Research Associate, Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Arts,
Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa
Corresponding Author: Prof Dr GP Louw
Focus Area Social Transformation
Faculty of Arts
Ensovoort volume 37(2017), number 10:2
Apartheid, civilisation, conflict, discrimination, dispensation, dissolution, ethnicity, European Afrikaners, genocide, Herodotus curse, doctrine, internalise, proto-Afrikaner, race, racism, White.
The racial separation of Whites and other races in South Africa in the form of apartheid as a legal and a social system, exclusively for benefit the White minority and to suppress the Black majority, was a devastating White political dispensation that lasted up to 1994. It was a process of discrimination, forced physically and legally by the Whites on the Blacks, Asians, other non-Whites and Coloureds, that gradually started from 1671.1-6
This dispensation was statutorily erased in 1994 and the political tide turned on the Afrikaner. The Afrikaners’ fortune changed dramatically in just 23 years and in 2017 their future looks completely different from what their ancestors planned for them in South Africa. This outcome seems to be fully in line with the undesirable and unwelcoming changes that the Europeans, especially the British, were subjected to since the 1900s during the decolonization of their African colonies. The only difference between the British and the Afrikaner situation is that the European Afrikaners came to the table about sixty years later.7,8
This unexpected turn in the Afrikaners’ seemingly “unchangeable future” must be understood in terms of their proto-Afrikaner heritage that started off in the early Cape. This proto-Afrikaner heritage, which developed with time into Afrikanerism, includes a complexity of specific though patters and beliefs, cultural values, lifestyles and intentions, histories and life experiences that have been internalized over many years. This forms a complex that makes observing, recognizing and incorporating any other realities outside this internalized Afrikaner framework very difficult, if not totally impossible. Although the Afrikaner and his ancestors have been in Africa for more than 350 years and have acclimatized to a South African existence to some extent, is would be false to say that they ever became true South Africans with African thinking, planning and living. However, they are not truly European with European thinking, planning and living either. This is an etnic differentiation and uniqueness that already started to manifest in the 1700s at the Cape. This in–between status (Afro-Euro status or Euro-Afro status) is a unique feature of the Afrikaner’s identity, political thinking and actions. Anti-apartheid and anti-colonial activists completely miss this, especially the post-1994 ANC politicians who are constantly targeting the Afrikaners for apartheid.2,3,4,6,9-12
Although the identity of the Afrikaner has been defined to a certain extent, although many times with conflicting, misleading and negative descriptions for instance as a European colonist, very few researchers have noted the existence of Afrikanerism as a specific cultural, political and racial movement and grouping in South Africa. It undoubtedly developed out of Europeanism, colonialism and to lesser extent Africanism, but, in terms of its unique discriminative intentions and inclinations, it is not colonialism, nor Europeanism or Africanism. Apartheid was not colonialism or a European-driven entity either. It is erroneous to classify these Afrikaner actions as European just because they descend from European ancestors. Although Hitler’s apartheid and Jewish apartheid reflect similarities in terms of racial supremacy and discrimination, the Germans and Jewish personal and psychological development and structures that led to these “apartheids” are different from that of the majority of Germans and Jews. These “apartheids” developed, as in the case of the Afrikaner’s apartheid, as a result of exposure to negative treatments by and experience of other indigenous and ethnic groups over time. It is not a European hereditary taint, transferred from generation to generation, as many researchers claim. In practice, there are different social classes of Blacks in South Africa today, varying from rural to urban and from poor to rich, who clearly do not intermingle. The middle and upper class Blacks have moved to the traditional White suburbs, send their children to the old “White” schools and private schools, buy good homes and cars, maintain an “Western and modern” lifestyle, etc., away from the poor in the informal settlements and their ‘sub-standard” lifestyles. This class differentiation, representing discrimination per excellence and an unofficial Black-on-Black apartheid, reflect exactly the same inclination to discriminate of the Afrikaners. Any of the Black tribes of South Africa could, if the circumstances favoured them and they were military, political and economic empowered, have developed a similar South African apartheid as a result of wrongdoings by other indigenous races or ethnic groups or because of selfish and opportunistic personal inclinations. Such apartheid do not represents a Black hereditary taint, but the unique (sometimes deviant) behaviour of a specific group of Blacks. 2,3,4,6,9-12
