Journal for Contemporary History - Volume 39, Issue 2, 2014
Volume 39, Issue 2, 2014
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 1 –14 (2014)More Less
Towards the latter stages of World War I, Mohandas K Gandhi urged Indian peasants to take up arms on behalf of the British. This alienated his liberal pacifist supporters in Europe who were aghast that the apostle of non-violence had seemingly disavowed his own teachings. But Gandhi, during his South African sojourn from 1893-1914, had openly declared his enthusiasm to support the British Empire in its attempts to assume hegemony in the region. He participated on the side of the British in the brutal South African War of 1899-1902 and in their violent suppression of the Zulu uprising in 1906. Alongside this, he formulated his ideas of Satyagraha. This article traces Gandhi's South African years from 1893 to 1914 and seeks to make sense of the apparent contradiction of his taking up arms on behalf of the Raj during the war. This is done in the context of his attachment to the Empire.
Tussen Afrikanereenheid, patriotisme en rebellie : 'n rekonstruksie van die transformasie van die politieke denke van Genl. JH De la Rey voorafgaande aan die Afrikanerrebellie 1914-1915Author Andries RaathSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 15 –36 (2014)More Less
On the eve of the Afrikaner Rebellion, 1914-1915, General JH (Koos) de la Rey was at the apex of a political and personal transformation in his career. He had finally decided to physically oppose the Union Government's policy to support the British war cause to invade German South-West Africa.De la Rey was now basically committed to launch his rebellion from the military camp at Potchefstroom and to lead a bloodless coup by hoisting the Republican flag (Vierkleur) with the support of senior officers from the ranks of the Union Defence Forces and move towards Vereeniging. At the culmination of De la Rey's decision to take the lead in this supposedly bloodless coup, he had parted ways with Niklaas van Rensburg, the Visionary ("Siener"), who had exerted considerable influence on De la Rey since the Anglo-Boer War. Although it is difficult to determine at which point the Siener's influence over De la Rey was replaced by De la Rey's headstrong determination to follow his own will, it is clear that by the time of his death De la Rey had already committed himself to lead the Rebellion from Potchefstroom. This article reconstructs De la Rey's political transformation from sources - many hitherto unpublished - in the De la Rey family as well as from his circle of close friends and associates.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 37 –59 (2014)More Less
The decision taken by the government of General Louis Botha to actively deploy the Union (of South Africa's) Defence Forces in support of the Allied cause during the Great (later known as the First World) War of 1914-1918, elicited strong negative reactions from a portion of South Africa's white Afrikaans-speaking community. In due course, nearly 12 000 Afrikaners took up arms against their lawful government. One hundred years later, the Afrikaner rebellion of 1914-1915 is still a controversial episode in South Africa's history. In this article the events of 1914 (and their aftermath) are revisited by analysing the reminiscences of two-time rebel, Commandant Jacob Petrus (Japie) Neser. (During the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 he was a Cape rebel in Boer ranks.) His reminiscences shed light on the rebel activities in the Orange Free State, with special reference to the role played by General Christiaan de Wet. To what extent was Neser a rebel without (or with) a cause? How should the rebellion be evaluated from a military point of view? Is it unfair to label the 1914-1915 rebellion as a farce in the veld? These are some of the issues that are addressed in this study.
The early history of South African military chaplaincy : a case study of the variance between British imperialism and Afrikaner nationalism, c.1914-1973Source: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 60 –80 (2014)More Less
Global socio-political and economic forces often determine the histories of countries and nations, but internal historical identities, values and sentiments modify and combine with these forces to create a distinct local societal character and ethos, which are often mirrored in local institutions and organizations. In South Africa this is illustrated in the history of South African military chaplaincy. It was established in 1914 at a time when most other countries accorded their military chaplaincies with a reasonable degree of professionalism, but it was only acknowledged as an autonomous support service of the South African armed forces in 1973; this, despite the important role of religion in the South African society and the influence of British customs since 1806. The roots for this belated acknowledgement are found in the clash between the international force of imperialism and the local sentiments of Afrikaner nationalism. It influenced the establishment, functioning and ethos of South African military chaplaincy, turning the latter into a representation of the identities and sentiments elicited in the South African society by the global forces active within the historic context.
