Historia - Volume 55, Issue 1, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 55, Issue 1, 2010
Author Edward M. SpiersSource: Historia 55, pp 1 –17 (2010)More Less
If the South African War (1899-1902) proved the supreme test for the late Victorian army, many writers taking their cue from the "lucidity and brilliance" of Leo Amery's writings in The Times History accepted that the army, particularly in the Natal campaign, failed to measure up. The generalship of Sir Redvers Buller, VC, his staff, and the regimental officers and other ranks, all incurred withering criticism.
Author J.S. BerghSource: Historia 55, pp 18 –31 (2010)More Less
In recent decades a number of scholars have provided penetrating perspectives on the relations between officialdom, white farmers and African labourers in pre-industrial southern Africa. Some observations, particularly those of Trapido, Delius and Ross, are relevant to this paper. Trapido's article, written in 1980, "Reflections on Land, Office and Wealth in the South African Republic", identifies "important trends for the understanding of the structures and dynamics of the community of white settlers in the Transvaal from around the 1850s onwards ... [and] succeeds in analysing complicated social relations in a remarkably clear-cut way". In his work, The Land Belongs to Us (1983), Delius deals in two separate chapters with "migrant labour" and "land, labour and legislation" in connection with the Bapedi domain. Although Delius largely restricts himself to the eastern Transvaal region and this article focuses mainly on the central districts, his analyses of labour relations and related matters are obviously relevant. Further, his article written in collaboration with Trapido, "Inboekselings and Oorlams : The Creation and Transformation of a Servile Class", together with other contributions on this subject, is of decided interest to this analysis. Ross makes a thought provoking contribution from another perspective in a chapter on "The Origins of Capitalist Agriculture in the Cape Colony : A Survey". Although some historians are of the opinion that Ross "perhaps overstates his case in suggesting that fully capitalist relationships were established in such areas by the 1860s", his analysis still presents stimulating perspectives on the history of pre-industrial Transvaal. In addition to these publications, a few older contributions on this theme still provide useful surveys.
Author Nicol StassenSource: Historia 55, pp 32 –54 (2010)More Less
Vandag het die Dorslandtrekke in 'n mate uit die historiese geheue van die Afrikaners verdwyn. 'n Gesaghebbende werk van meer as 650 bladsye oor die geskiedenis van die Afrikaners (2004) deur 'n leidende historikus, Hermann Giliomee, wy slegs een paragraaf daaraan. Reeds in 1897, toe baie van die oorspronklike Dorslandtrekkers nog geleef het, het A.J. van der Walt bevind dit is moeilik om betroubare inligting daaroor in te win. J.L. Hattingh het eweneens opgemerk dat oor feitlik al die Dorslandtrekke min primêre bronne bewaar gebly het. Hierdie stelling is deur latere navorsers oor die onderwerp herhaal.
Trickster tropes : female storytelling and the re-imagination of social orders in four nineteenth-century southern African communitiesAuthor Jimmy PieterseSource: Historia 55, pp 55 –77 (2010)More Less
The Reverend Henri Junod, a nineteenth-century Swiss missionary, noted that chiefly authority in southern Africa in many ways resembled households in which the father wielded absolute power over his dependents. He viewed this as a hierarchical social structure responsible for provoking discontent, and explained : "So in the evening around the fire, the women and the little ones take their revenge in the manner of the blacks, that is to say by saying what they think in a roundabout way." He pointed in particular to the ways in which he believed that women used stories to critique power and authority. Junod hastened to reassure his readers : "Their intention is not to reverse the social order, the established order. Oh! Far from it! But they take a malicious pleasure in recounting the tricks played by the trickster and his companions." The trickster to whom Junod referred is the central character in the stories from four nineteenth-century southern African communities discussed in this article. These trickster tales feature a protagonist born under unnatural circumstances; his deceptive actions throughout the story contravene commonly accepted local social and cultural understandings and practices. Junod explained that such stories appealed to the powerless because the trickster, too, was "given no advantage by nature or by birth, but nonetheless prevails against the powerful, over the chiefs themselves, through his cunning". Junod argued that it was more than "simple coincidence" that several of the stories he recounted concluded "with the death of a chief, caused by the Machiavellian skill of the malicious trickster". Junod's understanding of female storytelling in nineteenth-century southern Africa was, in some ways, quite insightful. He saw it as a product of unequal social relationships. It functioned, he argued, as a manner in which women could express their unease about the way in which societies were organised. He also posited that women deployed trickster figures very frequently and effectively to express these concerns. However, his contention that women did not connect these tales with the subversion of the existing order and to question how social reproduction took place is flawed. On the contrary, the trickster was an important figure precisely because he consistently upended the established order. Especially in times of crisis, women crafted and told stories about tricksters to debate the directions in which their societies should move forward.