Afrikanerism’s differentiation between Afrikaners and Africans forms a “cultural- and racial-schizophrenia” in which proto-Afrikaners and Afrikaners have lived since 1652. It determined the Afrikaners attitude and view on the Blacks, as well as their preferred actions, life style and views, etc. This early secession of the proto-Afrikaners from the Black life system and the total absorption of Blackness, was further aggravated by the proto-Afrikaners’ unchangeable belief in a system of constant order and predictable outcomes to which most Westerns (and not specific only Europeans like the British, French, Dutch) were exposed over centuries in South Africa. It was clearly a case of direct experience with what works and what does not work, what cultural approaches, expertise, life-uses and traditions, etc., assure the viability and sustainable of the individual’s life and the continuation of a group. This included the maintenance of a certain life standards, life style, traditions, customs and habits that they believed were not debatable. This behaviour was not European determined or driven, but the result of group experiences and views developed by exposure to a country’s environment and its people. Many of these initial experience-derived characteristics, internalized in the mindsets of the proto-Afrikaner and Afrikaner, were of secondary importance for Blacks as it did not fit into their preferences. This difference laid the basis for indigenous racial conflict and estrangement between indigenous South Africans. (Many of the “uncivilised” characteristics assumed to belong to Blacks are direct results of many years of living in the disorder of racial discrimination and the denial of human rights).2,4,6,9-12
The Afrikaners’ failure to accept the indigenous realities of South Africa and their rigid implementation of their Afrikaneristic lifestyles, standards and values on the Blacks from a very early stage in the country’s history, must also be valued in terms of the impact that the narrow-minded views of Europeanism and colonialism had on the total South African population. A short historical overview of South African (British) colonialism, colonists and Afrikanerism is first offered.
1.1 Colonialism and Afrikanerism
Since 1994, the terms “colonialism” and “colonist” had become two of the catch phrase to identify Afrikaners with apartheid. Underlining this abuse is the simplified argument that the Afrikaners are Europeans who do not belong here. The Helen Zille sage around South African colonialism recently showed how little understanding some of the Black anti-Afrikaners have of their own past as well as that of the Whites, including that of the Afrikaners. Any person like Zille who dares to challenge the propaganda of the subjective post-1994 spirit of political correctness directed at the concepts colonialism, Afrikaner, racism and apartheid, is quickly ousted from political life, notwithstanding his or her skin colour. Researchers also hesitate to address the matter out of fear of victimizing and many forms of retaliation. Black anti-colonial and anti-apartheid activists have received an open book to jabber untruths in speeches and publications on the multiple wrongs of “British colonialism” and “all colonists,” ignoring the unaccountable benefits it brought to all South Africans: Afrikaners, Blacks and Whites.2,13-16
1.1.1 British colonialism
Although the British colonial policy at the Cape seized in 1815 for academic purposes, its practice was reignited with the colonization of the republics of Natal, Transvaal and Free State up to 1902 under the pretence of safeguarding the various Black tribes against proto-Afrikaner racism (A philanthropic British claim that came to very little when they allowed the racist Constitution of the Union of South Africa in 1910)3,17,18
What is clear is that the proto-Afrikaners were subjugated to the same imperial rule of British and English cultural arrogance as the Blacks. The proto-Afrikaners ‘subjugation started much earlier and was much deeper and extreme’. Not only did it drive many proto-Afrikaners out of the Cape Colony in the 1830s, but it also led to the death of thousands of innocent proto-Afrikaner citizens of the republics of Transvaal and Free State during the Anglo Boer War (1899–1902). It created the same perception of injustices and hate in the mindsets of the Northern proto-Afrikaners as colonialism (and later also Afrikanernism with apartheid) did in the mindsets of Blacks. It created such a hate for the British in the early 1900s that when the British spoke of South Africa’s “racial problem,” it was not a Black one, but an exclusive Boer one. Ethnic and racial tension between Afrikaners and the English Whites who came to South Africa as part of British colonialism, only eased from the 1960s onwards when the “Black problem” became a mutual concern for both groups: the English speakers needed Afrikaner protection against the feared Black empowerment and the Afrikaners needed the English votes to stay in power.2,3,11
