Journal for Contemporary History - Volume 34, Issue 3, 2009
Volume 34, Issue 3, 2009
Die twis oor die aanwysing van Afrikanerparty-kandidate voor die 1948-verkiesing met spesifieke verwysing na die kandidature van John Vorster en Louis BoothaAuthor J.M. WassermannSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 1 –16 (2009)More Less
Prior to the 1948 general election the National Party and the Afrikaner Party concluded two agreements on cooperation. The cooperation proved to be challenging especially since the National-Socialist organization, the Ossewa-Brandwag, had successfully, with the full knowledge of the Afrikaner Party, infiltrated the latter. Consequently the National Party, who through its congresses had distanced itself fully from the Ossewa-Brandwag, was in effect as a result of the agreements with the Afrikaner Party, indirectly in alliance with the Ossewa-Brandwag. As a result the practical implementation of the agreements - the appointment of candidates and especially candidates with National-Socialist links, like John Vorster and Louis Bootha, severely challenged the cooperation between the National Party and the Afrikaner Party. However, despite this the National Party-Afrikaner Party combination still managed to defeat the United Party at the polls.
Anna Scheepers' struggle for the recognition of the dignity of labour for all workers and for the equality of women in all spheresSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 17 –31 (2009)More Less
It is at the outset of this article important to briefly shed light on the career of Anna Scheepers. Anna was born at Krugersdorp (Transvaal) on 18 March 1914. She was the second of nine children with a spread of 20 years from the oldest to the youngest. She was obliged to leave school in her grade 12 year, because her family suffered financially due to the Depression. After this a lifetime of "self-education" followed. In 1932 she arrived in Johannesburg and entered the labour market as a teenage fruit-counter hand in Malvern (Johannesburg). Two years later her involvement with the Garment Workers' Union (GWU) began when she was employed by Jaffe and Co. Thus her struggle for the dignity of all workers and for the equality of women in all spheres started. (Cf subheading 3 of this article : Scheepers moves into the ranks of the trade union workers.) Within another four years, in 1938, she became President of the GWU, still only 24 years old!
Author Melanda BlomSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 32 –48 (2009)More Less
In the years after 1948, apartheid was used as a "political instrument" to bring about Afrikaner unity which would foster an exclusive Afrikaner nationalism and ensure Afrikaner domination. As early as 1949, dissident Afrikaner Nationalists were expressing doubts about the morality of apartheid and trying to change Afrikaner thinking. By 1966, "verligtes" (such as Van Wyk Louw, At van Wyk and certain newspaper editors) were urging reform and working for a change in political views. On account of his upbringing and early convictions, At van Wyk at first believed that NP leaders "knew" what was best for the Afrikaners; but later he came to realise that apartheid could only result in humiliation and impoverishment. This was the start of a painful pilgrimage away from his passive acceptance of the destructive forces unleashed by apartheid, yet he never committed himself to multiracial development; what he envisioned, rather, was a just division of power. Despite their estrangement from the NP, the influence of the "verligtes" grew. They did not share the view that Afrikaner power could only be maintained by legislation. From the seventies onward they believed that negotiations with the ANC were essential for the achievement of a democratic system. Their chief heritage was an openness to change, within which Afrikaners could achieve a just share of a democratically elected government in 1994 and survive in their own right.
Author J.A. Du PisaniSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 49 –70 (2009)More Less
In this article the link between the land policies of two South African prime ministers, General JBM Hertzog and BJ Vorster, is investigated. Vorster, who was prime minister from 1966 to 1978, completed the territorial segregation plans of Hertzog, who was prime minister from 1924 to 1939.
In effect the 1913 Natives Land Act and the 1936 Native Trust and Land Act, with which Hertzog was associated, legalised the dispossession of blacks that had occurred since the seventeenth century and gave statutory status to territorial segregation on a racial basis. Only 13% of South Africa's total geographical area was reserved for blacks, then comprising 70% of the country's population, which was hopelessly inadequate and could not provide a sound basis for black development.
Thirty years later Vorster came to power at a time when decolonisation had changed the face of Africa and the world. Vorster adhered to Hertzog's ideas of political and territorial segregation. Despite the fact that the black population had increased to 18 million and that the National Party's homeland policy aimed at creating independent black states for the different black ethnic groups, Vorster still clung to the 1936 act and pushed on with the land consolidation programme. The number of geogaphical units in the homelands was reduced from 112 to 24 and 1,8 million hectares were added to the homelands during Vorster's reign.
