler.

    However, the second half of the 19th century brought a surge in pseudo-scientific writing on race in Europe, most of it dedicated to proving that most races were inferior to white Europeans. Some of the British ruling elite was very taken with these ideas.

    Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, and mining millionaire, was one:

    "I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race."
    Cecil Rhodes writing to his friend W.T. Stead.

    The end of apartheid became a goal that united all African countries in the 1960's. But back in the 1930's, people in the Gold Coast were not only contesting colonial rule, but also denouncing European racial attitudes.

    In 1936, an essay competition was set by the Gold Coast Times with the title: 'How can Youth Develop Cooperation and Harmonious Relations Among the Races of the Earth?' The competition was won by a young South African, Wycliffe Mlungisi Ttotsi of the Blythwood Institution, Butterworth, South Africa.

    "…there has appeared of late years a veritable Gorgon, a hydra-headed monster which threatens humanity with utter destruction. Racialism, while it contains all the evils of nationalism, has none of its redeeming features…

    As I write, the South African Government is in turmoil regarding the advisability of retaining or abrogating the native vote. Owing to the fear of the 'Black Menace' an unnecessary conflict has been created between the principles of democracy and trusteeship…

    …Youth, strike now! Undaunted by the threatening bombshells of blood thirsty governments, go forth about your business which is no less than to create a new humanity…"

    South Africa was not the only part of the British Empire where racial segregation was practised. In Kenya and Rhodesia it was as thoroughly institutionalised as in South Africa. In other parts of the Empire it was more piecemeal and not written into the legislation.

    Much segregation centred on Europeans building residential areas separate from the local people; health was a common reason given for this. It resulted in Europeans being detached and lacking in information about the views and needs of the community.

    In Sierra Leone, Europeans lived high up above Freetown on the Hill Station. In Kenya, Europeans were fond of living in the Kenyan Highlands. The barriers between Africans and Europeans tended to increase when women started accompanying their husbands to Africa. Segregation occurred in clubs, bars, churches and hotels, although there were no obvious signs forbidding Africans to enter or be served.

    In the 1950's one of the senior officials in the Colonial Office was of Sierra Leonean English descent. His name was Ivor Cummings. Arriving at the Bristol hotel in Lagos on colonial business with a white colleague, known in this account only as Keith, he found himself delayed at the reception desk by the Greek hotel owner.

    "'Pray have you got the name Ivor Cummings on your reservation list?' Cummings asked.
    'Oh yes, of course, his name is here,' said the hotel manager but now addressing his question to Keith, 'and when is he coming?'
    'I am Ivor Cummings,' retorted the black official. 'This is Ivor Cummings,' Keith said simultaneously, and exasperated. The Greek blushed and it was very noticeable. He quickly vacated the reception counter, leaving behind the untidy business to be concluded by the African clerk behind the desk.

    The poor clerk stammered as he tried to explain that black people were not admitted into the hotel.
    "You mean as guests? For you are black yourself," said Ivor Cummings angrily and stormed out of the hotel."
    Excerpt from The Mystery Gunman, by Kayode Eso
  7. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Apartheid Origins

    The roots of apartheid go back long before the National Party came to power in 1948 with the idea of apartheid, a system for systematically separating the races.

    In 1685, a law in the Cape Colony forbade marriage between Europeans and Africans, although it did permit Europeans and mixed race people to marry. Back in the 1850's, the missionary and traveler
    David Livingstone , noticed the Afrikaner obsession with race. He wrote:

    "The great objection many of the Boers had and still have to English law is that it makes no distinction between black men and white. They felt aggrieved by their supposed losses in the emancipation for their Hottentot slaves, and determined to erect themselves into a republic, in which they might pursue without molestation, the 'proper treatment of the blacks.'

    It is almost needless to add that the 'proper treatment' has always contained in it the essential element of slavery, namely, compulsory unpaid labour…"
    Extract from David Livingstone's Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa.

    By the mid-19th century, equality for all before the law was, in theory, a principle established by the British, regardless of the race or religion of the litigant.

    In 1853, a franchise was established in the Cape, determined by a person's wealth, but not restricted in any way by race; as long as you were rich enough, you could vote whether black, white or mixed race.

    In the 1870's, Rhodes changed the franchise to exclude 'unwesternised' peasant farmers. Natal also briefly had a nonracial franchise, although this ended in 1896.

    In the run up to the creation of the Union of South Africa, the Cape Colony was alone in sending delegates who weren't European to the constitutional conference. But the Afrikaners were determined to deprive Africans and people of African ancestry of political power.