The erroneous thought that classifies the Afrikaner as a “colonist” practicing “colonialism” is contradicted by many outcomes. First, true colonialism in South Africa, as practiced by the British formally stopped in the 1840s. “Decolonisation” in present South Africa is an outdated concept about a historical event that ended more than a century ago. The present blames and claims around it are based on uninformed anti-apartheid activists who lacking knowledge of South Africa’s history. To ‘decolonize’ Afrikaners or Blacks would in practice mean to erase internalized and established European and British knowledge, culture, lifestyles, politics, economics, etc., going back more than two centuries. Surely some of the contributions of colonialism that have become part of South Africans have helped them to become successful countrymen and global citizens. Without early colonialism, most South Africans would be political and cultural “zombies.”7,9,19
One fact is clear from the South African history: present-day South Africa is not a colonial society as is being argued. It was awarded effective self-government in 1910 with the Union of South Africa, obtained sovereign status in 1933 (equal to that of Australia, Canada and New Zeeland). Affiliation with Britain ended with the founding of the South African Republic outside the Commonwealth. South Africa affiliated in 1994, but without subordinate status.7,17,18
In other words, there are two prominent historical facts that are being blindly ignored by current anti-apartheid activists and politicians when they argue on colonialism and the Afrikaners’ status as colonist: a) the change in the constitutional status of South Africa in 1910; b) the activation of statutory political rule by a specific group of indigenous people over the other indigenous groups in South Africa since 1910. Afrikaners (the rulers until 1994) are indigenous to South Africa as the Blacks are indigenous to South Africa (both groups’ forefathers migrated four centuries or more ago to the country and settled here without any other fatherland to go back to or that can supports them in any way. They were not responsible to any colonial power and were not compensated for being here).20
Second, there are no footprints of colonialism in apartheid. The intent with Afrikanerist apartheid from the 1910s was to safeguard the personal and economical safety of Afrikaners as a specific indigenous racial group. This intention was based on obtaining exclusive political, economical and military power through the practice of extreme racial discrimination under apartheid. Afrikanerism and apartheid lacked a foreign colonial power’s inheritance or input, thinking, planning, manpower and manipulation or responsibility. The internal indigenous inclinations and intentions that make up Afrikanerism, which was driven, managed and maintained as grand apartheid, are different from the external colonial inclinations and intentions.7
1.1.2 Indigenous Afrikaners and Afrikanerism▼
The momentum and absolute power of Afrikanerism from the 1910s up to its collapse in 1994 in terms of its statutory empowerment, together with the tremendous input needed to neutralize apartheid, as well as the differences between British colonialism and Afrikanerism as practice by the indigenous Afrikaners in South Africa, –were aptly described in Berger and Godsell in 19887, p. 268:
These details of constitutional status are important because of what they indicate about the nature of power in South African society. Power is held by a segment of the indigenous population. The task facing those who seek fundamental change in the present government does not lie in persuading a colonial authority that the costs of continued occupation outweigh the benefits, but rather in helping in one section of a population wrest power, by force or persuasion, from each other. This is a much more difficult exercise.
In the process of dislodging a colonial overlord, economic, military and political costs had to exceed their benefits. In military terms, decolonization has mainly involved campaigns of endurance on the part of the indigenous guerrilla forces, and exhaustion on the part of the colonial power. The military stakes were seldom high.
In contrast to this colonial pattern, conflict in South Africa pits one section of population against the other.
