Journal for Contemporary History - Volume 36, Issue 1, 2011
Volume 36, Issue 1, 2011
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 1 –19 (2011)More Less
This article focuses on a 1947 tour of India by two South African Indian doctors, Yusuf Dadoo and GM (Monty) Naicker, during which they met with Mohandas K Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and attended the All-Asia Conference. The visit provides an opportunity to examine the links between Indians in the diaspora and homeland, and the issues that South Africans were grappling with - race, class, and nationalism, in the struggle against segregation and apartheid. In the decade that followed their visit, Dadoo and Naicker became national political figures and helped to break the racial boundaries around the anti-apartheid struggle. By the end of the 1950s, when armed struggle came to be seen by many activists as the only option to overthrow the apartheid regime, the communist Dadoo and Gandhian Naicker would part ways. While Naicker remained in South Africa, where he was subject to a series of banning orders, Dadoo went into exile to stitch together a broad coalition of forces. Into the twenty-first century Dadoo's and Naicker's ideological beacons are under intense pressure. Soviet Communism is dead, Gandhi's India is proud of her nuclear arsenal, and the two doctors' belief in non-racialism is under strain in their own country.
Author Charl Le RouxSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 20 –39 (2011)More Less
The conflict in Mangaung on 27 October 1957 was not the first of its kind in the township. Ethnic clashes had been reported at two previous occasions. These clashes were summarily ascribed to ethnic animosities between the Basuto and factions of the Nguni people, more in particular the Bhaca and the Zulu, being migrant workers. In fact, the Mangaung conflict, like the Sotho conflicts on South African mines, had nothing to do with any traditional history of hostility between two or more ethnicities, nor with the misuse of liquor or the company of immoral women, but had a very great deal to do with the tensions arising between exceptionally oppressed workers and relatively favoured ones within the local industrial environment. The city councillors and municipal officials, amidst limited working opportunities, deliberately manipulated the Basuto and Nguni factions on the basis of job differentiation, which amounted to the oppression of these ethnic factions. Circumstances of secondary importance contributing to the Mangaung conflict were the dislocated social life of the Nguni and Basuto factions and lack of proper accommodation and cooking and recreational facilities. Ostensibly the local authorities did not realise the serious impact which their unnatural living conditions exercised on their minds that had already been deeply afflicted by the unfair work divisions of their employers.
The political sociology of power in sport : a comparative analysis of the 1956 and 1981 Springbok rugby tours to New ZealandAuthor Pieter LabuschagneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 40 –56 (2011)More Less
The political sociology of power in sport has been undervalued as a field of study for many years. The predominant reason for this phenomenon is that the "innocence" of sport as a power politics vehicle shields the underpinning currents and trends of political manipulation of sport. In the formulation and application of policies, governments (or individual politicians) adopted either a value-driven or a strongly regulated approach to sport. In this regard the Springbok rugby tours to New Zealand in 1956 and 1981 provide a valuable insight into how governments' policies could manifest in various opposing degrees of power politics. Max Weber's theoretical apparatus to categorise sport action is regarded as very useful in categorising the various degrees of applied power politics. The investigation in the article was done on the basis of his exposition of sport. It is evident from the findings in the article that during and between the 1956 and 1981 Springbok tours significant changes occurred in both South Africa's and New Zealand's public policies, conceptualisation of sport and the application of power politics.
"The good, the bad and the ugly" : professional historians and political biography of South African parliamentary politics, 1910-1990Author F.A. MoutonSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 57 –74 (2011)More Less
Biography strengthens the historian's attempts to decipher the behaviour of individuals and also provides a historical window on a certain era, contributing to our knowledge and understanding of the past. Biographical studies of those who were involved in parliamentary politics between 1910 and 1990, the prime ministers, presidents, cabinet ministers, party leaders, humble backbenchers and unsuccessful parliamentary candidates can help to explain why the white minority, after decades of acquiescing the abuse of South Africa's limited democratic tradition, decided to peacefully surrender its political power. And yet, despite the proven value of political biography in the United States and Britain, the library shelves of South African universities are bare of biographies on pre-1990 parliamentary politicians by professional historians. This article explains the reasons for this dearth of biographies, as well as the reasons why it is essential for professional historians to write them and concludes with a recommendation on how such biographies should be written.