    A turning point in African European relations was reached in 1913 when hundreds of thousands of Africans were forced off land which they either owned or were squatting on. It became compulsory to live in African 'reserves' (Natives Land Act).

    Around the same time, segregation began to be introduced into the mines so that Africans were barred from taking jobs involving any skilled labour.

    The ANC (African National Congress) was formed largely in response to these early segregation laws. But the momentum proved impossible to stop. In 1936 the African and mixed race people of the Cape lost the right to vote. From here on the majority of people in South Africa lost any control over the running of their country
  8. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Apartheid Law

    After the Second World War, the National Party came to power in 1948 on a ticket of racial segregation and support for poor Afrikaners.

    A large number of laws were passed to establish the apartheid structure of government. The three most important blocks of legislation were:

    The Race Classification Act. Every citizen suspected of not being European was classified according to race.

    The Mixed Marriages Act. It prohibited marriage between people of different races.

    The Group Areas Act. It forced people of certain races into living in designated areas.
    The apartheid regime had a number of pseudo scientific tests for classifying people as belonging to one of four main groups: White, Black, Indian, Coloured (mixed race). One of these tests involved putting a comb through hair - if it got stuck, that meant the person being tested was identified as African.

    Every year, people were reclassified racially. In 1984, for example:

    518 Coloured people were defined as White
    2 whites were called Chinese
    1 white was reclassified Indian
    1 white became Coloured
    89 Coloured people became African

    Vic Wilkinson's case is significant. He was originally classified mixed race. Later he was defined as White. But the process of classification did not end there. He was also classified as Coloured, went back to being registered White, and conclusively became Coloured in 1984.

    Interestingly the word 'African' was never used by the authorities. The problem was it translated back in the Boer language into the word Afrikaner, which was the very name the white Dutch descendants called themselves. Africans were referred to by white officialdom as black or Bantu.

    The Afrikaner sense of identity is tied up closely with Christian worship. This religiosity sat curiously alongside a strong conviction in white racial superiority.

    In 1957, the Native Laws Amendment Act contained a 'Church Clause' which allowed Africans to be barred from a service if they were considered to be 'causing a nuisance'.

    In the 1950's, Drum magazine began investigating the day to day realities of apartheid. Can Themba, one of their top writers, took on the churches setting himself the task of visiting a number of different ones, with white congregations, to see what kind of reception he would get.

    "The Presbyterian Church in Noord Street allowed me in, yet the one in Orange Grove refused me admittance. They explained that the hall was rented from some boys' club whose policy did not allow Non-whites into the hall. They also said something about the laws of the country.

    At the Kensington DRC (Dutch Reform Church), an aged church official was just about to close the doors when he saw me. He bellowed in Afrikaans: 'What soek jy? (What do you want?) 'I've come to church,' I said.
    He shoved me violently, shouting for me to get away. I walked off dejected.

    A few doors away was the Baptist Church, and as I walked towards it I began to think that people didn't want me to share their church. As I walked through the Baptist door I was tense, waiting for that tap on the shoulder…but instead I was given a hymn book and welcomed into the church. I sat through the service…This up and down treatment wasn't doing my nerves much good."
    From anthology of works of Can Themba, entitled The Will to Die.

    Apartheid also affected the world of beauty pageants. Whites were chosen as representatives of the South African peoples
  9. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Cold War

    Fear of Communism haunted the white minority government of South Africa from the 1950's to the collapse of single party rule in Eastern Europe in 1989. South Africa, along with Egypt, were the first two countries on the continent to give rise to Communist parties - both in the 1920's. But the significance of this in domestic politics was only felt after the Second World War.

    After 1945, Africa became caught up in the confrontation between America and the Soviet Union, the so-called Cold War. Anti-Communism informed almost every aspect of the South African government's foreign policy and much of its domestic policy.

    The South African government's stand found support in the Portuguese colonial regimes of Angola and Mozambique, which hung on until 1975, and the white government of Ian Smith in Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe), which only yielded to majority rule in 1980.

    All these regimes equated political opposition with a desire to overthrow capitalism and nationalise the private sector. In this they were discreetly supported by most of Western Europe and America. The West was willing to turn a blind eye to institutionalised racism and minority rule government, if that meant keeping commercial and mining investments safe from nationalisation.

    The Zairean leader PresidentJoseph Mobutu was similarly supported by the West for making a public stand against Communism, while at the same time he systematically stripped his country of its wealth and resources.