Defining the identity of the Afrikaners and their behaviour and thinking around apartheid as that of Western European settlers, or as a fragment or a segment of Western Europeans practicing colonialism, is inappropriate and faulty. Also, propagating that the social identity of Afrikaners, especially from 1948 when apartheid began its more devastating journey into the South African society, is imbued with a colonially invested consciousness of being associated with a ‘superior’ civilisation, which in turn tinted Afrikaner views of indigenous people by pervasive paternalism and social distance because of their assumed personal inferiority and other shortcomings, is “stretched” and unsubstantiated thinking. These arguments are not adequate to solve a complex problem like apartheid or Afrikanerism.9
Labelling the Afrikaners as “settler-colonist classes” or as a group of Europeans living in Africa with the main intention to oppose Blacks is misleading. The view that all Whites are united by their European origin, perceptions of origin, cultural features and political interests is a planned effort to deny the Afrikaners their identity as an independent, indigenous group of South Africa. Up to 1994 they thought for themselves and reacted independently to situations, totally away from their early European descent or European political, cultural and racial influences. They are a group that has not had any political, emotional and cultural roots in Europe as a homeland for more than three centuries and that has intermixed with other South African groups to some extent. What is true is that Afrikanerism, in its efforts to deal with unique indigenous challenges and the Afrikaners’ feeling of being endangered, activated not only extreme discrimination against Blacks, but also the social and racial ousting of Blacks from their intimate circle. This led to Afrikaners lacking sound information and expertise about the “subordinate” indigenous Blacks. They were driven blindly by various levels of racial prejudice in their apartheid actions, ultimately lacking any real understanding, acceptance and incorporation of South African realities.2,9,20,21
Secondly; the current labelling of Afrikaners as settlers, etc., also fails to describe the unique racial attitudes of Afrikaners as their practiced apartheid and the role of Afrikanerism in racism. The normal reaction of a subgroup and sub-society is declared as a result of the Afrikaner’s European descent. There are social classes and reactions to realities like the differences between first and third world cultures, established group rights, moral and religious beliefs, etc., all over the world. This assumption also fails to consider the multi-fold European origin of Afrikaners – their descence from European groups and nations who differ from each other and reflect dissimilar ethnic and racial inclinations, social class approaches and behaviours, etc. The cultural, social and political distancing and estrangement of the proto-Afrikaners from their original European homelands over centuries is also ignored. Their history has left them with a strong mixed bloodline from the first day of the arrival of the Dutch at the Cape. They were an indigenous racial group in South Africa by the late 1700s and early 1800s.2,9,20,21
Third, their later racial reactions as an indigenous South African group must be seen from the context of the contact they had with the other indigenous South African racial groups, varying from Blacks to Asians, at the Cape and in the Boer republics. Their fear as a specific minority indigenous group has nothing to do with Europeanism or colonialism. They are a group bound together over many years by political discrimination and British colonialism. They learned cultural customs and adopted certain views. They were politically, culturally and economically steamrollered by other indigenous groups. Their distaste for unsophistication, disorder and lower life standards, also have nothing to do with European system. The racial discrimination practiced by the Afrikaners was activated and driven by their own South African indigenous lifestyle, developed over centuries in terms of indigenous lines in South Africa. It was this “sophisticated” indigenous lifestyle that formed the Afrikaners’ racial (and ethnic) discrimination and, as result of their political authoritarianism and selfishness, ended in apartheid.2,9,20
Many Afrikaners say that race and colour do not matter to them anymore. They are willing to live in South Africa with all the other races, they just want to live according to their own standard and they want the other groups to live to this as well. However, other indigenous groups are not interested in living in a way that would please the Afrikaners. The criteria are such that other groups would fail to meet them anyway. The continuation of discrimination in the form of Afrikanerism is obvious here. Afrikaners want to claim a certain brotherhood with other indigenous groups, but this standard that they prescribe is one of the factors that led to early class distinctions that later became race distinctions. Afrikanerism’s practice of racism was much more extreme than the racism practiced under colonialism and of a much longer duration. They tried to maintain “blood purity” by means of rules prohibiting racial mixing, even simple social association. They wanted to isolate their group to protect it from assimilation by means of unwritten and unreasonable “standards”. Blacks were regarded as volksvreemd (foreign), and this view propelled their self-enrichment and political empowerment for Afrikaners only, their ideas of racial supremacy and acts of suppression, including the benefits in turn for loyalty at the cost of non-Whites.2,9,20
▲Cross-references: see Part 1, subdivisions 3.2.1 and 3.2.7.
