Monday, March 12, 2007

Nation Without a Country

The history of South Africa and its white population is not well understood outside South Africa.

The Cape Colony came into existence as a station for the Dutch East India Company to replenish its ships on the way to the East. The ownership changed hands and it ended up under British rule. Many of the Dutch objected to British rule and moved inland to establish their own Republics - these were the Boer Republics of the Oranje Vrystaat and the Transvaal. The British colony of Natal was also in existence at this time.

Cecil John Rhodes had always desired British ownership of the whole of Africa and created conditions for the declaration of war against the two republics. The Anglo-Boer War was a particularly bitter conflict with the might of the British Empire being thrown against the two small republics. However, the cunning and highly mobile Boers inflicted a huge amount of damage on the 'redcoats' with their guerilla-style warfare. The respose was for the British troops change their red uniforms to less conspicous 'kahki' and to burn all the Boer farms and round up their women and children into the infamous concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of women and children died and to this day there is a hatred of the British in many parts of South Africa.

After defeat of the Boers, the British set up governorship and eventually union of the four colonies in 1910. And so the Union of South Africa was created and the flag, which consisted of the Orange, White and Blue (similar to the Dutch flag) with a Union Jack, the Vrystaat Flag and the Transvaal Vierkleur in the centre, was born.

The Union remained under British domination and the industry and financial institutions were firmly in the hands of the British while the Boers/Afrikaners were marginalised from the economy. Most of the wealth generated was sent back to Britain.

The Afrikaner elite formed the Broederbond (Brotherhood) to promote Afrikaans interests and, with rapid urbanisation of poor, uneducated Afrikaners, positions were filled in the bureaucracy and eventually control of it was in the hands of the Afrikaner. The Afrikaner 'volk' was an amalgam of Dutch, French Hugenots and other European nations.

The General Elections of 1948 were the turning point in Afrikaner fortunes when the National Party won (with a minority vote as a result of gerrymandering). New Industrial and Financial institutions were set up and the control of the economy changed hands. The Afrikaans electorate was well looked after with creation of job resevation to prevent the emerging black urban population from getting in the way, huge amounts of money were spent on Afrikaans educational institutions, etc.

The Parliamentary structure, which had been inherited from the British, remained but the voters of coloured (mixed race) origin were removed from the voters role. The Blacks were mainly on the fringes of the development of South Africa and had never been included in the parliamentary structure by the British.

When Dutch born Hendrik Verwoerd became Prime Minister in 1958 he introduced the system of Apartheid, which quite simply means 'separateness'. The idea was to enforce separate development of the white and black South Africans in their own areas. The cornerstones of this policy were 1) The Immorality Act which outlawed any sexual contact between the different races, 2) The Group Areas Act which designated the areas in which the different races had to live and 3) The Separate Amenities Act which allocated race based public toilets, beaches, busses, etc, for each group to use.

These policies were unpopular with the Commonwealth and in 1961 South Africa left the commonwealth and became a Republic (but still kept the flag with the hated Union Jack in its centre). For its race-based politics South Africa became dispised by the world, feelings which are still quite freely expressed.

Against this race-based background, there was also a gulf between the English-speaking South Africans and their Afrikaans-speaking compatriots.

The National Party governed for close on fifty years before handing over power to the black freedom movement, the ANC.. and a new flag was born.

Since then the white South African and especially the Afrikaner have been searching for a new identity. There have been some diehards who have believed that they can overthrow the government but most have ended up in gaol. Many have reluctantly left their homeland. It is a society bereft of leadership and sidelined from the economic development that the demise of Apartheid has brought.

Into this vacuum has come a singer with a rousing rock song, about an admired Boer General from the age of the Anglo-Boer War, that has rallied the white South African and given them a voice.


De La Rey


On a mountain in the night

I lie in the dark and wait

In the mud and the blood

As cold rain clings to my pack



And my house and my farm were burnt to the ground so they could capture our land

But the flame and the fire that once burned now burn profundly within my heart.




De La Rey, De La Rey come lead the Boer

De La Rey, De La Rey

General, General united with you we shall rise or we fall.

General De La Rey.



Against the soldiers that laugh

A handful of us against an army of them

With the cliffs of the mountains against our backs

They think they can run us down


But the heart of a Boer is deeper and wider than the enemy can see

On a horse he has come, The Lion of West Transvaal.




De La Rey, De La Rey come lead the Boer

De La Rey, De La Rey

General, General united with you we shall rise or we fall.

