Historia - Volume 36, Issue 1, 1991
Volumes & issues
Volume 36, Issue 1, 1991
Author F.A. Van JaarsveldSource: Historia 36, pp 2 –7 (1991)More Less
A return to narrative Historiography. Based on pronouncements of historians such as Lawrence Stone, H.W. von der Dunk, Jarn Rusen, Paul Veyne, and Hayden White this article indicates that a return to the narrative form in historiography is happening. This can be seen as a reaction to the abstract and unreadable new kind of history which emerged from the Annales and social science history schools' structural approach of analytical and quantative methods which served the public with tables, statistics, and graphics. This kind of historical writing lead to a breach between the history-loving public and the professional historians. The narrative form is now regarded as fundamental to the organization, transformation and communication of historical experience, and once more puts man back in the centre of a story.
Author K.W. Hugo, M. & De PauwSource: Historia 36, pp 8 –13 (1991)More Less
Facts or fiction -Freudian fantasy and a feminist view of Susanna Smit. In his article Die Voortrekkervrou as dwarstrekker -'n feministiese lesing (The contrariness of the Voortrekker woman -a feminist perspective) T. Gouws depicts the Voortrekker woman as dominated and oppressed. To support this argument, he employs a Freudian interpretation of the dreams which Susanna Smit recorded in her diary. Irrespective of the dubious validity of psychoanalysis as a method of historical inquiry, Gouws' whole argument displays a disregard for the task and methodology of historiography, which are grounded in the establishment of true and verifiable facts. His conclusions are not based on empirical research but have been deduced from a theory and the interpretation of so-called symbols, of which the validity cannot be determined. The following article demonstrates that Gouws had totally ignored both the spirit of the time as well as the cultural milieu of the 19th century Cape Colony in general and that of its eastern pioneer society in particular. He approaches his subject from a perspective unique to his own era, a method which is absolutely unacceptable to the historian. Thus Gouws fails to make any contribution to historiography and he has not added anything new to our understanding of Susanna Smit.
Author C. VenterSource: Historia 36, pp 14 –29 (1991)More Less
The Voortrekkers and the indentured slaves which accompanied them during the Great Trek, 1835-1838. In 1833 the Imperial Government in London decided to abolish slavery throughout the Empire. As a result of that decision the slaves in the Cape Colony were freed on 1 December 1834, but were indentured for the next four years with their previous masters until they would finally be set free on 1 December 1838. After the decision to emancipate the slaves became known in the Cape Colony, the trekboers -who must be distinguished from the Voortrekkers -continued to take their indentured slaves with them when they crossed the northern boundary in times of drought to find temporary grazing for their stock. Thereupon the Colonial Government prohibited the removal of indentured slaves from the Colony. These prohibitions were still valid when the Voortrekkers left the Colony and took their indentured slaves with them. Only after the philanthropists and the British Government had realized the full implications of the Great Trek and the final date for the emancipation drew closer, they started having misgivings about the Voortrekkers freeing their indentured slaves before or on 1 December 1838. Therefore Fieldcornet Gideon Joubert of Colesberg was sent to the Transorangia and Natal to bring them back to the Colony. Gideon Joubert was a loyal supporter of the Colonial Government and a known opponent of the Great Trek. That was why his report on his mission carried much weight with the Colonial and Imperial Governments. This report showed that the Voortrekkers had no intention of keeping their indentured slaves in bondage ï¿½thus correcting the impression which existed in philanthropic and government circles about the Voortrekkers in this regard.
Sir George Russel Clerk and the abandonment of the Orange River Sovereignty, 1853- 54 : room for another viewAuthor D. WilliamsSource: Historia 36, pp 30 –42 (1991)More Less
This article seeks to re-evaluate Sir George Russell's Clerk's role in die abandonment of the Orange River Sovereignty in 1854. It draws on hitherto unused private papers which reveal, inter alia, that a serious leg injury offsets criticism of his attitude and work. The article also places Clerk in the wider context of his experience as an administrator in British India, especially among the Sikhs of the Punjab and the Cis-Sutlej States. This raises the distinct possibility that he was handpicked as Special Commissioner because he had held strong views which were suited to the South African situation. With a firm belief in the integrity and preservation of Indian societies, he was cynically critical of the prevailing attitudes, principles and practices of British administration. He denounced gratuitous extension of Empire, extolling the virtues of non-annexation, restoration of deposed rulers and non-intervention in the affairs of Indian states. These high principles came into play in South Africa (and were publicly recognized in later life). There are distinct similarities between his perception of Sikh and Boer societies, to the point of attributing ""nationalism"" to both. Even the final legal and constitutional settlement of 1854 reflects die pervasiveness of indirect rule with which Clerk was entirely familiar because of his service in India.
