Journal for Contemporary History - latest Issue
Volume 41, Issue 2, Dec 2016
Author Pieter DuvenageSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 1 –1 (Dec 2016)More Less
This edition of the Journal for Contemporary History (JCH) starts with reflections on the theme of contemporary history. In this section André Wessels, my predecessor as editor, provides a very good critical interpretation of the history of the JCH – which have been with us the past 40 years.
Hierdie uitgawe van die Joernaal vir Eietydse Geskiedenis (JEG) begin met ŉ besinning oor die tema eietydse geskiedenis. In hierdie afdeling gee André Wessels, my voorganger as redakteur, ŉ baie goeie kritiese interpretasie van die geskiedenis van die JEG – wat reeds 40 jaar met ons is.
Author André WesselsSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 1 –19 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.1More Less
The Journal for Contemporary History / Joernaal vir Eietydse Geskiedenis – henceforth referred to as the JCH – was established in 1975 at the University of the Orange Free State (since 2001, the University of the Free State) in Bloemfontein, South Africa. In the course of its first 40 years, the JCH had only five Editors. In the years 1975 to 2015, no fewer than 764 articles and 246 book reviews appeared in 94 editions of the JCH. In this article, written by one of the former JCH Editors, the history of this accredited, peer-reviewed academic journal is traced, and its content is critically evaluated. Issues that are addressed include the themes that have been dealt with in JCH articles, the extent to which the profile of the authors have changed in the course of 40 years, the evolution of the JCH’s Editorial Board, and what role book reviews have played. Although some of the information that has emerged from the analysis and evaluation may be regarded as merely ephemeral in nature, certain data and other information could be regarded as essential for determining the degree of success that the JCH has thus far achieved, and how it may be of value for future planning.
Author Leopold ScholtzSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 20 –39 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.2More Less
Contemporary history is essentially a multidisciplinary approach to explain the present or recent world. The historian, with utilisation of the time dimension and his capacity to see the dynamics of change through time (instead of having a static approach), has a unique contribution to make. But the political scientist, the geographer, the economist, the journalist and the military expert are all able to contribute to the mosaic of understanding the present world as well. In this article, all six these disciplines’ contributions are discussed. They are then tied together in a case study, namely the influence of the end of the Cold War on Africa. It is shown that Africa used to be a continent with which things happened, instead of being able to make things happen. However, the competition between the Communist Bloc and the West placed Africa in an artificial position of influence by being able to play the two sides out against each other. The end of the Cold War reduced Africa once more to the powerless position it had before.
Author Wonga F. TabataSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 40 –52 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.3More Less
This article focuses on the role of Arthur Wessels George Champion in the promotion of Zulu nationalism and the introduction of the Zulu homeland from 1965 to 1975. The author will also examine his role in the Zulu Royal House, as it was central to the evolution of the Zulu homeland during the period under review, and examines how Champion combined the old and new elements of Zulu history to promote a Zulu nationalism that would embrace all Zulus inside and outside the Zulu homeland. The introduction briefly touches on the more contemporary role of Zulu ethnic nationalism before 1994, while the ambivalent attitude of Champion towards the policy of “separate development” will also be discussed. This is mainly an archival study of the role of Champion in his later years and the research fills a gap in the study of “separate development” and Zulu nationalism in South Africa.
Author Grietjie VerhoefSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 53 –81 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.4More Less
The rise of Afrikaner capital and entrepreneurial advancement since the first decade of the 20th century, made a firm contribution to the economic development of South Africa. Weberian thought on civil society and work ethic permeated in the speeches, publications and public statements by leaders associated with the establishment of early Afrikaner business in South Africa. The Weberian work ethic paradigm and the responsibilities of the individual in society offer a framework for the understanding of the establishment of trust and a motive for social mobilisation to address social problems, such as poverty. Different vehicles can be devised to effect such mobilisation and empowerment. In the history of Afrikaner people in South Africa, the insurance company SANLAM, amongst various other Afrikaner organisations, was pivotal to that effect, although not exclusively for one ethnic entity. The article analyses the manifestation of Weberian Protestant work ethic (PWE) in the formative years of Afrikaner business in South Africa by exploring the critical interplay between the vision of a better future and the institutional framework imperative for economic development. It is argued that notions of civil responsibility, work ethic, calling, discipline and trust were prerequisites for economic advancement, driven by the people for the people. In a multi-cultural society, SANLAM leaders mobilised civil society to address persistent poverty amongst Afrikaners. Africa, as a continent with similar challenges, can benefit from a re-assessment of this history.
