Journal for Contemporary History - Volume 37, Issue 1, 2012
Volume 37, Issue 1, 2012
Author Wonga Fundile TabataSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 1 –19 (2012)More Less
This article will consider the often contradictory role of Arthur Wessels George Champion (AWG) Champion, former leader of the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU) in the African National Congress (ANC), as a local politician serving on statutory Urban Bantu Councils. Champion was an elected member of the Ningizimu Urban Bantu Council from 1968 to 1975. He was still applying the political strategy of the 1930s and early 1950s where statutory Native Advisory Boards were used throughout the country by African leaders as platforms to fight for daily needs in the locations/townships. The 1960s was however a period of strict apartheid when the National Party-led government also tightened its control over local government through the establishment of Bantu Administration Boards to administer African residential areas and control Urban Bantu Councils. The policy of "separate development" (apartheid) also stressed ethnicity as it linked all Africans with homelands. From 1970 up to his death in 1975, Champion advocated links between the Zulus in Durban and the statutory KwaZulu Traditional Authority in the Zulu "homeland" under its Chief Executive Officer and later Chief Minister, Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi, Champion stressed Zulu unity and the use of statutory bodies as counterweight against policies of apartheid ("separate development"). This made him a controversial figure in the ranks of the government as represented by local officials of the Port Natal Bantu Administration Board, black independent trade unions, the Residents' Associations sympathetic to the African National Congress and the "underground" ANC in Durban. Champion worked very hard to represent his constituency as a councillor in the Urban Bantu Council system but failed to use statutory bodies to oppose apartheid and achieve equality and human dignity for his people. The powerful apartheid state had tightened its control over black political activity during the 1960s and 1970s.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 20 –44 (2012)More Less
Lucy Mvubelo's career as one of the foremost black feminist trade union leaders stretched from 1942 to 1987. In a first article on her role in the trade unions the authors stressed the importance of her leadership qualities and her remarkable potential in establishing the SA Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) and Federation of Free African Trade Unions (FOFATUSA). During these later years of her career she remained instrumental in the development of the South African trade unions. She still worked in close cooperation with Anna Scheepers and Johanna Cornelius. Labour legislation of the apartheid government, however, hampered their work. Mvubelo nevertheless fought for the dignity of all workers. Till 1987 Mvubelo, Scheepers and Cornelius ensured that legislation was changed to give all workers the opportunity for better housing, education and equal pay for equal work. Bread-and-butter issues were of utmost importance in Mvubelo's struggle for a better dispensation for all workers. When she retired in 1987 she was regarded as instrumental in bringing about phenomenal changes in the black trade union movement. In this second article the authors focus on her role in the SA trade unions between 1960 and 1974.
Author Pieter De KlerkSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 45 –64 (2012)More Less
Although professional historians usually concentrate on specific areas of research, they sometimes use their knowledge and understanding of history to give a perspective on contemporary events and provide guidelines regarding the formulation and implementation of government policies. Since the 1950s Afrikaner historians have participated in intellectual debates on the future of the Afrikaners as a minority group in South Africa. Three eminent Afrikaner historians, GD Scholtz, FA van Jaarsveld and Hermann Giliomee, produced a number of publications in which they commented on the apartheid policy of the National Party government. While Scholtz and Van Jaarsveld were very subdued in their criticism, Giliomee was more openly critical. On the other hand, Scholtz and Giliomee were more consistent in their criticism than Van Jaarsveld, who repeatedly changed his views. Scholtz and Giliomee, however, overestimated the power of the government to control the factors that determined South Africa's political and economic development during this period.
Author Gustav HendrichSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 65 –83 (2012)More Less
During the apartheid era in South Africa many literary and creative book publications were declared undesirable and were banned by the organs of censorship. In the interests of state security communist publications were considered a threat in a state with a predominantly Christian-Calvinist religion and capitalist system. Publications by political figures such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin were banned in the early 1960s on account of their propagandist elements. In particular, strong objection was made against the writings of Stalin contained in his Works. Following the banning of Works this publication was out of bounds to the public for nearly two decades. As a result of internal changes in perception, as well as the management of publication control after 1977, the way was opened for the review of previously banned publications. Increasing pressure and pleas emanated from academic circles for freedom to consult historical sources for study and research purposes first hand. In 1982 there was an appeal case for lifting the ban on Works, which in fact throws light on the contentiousness around this work by Stalin. Since the ban on possession of this publication was lifted and it being fully unbanned in 1991, the successful appeal may be considered a victory for free expression and learning. It is the purpose of this article to describe and historically analyse the background of censorship under apartheid.