1.1.3. Indigenous Afrikaner versus indigenous Black
Due to the Afrikaner’s racial differentiation, they never learned to move out of their early learned culture, lifestyle and belief system towards a true South African inter-racial sphere. They don’t have the ability to conceptualize South African indigenous realities, like the constructive role of constant chaos, disappointment, repeated failures, unhappiness, unpredictability and constant hope that forms the life cycle of many Blacks as positive drivers in life. The Afrikaner never mastered the ability to understand the indigenous religious, economical, social and tribal life of Black, which, in contrast to the Afrikaner’s individuality, are driven and practiced around the family and tribe. The many differences in the Black marriage and religious practices are strange to the Afrikaner. These failures to observe, to understand, to incorporate and to acclimatize in his development, exposure and learning, kept the Afrikaner from understanding South Africa’s indigenous realities, needs and demands. This precludes the ability to participate successfully in the Black community or to make a transition to becoming a permanent member of the Black society. Priding oneself on good relations with various Buthelezi’s and Mangope’s is insignificant, even condemning. Basically is the isolation and out-casting of him from the Black culture a direct result of his incorrect thinking and expectation that successful Afrikaner trouble-shooting in daily life will also always follows permanent in the greater South African society, including for the Blacks. Accompanying this separatist Afrikaner thinking is their selfish inclination to autocratically and indiscreetly forced needs, rights, experiences and wishes on the Blacks. They also have the tendency to see Black indigenous behaviours as barbaric. They seem to miss the fact that Blacks themselves experience Afrikanerist behaviour as barbaric. In the end there were two strangers living in two different cultural and mental worlds in the same South Africa.2-4,6,11,12
The proto-Afrikaners’ oversimplified view of indigenous Blacks’ political, social, economical and personal thinking and needs was one of the primary reasons for striking Blacks off the voter’s role of the Union in 1910 and later in 1961 from the first Republic (see later: subdivision 3.1.1.).
As discussed at length in the two previous articles of the series (Parts 2 and 3), the proto-Afrikaner and Afrikaner were exposed to a variety of traumatic experiences and examples of improper racial and ethnic behaviours over a long time.2-4,6,11,12,22,23
This history and racial differentiation paved the way for ideas of a White supremacy and civilisation versus Black barbarism in proto-Afrikaners thinking. This racial and cultural differentiation formed one of the main reasons for the Great Trek and became entrenched in the mindsets of the Northern Afrikaners of South Africa (Transvaal and Orange Free State). The history that culminated in the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 and the role of the debate on Blacks as citizen and their right and ability to be part of the Union reflects this North-versus-South thinking about the Blacks as “different kinds of human beings” and as “African strangers”. The racial attitudes of the White delegates to the meetings of the Convention to form the Union of South Africa in 1908 confirm the existence of the idea that there is a double world of Blacks and Whites. It established the schizoid racial relations between Whites and Blacks that the modern Afrikaner was later exposed to and grew up in and that hampers their understanding, acceptance and appropriation of South Africa’s indigenous realities.1-6,11,12,24
The Afrikaner internalization of life experiences as good versus bad is the main point of focus of this study. Much of the Afrikaner thinking is based on a bi-polar racial classification. In terms of this classification, they evaluate certain situations as problematic and they address these, and they evaluate other situations as less important. They have a vision for the future and they plan accordingly, but only for their own benefit. . Prominent in this context is the Afrikaner’s failure to understand, accept and appropriate South African indigenous realities correctly.
