Journal for Contemporary History - Volume 38, Issue 1, 2013
Volume 38, Issue 1, 2013
Author Kalpana HiralalSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 1 –21 (2013)More Less
Through the narrative genre the author examines issues of identity and agency amongst 15 Gujarati Hindu immigrant women who arrived in Natal (South Africa) between 1943 and 1953. The aims of this article are three-fold: Firstly, through the narratives the author seeks to highlight the many socioeconomic challenges that immigrant Indian women faced in the diaspora. Secondly, issues of identity are examined in the context of "home" and "belonging". While the author argues that Gujarat, their place of birth, is no longer perceived as their "homeland", it plays an important role in constructing immigrant women's ethnic identity. Thirdly, the article explores notions of agency and argues that given their personal, economic and social circumstances, Gujarati Hindu women were able to negotiate new roles for themselves within the household. Migration generated new challenges within the traditional household which resulted in some women exercising more agency than others. By examining notions of agency, this article seeks to dispel the myth of "passive", "docile" Indian women, devoid of autonomy in their lives. It hopes to add to the current theoretical debates on immigrant women, agency and identity with reference to Gujarati speaking Hindu women in South Africa, a relatively unexplored area of research.
Author Yehonatan AlshehSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 22 –40 (2013)More Less
The article surveys five possible explanations for the ties between Israel and South Africa between the 1970s and 1980s. (1) The Industrial-Military Complex Explanation, arguing that both the Israeli and South African defence establishments and arms industries had much to gain from such a relationship, and enough political influence to ensure that this would indeed happen. (2) The Nuclear Alliance Explanation, arguing that it was in Israel and South Africa's national interest to forge a nuclear consortium that would enable them to attain and further develop significant nuclear capacities, conceived by both states as the ultimate means for guaranteeing the survival of their chronically-contested regimes. (3) The Ideological Affinities / similar Regime-Type Explanation, arguing that, while Israel was unable or in any case reluctant to publicly admit it, it was not averse to the South African regime of separate development, mostly because, ever since 1967, it was on a course of constructing its own version of such a regime. (4) The Pariah States Alliance Explanation, arguing that Israel and South Africa shared the same international status of pariah states, hence having no other states they could befriend, and in any case nothing to lose from collaborating with each other. (5) The Politics of International Pariah-Making Explanation, arguing that the concept of the pariah state - which emerged in 1977 and disappeared by the end of the 1980s - was not a naïve scholarly attempt to conceptualize a new type of international actor, but rather an ideological construct, meant to re-justify the United State's support for some of its more embarrassing client states, while restructuring the precise way in which that support was provided.
Author H.O. TerblancheSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 41 –61 (2013)More Less
The South African Institute (SAI) on Keizersgracht 141, Amsterdam, was seen as the most important library on the subject of South Africa in Europe. It had a comprehensive collection of Africana, dating back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. On January 19, 1984, more than 50 young people, wearing black stockings over their heads, forced their way into the building. They wreaked havoc. Bookshelves were pulled over and books and documents, and the building façade were splashed with "paint and oil bombs". Hundreds of books were hurled into the adjacent canal. A radical group of anti-apartheid protestors, calling themselves "Amsterdammers against racism and discrimination", claimed responsibility for the library's destruction. They declared that the institute supported apartheid. For them the library was primarily a symbol of repressive ideals and hated policy. They destroyed the library because, according to them, the Dutch government was dragging its feet over the issue of condemning South Africa and breaking off contact. In South Africa, newspapers responded to the attack on the library with outrage and moral indignation. Dutch newspapers also decried the incident as violent and senseless. Even the Dutch anti-apartheid organisations were critical of the vandalism. The library was, ironically, also used by vocal opponents of apartheid. It also contained works which were forbidden in South Africa.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 62 –85 (2013)More Less
In this article reactions in the South African media to the emergence of Barack Obama as contender in the 2008 US presidential election, then as official Democratic Party presidential candidate and then as US President-elect are analysed. The context of US-SA relations is sketched first to highlight the type of issues of US-SA relations that would be important for South Africans. Then the opinions of politicians, economists, editors, academics and letter-writers representing the public, which were published in South African newspapers in 2008 and 2009 at the crucial moments in the US presidential election campaign, are analysed in terms of perceptions about Obama's role in international affairs, US relations with Africa and bilateral USA-RSA relations. The evaluation of these South African opinions is done with a view to testing some conclusions reached in the literature on the process of globalisation and local responses to it. Our argument is that the analysis of South African responses to Obama published in the newspapers confirms that globalisation and glocalisation are simultaneous processes in the contemporary world. On the one hand a set of liberal moral values have emerged in the post-Cold War world which unites the majority of moderate citizens of countries across the globe in their evaluation of important events. On the other hand these generic values only assume real significance for people when their implications for the local situation become clear.