Researching South African prisoners-of-war experience during World War II : historiography, archives and oral testimonyAuthor Karen HornSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 81 –99 (2014)More Less
Recently a study was undertaken to narrate and analyse the World War II experience of South African prisoners-of-war (POWs). One of the aims of the study was to provide a voice to the POWs whose stories had gone largely unobserved by local and international historians. The objective of this article is to describe the research method. The reasons for the extensive reliance on oral interviews are explained by providing an overview of the historiography and by describing the nature of the archival material. Additionally, specific analytical aspects concerning oral history, such as memory, retrospective knowledge, dual evaluation and intergenerational communication, are considered, as well as the manner in which rapport was established between the researcher and the participants. To show how the oral and the written word influence the way in which historical events - and the participants in those events - may be interpreted by present-day researchers, the way in which POW memoirs were used in conjunction with oral testimony in this study is also described.
Caught in a stranglehold between resistance and reform : the Mine Workers' Union and rightwing politics in South Africa, 1979-1997Author Wessel VisserSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 100 –118 (2014)More Less
The National Party government's acceptance of the recommendations of the Wiehahn Commission of Enquiry in 1979, i.e., that job reservation be abolished and African trade unions be legalised, came as a huge shock for the South African Mine Workers' Union (MWU). The MWU responded by aligning itself with rightwing parties and organisations. When white resistance politics became more extreme in the 1990s, there were even attempts by the ultra-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement, albeit unsuccessful, to infiltrate and usurp the MWU executive. In an effort to try and thwart the momentum towards political democracy in 1994, the MWU joined other rightwing organisations in an all-encompassing resistance under the auspices of the Afrikaner People's Front (AVF) of Gen. Constand Viljoen. Although many white workers joined the MWU's ranks, rightwing unity was dealt a severe blow when a schism took place between the Viljoen faction in the AVF and the MWU over strategies to create an Afrikaner people's state. Between 1994 and 1997 the MWU stagnated and reached the crossroads. To avoid further stagnation and possible oblivion, Flip Buys, MWU general secretary since 1997, began a process of reinvention. This transformation was completed in 2002 when the MWU became Solidarity.
Entrenching apartheid in South African sport, 1948 to 1980 : the shaping of a sporting society during the Strijdom-, Verwoerd- and Vorster administrationsAuthor Cobus RademeyerSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 119 –137 (2014)More Less
The debate on transformation and quotas in South African sport resurfaced just before the South African general elections in May 2014. Transformation has become a contentious, but key issue in post-apartheid South Africa. The formative stage of racial divide in South African sport can be traced back to the implementation of rigid apartheid policies into South African sport during the period 1948 - 1980. Between 1948 and 1956 not much was done to develop a formal sports policy, but under the leadership of Strijdom, Verwoerd and Vorster strong sports policies, based on the principle of apartheid, were initiated and enforced through legislation in South African society. The introduction of apartheid in South African sport dates back to much earlier, but in 1948 it became governed by law, which were strictly adhered to by the different National Party administrations for the next three decades. Key issues, such as the ongoing Maori question, South Africa's exclusion from the Olympic Games and world soccer, Verwoerd's Loskopdam speech, the Basil D'Oliveira debacle and the Gleneagles Agreement, contributed to the destructive influence on sport in the country, which was shaped by the sport apartheid laws. Set against the background of international resistance towards apartheid in sport, the National Party's sports policy changed continually. By the end of the seventies, the interaction between sport, politics and policies had done enough to create a very complex situation, which can be seen as the historical background to the transformation issue in South African sport today.
