Historia - Volume 32, Issue 1, 1987
Volumes & issues
Volume 32, Issue 1, 1987
Author Werner Van der MerweSource: Historia 32, pp 1 –19 (1987)More Less
The Berlin Missionary Society and'apartheid' in South Africa. It is interesting to note that over the last two centuries Churches and Missionary Societies have taken the lead in denouncing the South African policies of segregation and apartheid. What seems strange, however, is how little of this criticism has come from German Lutherans, despite the fact that they were amongst the earliest pioneers of mission work in South Africa. This article examines the reasons why one specific German Lutheran denomination, the Berlin Missionary Society which arrived in South Africa in 1834, only officially denounced apartheid as a theological heresy in 1967. For over a century the Berlin missionaries not only supported racial segregation, but in fact played an important role in advancing the very ideas on which the South African government based its greatest experiment of total racial separation -apartheid. This article examines the reasons for the Berlin Missionaries' co-operation with the different South African governments in promoting racial segregation. It is pointed out that under the influence of the famous 19th century missiologist Gustav Warneck, German Protestant Missions strove to convert entire tribes rather than individuals. By so doing they aimed at establishing so-called ""national churches"" (Volkskirchen). Unlike most Anglo-Saxon missionary societies the Germans wanted to transform traditional African societies in such a way that Christianity would be rooted in the ""blood and soil"" (Bodenstï¿½ndigkeit) of traditional society. This was a near impossible task, because by the beginning of the 20th century rapid westernization and urbanization meant that most African societies were already in an advanced stage of disintegration. In practice it meant that in order to succeed the missionaries would have to halt an inevitable process. In order to achieve their aim of establishing Volkskirchen the missionaries viewed segregation, which to their way of thinking would preserve traditional society (Volkstum), as the only guarantee against total detribilization.
Afrikanermynwerkers en die Mynwerkersunie, 1936-1948 : I : Kapitaal, arbeid en ideologie : die stryd van die Afrikanerbond van Mynwerkers teen die Mynwerkersunie, 1936-1937Source: Historia 32, pp 20 –29 (1987)More Less
Afrikaner Mine Workers and the Mine Workers' Union. 1936 1948 Part I: Capital, labour and ideology: the struggle of the Afrikanerbond of Mine Workers against the Mine Workers' Union, 1936- 1937. 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.
Demokratisering in die geskiedwetenskap : van 'n elitegeskiedenis van bo tot 'n alledaagse geskiedenis van onderafAuthor F.A. Van JaarsveldSource: Historia 32, pp 30 –43 (1987)More Less
Democratization in historical science. In contemporary European historiography there has been a move away from the old Rankean concept of an 'elite' history from above to a new perspective of history from below, dealing with the lives or ordinary people at the base of the social pyramid. Whereas Ranke, the founder of historical science in 19th Century Germany, based his model on themes like the state, politics and great men to be studied by the hermeneutical individualizing method, Braudel, his French counterpart in the 20th Century, broadened the field of history by studying processes and structures (socio-economic, demographic and anthropological) in accordance with the analytical method of the systematic social sciences. However, in the fifties of the 20th Century, British Marxist historians like Hill, Hobsbawm and Thompson protested against the new kind of history from below and presented the history of peasants and workers from ""the bottom up"". It constituted an ideologized and politicized approach with a view to activating ordinary people to fight for a better deal. The British Marxist historians laid the foundations of the American Radical Historians Association which also used their History Workshop method in a process of democratization of history, activating the lower classes and using history as a political weapon against an affluent society. British, American and French influence can be detected in the ""new school"" of South African radical historiography which offers an ""alternative history from below"". It resonates with the lives of ordinary people instead of reflecting the deliberations of the ruling classes or the theoretical concerns of structuralist abstractionism. Thus historical study ""democratisized"" in History Workshops to produce a ""people's history"" dealing with the ""common man"" of the South African working class. Ordinary people partake in the Workshops bringing forth ""experienced"" history based on oral evidence, which amounts to ""pop"" history. Historical democratization also entered West German historiography in the form of History Workshops, and can be seen as a reaction to the dehumanizing aspect of abstract structural history. In the past 15 years there has been a call for a ""daily life"" history of ordinary people from below, also depicting life experience based on oral tradition. It is an attempt to bridge the gap between professional history and the common reader, using ""thick descriptionption"" in a narrative form. Because the new 'daily life' history as practised by laymen in History Workshops is sometimes devoid of theory and a rational scientific approach, it could end up in a cul de sac, leading to nowhere.
