Thanks for the interesting thread Phyllida, and for an attempt to debate the issue in an objective manner.
Having seen many previous threads on SA, this is not always easy, even if one just wants to draw attention to wider governmental failures by
illustrating the plight of one minority in SA.
The Afrikaners are not the only group currently in SA who feel they are the victims of tacit approval of racism, or policies that have a directly
negative impact on communities.
The colored people for example (partly of indigenous Khoisan descent) feel marginalized by the ANC, and they've actually been told to distribute
themselves from their historical core in the Western Cape to facilitate affirmative action policies.
The Asian population had some astoundingly racist music directed against it, bringing back memories of Uganda's expulsion of 80 000 Asians in the
Then there are issues of tribalism, with the ANC being ruled by Xhosa and Zulu elites.
There are many conspiracies in SA history, and how some families became the elites, or what was previously known as the "Super Afrikaners", and under
apartheid a secretive organization called the "Broederbond" essentially ran the country.
The Afrikaners certainly had a rough and sometimes tragic history.
The Wikipedia article on the previous page actually mentions that they are (to an extent) of mixed origins, including genes of the Khoisan people,
going back to the first interracial marriage between the Danish sailor Pieter van Meerhof and the Khoi woman Krotoa.
When the Afrikaners moved into the interior from about 1820 the Black population (who had largely moved into the fertile eastern coastal region
between the 9-17th centuries) was heavily decimated by the Mfecane (crushing wars) started by Shaka.
In 1905 the Native Affairs Commission counted the black population of British South Africa as 4.6 million (about 3 million in what is now South
By the end of apartheid in 1994 there were 40 million, and now probably around 53 million.
In 100 years the black population had increased by over 20 percent!
Thus it was always ironic when South Africa was lectured on racism by countries like the US or Australia, who had decimated their native populations
to 0.8 percent.
Whatever happened in the 19th century, it is clear that SA was sparsely populated.
The British did give some black kingdoms independence within SA, like Lesotho, or the monarchy of Swaziland (both independent black states in SA until
The Afrikaners founded two Boer Republics, and the British fought a war that claimed their territory and mineral rights, and over 20 000 women and
children died in concentration camps (with no apology from the colonialists for their "scorched earth policy" against civilians).
They were then dominated by the British with a policy of "Anglicanization", which forbade the speaking of Dutch or Afrikaans in schools, and a "poor
white" problem arose in urban areas.
By the depression of the 1930s many Afrikaners lost their land (especially the share-croppers), which was exacerbated by the "rinderpest" (a disease
that kills livestock).
What historians regard as the template for apartheid was also founded then by the British, such as the Native Land Act of 1913.
By 1948 the National Party had won, and ironically this was founded on reconciliation (between the English and Afrikaners).
While it's dangerous to describe what followed without being accused of white nationalist or Africanist bias, it's fair to say that the point of
apartheid was not to totally disregard the black people. Whites then didn't compare whites to blacks, instead they looked at newly decolonized
countries in Africa with a sense of great fear (which was not always unfounded). So they compared black circumstances in SA with those of other
The aim was to give black people their independent "homelands", and the tribal living standards of the majority were considered so "premodern" that no
amount of resources could immediately give everyone a house or electricity. The aim was to gradually bring them into the economy without destroying
their culture, but essentially this created migrant labor from the rural areas for global capitalism.
In effect however, apartheid caused misery for many black people and it ignored the growing black population, and failed to draw mass industries to
the homelands (which were not recognized by most countries).
However, while segregation was still the norm in US states when apartheid was founded, a main issue was the Cold War in Africa.
The ANC became a socialist funded and extremely violent liberation movement in the late 1970s, that ran gulags in Angola, and often employed children
to create the terror of a "people's war" in the townships (with the slogan of "liberation before education").
White males were eventually conscripted for 2 years to fight an US inspired war in Angola, and both the white and black youth were heavily brainwashed
by foreign ideologies.
edit on 1-12-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)