Author Moatametsi MonkgeSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 84 –100 (2012)More Less
This research aims to investigate and evaluate the work and reasons behind past and contemporary American Peace Corps (APC) volunteerism in Botswana and the social impact this had on Botswana's developmental roadmap. The study focused on the APC volunteers, being the largest group of volunteers to have served in Botswana and have since stayed the longest. Approximately 2 058 APC volunteers have served in Botswana over a period of 31 years. Available data indicates that the APC volunteers' advent into Botswana society and their sincere interest and participation in daily community life endeared them to Batswana, leaving behind a legacy of deep friendship and contentment. The volunteers' free-spirited mentality is credited for influencing local dress styles, music and dance as well as perceptions of black and white relationships in rural Botswana communities. The author asserts that APC volunteerism was able to impact positively on the lives of Batswana, as the volunteers' work existed within the vortex milieu of already existing forms of volunteerism such as Botswana's own motshelo, letsema and ipelegeng - schemes that made it easier for the volunteer to mobilize rural communities for development.
"This will help in healing our land" : remembering and forgetting Quatro in post-Apartheid South AfricaAuthor Robert KadenSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 101 –122 (2012)More Less
This article employs the history of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK)'s 1980s prison camp, Quatro, as a case study to broadly explore the political jockeying over the memory of anti-apartheid prison camps (as sites of human rights abuses) in the context of post-apartheid South Africa. This is done by tracing how the collective memory of Quatro had been received and interpreted by different political groups and the media in post-apartheid South Africa. This article proposes that, with regard to the collective memory of Quatro, two diverging streams of memory politics co-exist in post-apartheid South Africa: one that chooses to remember, and one that chooses to forget. Both these streams reinforce the "Rainbow Nation" mentalité or the myth of the "new South Africa", albeit in different ways. Opposition groups like the former National Party (NP) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have frequently drawn on the collective memory of Quatro as a way of challenging the ruling African National Congress (ANC)'s hegemonic position. Much of this is framed in the context of the democratic rhetoric of post-apartheid South Africa. The ruling ANC, on the other hand, has negated the ambiguous narrative and traumatic memory of Quatro in order to write a "shared history" of the past that can foster a "new South Africa".
Author Roy JankielsohnSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 123 –141 (2012)More Less
As the ability of governments to supply adequate amounts of safe water to communities diminishes, so does the potential for political conflict and instability increase. The political management of our planet's scarce resources, especially water, will largely depend on the capacity and human capital available at local government level. If this is not available, then the resulting water shortages required to sustain communities will become a growing source of political unrest and conflict. It is within this context that hydropolitics needs to be redefined. In South Africa, the inability of local governments to react to the water needs of communities has already become a major cause of service delivery protests. Nowhere in South Africa were the consequences of this more prevalent than with the death of Andries Tatane during service delivery protests in the Setsoto municipality (Ficksburg) in the Free State Province. Water was at the centre of these protests. The solution to this problem requires a holistic approach to water management that takes various other aspects relating to water, or that require water, into account. The solutions require political will and a change in life styles and habits of individuals and communities. It is said that all politics is local, and one does not get more local than our daily reliance on water. Water is already a political issue and needs to be redefined as such in order to put pressure on politicians to recognize the need for political solutions and take responsibility for this.
Reaksie op die herontplooiing van Premier Mosiuoa Lekota en die ondemokratiese wyse van aanstelling van Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri as sy opvolger : deel 1: die nasionale ingryping in die bestuur van die VrystaatAuthor Johan MollSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 142 –157 (2012)More Less
In the first part of this article a factual historical analysis is given of the redeployment of the Free State Premier, Patrick Lekota, as a result of the unresolvable faction fights within the ANC, the continuing protest against his transfer and the ongoing "obscurity concerning the objectives of the national leadership" in solving the political debacle. In the second part the background of his successor, Matsepe-Casaburri, is analysed, as well as the undemocratic way in which she was forced into the politics of the Free State, the litigation in respect of Lekota's removal, the commencement of the Casaburri era and how the serious political fiasco contributed to the consideration of the desirability of the fact that the premiership and leadership of the party should be seated in the same person.
The undemocratic conduct of the national leaders of the ANC was a foreshadowing of the increasing trend to subordinate the Constitution and the existing provisions concerning the way in which premiers in the provinces is appointed to what the leaders of the ANC have previously aimed at and decided upon. This article is a critical, historical reconstruction of the role of the national leadership of the ANC and the reaction of the Free State community. The white-centric nature of the reporting, especially of the only newspaper in the Free State which followed the political drama closely and documented it, is supplemented as far as possible by perspectives from other, more liberal ANC media outside the province who are well-disposed towards the party. If communication is about, among other things, shared meaning by individuals, groups or organisations by openly sharing facts and norms by means of the written and the spoken word, this analysis provides a view on how shared meaning was not reached and optimum communication was by far not pursued or achieved.