The aim of the study is to reflect on the failure of the Afrikaner to understand, accept and appropriate the indigenous realities of South Africa.
- This article is the fourth in a series of seven. The seven articles represent the following research topics: 1) Who is the Afrikaner? 2) Historical determinants and role players in the establishment and reinforcement and of racial discrimination in the mindsets of Afrikaners; 3) Present and past negative determinants and role players in the establishment and reinforcement of injustices in the mindsets of Afrikaners; 4) the Afrikaners’ failure to understand, accept and appropriate the indigenous realities of South Africa; 5) The vicious cycle of revenge and counter-revenge around apartheid; 6) Preparedness of Afrikaners to deal with the threats and challenges of the new South Africa; 7) 2017 is the time for thinking, planning and action.
- The overarching intention of the broader study is to determine the position of the Afrikaners in the year 2117.
The research was done by means of a literature review. This method has the aim of building a viewpoint based on the evidence as it appears during the course of the research. This approach is used in modern historical research where there is a lack of an established library, like on the topic of the Afrikaner’s present-day and future position in South Africa. The databases used were EBSCOHost and Sabinet online. Sources included articles from 2015 to 2017, books for the period 1944 to 2017 and newspapers covering the period 2015 to 2017. These sources are used to reflect on the Afrikaners and to put thinking trends, views and opinions on the Afrikaners in perspective.25-27
The research findings are presented in narrative format.
3.1 Disrespect and degradation of Blacks at the 1908 Cape Convention (Union of South Africa)
It is crucial to understand the racial disrespect and degrading behaviours of many South African Whites, especially the Afrikaners, towards the South African Blacks before apartheid. This also explains how Afrikaners deliberately isolated the Blacks as indigenous partners in a true South African indigenous society, ultimately leaving the Afrikaners in isolation, a total stranger to the South African realities. The best evidence of this is the events in 1908 at the National Convention to prepare a constitution for the Union of South Africa. The various speeches and other inputs of the White delegates on accommodating and inscribing the rights of the all citizens, White and Blacks, of the Cape and the three colonies into the constitution, provides insight in this matter. The events also reveal the thinking of the Afrikaners and the English-speaking Whites of that time. It also reflects the racial situation into which the proto-Afrikaners were guided by their leaders, shaping to a great extent their future views of disrespect and degradation of the Blacks’ political and general views, cultures, ambitions, dreams and expectations of the South African society.3
In retrospect, the views of 1908 on Blacks did not differ very much from those of the nationalist Afrikaners of 1948 to 1960 and onwards into grand apartheid. It is therefore of great importance to start with this 1908 racial profile and description to determine the Afrikaners’ attitudes, reasons and motivation to discriminate instead of becoming incorporated in South Africa’s indigenous realities.2,3,11,24
- Regarding the status of Blacks in the world of 1908, it would have been naive to see them as perfectly developed and functioning citizens in terms of “Western” and “Afrikaner” standards, which were the only criteria for human rights for many Whites of that time. To the contrary. They were not “civilised angels” who were blindly discriminated against just because they are Black. There were large cultural gaps between the average Black and the average White in the 1900s, making social resistance and conflict unavoidable
In referring to the 1900s, one must remember that South Africa, its people and civil society was totally different from that of the South Africa of 2017. It would also be false to claim that racial discrimination, hatred, prejudice and hostility were limited to Afrikaners. The same negative characteristics existed (and still do today) in the mindsets and behaviours of some Blacks against Afrikaners (the Black hostile view and that the Afrikaner is an uninvited European colonist and interloper into South Africa was already there from the 1800s). 2,4,6,11,12,14
- The intention of this article is to focus exclusively (a focus that some over-sensitive Afrikaners may see as prejudice, which is of cause not true) on the Afrikaners and their political and social wrongdoings in South Africa. The article examines how they saw and treated the country and its people and why they fail to accept, understand and appropriate South Africa’s indigenous realities. The article also looks at why they failed as indigenous South Africans to join Blacks in the greater South African society unconditionally. This approach permeates the wider research. The mistakes of the Blacks and their racist attitudes or hostility are irrelevant here and should be studied separately.