Author Deonï¿½ PrinslooSource: Historia 32, pp 44 –54 (1987)More Less
Dr Piet Meyer in Johannesburg, 1936-1984. Dr P.J. Meyer (1909- 1984) had a notable influence on the development of Afrikaner ideology and was deeply involved in the organized cultural life of the Afrikaner. Some of the considerable number of fields in which he played a leading role are discussed in this article. Use was made of his own published and unpublished work to give an overview of his contribution to Afrikaner organisation at a time when the Afrikaner was still trying to find a foothold in the city after the Second Trek, that from rural to urban life. After his university studies in Bloemfontein and the Netherlands Meyer returned to South Africa in 1936. He accepted a combined post as assistant secretary of the FAK (the Federation of Afrikaner cultural organizations) and assistant secretary of the AB (Afrikaner Broederbond) - a secret society to promote Afrikaner cultural interests. He had become a member of the AB in 1931 and he was Chairman of the movement from 1960- 1972. Meyer was a philosopher with a strong Calvinistic outlook. He believed in the role of the Afrikaner in Africa as a part of God's divine plan. He worked very closely with Dr Albert Hertzog to ensure that the Afrikaner mineworkers find a place in the trade union movement of the 1930's. He took a very strong stand against communism and became the Chairman of Antikom (the Anti-Communistic Action Committee). As a result of his ties with the AB, Meyer worked intimately with Afrikaner intellectual leaders. He was one of the organizers of the meeting of 9 September 1939 which attempted to heal the breach between Genl. Hertzog and Dr Malan. Their differences proved to be too pronounced and as secretary of the Eenheidskomi tee of the AB, Meyer was involved during the war years with other efforts to bring the divided Afrikaners together, but met with little success. During this time a concept constitution was also drawn up for a future republic. The republic became a reality in 1961. In 1943 Meyer started a publishing business which was later incorporated with others to become the Sunday newspaper, Dagbreek. From 1951 to 1959 Meyer was the head of public relations of the Rembrandt group, and he became more involved with the organized cultural life of the Afrikaner. These were the planning years for the Goudstadse Onderwyskollege (an Afrikaans teachers training college in Johannesburg) and the Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit (an Afrikaans university in Johannesburg). Both these projects materialized in the 1960's. In 1959 Meyer became the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and he remained in this post until 1981. During his years at the SABC both the FM-network and SA-TV were established, and he took a leading role in these projects.
The Indian Mutiny of 1857 and the Cape Colony : Part I : Sir George Grey (a reassessment), troops and horsesAuthor D. WilliamsSource: Historia 32, pp 55 –69 (1987)More Less
Author Hein HeydenrychSource: Historia 32, pp 70 –83 (1987)More Less
12 April 1877: a few pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. The annexation of the South African Republic for Britain on 12 April 1877 by Sir Theophilus Shepstone, special commissioner sent for this purpose from Natal with only a small personal staff and 25 regular troops without any show of resistance other than a written protest is one of the enigmas of South African history, In the existing literature very little is to be found about the dramatic events of that day, The emphasis is nearly always placed on the political background, the consequences and the significance of the events in terms of the awakening of Afrikaner nationalism while the dramatic nature of the proceedings receives little attention. The participants in the drama are also often not properly identified. Here the members of Shepstone's staff are identified in terms of their careers before and after the annexation, their respective roles in the execution of the annexation are sketched and an attempt is made to capture something of the tension and the dramatic atmosphere on that day by looking at the personal and other correspondence of the participants and of persons close to them, at the only existing newspaper report and the few memoirs in both the British and Transvaal camps. A picture thus emerges of the tension below the surface on that day, constituting a cameo of the social history of one particular day.
Author J.C. VisagieSource: Historia 32, pp 84 –95 (1987)More Less
Louis Tregardt's farm in Gcalekaland. Before finally striking out for the far north-east, the Voortrekker leader Louis Tregardt spent about a year (1834- 1835) in Gcalekaland, outside the Cape Colony. Until now, historians have been unable to pinpoint precisely where Tregardt and other Afrikaner frontier farmers actually lived. On the evidence inter alia of place names in the present Transkei and of a hitherto unconsidered sketch map, this article purports to establish that Tregardt and at least a number of other families were living in an area some 30 to 40 km long and about 5 km wide between the Tsakana and Ndwana Rivers, along the eastern banks of the Indwe.
Source: Historia 32, pp 96 –117 (1987)More Less
Economics and Politics of S.A. Development History : a historiographic investigation. Have apartheid and capitalism been friends. partners, enemies or strangers? Two approaches disregard or disavow any intrinsic link: Afrikaner historiography focuses on the Afrikaner's political struggle, and barely mentions politico-economic aspects. In liberal eyes apartheid measures are ""irrational"" and in basic conflict with the development of a ""rational"" liberal economic (and social) order. Other approaches stress an intrinsic link: Neo- Marxist historiography sees apartheid as having been created and sustained to serve the class interests of (both Afrikaner and English) capitalists. The overall conclusion is that one can no longer doubt an intrinsic linkage of economics and politics in SA history. Apartheid and capitalism have decidedly complemented one another, albeit in a debatable way. Specifically, the origins of the politico-economic position of blacks date back to long before 1948, with economic considerations as an important factor and the business sector being undeniably co-responsible. Further uncovering of intrinsic political-economic dynamics is crucially important, but will require a careful and more integrated, albeit critical, appreciation of the whole spectrum of historiography.