Monuments and meaning making : Freedom Park and the bumpy road to reconciliation and nation-building in South AfricaAuthor Pieter LabuschagneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 158 –170 (2012)More Less
On Salvokop, just south of Pretoria, a new memorial in the form of an open park (Freedom Park) was established to honour those who had sacrificed their lives in the struggle for freedom and humanity, but also to enhance reconciliation and freedom in South Africa. Although Freedom Park was a welcome addition to the commemoration of a specific chapter in the country's history, it also attracted criticism for excluding the names of former South African Defence Force (SADF) soldiers who also perished. It seems that the difference in interpretation of who were the heroes and heroines of the struggle is thwarting the initial noble ideas of commemoration, reconciliation and nation-building. The article focuses on the differences in interpretation and also attempts to analyse Freedom Park's role as part of peace-building in South Africa.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Tripartite Alliance : a marriage of (in)convenience?Source: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 171 –190 (2012)More Less
Since its formation in 1985, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) had played a significant role in the political landscape of South Africa. From the start, COSATU appeared to be in support of the then banned African National Congress (ANC) when it adopted the Freedom Charter. This article highlights the relationship which exists between COSATU and the ANC as part of the Tripartite Alliance. The persistent animosity between the members of these two organisations is discussed.
Challenges facing the transformation of the public transport system in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa : history in the makingSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 191 –202 (2012)More Less
The transformation of the public transport system is a common occurrence in cities across the globe and is widely discussed in scholarly and policy circles. However, robust discussion on the transformation of the public transport system, using the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in emerging economies like South Africa, is limited. This article assesses the challenges involved in the transformation of the public road transport system in the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), with special reference to the BRT system. The empirical data for the study were drawn from the fieldwork, meetings, focus group discussions, and interviews with affected stakeholders and senior managers of NMB who were involved in the implementation of the BRT. The secondary data were drawn from literature, government publications and media. The results reflect that the implementation of the BRT was not easily achieved, as diverse challenges surfaced during the implementation phase. The main challenges include: lack of intensive planning and limited effective stakeholder and affected community engagement. The article concludes that as much as the BRT has credited the public road transportation system innovation in South Africa its implementation was not easy in NMB, and will be an important history for the city.
The road to the Mangaung (Bloemfontein) National Elective Conference of the African National Congress in December 2012 : a political challenge to the Jacob Zuma presidency?Author Chitja TwalaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 213 –231 (2012)More Less
On 8 January 2012, the African National Congress (ANC) marked the centenary of its existence. Without doubt, this was a remarkable celebration and achievement for any liberation movement. Despite all the challenges which faced the Jacob Zuma presidency during these eventful celebrations, the ANC portrayed a "united front". The article gives a chronological account of the events leading up to the ANC's Mangaung Conference in December 2012. In attempts to achieve this, the run-up events to the Conference will be traced from the ANC as a ruling party, as well as a political organisation in the broader South African political landscape. Critical issues confronting the ANC, which include among others, both organisational and leadership renewal, will be discussed. The eventual release of the ANC's Discussion Document on Organisation Renewal in March 2012 after nine drafts was a measure of just how deep the malaise in the organisation has become, and just how uphill the battle will be to address the sins of incumbency that beset the ANC. The author attempts at weaving together different perspectives of the events, leading to the destabilisation of the Zuma presidency and raises pertinent questions about the role of the media in South African politics. After nearly two decades in power, the organisation still needs to adopt to the reality of the 21st century democratic South Africa or be left behind; a fact acknowledged by Zuma at the ANC's centenary celebration on 8 January 2012 at its Mangaung birthplace.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 232 –250 (2012)More Less
The history of hydrography in the South African Navy (SAN) covers the whole history of the SAN, since one of the three ships of the South African Naval Service (as the SAN was known when it was established on 1 April 1922) was a hydrographic survey ship, namely HMSAS Protea. In this article, 90 years of hydrography is analysed by looking at the work done by the above-mentioned first Protea (1922-1933), as well as by the second survey ship named Protea (1950-1957), SAS Natal (1957-1972), SAS Haerlem (1963-1978), and by the third Protea (since 1972). The work done by the SAN's Hydrographic Office will, of course, also be discussed. The article commemorates 90 years of hydrography in the SAN and its predecessors, with special reference to the Navy's hydrographic research ships, and consequently at the same time commemorates the 40 years of service by the present SAS Protea.
Author Theo NeethlingSource: Journal for Contemporary History 37, pp 251 –254 (2012)More Less
Much has been said and commented by scholars, journalists and analysts in response to Dr Frank Chikane's book, Eight days in September: The removal of Thabo Mbeki. Several commentators have remarked that Chikane, a former Director General in die Office of the President during the Mbeki presidency, is in no position to write objectively about his term of office and his removal from the Office of the President by the ANC's National Executive Committee on 19 September 2008. This opinion might be valid to some extent, but it does not render Chikane's book insignificant. In fact, Chikane's version of Mbeki's removal is a valuable and noteworthy contribution to the available literature and the way the relevant dynamics have played out in top government circles in recent years.