The fork in the road? British reactions to the election of an apartheid government in South Africa, May 1948Author Nicholas L. WaddySource: Historia 55, pp 78 –89 (2010)More Less
This article is a natural follow-up to a previous contribution to Historia that was published in 2004, entitled "Certain Destiny : The Presentist Obsession with 'Apartheid' in South African History." In that article, I analysed the 1948 election, which brought the National Party (NP) apartheid government to power for the first time, in the light of the popular notion that this victory represented a "turning point" in South African history. I attempted to prove that on the contrary, the NP's grip on power under D.F. Malan was fragile; the NP conception of "apartheid" was in flux; and the number of South African whites who opposed apartheid and the Nationalists was very great. Moreover, the United Party opposition had every intention of winning the next election. Meanwhile, as I indicated, the British, who were highly interested observers of South African politics, reacted passively to the 1948 election. They seemed to believe, as did Field Marshal Smuts and his many followers in South Africa, that the National Party victory was a temporary setback.
Comparing developments in water supply, sanitation and environmental health in four South African cities, 1840-1920Author Harri MakiSource: Historia 55, pp 90 –109 (2010)More Less
Service delivery problems in South Africa's municipalities are currently one of the major hurdles the government of President Jacob Zuma has to grapple with. Complaints about water supply and sanitation often contribute as much as 60 percent to the discontent of urban residents with the lacklustre performance of local authorities. Many of these problems are directly related to a phase of unprecedented urbanisation in Africa, a continent which is currently urbanising faster than any other in the world.
South Africa's revised History curriculum on globalism and national narratives in grade 12 textbooksAuthor Elize S. Van EedenSource: Historia 55, pp 110 –124 (2010)More Less
Transcontinental trends, for example, to change history curricula as highlighted by LaSpina, fit the South African shoe very well. The multicultural, global-like model of representation in history specifically signals its visibility in the History Curriculum Statement of South Africa as approved in 2003. In many ways, educational trends were also fed by the ideological trends of the day and began having an effect on debates on the trends in the representation of the history of South Africa. This article focuses broadly on the transformation of the South African curriculum after 1994; it provides a critical assessment of the utilisation of the concept of globalism, as stated in the newly revised and approved History curriculum in the most recently published grade 12 textbooks. Although approved and included in these textbooks, this theme is still in its developmental stages of implementation. Another concern, namely the approach to national narratives, is also debated. The intention, among others, is to stimulate debate among historians, history educators, authors and publishers, on the writing of grade 12 History textbooks - rather than remaining ignorant for too long on present and future implications of the grade 12 textbooks for the Further Education and Training Phase (FET).
Life on the fringes : the role of the Unisa Short Course in School History Enrichment in empowering teachersAuthor Henriette J. LubbeSource: Historia 55, pp 125 –140 (2010)More Less
The Department of History at the University of South Africa (Unisa) has been using distance learning techniques in providing tertiary education to thousands of students for many decades. The majority of these students have been educators who teach History - and since 2008, also Social Science, in Grades 8 and 9 - at secondary schools throughout South Africa. In addition to broadening their knowledge base through its degree courses, a non-formal Certificate Short Course in School History Enrichment (later renamed Short Course in School History Enrichment) was launched in 1999. The reasons for this initiative were varied and are explored in some depth in this article, as are the different phases in the development of tutorial materials in response to changes to curriculum and education policy after 1994. Integrating the findings of a recent qualitative research project conducted in the History Department, the article uncovers some of the frustrations of secondary school History and Social Science teachers amid a fast-changing professional environment and their dire need for didactical and emotional support. On the other hand, it conveys the remarkable enthusiasm of many who, despite feeling marginalised, are committed to teaching the subject well, developing and inspiring their learners, and instilling a real love of History in the young people under their care. This positive attitude and the close interaction between candidates and tutors have in turn transcended the physical distance of an ODL environment and have inspired the course coordinator to sustain the course for more than a decade despite academic pressures, the scepticism of some colleagues and various structural constraints within the university.