General De La Rey.



Because my wife and my child are forced into prison to die,

As the enemies overruns us again, we are forced to take astand



De La Rey, De La Rey come lead the Boer

De La Rey, De La Rey

General, General united with you we shall rise or we fall

I make no apologies about not including the fortunes of the Black South African in this dissertation as it is about the White South African



AFRIKAANS VERSION:
Op 'n berg in die naglê ons in die donker en wag in die modder en bloed lê ek koud, streepsak en reën kleef teen my
en my huis en my plaas tot kole verbrand sodat hulle ons kanvang, maar daai vlamme en vuur brand nou diep, diep binne my.
De La Rey, De La Rey sal jy die Boere kom lei? De La Rey, De La ReyGeneraal, generaal soos een man, sal ons om jou val. Generaal De La Rey.
Oor die Kakies wat lag,'n handjie van ons teen 'n hele groot magen die kranse lê hier teen ons rug, hulle dink dis verby.
Maar die hart van 'n Boer lê dieper en wyer, hulle gaan dit nog sien. Op 'n perd kom hy aan, die Leeu van die Wes Transvaal.
De La Rey, De La Rey sal jy die Boere kom lei? De La Rey, De La Rey Generaal, generaal soos een man, sal ons om jou val. Generaal De La Rey.
Want my vrou en my kind lê in 'n kamp en vergaan, en die Kakies se murg loop oor 'n nasie wat weer op sal staan.
De La Rey, De La Rey sal jy die Boere kom lei? De La Rey, De La Rey Generaal, generaal soos een man, sal ons om jou val. Generaal De La Rey.

10 comments:

Onyx Stone said...

Thanks for this perspective.

MK said...

No need to apologise.

By the way, do you have a connection to South Africa?

Did you live there or ever visited there?

mawm said...

MK - Born and raised there. Emigrated 6 years ago after we became victims of the crime. Now very happy New Zealanders.

OS - just a snapshot of a hard and turbulent country

MK said...

Thanks for getting back to me MAWM, I was recently there for a holiday in 2006. I don't know if you have been there recently, but I found some interesting observations. I noticed there is a new optimism in the country, the black people that we interacted with were genuinely happy that they had jobs and they could work and make something of themselves. In some ways the country seems to be thriving.

But on the other hand the crime in SA is like a cancer that is slowly ruining the country, the government there seems unwilling to do anything and I have a feeling there is a lot of cronyism going on among the elites in government.

And I don’t know this affirmative action or racism against the non-blacks. I just don’t think that doing what was wrong in the first place again is going to work for the future. Let me know what your thoughts are if you have been there recently.

mawm said...

mk - SA has always had a strong economy with a hugh amount of entrepeneurial ability, this has now expanded as the rest of Africa becomes its market. SA is a vibrant country with the blacks having always been open, loud and friendly people. The lifting of the yoke of apartheid has given them equality and those lucky enough to benefit have filled the ranks of a middle class. Unfortunately there are too many whose lot in life has not changed or has deteriorated as the goverment elite enrich themselves instead of attending to the myriad of problems.
There is some interesting reading on the web pages of 'The Institute of Race Relations'and on the opposition Democratic Alliance's. Patricia de Lille is also an opposition MP - on the Pan Africanist side - and she is continually attacking the ANC goverment. Some interesting stuff comes from her. Because she is a black woman, she is able to chastise the government just in the way that Helen Suzman, as a lone voice in parliament, was able to highlight and check the worst excesses of the National Party Government.
Recently the ANC said that 'affirmative action' was here to stay. This does give hope to many bright young whites, and so other anglophone countries are benefitting.

mawm said...

In todays Independant on Line -De Lille opens new can of worms
[ South Africa ] Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille has laid criminal charges against 29 prominent South Africans who received discounts on luxury cars linked to the multi-billion rand arms deal.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I Have another song for you to listen to, if you let me know, you want it, I will send it as a mp3. The name of the song is "Die Boere Generaal" maybe you can comment on it. My email francemaritz@aol.com

Ron. said...

The history of the White population of Southern Africa is not well understood here either as your dissertation has completely overlooked the fact that the Boers were & are a distinct entity apart from the Afrikaners who dominated them during the 20th cent.