3.1.1 The 1853 Cape Constitution and liberal politicians
Racial relations were not negative and hostile before 1908. From the British side there was a positive view on Blacks (although they called them Natives at that time) as reflected in the 1853 Constitution of the Cape Colony. Sir George Cathcart reveals this clearly in a dispatch to the Governor of the Cape3, pp.22-23: “It is the earnest desire of Her Majesty’s government that all her subjects at the Cape without distinction of class or colour should be united by one bond of loyalty and we believe that the exercise of political rights enjoyed by all alike will prove one of the best methods of attaining this object.” In the Cape under this Constitution “franchise was open to all men, White, Coloured or Native, who could comply with a civilisation test and every person qualified to vote was eligible for election to the House of Assembly”.3
The testimony of Colonel Stanford, a Cape delegate and former head of the Native Affairs Department in the Cape Colony and an ex-member of the Native Affairs Commission, someone who spent his life among Blacks and thus with in-depth knowledge of the Blacks, said to the other members of the Convention3, p. 53: “They must realise the fact that the Natives were men and must treat them as men and slowly they would prove themselves good and worthy citizens ready and able to bear their full share of the burden of citizenship”. His belief was that they would take the same position and show the same progress in South Africa as they had done in the Cape Colony. The franchise in his view was the crux of the whole Native question in South Africa. He regarded freedom and citizenship for Blacks as a priority in South Africa after 1910.
The prominent politician WP Schreiner, a former Prime Minister of the Cape, saw the political intentions of many of the delegates to the Convention, especially those from the Northern parts, as suspicious. He felt that they were racist when it came to the rights of Blacks and described the new Constitution they wanted for South Africa not as an Act of Union but rather as an Act of Separation between the minority and the majority of the people of South Africa.3 He denounced the intended exclusion of other races from the union parliament3. In this regard he argued3, p. 25: “ Humani nil a me alienum puto. To embody in the South African constitution a vertical line or barrier separating its people upon the ground of colour into a privileged class or caste and an unprivileged, inferior proletariat is, as I see the problem, as imprudent as it would be to build a grand building upon unsound and sinking foundations…”.
The Cape politician JX Merriman, going through as a liberal on the Black issue in public view, showed his true racial attitudes (and colours!) in a letter to JC Smuts when he wrote3, p.18: “… I do not like the Natives at all and I wish we had no Black man in South Africa. But there they are, our lot is cast with them by an overruling Providence and the only question is how to shape our course so as to maintain the supremacy of our race and at the same time do our duty”.
Merriman’s extreme racist view was in line with that of the Northern delegates and laid the foundation for the union’s racial policy and later apartheid.
3.1.2 The Northern Colonies and their 1908-degradation of Blacks
Compared to the Cape Colony, the two Northern colonies had a rigid colour bar in their constitutions that excluded any person who was not European from franchise and from public office. The Transvaal and the Orange River Constitutions were based on the proto-Afrikaners’ views. They came from a tradition of slavery from the 1650s at the Cape, went through a constant struggle with Blacks on the Eastern border and in the colonies and had a schooling in the harsh, rigid doctrine that promised security for the minority Whites in South Africa. This doctrine held that they had to subdue the Blacks and keep them permanently and constantly subdued. These Northern Afrikaners claimed based on their earlier conquering of the Blacks in Transvaal and Orange Free State, the right to rule and to keep Blacks in a state of complete subjection.3 This perception of the Northern Boers is illustrated well by Friedman3, p. 24: “They would admit of no relationship between White and Black save that of master and servant. The caste system they established was supported by Biblical sanction, than which they recognised no higher authority. White supremacy was part of the Divine order of things. Equality of status for White and Black was not only a revolutionary conception – it was sheer blasphemy”.