Alternatiewe tot apartheid? Gespreksgroepe in die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) gedurende die 1980'sSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 86 –99 (2013)More Less
During the 1980s, the South African government was struggling to keep violence in the country under control despite the many reforms that the PW Botha regime has brought with it. The days of "grand apartheid", associated in particular with HF Verwoerd and the controversial homeland system, was over but certain key apartheid laws were still upheld. The government tried to create the impression that the policy of apartheid was a thing of the past, while on the other hand it was retaining political power. While the government made important changes to the apartheid policy, the Dutch Reformed Church also felt pressure from all sides due to its particular role in the development and sustainment of the apartheid regime. Lacking official channels, frustrated theologians and members of the Church resorted to informal discussion groups to initiate a think tank about the future of the Church and the country as a whole.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 100 –125 (2013)More Less
In this article the politics of right-wing fears in the years 1988 and 1989 (i.e. on the cusp of the new political dispensation in South Africa) is analysed. Right-wing politics is compared with the tendency to move to the right in the governing National Party of the time, and contrasted with events in the black political arena; including increasing political unrest and concomitant violence, as well as black-on-black violence. The years 1988 and 1989 were indeed of great significance in the history of South Africa, with PW Botha's resignation as State President in 1989 paving the way for the watershed events of 1990 and the eventual establishment of a new political dispensation in the country. Issues that are addressed in the article also include the growing tension between the more moderate and more militant right-wing whites; the reasons why far-right whites became ever more militant; the ways in which black people were stereotyped by right-wing whites, and the growth in support for the Conservative Party. The role that fear played in election propaganda is discussed, with special reference to the 1989 "general" election; i.e. the last election in which black people were barred from taking part.
Legislative immobility and judicial activism : the impact on the separation of powers in South AfricaAuthor Pieter LabuschagneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 126 –141 (2013)More Less
The division between the legislature/executive and the judiciary in a constitutional state is a very important, but precarious relationship. It is important that the political arm (legislature/executive) understand the critical role of the judiciary as custodian of the Constitution within the constitutional framework. Without the basic respect for and understanding of the role of the judiciary, politicians in the government can easily frustrate the judiciary primary function to uphold the law and to establish the rule of law in a country. If the relationship deteriorates and the status of the judiciary is degraded by the ruling party it will in the long run tarnish the status of the constitutional state and that of the rule of law in the country. This article deals with the internal process to initiate a private members bill in parliament with an explanation how easily it can be frustrated by the majority party in the standing committees and in parliament. The passing of the private members bill could be frustrated by the ruling party by using their numerical advantage. However, it is also pointed out that the purpose or goal of the same private members bill could also be reached by other means, such as a ruling by the High Courts. The article analyse this phenomenon and outlines the potential impact thereof on the principle of the separation of powers in South Africa.
From apartheid to batho pele : an exploratory study on service delivery and public participation in Atteridgeville-SaulsvilleSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 142 –161 (2013)More Less
The focus of the case study is public participation in the local government arena. The article examines the importance of public participation in the policy process and service delivery in Atteridgeville-Saulsville from apartheid times to post-apartheid rule. As a case study, public participation in the Tshwane Metropolitan Council (previously Pretoria City Council or Stadsraad) is traced back to the establishment of this "black township" (a black location in apartheid jargon) and investigated up until 2008. Public participation during the apartheid era was based on racial division. Black people were not allowed to participate in the decision-making processes that affected their locality. Democratic government since 1994, and more so since the acceptance of the democratic constitution, Act 108 of 1996, brought about an emphasis on equal citizen participation regardless of colour, status or geographical location. The Constitution enforces the responsibility of local government to ensure public participation in decision making. In democracies local government structures are traditionally seen as government closest to the people. The term batho pele strongly implies quality service delivery to human communities as well as accountability and transparency with a "human touch". Service provision should be informed by the needs and aspirations of the local communities, extracted from the community through participation. Making use of a qualitative approach, among others face-to-face interviews, the authors explore the case under review and how those who experience local government view the service delivery flowing from current policy and practice in contrast to that of the past.