Those who most objected to British rule were the Boers of the eastern Cape frontier as most of the White Afrikaans speaking population of the Western Cape were in fact QUITE HAPPY with British rule & always ridiculed the Boers of the frontier for their constant desire to be independent. Furthermore: they were not "Dutch". Not even of Dutch descent. Nothing has been more misleading than to call the Boers "Dutch" as they have hardly any Dutch ancestors since they are descended mainly from the Germans & Frisians the Dutch TOOK OUT of Europe then DUMPED at the Cape. The Boers & other White Afrikaans speakers are ALSO significantly of French Huguenot descent with many people having French names both first & surname. It is not unusual for Boers & White Afrikaners to have names like: Jacques Du Plessis / Louis Nel / André Du Toit / Pierre Naudé / Paul Roux.

Furthermore the Boers established more than the two republics conquered during the second Anglo-Boer War. The Boers established a total of 17 Boer Republics over the course of a cent. The Orange White & Blue horizontal flag represented the Cape based Afrikaner domination of the Boers (as well as the English & others) as the Orange White & Blue colours were those of the Cape Dutch authorities who ran the Cape before the British took over. The Boers of the frontier had their first freedom struggle against the Cape Dutch proto Afrikaners in 1795 when the Boers declared their first Boer Republics at Swellendam & Graaff-Reinet whereupon they adopted the Red White & Blue horizontal tri colour taken from the Batavian Republic. This is the reason why numerous of the various Boer Republic flags have a variation of the Red / White & Blue motif within their designs & not an Orange / White & Blue motif which was later adopted by the Afrikaners of the 20th cent when they inherited the macro State created with the South Africa Act.

The Afrikaner elite formed the controlling Broederbond also in order to co-opt the Boers & to remove their identity as the Cape based Afrikaners began running things on behalf of Britain whom the Cape based Afrikaners have always been close to due to decades of British rule at the Cape. The poor uneducated "Afrikaners" were in fact the conquered Boers as most of the Cape based Afrikaners were much better off. There is no Afrikaner Volk. This is Afrikaner Nationalist propaganda. The term Afrikaner was promoted by the Cape Dutch & the British in order to dominate & marginalize the Boers - ie: the Boerevolk - & to DESTROY their identity in the name of subjugating them as a people within the new macro State. General Butler of Britain noted that there were 3 main White groups at the southern tip of Africa: the British or English speakers / the Cape Dutch / & the Boers. The term Afrikaner was never used widely until the 1930s when the Boers were brought under the domination & tutelage of the Cape Dutch / Afrikaners.

Furthermore: the Boers are more of German roots than the Cape Dutch as a lot of the German immigrants went straight to the north eastern Cape where the Boers developed as a distinct people / nation.

Also: the Boers & White Afrikaners are not just the descendents of European peoples but also slightly of Indian / Malay & Khoi peoples due to absorption during the formative years when some of the first White arrivals married slaves who were freed upon marriage & whose children then became part of the nascent Boer & other White Afrikaans communities. The West often erroneously attacks them as White Colonials even though both terms inaccurately describes this rich people of multi-ethnic background who broke their ties to Europe very early on particularly when they began to trek inland & away from Colonial society & the Western Cape starting in the late 1600s & throughout the 1700s.

No. Hendrik Verwoerd did not introduce Apartheid. This is another monumental lie. The British in fact introduced Apartheid during the 19th cent in the Cape & Natal. [1] What the National Party did in the 1950s was to EXPAND Apartheid & to make it a more formal system with the added feature of turning the reserves into independent states of which four were granted out right independence but only ever recognized by South Africa & one another.

The Population Registration Act was the corner stone of the Grand Apartheid laws. Making those other laws you mentioned IRRELEVANT without this law which mandated that people register their race.

The ANC is not a "Black freedom movement" as it is in the pocket of the British interests which still govern the region in a covert manner. The IFP was much more of a Black freedom movement as they did not jump to the tune of the controllers.

Nonsense. While the Cape based Afrikaner might be "searching for a new identity" the Boer people know who they are & certainly are not in "search" of another identity which has served them for over 300 years now.

The notion of "die hards" who wanted to overthrow the government is a pack of utter nonsense as the alleged Boeremag (a term coined by the State & the media!) was a government set up [2] & to date not one of the accused has ever been found guilty of a single thing. The fact is that they are being held UN-Constitutionally on trumped up charges which have never been proven. Therefore the notion that they have "ended up in jail" in entirely misleading & inaccurate. [3]

The De la Rey song is not about White disempowerment. It is a song about a Boer General which was written as the artist was concerned over the total lack of Boer history being taught in the schools. Boer history was even marginalized under the National Party rule as well. [4] The song is giving voice to the Boer people who have been marginalized & dominated for close to 100 years now. [5] The Boers are a colonized people who have been disempowered since their republics were conquered & were forced into the artificial macro state run by various colonial & neo colonial regimes which conditioned the Boers out of their own national / cultural designation.