    For its part the Soviet Union was happy to give military support to the governments of Angola and Mozambique and to the ANC. They had tried to achieve their goals of majority rule through peaceful means and failed. Now they had to contemplate using violent means.

    Aside from military aid, the Soviet Union also offered a number of educational scholarships to young people, mainly in the former English and Portuguese territories.

    But the Soviet Union gave little in the way of aid or trade. There was no great Soviet strategy for taking over Africa, and generally the Soviet Union was under informed about history, political structures and the needs of the countries it supported.

    Listen to the Soviet National Anthem

    The level of ideological commitment or interest in socialist doctrine varied among all the different governments and movements which received Soviet military aid. Their main aim was not socialist revolution, but to be free of military aggression from South Africa and see independence with majority rule throughout the continent. Had the West offered assistance, there would have been much less need to look to Moscow.

    At another level the anti-capitalist, socialist outlook at the heart of communism was very attractive to people in a region where mineral and human resources had been so ruthlessly exploited for the sake of profit for the very few. But for many leaders, it made more sense to evolve an African form of socialism, drawing on African traditions than following in the footsteps of the Soviet Union.

    Angola under Agostinho Neto and Eduardo dos Santos.
    Mozambique under Samora Machel.
    Guinea Bissau under Amilcar Cabral.
    Congo (Conakry) became a Marxist Leninist state in 1970, under Major Ngouabi.
    Egypt under Nasser in 1954-69.
    Somalia under Siad Barre. Allied in 1969, but soon changed sides to become violently anti-Soviet. During the Cold War period, it was the only government to do so under the same leader in Africa.
    Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam, following the revolution in 1974.
    Uganda briefly under Milton Obote in 1969.
    Benin declared a Marxist Leninist state in 1974, under Mathieu Kerekou
  10. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    South African Aggression

    The revolution in Portugal lead to the end of colonial rule in Africa. In 1975, Angola and Mozambique became independent and South Africa lost an important ally. South Africa refused to establish diplomatic relations with these new majority rule governments, but rather gave support to the opponents of those governments.

    By the 1980's the principle opposition in Angola was UNITA, while in Mozambique it was RENAMO. Both movements were supplied with military hardware and equipment from South Africa and America. The French and the Israelis also supplied arms and military transport.

    South Africa pursued a two-pronged policy:

    It harassed its neighbours with military incursions and bombing raids.

    It also organised sabotage campaigns, concealing mines, placing bombs and planning assassinations. This affected countries with no military support from the Soviet Union, like Botswana and Lesotho.

    In the case of Angola, South African aggression began only months after independence, with an invasion at the Namibian border which took the South African Defence Force (SADF) 300 kilometres north to Lubango.

    While South Africa carried out its destabilising policy, the front-line states continued to be economically dependent on South Africa. Mozambiquan men, for example, continued to cross the border to South Africa to work on the mines.

    When Zambia had an election there would be an influx of South African goods in the shops. Hastings Banda, the President of Malawi, alone had diplomatic relations with South Africa.

    The South African government wreaked havoc throughout southern Africa for thirty years. In the end, it was forces of change outside the continent that shored up its aggressive behaviour. In 1989 the Berlin Wall was breached and the rule of Communism began to falter. The anti-Communist message seemed now very hollow.

    In South Africa, the whole edifice of apartheid was by now beginning to feel the strain. Multinationals were increasingly sensitive to the stigma attached to investing in South Africa and perceived it to have a negative effect on their corporate image.

    The war South Africa had waged on its neighbours was no longer even supported by the majority of white South Africans. For them, an unacceptably high number of young white South African men had died because of it. With the end of Communism and the Cold War, the white minority regime in South Africa lost its pivotal role as far as America was concerned. For its part, the new Former Soviet Union no longer had any desire to be involved in expensive wars abroad.

    The clamour everywhere from the public was for multiparty democracy. Finally it was the big economic institutions and the private sector which brought South Africa, and the single party states of Africa, to heel. Without democracy there would be no aid, no trade, no investment. That was the message from the multinationals and the IMF alike.

    Cold War a state of hostility between America and the Soviet Union (and their respective allies) but with no military engagement.
    Socialism a political theory and system where the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people.
    Capitalism an economic system based on private ownership and driven by the motivation of profit.
    Communism Karl Marx's theory, describing a historical process in which capitalism is overthrown by the working class, with the state taking over property. It is also a system of government.
    Marxist Leninism Marx's theory modified by Lenin's idea that imperialism is the final stage of capitalism.
    Front-line States countries bordering on South Africa. It includes Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa.

