Historia - Volume 32, Issue 2, 1987
Volumes & issues
Volume 32, Issue 2, 1987
Afrikanermynwerkers en die Mynwerkersunie, 1936-1948 : II : Die hervormingsorganisasie in die Mynwerkersunie, 1937-1948Source: Historia 32, pp 1 –13 (1987)More Less
Afrikaner Mine Workers and the Mine Workers' Union. 1936 1948 Between the years of 1936 and 1948 a bitter struggle waged in the ranks of the white Mine Workers Union (MWU) for control of this large and influential organisation. In essence it was a struggle of the unskilled and semi-skilled Afrikaner mine workers against the gross maladministration of the Union management. This struggle was, however, organised and fanned from the outside by Afrikaner political and cultural leaders (""Die Nasionale Raad van Trustees"" or NRT) in an attempt to mobilise the Afrikaner workers for party political and Afrikaner national interests. Their vehicle was the ""Afrikanerbond van Mynwerkers"" (ABM) -which, as an opposing Christian national union, tried to oust the MWU. The first serious attempt was warded off by reinstating the closed shop principle and thus making a second union illegal. Thereafter the ABM tried to reform the MWU from within and during a lengthy struggle succeeded in bringing the maladministration of the MWU in the open. In 1947 the struggle was won when a new Afrikaner dominated board of management was elected. The article focuses on the role of the NRT and ABM and the ways, in which it mobilised support from Afrikaners, the majority of whom did not have the same strong feelings of nationhood as the leaders of the ABM/NRT. In evaluating the role of the ABM/NRT the evidence indicates that in the initial phase of the struggle it played an important role, but in the latter stages it was partially pushed into the background by groups of mine workers committed to the basic principles of trade unionism and not in the first instance to Afrikaner solidarity.
Author J.S. BerghSource: Historia 32, pp 14 –26 (1987)More Less
Challenges to the Afrikaans historian. The Afrikaans historian is faced with important challenges today. This is clear from the serious criticism of his historical writings, conduct and attitudes. Two of the most central points of criticism are his inability to acquaint himself sufficiently with the latest trends in international historiography, and his biased focus only on the white man's role in South African history. The Afrikaans historian is to a large extent still loyal to the Rankean tradition which dates back to the 19th century. As a result of this he places too much emphasis on mere political events. Important history-making processes, such as social and economic factors, do not receive sufficient attention. On the other hand, English speaking historians in South Africa have, because of their strong language, cultural and academic ties abroad, been more aware of new trends in their historical writings. During the last few years some Afrikaans historians have been reacting positively to this by having in-depth discussions about the situation. This does not mean that the Afrikaans historian has to follow slavishly everything coming from abroad, nor that he should, sacrifice the autonomous character of his discipline. However, dialogue and debate bring clarity and reassessment of aims and principles. Afrikaans historiography is also accused of bias in favour of the whites, and of not doing justice to the role of people of colour in South African history. The history of the whites can only be properly understood within the context of the history of all the peoples of South Africa. For this reason some Afrikaans historians have pleaded for a new approach, inter alia by writing general historical works of South Africa that will give a rightful place to both whites and non-whites. ""Integrated"" historical works have in any case become a reality. The Afrikaans historian has a choice. Either he plays no role or, with his insight and perspective, makes a positive contribution.
Author F.A. MoutonSource: Historia 32, pp 27 –43 (1987)More Less
The Apartheid Election of November 1948 in the Eastern Cape Native Electoral Circle Since the acceptance of the Representation of Natives Act in 1936 the National Party (N.P.) was opposed to the representation of blacks by three whites in the House of Assembly. During the 1948 election the N.P. campaigned for their removal. After the N.P.'s victory at the polls they surprised friend and foe by deciding to contest the native elections with independent N.P. candidates. The reason for this surprising move was that the N.P. hoped to enlarge their slender majority in Parliament. Although independent N.P. candidates contested all three circles, all eyes were focused on the Eastern Cape election where the respected liberal and parliamentarian, Margaret Ballinger, was opposed by the N.P.'s strongest candidate, dr P.J. Schoeman. Dr Schoeman, a former professor in Anthropology and a well-known Afrikaans writer, waged a furious campaign. In contrast to the N.P.' s motivation for participating in the election, Schoeman personally was motivated by the idea to help the blacks and to show the merits of apartheid. The result of this was a fierce debate in the black community over the question whether to support or reject apartheid. In the end it was a shattering defeat for Schoeman and the philosophy of apartheid. Thus ended in humiliation, one of the few attempts by the N.P. to canvass the blacks' support for apartheid.
The Indian Mutiny of 1857 and the Cape Colony : Part II : The emergence of black consciousness in CaffrariaAuthor Donovan WilliamsSource: Historia 32, pp 56 –67 (1987)More Less
Author W.A. StalsSource: Historia 32, pp 68 –75 (1987)More Less
The recognition of customary law by the South African Republic Several authors have claimed that blacks in the South African Republic were governed according to Roman Dutch law, that customary law was not recognised before 1877, and that this legal system was only recognised for the first time after the British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877. Although the official policy of the Republic was that blacks should be governed according to the laws of the country also applying to whites, in actual fact customary law was applied in the Zoutpansberg district since the 1860's and in some respects throughout the Republic since 1876. That this was the case is apparent from a letter of President M W Pretorius to the Superintendent of Native Tribes in Zoutpansberg in 1865. The recommendations of a commission of 1871 appointed to investigate memorials pertaining to black servants and laws applying to blacks also confirm this. Furthermore, Law No 3 of 1876 seems to recognise indigenous law by implication by not prohibiting ""the buying of wives"" and poligamy, but by simply stating that these practices would not be recognised by the laws of the country. In this law, moreover, the Native commissioners were instructed to take cognisance of the customs of the blacks when acting as justices of the peace. Although there was therefore no law which accorded statutory recognition to customary law there can be little doubt that such law was indeed recognised in certain respects by the Republic by 1876.