Notes.

1. Gavan Tredoux. Apartheid Revisited.

Quote: [ Apartheid was not invented in 1948 by Afrikaner Nationalists. The Nationalists were always eager to lay claim to apartheid, but this was a misleading element of their propaganda. Political parties are given to claims that they disagree with those who insist that they really agree. Apartheid was actually pioneered by the British colonial governments of Natal and the Cape Province. ]

2. Was the entire "Boeremag coup" pre-programmed by security agents ?

3. The charges are still pending & the case is notorious for holding most of the accused for over five years now while dragging the case out & the State has nothing to link them with the bomb which killed only one person due to shrapnel.

4. Adriana Stuijt. Jewish Task Force: Questions about the AWB.

Quote: [ under the National Party government, they weren't allowed to know a lot of their own rich history and the word "Boer" wasn't used much by National-Party ministers. ]

5. Yolandi Groenewald. Bang bang – you’re dead. Mail & Guardian. March 9 2007.

Quote: [ Pretorius, who is also the founder of new right-wing organisation or “Boer party” the Boerevolk Freedom Foundation, believes the Afrikaner oppressed the Boer nation as well and robbed them of their proud heritage.

“The Boerevolk never oppressed anyone,” he says. “We might have benefited from apartheid, but we were never the people who governed this country and made all those mistakes. Those were the Afrikaners.

“When diamonds and gold were discovered in the old ZAR republic, lots of these Afrikaners from the Cape, who never participated in the war, came up to the old republic to find their fortune. But what they didn’t bargain on was being called up for military service. Sadly, these people were the first to be turncoats, Hanskakies, verraaiers [traitors]. They absconded at the first opportunity.”

When the war ended, Pretorius says, these turncoats also shared in its spoils. They weren’t impoverished while the Boer soldiers who returned home had nothing left.

“These people were so impoverished, they were unable to participate in the politics of the day successfully and when the union of South Africa was formed in 1910, the Afrikaners from the Cape received most of the power.”

In 1914, when Boere rebels turned against the Jan Smuts government and refused to fight in World War I, they were mistakenly labelled as Afrikaner rebels, Pretorius says.

He says the Boerevolk was further sidelined during the Hertzog administration. But, in 1938, the big Groot Trek celebrations took place at the Voortrekker Monument and Boer patriotism took hold of the volk.

“But Afrikaners like DF Malan hijacked the Boer patriotism and used it to establish Afrikaner nationalism. With one shot, the Boerevolk was robbed of their identity.”

Pretorius says the Ossewa Brandwag that was established shortly afterward, just before World War II broke out, was again Boerevolk identity coming to the fore. But after Malan took control in 1948, it was nationalist ideals all the way. But, he says, since the Eighties, Boere have been rediscovering their identity and their sense of where they belong in the country -- even more so since 1994. ]

The topic of the Boers is a most hidden topic & is not properly understood in the West.

mawm said...

I agree with some of what you say but think that you have made big assuptions about some of the comments I have made to keep my dissitation simple and short.

I am aware of the difference between the Boers and the 'Cape Afrikaners' and that there were continuing ill feeling between them - I assumed that the roots were the fact that the Cape Afrikaners support the British during the Boer war.

However this did not seem to make much difference to the fact that there were certain benefits under the National government that were available to white Afrikaans-speaking South Africans that their white English-speaking compatriots did not get.

The Boer peoples do not seem to differentiate between English-speakers, some who have large amounts of the same blood in them as the Boers, from those who were British and now seem to want this separate kind of identity.

As far as the 'Boer Republics' not mentioned - they are historically unimportant in comparison to the OVS and the Transvaal.

I am not a historian and apologise about inaccuracies to anyone who feels insulted, however I do appreciate and welcome your comments

Ron. said...

Well of course the Boers also benefited under Apartheid by virtue of the fact that they were accepted as a White people - but my point was that they were still nonetheless marginalized & dominated by the numerically larger & more politically powerful Cape based Afrikaners. The fact that the Boers spoke a dialect of Afrikaans certainly would have given them benefits over the English speakers -but one must remember that the Boers were part of the working class & the Broederbond -which ran the National Party- by & large kept the average Boer out of the elite circles of power.