Author At Van WykSource: Historia 55, pp 141 –143 (2010)More Less
As ek op skool nie met dr D.C. McGill te doen gekry het nie, het ek sekerlik op 'n onhistoriese pad beland - wat 'n aaklige gedagte. Ek praat van my onnie in geskiedenis aan die Hoërskool Koffiefontein in die Suid-Vrystaat waar ek aan die begin van 1948 inval vir Standerd IX en matriek na ek van Sub A tot Standerd VIII klaargemaak het aan die Junior Hoërskool Goedemoed aan die Vrystaatse oewer van die Groot Gariep tussen Aliwal-Noord en Bethulie.
Draer van 'n droom : die geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, 1909-2009, Pieter Kapp : boekbeskouingAuthor Dan RoodtSource: Historia 55, pp 144 –156 (2010)More Less
'n Onmisbare getuienis van die steil heuwel wat uitgeklim is en die moeilike pad wat voorlê
Afrikaner-nasionalisme was een van die grootste politieke en maatskaplike kragte van die twintigste eeuse Suid-Afrika. Historici en joernaliste het daaroor met wisselende insig en begrip geskryf. Min van hulle het primêre navorsing in die argiewe gedoen en sommige het Afrikaans nie goed verstaan nie. Met verloop van tyd het die werke van Dunbar Moodie en Dan O'Meara kanonieke status verwerf.
Oxwagon sentinel : radical Afrikaner Nationalism and the history of the Ossewabrandwag, Christoph Marx : book featureAuthor Charl BlignautSource: Historia 55, pp 157 –163 (2010)More Less
A definitive study of the Ossewabrandwag
The Ossewabrandwag was born out of the euphoria aroused by the 1938 commemoration of the trek, a moment of utopian promise that offered many Afrikaners spiritual and national renewal. South Africa's entry into the war decisively broke Hertzog's 'fusion' government and left the Afrikaner nationalist movement more divided than it had ever been. Far from uniting in the face of Smuts's alleged capitulation to imperialism, radical nationalists found themselves torn between allegiance to the parliamentary National Party, the paramilitary Ossewabrandwag and a host of smaller political bodies ranging from the Nuwe Orde and the Afrikaner Party to the militant fascist shirt movements. The Afrikaner Broederbond, which tried to hold the ring in order to unify the volksbeweging under its own authority, was composed of members whose sympathies reflected - and sometimes amplified - the rivalry between the National Party and the Ossewabrandwag. In the context of this fevered internecine conflict the wartime Smuts government was mostly content to play a watchful role, other than when it felt impelled to arrest and intern OB extremists as a preventative measure.
A clever book
The "Malaboch" books : Kgalusi in the "civilization of the written word", Lize Kriel : book reviewsAuthor Patrick HarriesSource: Historia 55, pp 164 –182 (2010)More Less
This is a clever book. Its central objective is to decipher two primary texts on the war between the Boers and the Hananwa in mid-1894. These are the "Malaboch books" in the title whose form of communication, the printed word, is carried by the sub-title. Lize Kriel sets out to write about the way these texts portray chief Mmalebôhô (Malaboch), but her book is really about writing history. The two books are My Friend Malaboch by Berlin missionary Christoph Sonntag, and Malaboch by Colin Rae, an Anglican minister who served as chaplain to the English-speaking troops on commando. Dr Kriel is less interested in the history of the war than in the way it is represented in these two texts and, more distantly, how these representations have changed over time and how they have come to influence orthodox views of the war. As such, her book is about the construction or assemblage of history rather than about the way we record or recall the past. It is about ways in which we write about the past rather than the past itself. It is also a very reflexive history in which the author places herself at the centre of the text and focuses the skills of a literary critic on the narrative structure (and public reception in time and space) of the two texts at the heart of her work. The actors in this drama are the sources of history, not the Boers or the Hananwa, nor, despite Kriel's claim (p 345), chief Mmalebôhô. This is a bold, experimental work about slippery realities and unfixed meanings. It will not find readers among those looking for a rip-roaring yarn (or even those wishing to uncover the hidden structures that drive behaviour and make history). But it should find an avid readership among those interested in the theory and methodology of history.