    "For the oppressed peoples and classes, for the peoples and workers who have taken control of their destiny, Marxism is a shining path, a sun of hope and certainty that never sets, a sun that is always at its zenith.

    Marxism, the science of revolution, is the fruit of practice, of mankind's struggle for a better future and so is renewed and developed through human practice. The experiences of revolutionary struggle of the Mozambiquan people provides an illustration of this principle.

    Dear comrades, our history validates the thesis that the motive force of history is class struggle. Class struggle was and is a reality on the African continent."
    President Samora Machel of Mozambique. Speech given in Berlin, 11 April 1983.

    Less than a year later, President Machel was pressured by the Americans into a humiliating peace agreement with President P.W. Botha of South Africa, who immediately broke the letter and spirit of the accord by continuing his support of the rebel Renamo movement
  11. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Clinging On

    Where Europeans owned and farmed land the determination to resist majority rule was strong. In Zambia and Malawi, the white minority gave in and those countries became independent in 1964. Angola and Mozambique remained tightly bound up with the ruling colonial power of Portugal until the latter itself underwent a revolution in 1974.

    "I have seen wives of men with modest salaries, who in Europe would have no servants at all, habitually spending the whole day at bridge and tennis, while leaving the care of their children and even the keys of the storeroom in hands of native servants. Yet they were constantly complaining about the native dishonesty and inefficiency."
    Letter published in the Sunday Express, Johannesburg, 31 Dec 1936.

    Rhodesia was a different case altogether. In 1922 it was declared a self-ruling colony, with the governing being done by Europeans. There were considerable tensions between white Rhodesians and the British Colonial Office, which felt an obligation to monitor, however feebly, the interests of the African population.

    In 1961, the Zimbabwean African People's Union (ZAPU) was formed. Two years later, in 1963, the Zimbabwean African National Union (ZANU) was formed after splitting off from ZAPU. Both were banned during that year. In 1965, 35 colonies in Africa were already independent under majority rule. Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, or UDI, as it became known.

    Listen to Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith announcing the Unilateral Declaration of Independence on radio

    Listen to Prime Minister Ian Smith

    This was against all the wishes of the British government, who hoped to help Rhodesia towards majority rule in line with the rest of the continent. Rhodesia left the Commonwealth and Britain imposed economic sanctions.

    It took another fifteen years of negotiation and fighting before Rhodesia, renamed Zimbabwe, became independent under majority rule with Robert Mugabe leading the government in 1980.

    Listen to Robert Mugabe address the nation on the eve of Zimbabwean independence

    "In the course of human affairs, history has shown that it may become necessary for a people to resolve the political affiliations which have connected them with another people, and to assume amongst other nations a separate and equal status to which they are entitled."
    Ian Smith explaining his Unilateral Declaration of Independence on Rhodesian radio, 11 Nov 1965
  12. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Collapse of Apartheid

    In the 1940's, African miners were early protesters against a system based on racial segregation.

    In 1958 passes were introduced, restricting the movement of the African population. This was a tremendous humiliation and inconvenience. In 1960, sixty nine people were shot dead in a protest against these pass laws, an event which became known as the Sharpeville massacre. In 1961, the Commonwealth made it clear that unless South Africa made preparations for majority rule it would no longer be welcome. South Africa left before it was pushed.

    In 1964, the then lawyer and ANC activist, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned for life on a charge of treason. He became a source of inspiration to people living inside and outside South Africa.

    In 1976 hundreds of people were killed in protest against the compulsory use of Afrikaans in schools. The following year the head of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steve Biko, was murdered in police detention.

    "I think basically Black Consciousness refers itself to the black man and to his situation, and I think the black man is subject to two forces in this country.

    He is first of all oppressed by an external world through institutionalised machinery, through laws that restrict him from doing certain things, through heavy work conditions, through poor education, these are all external to him, and secondly, and this we regard as the most important, the black man in himself has developed a certain state of alienation, he rejects himself, precisely because he attaches the meaning white to all that is good..."
    Steve Biko speaking in court, following a demonstration in support of Mozambique's FRELIMO party, September 1974. He was subsequently found guilty under the Terrorism Act and died in custody three years later.

    Listen to Steven Biko being interviewed by German Munich TV shortly before he was arrested

    In the 1980's, South Africa reached a crisis point internally, with rioting, protests and confrontation; while pressure mounted externally to dismantle apartheid. Foreign investments began to decline. A sporting boycott had been effective throughout the 1980's and arguably hurt the morale of the government and white South African people more than being diplomatically isolated.