Through territorial segregation both Hertzog and Vorster attempted to deal with the historically uneven distribution of land in South Africa in such a way that the future of the white population would be safeguarded. For them a race-based ideology rather than economic considerations was decisive. Therefore land in the country was not redistributed on a realistic and fair basis. Territorial segregation, as implemented by Hertzog and Vorster, did not provide a morally justifiable and sustainable solution to the South African land question.
Kultuurrade vir 'n demokratiese Suid-Afrika : historiese oorsig oor die konstitusionalisering en institusionalisering van kultuurbelange in 'n plurale samelewingAuthor D.J. KriekSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 71 –90 (2009)More Less
The South African Constitution provides for the establishment of cultural councils in the country. This article traces the origin of the concept in South Africa and how it developed since it was first proposed round about the mid-seventies of the previous century. Contributions by individuals, commissions of enquiry, political parties, government departments, the KwaZulu-Natal Indaba, the Constitutional Assembly and even the example of the Belgian political system are all investigated and evaluated. To a large extent the article is based on the proposals and contributions made by the author in this regard as well as on the prospects for a future dispensation in which cultural councils for various groups could balance and support one another for the sake of maintaining unity and diversity in society and the state.
Vrees as faktor in die regse blanke politiek in Suid-Afrika : die tweede fase van die era van volwaardige regse politieke partye, 1976 - 1982Source: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 91 –110 (2009)More Less
The years 1976 to 1982 were traumatic for most South Africans. In June 1976, serious riots broke out in the sprawling Soweto township, and spread to other areas in the country. While some whites then, more than ever before, challenged the apartheid policy, others moved further to the right and believed that only the more rigorous application of that policy would safeguard the future of white people in the country. The National Party government clamped down on black opposition groups, individuals and the media, which in turn led to the country being isolated internationally even more than ever before. The vicious cycle of fear was fed by violence and boycotts, which led to more fear, violence and isolation, and gave impetus to the idea of a "total onslaught". Right-wing white voters found a new (and apparently very dynamic) home in the Conservative Party, which was founded in 1982. In the meantime, the establishment of Zimbabwe under the rule of Robert Mugabe in 1980, increased external pressure on the beleaguered South African government. In this study, fear as a factor in right-wing white politics in the years 1976 to 1982 is analysed by referring to the above-mentioned and related matters.
The value of the victim hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa in sharing narrativesSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 111 –121 (2009)More Less
Every individual, family and place has a history of its own which may contribute knowledge and understanding to the study of history and wider themes. Unfortunately, written sources are not always available on all themes or time periods and / or are, at times, not adequate enough. Oral narratives may provide a type of historical source, among others, to gain information, fill the gaps and add to a more balanced view of events and occurrences.
By using oral narratives the researcher may obtain from the lips of the living survivors / victims a fuller record of their participation in events of historical significance. Hereby ordinary people may express their views and enlighten a fragment of the past transmitted by word of mouth. In this process ordinary people take part in the course of creating historical awareness. For this reason, it has an important role to play in the reconstruction of South Africa's past and especially in the lives of the ordinary people who lived it.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (TRC) shone a profoundly illuminating spotlight on South Africa's past. The truth-seeking purpose of the TRC lay in the official confrontation of past human rights abuses, with the aim of fostering individual and national reconciliation, through the catharsis of testimonies and confessions by the perpetrators of human rights abuses and their victims. This process opened the possibilities of public acknowledgement of the atrocities of the past. The hope was that it would lead to healing for victims and their families, forgiveness and ultimately reconciliation throughout the post-apartheid society of South Africa.
Author Pieter LabuschagneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 122 –134 (2009)More Less
The Comrades Marathon is for many the pinnacle of their careers as road runners. Annually, for the past few decades, more than 15 000 runners have entered the gruelling 88 kilometre ultramarathon event between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
Ironically only a small percentage of the 15 000 runners actually compete to win. A glance at the results over the years shows that a mere handful of the runners enjoyed the honour of winning the Comrades Marathon while a further small group actually were recipients of silver medals. The reality is that almost 90 percent of the field competes with the sole aim of completing the race within the designated cutoff times. In the words of Mick Winn, former chairman of the Comrades Marathon Association, the majority of these runners compete for the pride and satisfaction that lie in finishing the race and not to win (Alexander 1985:9).