Communication and political protest in sport : a case study of cross-national support in post-apartheid South AfricaAuthor P.A.H. LabuschagneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 138 –154 (2014)More Less
The interrelationship between politics and (political) communication has increased dramatically since the advent of mass media. During the modern era, mass media plays an important role to articulate societal, political and social demands. In many instances, political action is a reaction to political communication from the mass media, but also from civil society, individuals in society and other role-players. In the modern era the mass media has become political actors deeply integrated within the political process. This is partly the result of a decline in political socialisation, where the family in their role as primary agents play a lesser role as a result of the media's role as principle agents through which information and policies are being presented to the public. However, during the apartheid years, mass media in South Africa predominantly articulated support to the government, and disenfranchised communities were left with few channels to articulate their grievances. The disenfranchised communities used different channels to articulate their grievances. One channel that was used was sport. Visiting teams to South Africa were supported to illustrate dissatisfaction with their position in society. However, after the democratisation of the country, the expectation was that support would be transferred back to the national team. This article investigates this continued phenomenon of cross-national support and provides a number of reasons to explain the reasoning behind this form of political protest.
Unsung KwaZulu-Natal heroes and heroines in South Africa : Catholic AIDS care activities during the 1990sAuthor Stephen Muoki JoshuaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 155 –176 (2014)More Less
The story of the Catholic response to HIV and AIDS in South Africa comprises of much more than the condom controversy, the pastoral letters, the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) AIDS Office and the huge sums of money that funded numerous projects that were with that response during the 2000s. The AIDS context in South Africa was quite different during the 1990s, especially in the KwaZulu-Natal province which was clearly in the lead regarding infections and fatalities throughout the period. The volatile political context leading to the 1994 first democratic elections in the country had a devastating civil war effect on the province, dubbed "the township revolts", which left 20 000 persons dead and many more internally displaced. Racial AIDS stigma, accompanied by widely popularised myths, made care attempts in the region a deadly affair. Financial donors were hard to come by. Yet, certain ordinary Catholic men and women braved the odds by moving into the margins of the society to provide care to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Their heroic deeds, adventures and narratives shed more light onto an otherwise overlooked period in the history of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. This article is based on an oral history study that consisted of some 22 in-depth interviews with clerics, AIDS care workers and project leaders in KwaZulu-Natal. An archival study on various Catholic archives, such as the SACBC Archives in Khanya House, Pretoria, the Archdiocese of Durban Archives, as well as the St. Joseph's Theological Institute Archives in Pietermaritzburg was also conducted. This article is an attempt to use marginalised Catholic voices in the seven KwaZulu-Natal dioceses to analyse and re-tell the story of Catholic AIDS care in South Africa during the 1990s.
Author Burgert A. SenekalSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 177 –195 (2014)More Less
"Doomsday prepping" has become a highly visible phenomenon in recent years following extensive media coverage on National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel. Although "preppers" currently inhabit South Africa, the run up to the 1994 election saw the white South African public "prepping" on an unprecedented scale. This article examines the origins of preparations made for this historic event, as well as measures taken by the white public to prepare themselves for every eventuality. While the rightwing in particular advocated preparing for what they believed would be a civil war, preparing was not limited to supporters of the rightwing, and a large number of white South Africans prepared for some kind of catastrophe. These possible eventualities range from possible power outages, water shortages and the disruption of food supply networks, to fears that whites would be exterminated as happened in the Belgian Congo, Mozambique and Angola and that the rightwing would start a civil war. In essence, however, prepping perhaps served a psychological function by establishing assurances in what was South Africa's most volatile period.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 196 –224 (2014)More Less
The period prior to the 2014 South African national and provincial elections witnessed the mobilisation of numerous socio-economic and political forces. Consequently, the outcomes of the 2014 election is of particular importance in charting the political landscape that lies ahead. This article hypothesises that South African politics has undergone an incremental (but increasingly radical) shift towards the left of the political spectrum. Through an integrated analysis of trends in the ruling party, opposition politics, socio-economic conditions, organised labour and electoral outcomes, this hypothesis is confirmed.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 225 –247 (2014)More Less
Religious extremism has plagued Africa for many years. From its earlier permutation in North Africa in the 1980s and 1990s to its recent expression in East and West Africa, every part of the continent has had its own story to tell about the violence unleashed by religious fanaticism. Boko Haram, a largely domestic group in Nigeria, has become one of the main players on the terror-front in the West African region. Although Boko Haram's grievances are rooted in cultural cleavages and a sense of injustice regarding identity affiliation in Nigeria, the group's activities are increasingly becoming regional involving neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin. Recently the group has been parachuted to the international limelight. The kidnapping of young schoolgirls in Nigeria has suddenly racked the international media's attention, raising issues regarding Boko Haram which have been issues long before the social media increased awareness, especially by using the very popular hashtag #bringbackourgirls, on the social media site, Twitter. Boko Haram, like most insurgent groups in Nigeria, emerged from a background of an age-old conflict, which can be described as a conflict between different identities in the country. It is, however, important to remember that a variety of identities do not necessarily lead to conflicts. The fact that a country has several ethnic or religious groups does not make conflict inevitable; it is only when mobilisation around identities occurs or they are politicised that they constitute the basis for conflict. Within this article, however, it will be noted that the conflict can be attributed to many influences and factors which should be examined and taken into consideration.