American press reportage on PW Botha's attempts at reforming apartheid, 1978-1989, with specific reference to the New York Times, Newsweek and Africa ReportAuthor T.A. MachabaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 75 –97 (2011)More Less
Prime Minister PW Botha took over power from BJ Vorster in the midst of a strenuous period in the history of South Africa. The country was criticized internally and externally for its apartheid policy. In response to the criticism, Botha decided to introduce some reforms. This article looks at how Botha's reform initiative was perceived by the American press with specific reference to the New York Times, Africa Report and Newsweek. Three publications were selected for the survey because the New York Times is critical of the Republicans and supports the Democrats. Africa Report is selected because it holds a liberal pro-black view and Newsweek holds a slightly conservative pro-white view. Thus, all combined, they are generally representative of the American view. The article will analyse how the US media reported and reacted to Botha's reform policy in general and to its specific aspects. Consideration will also be given to language usage so as to be able to find out any hidden meanings and insinuations in specific words or headlines. Focus will also be put on how Botha reacted to the criticism levelled against him and his reform initiative by the US media. Finally attention will also be placed on how the American press interpreted Botha's role as a prelude to future negotiations and the part played by his successor, FW de Klerk, in putting apartheid to rest.
Apartheid and the anticipation of apocalypse : the supreme strategies of the National Party government and the African National Congress, 1980-1989 : an historical perspectiveAuthor Jan-Ad StemmetSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 98 –113 (2011)More Less
By 1980 the National Party government of South Africa and the most prominent anti-apartheid organisation, the African National Congress (ANC), had moulded multidimensional strategies of epic proportions with which to seize and maintain power. The government perceived the global campaign against South Africa's political status quo as a so-called total onslaught operating in all possible socio-economic and political spheres. In reaction it engineered a strategy to counter it in all possible spheres: the total strategy. Its implementation implied a reorganisation of South African politics and society on an unimaginable scale. Simultaneously the most important anti-government organisation was overhauling itself. After the turmoil of the late 1970s, the African National Congress determined that the climate was ripe to launch a multidimensional offensive against the minority regime. The execution of these strategies, during the 1980s, culminated in sweeping violent political conflict and socio-economic unrest. A political power play was effected with the actions and reactions of each side thrusting South Africa ever closer to the brink of a man-made apocalypse. These separate strategies will be analysed in an historical perspective.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 114 –133 (2011)More Less
The article investigated vigilantism as phenomenon in South Africa. A metatheoretical framework was developed through which the constructed contextual and specific criteria were tested against one case study on people's courts. The probability of the occurrence of vigilantism is more likely if the following context criteria are present: Society experiences a state in disequilibrium, the state is dysfunctional, power vacuums exist and high levels of violence occur. People's courts have been a continuous phenomenon in post-1994 South Africa. People's courts qualify as vigilante groups and the context in which they occur is in line with the identified context criteria. This research has shown that vigilantism is a reality in post-1994 South Africa and a real threat to the authority of the state and requires the state's attention and immediate action.
The SANDF as an instrument for peacekeeping in Africa : a critical analysis of three main challengesSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 134 –153 (2011)More Less
Under former President Thabo Mbeki South Africa started to play a salient leadership role in Africa and this role continues under President Jacob Zuma. In this context the SANDF has been and is still expected to be militarily geared for a peace support role. However, political functionaries, military analysts and scholars increasingly pose serious and critical questions with regard to "readiness" in the SANDF and whether the SANDF is still geared to serve purposefully, meaningfully and functionally as an instrument of foreign policy implementation - specifically with regard to involvement in peacekeeping operations. This article examines and analyses three areas of critical importance to the role of the SANDF in bringing peace and stability on the African continent, namely the strategic and financial management of the SANDF; force design and configuration; and the human resources situation. In view of this, it is pondered whether the SANDF is still ready and geared to play its role in peacekeeping operations, and whether public and scholarly criticism directed at the functionality of the SANDF is indeed substantiated and justified.