Sport, politics and black athletics in South Africa during the apartheid era : a political-sociological perspectiveAuthor Pieter LabuschagneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 82 –104 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.5More Less
The article examines the relationship between sport and politics in South Africa from a political-sociological perspective, with a specific focus on the status of black athletics in apartheid South Africa. The narrower focus aims to outline how white civil society and the National Party government utilised athletics as a mechanism to enforce the policy of separateness/apartheid in the South African society. In the process, white dominated political structures and centralised political processes were used to dominate and regulate black athletics in South Africa (1894-1976). The structures and dynamics of black athletics were, for more than a century, manipulated and dictated for political and related reasons. The manipulation took place in three broad identifiable periods, namely: 1884-1960 – the period of “informal” segregation, when the national body, provinces and clubs used race as a mechanism to enforce cleavages in society. The second period stretches from 1960-1976, when the National Party adopted a more assertive direct role to enforce their sports policy. The last period, between 1976 and 1992, signified another direction change, when government stepped back and only set the broader framework for the regulation of athletics in South Africa. In each of the periods, the politics-sport power relationship will be explained in relation to the regulation of black athletics in the country.
Author Janis van der WesthuizenSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 105 –119 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.6More Less
In both Brazil and South Africa ruling elites assumed that legitimacy could be generated by material performance and thus delay complete democratisation. However, in both, the very conditions nurturing the emergent developmental state also contained the seeds of its own demise. The restructuring of the labour force, prompted by increased dependence on foreign technology and therefore skilled labour, coincided with deteriorating worldwide economic conditions, prompting increased friction with domestic capital, as the latter found themselves not only having to compete with state firms, but frustrated by the limiting growth prospects of low wage economies. Unable to sustain the high-growth performance of the 1960s in South Africa and the 1970s in Brazil, new social forces emerged, challenging the basis of the growth coalition between the state and capital and thus rupturing the embedded autonomy upon which the authoritarian state was built.
Politicising service delivery in South Africa : a reflection on the history, reality and fiction of Bekkersdal, 1949-2015Source: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 120 –143 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.7More Less
The history of the Bekkersdal Township on the Far West Rand, located in the Westonaria Municipal region, as it is known since 2015, dates back to the post-World War II years when the township was formally established in 1949. After 65 years of existence, and inclusive of an extended informal surrounding township, the still expanding informal settlements currently challenge local infrastructural initiatives to their limits. News reports of dissatisfaction about service delivery and a politicising of perceived frustrations regarding service delivery – like those at Bekkersdal – appear to ignore the history of the region all too easily. As a consequence, it allows for expressing reality only halfway, which may sometimes cause it to be transformed into fiction of which a nagging narrative repeats itself continually, yet with no progress or turn in sight. By means of archival research, open interviews and a thorough reflection on newspaper reports, the authors aim to reflect on the history of Bekkersdal against the background of this statement. Aspects of the service delivery history of Bekkersdal will be highlighted and related to the political focus, politics and a politicising of the day. Bekkersdal’s history will also be touched upon against the backdrop of the gold mining developments in the region in the heyday of apartheid. It will also be pointed out that, even in 2015, the region is still very much in a colonial mode as far as land occupation and limitations in local government empowerment within a central government authority are concerned.
Ailing of AIDS and unaided : a critical-historical review of HIV testing and “spaces” of disclosure for Catholic clerics and religious in South Africa during the 1990sAuthor Stephen M. JoshuaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 144 –160 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.8More Less
As was the case with the larger South African society during the 1990s, the Catholic Church was not without error in the manner in which it dealt with HIV and AIDS. Whereas the church was involved in activism for the rights of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) on the outside, it ironically ignored, arguably even muted, voices of PLWHA within its inner ranks, especially the priests, religious, and candidates for spiritual formation and vocation at the seminaries. Sadly, HIV testing is intricately connected to the disclosure of HIV positive status for Catholic clerics and religious on account of the vow to celibacy. An HIV positive test result presents both a health and a moral dilemma for the church. So sensitive was the issue that the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference debated on it in the entire 1990s, and abandoned it inconclusively. Meanwhile, HIV positive priests agonised in silence and the religious in convents would only confess their status on death beds due to foreseen hostilities by their peers and superiors. Based on oral interviews and archival materials, such as correspondence letters and minutes, the article is a critical-historical review of how the Catholic Church handled HIV testing and disclosure within its inner ranks during the 1990s. It is argued that, as was the case of condom use in HIV prevention, the Catholic Church struggled throughout the 1990s to accept that priesthood and religious life was not immune to the social challenge of HIV and AIDS and thereby failed to accept and care for HIV positive priests and religious.
Author Wynand GreffrathSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 161 –183 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.9More Less
The notion of post-apartheid initially signalled a unique South African social and political trajectory that differed from the conventional African colonial and post-colonial experience. However, this article demonstrates that post-apartheid was in fact a short-lived quasi-nationalist project that was soon surpassed by more conventional post-colonialism, both conceptually and empirically. The hegemonic role of the ANC is explored in this regard, as well as the party’s management of an increasingly disgruntled and radical society. Having reconstructed these aspects, it is concluded that South Africa is likely to develop along a more orthodox post-colonial socio-political trajectory in the future.