Author Hamilton Sipho SimelaneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 248 –271 (2014)More Less
Swaziland is facing a serious fiscal crisis that is threatening to reduce the country into a failed state. The country has a huge budget deficit that has left government operations paralyzed and the threat of government failure to pay monthly salaries for civil servants is ever looming larger. In an attempt to address the situation, the Swaziland government partnered with the IMF to produce fiscal adjustment strategies to stabilize the country's economy through short-term policies. The partnership is crucial to enable the country to get a letter of comfort that would make it possible to receive loans from international financial institutions. The article focuses on an analysis of the explanations for the origins of the crisis. It acknowledges the factual aspects of dominant explanations, but argues that these explanations fail to provide a comprehensive explanation for proper planning of future development of the Swazi economy. The article argues that a more meaningful and long-term effective explanation of the crisis should interrogate the country's governance structure, especially the extent to which it has contributed to the poor performance of the country's economy, how it has contributed to fiscal indiscipline, and how it has nurtured wasteful spending and contributed to increasing levels of corruption.
Source: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 272 –273 (2014)More Less
Sedert die uitbreek, en spoedige onderdrukking 'n eeu gelede van die rebellie van 1914-1915, duur die (soms emosionele) debat in verband met hierdie omstrede Afrikaneropstand voort, hoewel dit die afgelope paar dekades reeds afgeneem het en die rebellie by baie mense in die vergetelheid geraak het. In die verlede is al veel oor hierdie rebellie geskryf, en hopelik sal die gebeure honderd jaar later weer in die kollig geplaas word, sodat Suid-Afrikaners van alle kultuurgroepe opnuut - of vir die heel eerste keer - vir hulself sal rekenskap gee van hierdie veelbewoë gebeure van die verlede. Vir etlike jare na afloop van die 1914-1915-rebellie, het hierdie opstand die Suid-Afrikaanse politiek beïnvloed en vir lank was dit deel van die Afrikaner (maar ook ander, veral blanke, Suid-Afrikaners) se historiese geheue. Dit wil egter voorkom of die grootste deel van die Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking vandag (2014-2015) selfs nie eens meer kennis dra van die rebellie van 'n eeu gelede nie.
Author Vladimir ShubinSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 274 –277 (2014)More Less
The above book by Stephen Ellis was praised by publishers as "meticulously researched". Indeed, if to compare it with his (and his co-author, so called Tsepo Sechaba) previous book on this theme, Comrades against apartheid, that hardly contained any references, it is well documented. Unfortunately, it does not save it from being biased.
Author Hussein SolomonSource: Journal for Contemporary History 39, pp 278 –279 (2014)More Less
"Incisive", "courageous" and "scary" were some of the words which sprang to mind whilst reading De Wet Potgieter's latest book. This publication reflects two years of investigative journalism at its best. The book examines Al Qaeda's presence in South Africa by explaining how terrorists take advantage of corrupt state machinery through acquiring identity documents and passports by fraudulent means. This, together with South Africa's ridiculously porous borders, resulted in Al Qaeda's former head, Osama bin Laden, describing South Africa as "open territory".