Source: Historia 36, pp 43 –55 (1991)More Less
The Koegas atrocities of 1878 and its implications for the Cape Colony. During the Second Northern Frontier War (1878-1879) burghers who were called up in service of the Colonial government shot and killed prisoners of war in cold blood on two occasions. Naturally these events caused a sensation and dismayed public as well as official circles. The Cape government therefore ordered an immediate investigation. After a long delay sufficient evidence was collected and the accused were brought to trial in the Circuit Court at Victoria West during September 1879. As public feelings in this area were strongly in favour of the accused, the responsible officials requested that the trial be moved to Cape Town. Attorney-General Thomas Upington refused, however, and as was expected all the accused, with the exception of the single Coloured, were found not guilty by the jury. This verdict had numerous repercussions. Newspapers such as The Cape Argus fiercely attacked the government and especially the Attorney-General, whereupon Upington sued the owner and editor of that newspaper for libel. Although the so-called Great Libel Case was found in favour of the complainant, the verdict was a moral victory for the accused and a defeat for Upington and the government. This court case in turn had several repercussions, while the situation as a whole badly damaged the image of the Cape Colony.
Nasionalisme en neutralisme en die uitbreek van die Tweede Wereldoorlog : 'n vergelyking van die faktore en omstandighede wat ontwikkelinge in die V.S.A., Suid- Afrika en Ierland bepaal hetAuthor P.H. KappSource: Historia 36, pp 56 –72 (1991)More Less
Nationalism and neutrality and the outbreak of the Second World War. The article presents an analysis of the circumstances and factors that played a determining role in shaping the policies of the United States of America, the Irish Free State and the Union of South Africa at the outbreak of the Second World War. The idea of neutrality was a lively issue in all three countries, although the governments reacted differently to it. In the case of South Africa a major political storm developed over the issue of neutrality leading to a government crisis which left its scars on South African political history for the next ten years. Congress dictated a policy of strict neutrality for the U.S.A. but President Franklin D. Roosevelt deliberately undermined this policy, and gradually drew America deeper into the War. The strange form of neutrality was aptly descriptionbed as unneutral neutrality. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour the United States took over a leading role in the Allied War effort. The Free State of Ireland remained neutral throughout the war although the government in Dublin took no measures to restrict trade with the Allied Powers or to curb the recruiting of soldiers in Ireland. The government deliberately turned a blind eye to these developments because of the economic benefits it entailed. The similarities and differences that evolved around the neutrality issue in these countries are outlined and compared. The important role of nationalism in all three is underlined, especially the strongly willed desire to demonstrate their independence and selfreliance. British power and domination was after all a dominant factor in the history and the contemporary politics of all three countries. There were, however, important differences in the practical manifestations of this nationalism. In South Africa it was mostly the Afrikaner who supported the policy of neutrality to demonstrate their newly won independence from Great Britain, the ertswhile conqueror of the Afrikaner republics. Irish nationalism was much more strongly developed and much more vivid than Afrikaner nationalism. The long history of struggle, resistance and antipathy left deep scars on Anglo-Irish relations. The unsatisfactory division of Ireland into two states made Irish nationalists determined to unite the Irish provinces in a single independent state. In the case of the United States the special relationship that developed with Britain since the First World War directed the energy of American nationalism in a different direction. It was more an expression of complacent isolationism than of a desire to leave Britain alone. While a dragged out constitutional wrangling between Congress and the President developed in America, the constitutional issue was of central importance in the case of South Africa and Ireland. South Africa's constitutional development was temporarily terminated with the enactment of the Status Act. This was not the case in Ireland where constitutional ties with Westminster were deliberately weakened during 1934-1937, culminating in the new unilateral constitution of 1937 which eliminated all references to the Crown. The opposition party in South Africa, the Purified National Party, was keen to stimulate a similar process in South Africa. They did not succeed to the same extent but the neutrality issue proved a very useful one. The main conclusion in the article is that if General J.C. Smuts showed more political finesse and followed the Roosevelt pattern of gradually involving South Africa in the war, the political history of South Africa for the next 5-10 years could have been different. The Irish example never presented a serious practical option for South Africa.
Author J.C. SteynSource: Historia 36, pp 73 –88 (1991)More Less
Afrikaner nationalism and English: a brief policy deviation and its background. Afrikaner nationalism -of which the Nationalist Party was the most important exponent -has an impeccable record in one respect. During the reign of that party the language rights of the English-speaking population were never curtailed; neither was it the policy of the party as opposition party to do so. An exception occurred in the early 1940's. A few organisations such as the Ossewa-Brandwag were in favour of Afrikaans as first official language (and English as second language). In 1942 the Nationalist Party announced a draft constitution for a future republic. The language provision in the draft read that as Afrikaans was the language of the original white inhabitants of the country, it would be the first official language. English was regarded as a second or supplementary official language which would be treated on a basis of equality and would enjoy equal freedom, rights and privileges with the official language in all situations where such treatment was deemed by the state authority to be in the best interests of the state and its citizens. This article was criticized by the most important N.P. mouthpiece, Die Burger, as well as Die Volksblad and Die Oosterlig, because it would be tantamount to injustice to the English-speaking sector. Within a few months the proposed language provision was repudiated by the party leader, Dr. D.F. Malan, and Transvaal leader, Mr. J.G. Strijdom. The article sketches the pro-Republican activities of the period, the pronouncements about official languages and the political and language background against which these pronouncements should be evaluated.