Die sosiopolitieke sienings van 'n groep Suid-Afrikaanse universiteitstudente oor demokrasie in Suid-AfrikaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 162 –183 (2013)More Less
Democracy in South Africa is under pressure. A growing number of citizens are convinced that the government is underperforming and that democracy is often undermined. The current generation of young adults will soon play a leading role in all sectors of society. Their sociopolitical views and involvement are of particular relevance to the future of South Africa, especially with regard to the retention and expansion of democracy as an institution and governance model. Researchers point to a global trend of increasing political distrust and apathy which is a result of weak and corrupt government. Since the nineties a similar trend has emerged in South Africa. The youth have become increasingly uninvolved in politics - a trend that is in stark contrast to the political activism that characterised the black youth during the apartheid era. Young adults no longer feel obliged to engage in politics or civil society. Various studies have indicated that political trust in government and positive sociopolitical attitudes are prerequisites to optimal social and political involvement. A stable, lasting and prosperous democracy is threatened without the active involvement of the adult youth. In view of the above, an empirical study was conducted to establish the views that young adults (as "new" voters) hold on South Africa as a democracy. The investigation concentrated primarily on their views regarding the success of the current government and their confidence in the South African political context. This article focuses on the sociopolitical attitudes and opinions of the studying youth in particular. Research consistently correlates post-school qualifications with political participation. It follows that young adults in tertiary institutions - the so-called intellectual cream - are primarily responsible for the delivery of social capital which is vital to future political and community involvement in a democratic dispensation. Hence the following questions arise: What are university students' sociopolitical views? Do their views affect their confidence in the government? An analysis of the data gleaned by the investigation revealed tendencies that are supported by the literature. It seems that young adult students are disillusioned with democracy in South Africa, and its negative consequences are illustrated by the data. The empirical findings of this study confirm these trends. The data reflects the dissatisfaction with the performance of government institutions and key functions of government and the perception that government and state institutions are plagued by corruption. High levels of distrust exist in the government and its institutions, resulting in a large degree of sociopolitical apathy. The government faces a distinct challenge. Drastic steps should be taken to restore confidence in democracy. Strategies should be developed for young adults to become involved in sociopolitical activities, otherwise democracy in South Africa will gradually weaken, with far-reaching consequences. The findings of this research and of similar studies can no longer be ignored.
Author A.S. MlamboSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 184 –204 (2013)More Less
The article examines student activism in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2010 to investigate how Zimbabwe's economic meltdown and political challenges influenced the nature and forms of student responses. While conceding that student activism was not as well-coordinated and as unified as it had been in earlier periods of Zimbabwean history, it argues that student activism, nevertheless, continued despite relentless efforts by state agencies to violently stifle student protests and also in spite of the debilitating economic problems confronting the students. It is argued that the lack of unity among students can be explained in part by the lack of consensus among students regarding the challenges facing them and how to resolve them. It can also be seen as a result of the fact that students belonged to different and, sometimes, antagonistic political parties resulting in a fractured student movement that could not speak with one voice. Finally, the article contends that despite facing serious economic hardships, which partly fuelled their discontent, students did not focus only on economic grievances but married these to wider socio-political issues and regarded their struggles as part and parcel of the national fight for good governance and democracy.
Author Hamilton SimelaneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 205 –228 (2013)More Less
Research and analysis of the Swaziland security sector have, up to now, escaped the attention of scholars. This is in spite of developments that show that different segments of the Swazi population have voiced security concerns that range from insecurity of property to economic security concerns that undermine their efforts for economic well-being and reproduction. It is also in spite of the fact that rural communities have constructed community security frameworks that go beyond state-centric approaches to security. This article shows that rural Swazi communities have established non-state community security frameworks that operate outside the realm of the state and in the process contribute to the revision of the concept of security by emphasizing economic threats instead of military ones and focusing on community and individual security rather than regime security. However, the author argues that this transition should not be romanticized, because in Swaziland the development of non-state community security actors has been accompanied by violence and a general disregard for people's rights. The researcher argues that this is because non-state community security actors developed in the context of a non-democratic state that has entrenched a culture of disrespect for human rights.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 229 –254 (2013)More Less
The South African (SA) Army's history can be traced back to 1912, when South Africa's first defence force was established. In this article a review is provided of the development and deployment of South Africa's land forces in the course of a hundred years (1912-2012), with the emphasis on the role played by these land forces in the First World War (for example in the suppression of the Afrikaner rebellion, in the conquest of German South West Africa, the campaign in German East Africa, on the Western Front in France and in Belgium, and in Palestine), the Second World War (for example in Abyssinia, North Africa, Madagascar, and in Italy), in the war in the north of South West Africa (Namibia) and in Angola (1966-1989), as well as in the efforts to keep law and order in South Africa itself. The developments in transforming the Army of the old South African Defence Force (SADF), together with other armed forces, into a new Army in the post-apartheid South African National Defence Force (SANDF), are also briefly discussed. Throughout, historiographical matters are mentioned by means of references, either in the text or in footnotes, to the most important available sources. For obvious reasons, this is merely a broad introduction to an extensive topic.