Die debat rondom die politiek-grondwetlike posisie van die gekleurdes in die Oranjerivierkolonie, 1900-1910Author C.J.P. Le RouxSource: Historia 32, pp 76 –88 (1987)More Less
The debate on the political and constitutional position of the non-whites in the Orange River Colony, 1900-1910 The debate on the non-whites' political and constitutional position after the Anglo- Boer War was important because race relations attracted so much attention in an outside the Orange River Colony. It served as a precursor for the development of the non-white question. The non-white franchise question was the main issue in white and non-white political circles. The question made its first appearance in the Memorandum of Sir Joseph Chamberlain (Minister for the Colonies) in January 1900. This memorandum extended the franchise to all British subjects in the Colony, thus not only to English and Afrikaans-speaking subjects, but also to those non-whites who had western standards of civilization and lived accordingly. The proclamation whereby the Orange River Colony was annexed, did not take the place of the old republican law which barred the non-whites from civic rights. This included voting rights on municipal level. Besides this, Article 8 of the Vereeniging Peace Treaty (1902), stipulated that the non-white franchise question was to be considered only after the granting of self-government to the Orange River Colony in 1907. The eventual outcome was that the ruling Orangia Unie Party (an Afrikaner Party) decidedly refused to grant the vote to non-whites. The majority of municipal councils also refused such rights. The constitution for self-government (1907) made provision for voting rights for whites only. The constitution revealed the dependence of the British government on the Vereeniging Peace Treaty and the support of the Afrikaans-speaking inhabitants for the success of the colony's administration. The white politicians of the Colony, including the press, declined non-white suffrage on the grounds that the non-whites were politically and educationally not yet ready for civic responsibilities. There was also the danger of being politically overpowered by the Blacks who were in the majority. The non-white political organisations in the Colony which included at least four black organisations and one Coloured organisation, objected fervently when their petitions to the colonial and the British government in London were turned down. They intended to continue their struggle for political rights after unification in 1910.
Johannes Pretorius, die stamvader van die Pretoriusse van Suid-Afrika, se jare op Mauritius, 1666-1669: IAuthor Francois J. PretoriusSource: Historia 32, pp 89 –98 (1987)More Less
The Mauritius years of Johannes Pretorius, progenitor of the Pretorius family of South Africa (1666-1669)The Mascarene Islands of Reunion (Bourbon), Mauritius and Rodrigues were discovered in 1513 by the Portuguese navigator, Don Pedro Mascarenha. Mauritius was initially called Ilha da Cirnos (Swan Island) after the swan-like but now long extinct dodo birds. The first settlers were Dutch seamen under Admiral Wybrandt van Warwyk who landed on the island in 1598 and named it Mauritius in honour of their stadholder Maurice of Orange (Nassau). The island which was strategically situated between the Cape and Batavia (Jakarta) in the East Indies was occupied by the Dutch East India Company for the first time in 1638. The main reasons for this occupation were firstly to avoid the menacing Portuguese presence along the East Coast of Africa and secondly the abundance of much sought after ebony on the island. Although the Dutch abandoned the island in 1658, the Dutch East India Company informed Jan van Riebeeck in 1657 that henceforth Mauritius would be administered by the Cape Council of Policy. This led to the second Dutch settlement which lasted for nearly half a century -from 1664 till 1710 -and forget the historic link between the Cape Dutch Settlement and the distant island of Mauritius. In 1666, two years after the second Dutch occupation, Johannes Pretorius, European ancestor of the South African Pretorius family was sent to Mauritius by the Council of Policy at the Cape. This account of his departure from the Netherlands, his arrival at the Cape, his subsequent departure and three years' stay on Mauritius is set in the prevailing Cape and Mauritian history and has been compiled from South Mrican and Dutch archivalia. As a young 22 year old midshipman he sailed from the Netherlands in December 1665 and after a brief sojourn at the Cape was commissioned by the Council of Policy as secunde to the island of Mauritius. His initial status was that of sick-comforter and subsequently also of secunde. During 1667 the Council of Policy suggested that he be considered for the office of governor of the island. He remained on Mauritius for three years and returned to the Cape in December 1669. On his return he wrote a comprehensive report on the wildlife, the horticultural prospects and the supplies of ebony on the island. He concludes his report by confirming the self-sufficiency of the settlement following the second Dutch occupation in 1664.
Author Hein HeydenrychSource: Historia 32, pp 99 –106 (1987)More Less
21 June 1987 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding in Holland of the Netherlands South African Railway Company with Dutch and German capital. It had the express aim of constructing a railway link between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay to make the South African Republic independent of the British South African harbours for her access to the outside world. However, when a temporary prohibition on the construction work on this line was imposed by the Transvaal government in 1888 because it had proved impossible to reach agreement with the concessionaire for the section of the line over Portuguese territory, the Company submitted a tender for the construction of a so-called steam tramway between Boksburg on the East Rand, where coal had been discovered, and Johannesburg. It was awarded the contract and the coal line of 27 km was opened on 17 March 1890, to become the first railway in the Republic. It was later extended to Springs in the east and Krugersdorp in the west. This pioneer railway in the Transvaal was significant in that it helped to overcome the fears and prejudices of the conservative Transvaal Afrikaners with regard to railway construction. It also played an important part in the economy of the early Witwatersrand by providing a regular supply of coal to the gold mines at reduced prices. The logistical problems in building such a railway in the interior, unconnected with any other railway, were considerable, and it says much for the company that it was able to surmount these difficulties.