Author Mark NyandoroSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 154 –174 (2011)More Less
This article provides a historical overview of the 2008-2009 cholera pandemic in Zimbabwe. Its main hypothesis is that this outbreak revealed serious health status implications that were not unconnected with a malfunctioning economic and governmental order. The epidemic, of pandemic proportions, has deep-seated historical roots in the country's economic meltdown. Furthermore, it is linked to the exclusion of local municipal authority from its traditional water-governance role. The article discusses the epidemic and evaluates the country's disaster preparedness, bearing in mind that this outbreak was by no means the first in Zimbabwe. At the policy level, sanitary reforms were vital in view of the lukewarm government response to what was a very real national state of emergency. Drawing on an array of United Nations (UN), Red Cross, Ministry of Health and media perspectives on the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, the article focuses on the debate about the erosion of what was a good health system in Africa and the degeneration of a previously sound water, health and sanitation infrastructure.
Die Fischer-woning en -swembad in Beaumontstraat 12, Johannesburg : simbool van rasseharmonie in apartheid-Suid-AfrikaAuthor Hannes HaasbroekSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 175 –190 (2011)More Less
Bram Fischer (1908-1975), well-known struggle activist and one time leader of the South African Communist Party, challenged the apartheid consciousness of the Afrikaner fundamentally and totally. Consequently in 1966 he was served with a lifelong jail sentence, but in 1975, after being diagnosed with cancer, he was permitted to spend his last days in his brother's house in Bloemfontein. Interestingly enough, his house in Johannesburg, as well as the swimming pool at a time when such amenities were rather uncommon at private homes, contributed to the public declaration of his struggle sentiments. The Fischer house and swimming pool, where both black and white were welcome, certainly emphasises the meaning of non-racialism at a time when such a thing was largely unthinkable in a wealthy white suburb in the apartheid era. As a result the Fischers had to tread warily in handling the thorny question of an "open" house and swimming pool in those years, while the profusion of visitors obviously had an inhibiting effect on their family cohesion, privacy and life style.
Author Marietjie OelofseSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 191 –204 (2011)More Less
To reconstruct the past, oral historians are concerned with the depths of memory as a potential source of information, evidence and meaning at their disposal. Unfortunately, memory can never be absolutely certain, wherein lies its weakness as a source of knowledge of the past. The researcher has the important task of implementing historical interpretation and principles of historical critique in searching for authenticity in sources. Taking into account the nature of memory and the factors that may negatively affect its objectivity, the article will examine which reliable techniques and methods may be implemented by the oral historian to minimise problems and inaccuracies, as well as examine oral evidence for factual credibility.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 205 –207 (2011)More Less
Pik Botha is certainly a memorable man: a veteran (and now retired) politician, who, for more than three decades, was the political colossus of apartheid, South Africa's foreign policy. Pik Botha is, of course, a former South African Foreign Minister and colourful National Party politician: a man that "appeared to have been born with the portfolio of Foreign Affairs in his hands", in the words of the former Belgium Prime Minister, Leo Tindemans. For many journalists he was a newsmaker and the minister of drama, while some also associated him with passion, fun, smoking, drinking, and flirting.
Against this background, the book, Pik Botha and his times, authored by the journalist, Theresa Papenfus, takes a thoughtful look at the life of Mr Roelof "Pik" Botha as one of the most enduring of South African politicians. The book is not an autobiography, but was written with Botha's cooperation, although, according to the author, personal information was sometimes reluctantly imparted whenever he was approached. Still, the book includes many of his personal verses (expressing his deepest sentiments, often during days of heated cut and thrust politics), photographs and other personal information.
Author Andre WesselsSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 208 –209 (2011)More Less
In 2004, the annual New Music Indaba (a contemporary music festival) was held in Grahamstown. As a prelude to the festival, a conference was held, dealing with the musics (plural) of apartheid - and specifically, how apartheid was constituted through music. Thirteen of the papers that were delivered were subsequently published in Composing apartheid, under the editorship of Grant Olwage, a senior lecturer in the Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Author Chitja TwalaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 36, pp 210 –212 (2011)More Less
Recently South Africa has experienced a series of local protests. These protests were commonly referred to as service-related protests. When the African National Congress (ANC) took governance of South Africa after the April 1994 elections, it stuck to the new Constitution which guaranteed human rights and democratic governance and promised efficient delivery of service. In trying to do so, the authors argue that the ANC government was confronted by the challenges of transforming a racially and ethnically fragmented and unequal public service delivery system into one that would be able to meet the demands of a newly franchised citizenry for economic, social and political development.