    South Africa's war against Angola and Mozambique proved to be costly in terms of money and lives. When Communism began to collapse in 1989 the South African government was deprived of the principle reason for its aggressive foreign policy. The will to maintain the system of apartheid began to flag.

    Nelson Mandela was finally released in 1990 and the country went to the polls in the first nonracial election, resulting in a resounding win for the ANC - under Nelson Mandela
  13. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Southern African Timeline

    Millennia BC - Hunter-gatherers, ancestors of the Khoisan, live in Southern Africa.

    By AD 300 - Ancestors of the Bantu-speaking majority of the population settle south of the Limpopo River, joining Khoikhoi and San who have lived there for thousands of years.

    1487 - Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias reaches Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch East India Company was founded at Cape of Good Hope

    1803 - Dutch (Batavian Republic) regain the Cape Colony by treaty.

    1806 - Britain reconquers the Cape Colony.

    1815 - Rising of frontier Boers (later known as the Slagtersnek rebellion).

    1816-28 - Shaka creates the Zulu Kingdom; Africans battle throughout much of Southeastern Africa (the Mfecane).
    British settlers land in the Cape Colony.

    1828 - The Cape colonial government repeals the pass laws.

    1834-38 - Cape colonial slaves emancipated.

    1834-35 - Xhosa defeated by British and colonial forces.

    1835-40 - Five thousand Afrikaners, known as voortrekkers, abandon the Cape Colony with their 'Coloured' clients. The journey is later referred to as the Great Trek.

    1838 - An Afrikaner commando defeats the Zulu army at the battle of Blood River.

    1843 - Britain annexes Natal.

    1846-47 - British and colonial forces defeat Xhosa.

    1852, 1854 - Britain recognises the Transvaal and Orange Free State as independent Afrikaner republics.

    1856-57 - The Xhosa cattle-killing.

    1867 - Diamond mining begins in Griqualand West.

    1868 - Britain annexes Lesotho ('Basutoland').

    1877 - Britain annexes the Transvaal.

    1886 - Gold mining in the Witwatersrand.

    1899-1902 - War: Britain conquers the Afrikaner republics.

    1910 - The Cape Colony, Natal, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State unite. Create the Union of South Africa.

    1912 - South African Native National Congress (NNC) founded; eventually becomes the African National Congress (ANC).

    1913 - Natives Land Act limits African land ownership to the reserves - segregation laws passed.

    1914-19 - South Africa participates in World War I, as member of the British Empire.

    1917 - Anglo American Corporation of South Africa founded.

    1921 - Creation of Communist party.

    1939-45 - South Africa fights with the Allies in World War II.

    1946 - Over 70,000 African gold-mine workers strike for higher wages; troops control them.

    1948 - The Afrikaner National party wins a general election. Initiates apartheid policies.

    1950 - Legislation grants government with vast powers over people and organizations.

    1952 - ANC and its allies initiate a passive resistance campaign.

    1953 - Government in full command of African education.

    1958-66 - Verwoerd elected prime minister.

    1959 - Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) founded.

    1960 - African and Coloured representation in Parliament (by Whites) ends.

    1961 - South Africa becomes a Republic.

    1964 - Nelson Mandela and other ANC and PAC leaders sentenced to life imprisonment.

    1966-68 - Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland become independent states.

    1975-76 - Mozambique and Angola become independent states.

    1976-77 - Over 575 people die in confrontations between Africans and police in Soweto and other African townships.

    1978-84 - Botha elected prime minister.

    1980 - Zimbabwe (previously Rhodesia) becomes independent.

    South African forces invade Angola and launch attacks on Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
    ANC guerrillas sabotage South African cities.

    1983 - United Democratic Front (UDF) formed.

    1984 - Africans limited participation in the central government. Botha becomes state president.

    1986 - Pass laws repealed.
    The government prohibits the press, radio, and television from reporting unrest.

    1986-95 - Violent conflict between Zulu supporters of Inkatha and the ANC in Kwa Zulu and on the Witwatersrand.

    1987 - 250,000 African mineworkers strike.

    1989 - De Klerk elected first leader of the National Party, then president.

    1990 - De Klerk unbans the ANC, PAC, and SACP.
    Releases Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.

    1913 and 1936 Land Acts, Group Areas Act, Population Registration Act, and Separate Amenities Act repealed.
    Political organisations unbanned.
    State of emergency revoked.

    1994 - ANC wins first nonracial election (April 27-30).
    Mandela is sworn in as president (May 10). Forms Government of National Unity