A long-awaited exploration of military medicine
Healers, helpers and hospitals : a History of military medicine in the Anglo-Boer War, 2 volumes, J.C. (Kay) de Villiers : book reviewsAuthor Fransjohan PretoriusSource: Historia 55, pp 166 –167 (2010)More Less
At last, from the celebrated authority on the topic, the book (in two volumes) that historians and laymen interested in the Anglo-Boer War have been waiting for is on the bookshelves. Kay de Villiers, emeritus professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Cape Town, has been interested in the medical services and medical issues of this important South African war for more than half a century; he has been researching this topic since 1965. I became aware of this as early as 1976 through my senior colleague at Unisa at the time, Professor Johan Barnard, to whom De Villiers owes so much in terms of encouragement. And the result has been well worth the wait.
An evocation of the everyday life and personality of a community
The corner people of Lady Selborne, John Seakalala Mojapelo : book reviewsAuthor Kylie Van ZylSource: Historia 55, pp 168 –169 (2010)More Less
John Seakalala Mojapelo's The Corner People of Lady Selborne is a fundamentally well-intentioned book. It is certainly a necessary one, providing a vivid account of the social and political life of a close-knit community. The distinct atmosphere and sense of community identity that Mojapelo's book evokes for Lady Selborne is heartening to encounter today, in a time when the self-identity and cohesion of many South African communities seem to be growing weaker by the day.
A refreshing exploration of the musical make-up of apartheid
Composing Apartheid : music for and against Apartheid, Grant Olwago (Ed.) : book reviewsAuthor John EdwardsSource: Historia 55, pp 169 –171 (2010)More Less
Christine Lucia concludes "Back to the Future", the first essay in Composing Apartheid, with a quotation by Jacques Attali : "music runs parallel to human society, is structured like it and changes when it does. It does not evolve in a linear fashion but is caught up in the complexity and circularity of the movements of history."
A well-rounded book
Justice and reconciliation in post-Apartheid South Africa, Francois du Bois and Antje du Bois-Pedain (Eds.) : book reviewsAuthor Craig PatersonSource: Historia 55, pp 171 –173 (2010)More Less
This collection, in one sense, is a rather conventional one, dealing with the major themes in South Africa's post-apartheid period. It nevertheless manages to carry itself beyond other works available on the topic. The most obvious way in which it sets itself apart is through its presentation of the post-apartheid period as one which is already closed, an idea "already somewhat dated" (p 2). Arising from this premise, it deals with the transition period as one of which we can fully take stock. As a result,this collection goes further than any other that I have found in addressing all aspects of the transition from apartheid to the democratic model of governance.
Worthy suggestions, doomed to be stillborn
Wars, guns and votes : democracy in dangerous places, Paul Collier : book reviewsAuthor Tim WhiteSource: Historia 55, pp 173 –179 (2010)More Less
Although we live in a globalised world, it is a world of two halves, the haves and the have nots. Indeed, the have nots constitute the greater part of the world and their plight constitutes a threat to the stability of societies across the world. The gap between rich and poor is also growing. Paul Collier, an eminent development economist and a professor of economics at Oxford University, in his new book Wars, Guns and Votes, attempts to slice through the many ills which affect what he terms, the "bottom billion", those societies and peoples at the foot of the social pyramid. He is an activist academic, suggesting solutions which will bridge this growing dichotomy between the rich nations and the bottom billion, so creating a more equal and stable world.
A tapestry of insights and analyses
Fragile freedom : South African democracy 1994-2004, Alan Jeeves and Greg Cuthbertson (Eds.) : book reviewsAuthor Theresa EdlmannSource: Historia 55, pp 179 –182 (2010)More Less
Emerging from a series of conferences during 2004, this collection of articles provides a diverse, incisive and insightful series of papers on issues relating to South Africa's efforts to realise the dreams and aspirations of 1994. It is a complex and dense volume of diverse and inspiring scholarship.