Standoff attacks by PLAN on South African Security Force bases during the SWA/Namibian "Bush War" (1966 to 1989)Author Wikus Jansen van RensburgSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 255 –292 (2013)More Less
After World War I (1920), South Africa (SA) was granted a Class C-mandate by the League of Nations to administer the affairs of South West Africa (SWA) (now Namibia). During the middle sixties (1966) and early seventies (1972), the South West Africa Peoples Organisation (SWAPO), through its' armed military wing - the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), started resisting through military means by executing armed assaults on the South African Police (SAP) and civilians. This escalated to such an extent that the South African Defence Force (SADF) was tasked to take over the northern border protection during 1974. The armed resistance by PLAN was typical of guerilla warfare and included numerous standoff attacks on the SADF, the SAP and South West Africa Police (SWAPOL) bases.
Although numerous actions typical of guerilla warfare, like ambushes, hit-and-run attacks, land-mine incidents, acts of sabotage and intimidation of the local population were launched in SWA/Namibia during the Bush War, this article mainly focuses on standoff attacks by PLAN on SADF/SAP SWAPOL bases and the kraals of tribal chiefs protected by local militia within SWA/Namibia. These types of attack were typical of guerilla warfare tactics. Other types of guerilla warfare tactics are briefly referred to.
More than 161 standoff attacks on the SADF/SAP SWAPOL bases were launched by PLAN over the 23 year period of the Bush War. Measured against the "attack the rear areas of the enemy to exhaust and to demoralise them" tactic of guerilla warfare, one can hardly claim that PLAN were successful in doing so.
Reaksie op die herontplooiing van Premier Mosiuoa Lekota en die ondemokratiese wyse van aanstelling van Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri as sy opvolgerAuthor Johan MollSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 293 –313 (2013)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.
Author Theo NeethlingSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 314 –317 (2013)More Less
Maritz Spaarwater, the author of A spook's progress: From making war to making peace, served as a senior officer (reached the rank of colonel) in the former South African Defence Force (SADF), first in the Special Forces and later in Military Intelligence. Of utmost importance is the fact that he served as Chief Director Operations in the former National Intelligence Service (NIS). In this capacity, he was among the first in the apartheid government to start official discussions on foreign soil with top leaders in the exiled leadership of the ANC. Later in his career, as a Chief Director in the former Department of Constitutional Development, he become involved in the CODESA negotiations in a support role and thus played a role in the events that resulted in a new South African constitutional dispensation in 1994.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 318 –319 (2013)More Less
According to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies' authoritative publication, The military balance (London, 2012), most post-Cold War conflicts have taken place in Africa, with more people consequently dying in conflicts in Africa than anywhere else in the world; for example in Burundi (215 000; 1993-2006), Sudan (more than 2 million since 1982), Somalia (362 000; 1991), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3 685 000; 1996), Ethiopia and Eritrea (50 000; 1998-2000) and in Libya (30 000; 2011). For many people in Africa, war is indeed not abstract: it is something very palpable in the here and now, constantly evolving, part and parcel of daily existence, reaching some way into the past, and - it would seem - for some distance into the future.
Disputed land: The historical development of the South African land issue, 1652-2011, Louis Changuion and Bertus Steenkamp : book reviewAuthor Chitja TwalaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 320 –322 (2013)More Less
The year 2013 marks the centenary of the proclamation of the important 1913 Land Act in South Africa. The present inequitable distribution of land as faced by the African National Congress (ANC) government in the post-apartheid South Africa can be traced back to the Natives Land Act of 1913, the Urban Areas Act of 1923, and the Group Areas Act of 1950. In the 1990s, after the unbanning of the ANC, there were high expectations among both the rural and urban people (especially those who were victims of land dispossessions) that land would be speedily returned to them and that the advent of democracy would mean that opportunities to own and use land would be opened up across the country. After 1998, the ANC came with rather an unsuccessful ambitious plan of at least returning 30 percent of land to the original inhabitants by 2014. The ANC's government has since acknowledged that the above will be unrealizable.
Invitation : Special Edition of the Journal for Contemporary History
Uitnodiging : Spesiale Uitgawe van die Joernaal vir Eietydse GeskiedenisSource: Journal for Contemporary History 38, pp 323 –324 (2013)More Less