Author Westen K. ShilahoSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 184 –207 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.10More Less
Kenya’s protracted reform process and periodic electoral related violence is linked to predatory politics nestled in tribalism. Kenya’s politicians’ quest to capture the state for extractive purposes has rendered the reform process ethnically polarising and, since dialogue cannot prevail among Kenya’s fragmented political class, the resort to violence becomes a means of making claims to the control of the state. This article argues that, although the promulgation of a Constitution in 2010 has the potential to address issues at the core of Kenya’s post-colonial crisis, aspects such as inequitable resource distribution, ethnic and regional inequalities, disregard for the rule of law, impunity, a political elite characterised by tribalism and kleptocracy are posing a challenge to the implementation of the Constitution; thus placing the country’s long term political stability in jeopardy.
Author Hamilton S. SimelaneSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 208 –228 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.11More Less
By 2010, Swazi society was experiencing severe economic hardship since the country was experiencing the worse fiscal crisis in its history. These economic hardships were partly an aftermath of the 2008 world financial crisis, but overall, it can be seen as a product of internal developments. Some scholars analyzed the factors behind the crisis, revealing its intensity and different dimensions. However, these scholars did not reveal how Swazi society reacted to the crisis. This article interrogates this neglected subject by focusing on the protests that took place in the country and the manner in which the state responded to these protests. The main objective is to reveal social agency, showing that the Swazi were not simply passive victims of the crisis, but stood up to express their feelings and preferences. The protests were directed towards the state which was accused of causing the crisis and failing to manage it. The article integrates human agency in the analysis of the crisis in contrast to the predominantly economistic approach adopted in the existing literature.
Assessing the missing link within the concept of preventive diplomacy with reference to African conflictsAuthor Eric B. NiyitungaSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 229 –250 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.12More Less
The role of preventive diplomacy is to prevent the emergence of violent conflicts, to prevent on-going conflicts from spreading and to prevent the relapse of an already settled conflict. The purpose of this article is to critically assess the existing gaps within the concept of preventive diplomacy that render it less appropriate in preventing and managing African conflicts in the post-Cold War era. The article gives an overview of the historical development of preventive diplomacy, referred to as orthodox preventive diplomacy. It examines the existent missing link within the concept of orthodox preventive diplomacy, and explains why the concept was ineffective in resolving African conflicts and preventing their recurrence. In conclusion, it is asserted that, given the fact that both the character and the agents of conflicts changed from interstate to intrastate, a new preventive diplomacy is needed to successfully prevent deadly conflicts before they occur. A qualitative research method, with an exploratory approach, was adopted.
Author Bert OlivierSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 251 –272 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.13More Less
The present article examines the question, whether the recent eruption of what may be comprehended as an expression of religious fundamentalism, albeit in the guise of “terrorism”, can be situated in a broader historical and theoretical context, which would impart greater comprehensibity to it, than the predominantly “hysterical” reaction to violent “terrorist” attacks enables one to do. With this aim in mind, the nature of “fumdamentalism” is scrutinised, in the light of the “terrorist” attack by Al Qaeda against Charlie Hebdo in Paris (January 2015), by ISIS in Paris (November 2015), and again in Brussels (March 2016). The causal nexus underpinning these attacks is examined by means of the concept of fundamentalism as it is employed by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, specifically regarding their well-known concept of “Empire” (their name for the current “sovereign” world order), and the question, whether the historical events and conditions referred to earlier are symptomatic of a “return” to the premodern, or rather of a postmodern rejection of modernisation and what accompanies it. Subsequently, the question of the culture-historical status of current religious Islamic fundamentalism is approached within the framework of Samuel Huntington’s thesis of the “clash of civilizations” which enables one to construe it as a manifestation of this conflict. Manuel Castells’s investigation of the nature and grounds of religious Islamic fundamentalism is also thematised within the context of his thesis concerning the “network society”, to be able to provide a nuanced answer to the central question of this article. In conclusion, the “grounds” of fundamentalism (of any kind) are discussed insofar as these are connected with dogma and truth. This is done by way of a philosophical discussion of Umberto Eco’s treatment of the (according to him paradoxical) concept of “truth” (and by implication dogma), and it is argued that a dogmatic conception of “truth” underpins Islamic fundamentalism.
Author Christo DohertySource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 273 –281 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.14More Less
All wars have an afterlife, in which the meaning of the war is contested long after the shooting has stopped. As the recent controversies over the display of the Confederate Flag in the United States of America (USA) demonstrate (Diamond and Scott 2015), the memories of civil wars are particularly fraught, the issues still raw after more than a century and a half. Although South Africa’s “Border War” was fought in neighbouring Namibia, and was primarily a conflict over the control of that territory, it had many of the characteristics of a civil war but also, when it spilled into neighbouring Angola, was a particularly toxic regional conflict. Nearly thirty years have elapsed since the end of the war, but its particular afterlife continues.
Author Clement MasakureSource: Journal for Contemporary History 41, pp 282 –285 (Dec 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH41.v2.15More Less
There are a lot of contestations in South Africa when it comes to giving meaning to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. David Dickinson’s book puts at the centre of enquiry the struggles over explaining HIV/AIDS in one of the most affected areas in South Africa ― the townships. Despite close to 30 years of HIV/AIDS education, alternative and non-scientific explanations of HIV/AIDS are still prevalent in the townships. The book aims at examining how to think about such explanations and the various ways in which township residents make sense of the disease.