The Comrades Marathon is without doubt the premier road race in South Africa. The subsequent question is what are the underlying reasons that make the Comrades Marathon different from other road races in South Africa? Is there something inherent to the Comrades Marathon that gives it something special and elevates it above other local sports events or road races?
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 135 –152 (2009)More Less
When the moratorium on South African sport was rescinded it was not a decision that was welcomed by all within the South African sporting fraternity. The South African Council on Sport (SACOS) was the one sporting organisation that was bitterly opposed to the decision. In fact, SACOS withdrew from the unity process and appealed to the international community to reimpose the moratorium. It felt that the prerequisites for readmission into international sport, i.e. principled unity of the various sports codes and the implementation of development programmes, had not been met. If this was the case, why was the moratorium rescinded? This article explains why and how the moratorium was revoked and also why SACOS was unable to stop it. As it was the only sports organisation in South Africa to oppose it, this discussion will be on SACOS. There were numerous factors that influenced the decision to revoke the international moratorium, which in turn tendered SACOS incapable of preventing it. However, before these factors can be discussed, the position of SACOS within South African sport requires some clarification.
The African National Congress Youth League's (ANCYL's) role as the "kingmaker" : a moment of post-Polokwane blues?Author Chitja TwalaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 153 –171 (2009)More Less
Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the impact of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has been involved, and in other instances, strongly instrumental in shaping the thinking and approach of the African National Congress (ANC). Although the ANCYL had made some headlines before the ANC's (Polokwane) Limpopo Conference of December 2007, it may be argued that throughout the history of the liberation struggle and defiance, the league was instrumental in giving direction to the mother body, namely, the ANC. Its impact was countrywide, with various degrees of influence in almost all spheres of the ANC's government. The ANCYL intended to play a major role in the election of the ANC's leadership and its influence proved important in the previous ANC conferences. It was therefore not surprising that it took the centre stage before the Limpopo Conference in influencing the proceedings as to who becomes the President of the ANC. The ANCYL's rise to significance was a phenomenon dating largely from the Mbeki era. It was during that era that the organisation felt sidelined.
Without doubt, the history of the ANCYL as the "kingmaker" within the ANC is clouded in the mystique of liberation discourse. On many occasions, the ANCYL's history was credited with acts of heroism, advancing platforms of open debates and the implementation of powerful mass-based strategies of resistance. The "kingmaker" role of the ANCYL to a certain extent defines its identity as being different from the ANC as the mother body. Over the years, the ANCYL has pronounced that the ANC is rich with leaders of particular qualities and competencies from whom it selects a "king".
Author Johann W.N. TempelhoffSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 172 –189 (2009)More Less
In November 2008 a deadly cholera epidemic threatened South Africa. What began in Zimbabwe in August 2008 as the by-product of that country's political and socio-economic chaos and the ensuing collapse of effective municipal government, now spread to various states in southern Africa. Described as the worst outbreak of cholera in Africa in 15 years, it could not have come at a more inopportune time. As emergency teams began helping hundreds of cholera patients at the northernmost South African border town of Musina on 15 November, a vigorous public debate on the country's water services reached a climax. There was widespread public discontent with general service delivery, especially in South Africa's municipal government sector. Claims by government that it was indeed meeting its commitments to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, a global initiative to eradicate poverty, especially in the developing world, were openly questioned by experts as well as municipal rate and taxpayers in many parts of the country.
Sestig jaar se mynteenmaatreëlswerk in die Suid-Afrikaanse vloot, 1947-2007 (2) : die "oorlogsjare", 1966-1989Author Andre WesselsSource: Journal for Contemporary History 34, pp 190 –206 (2009)More Less
In the history of South Africa the years 1966 to 1989 are characterised by a variety of challenges and concomitant changes, while at the international level the Cold War continued to dominate most relations. Also, from 1966 onwards, South Africa and its defence force became ever more involved in an anti-guerrilla war in the north of South West Africa (today Namibia); a conflict that in due course also spilled over into Angola. The South African Navy's involvement in the war "up north" was limited, but nevertheless important, and in the home waters, the Navy's minesweepers (and later minehunters) had to ensure that the Cape sea-route, as well as the approaches to the country's harbours, were kept free of mines. In this, the second article of a three-part study, a brief review is provided of the South African Navy's mine countermeasures (MCM) and related work in the years 1966 to 1989. How many MCM vessels did the Navy have? To what extent did the Navy keep abreast with MCM developments internationally? How did the 1977 mandatory United Nations arms embargo affect the country's MCM capability? What work did the MCM vessels do over and above MCM training? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in this study.