During the preparatory discussions to the formation of the union, this Northern Afrikaner contempt for Blacks as humans quickly came to the foreground. They stated it in their arguments and they won in the end, notwithstanding strong opposition from some delegates. This early socio-cultural isolation between Afrikaners and Blacks in the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony became the guiding racial policy for South Africa as a whole after the establishment of the Union, with the Blacks seen as inferior humans. Prominent Afrikaner and English-speaking White leaders showed disrespect for Black intelligence, integrity and sincerity in their degrading speeches. Hidden behind this racial discrimination was the desire to secure exclusive White economical supremacy through White political supremacy as fast and comprehensively as possible. [Today under the ANC regime these actions are described by anxious White critics as (White) radical economical transformation through state capture under the Zuma regime]. The foundations of the Afrikaans version of radical economical transformation and state capture were laid on the establishment of the Union, waiting to be exploited by the authoritarian Hitler-oriented Malan-Strydom-Verwoerd alliance. Twenty years later it started steering into an extreme economical and political apartheid. For this alliance, the impoverished and downtrodden Afrikaners (with a strong tendency towards authoritarianism themselves) were easy prey who could be manipulated with the Nazi-dogma of White supremacy as a vehicle to obtain and maintain political and economical power.2,3,6,9,11,12
General Botha was commissioned by Transvaal to attend the Convention. His negative racial attitude is aptly described by Friedman3 when he writes3, p. 49: “His conception of a united nation did not embrace the Natives and other non-Whites; when he spoke of the population of South Africa as being too small he obviously did not include them in the account. As a true descendant of the Voortrekkers he could not acknowledge that the Natives had any legitimate claim to a share in the new dispensation. Nor could Botha accept the doctrine that by enhancing the status of the Black man he would make a contribution to the progress and prosperity of the Union”.
General de Wet’s reaction was even more negative when he said3, p. 60: “Providence had drawn the line between Black and White and we must make that clear to the Natives and not instil into their minds false ideas of equality”. To his mind, the greatest kindness and the greatest justice the Convention could do to the Blacks were to inform them that they are unequal to Whites.3
Two other speeches, one at the preparatory meeting of the Convention and one at the Convention itself, reflect the psychological and physical estrangement and detachment already present between Afrikaners and Blacks in 1908, notwithstanding nearly 200 years of contact. Mr Abraham Fischer spoke on behalf of the Orange River Colony and challenged the opinion of another delegate. Friedman reports as follows on his reaction3, p.55: “…He could ask those who knew [the Native peoples] whether they could say the Natives were fit for power? Are they fit to take part in the making of laws for South Africa? …A test of civilisation was spoken: what is the test of civilisation? It is not education. Not an industrial qualification. Not the improvement of property. Was it to be a liquor test?”
The negative view of Sir Frederick Moor of Natal on the Blacks was the following3, p. 54:
… White and Black races in South Africa could never be amalgamated. The history of the world proved that the Black man was incapable of civilisation and the evidences were to be found throughout South Africa today. Almost every race in the world could point to its stages of civilisation but what traces of Black civilisation could South Africa produce though the Native people had been brought into contact with civilisation for ages?…Sir Percy Fitz-Patrick has spoken of a test of civilisation. What was a civilized man? Was it not a man who proved himself adaptable to a civilized community? The Native were incapable of civilisation because they were incapable of sustained effort.
General JC Smuts, representing Transvaal and a person of supposed liberal thinking, had a less negative reaction, but he was very aloof about Black political rights in the future union. Smuts reflected3, p. 19: “…I don’t believe in politics for them. Perhaps at the bottom I do not believe in politics at all as a means for the attainment of the highest ends, but certainly so far as the Natives are concerned politics will to my mind only have an unsettling influence”. In studying Smuts’ famous Memorandum to the 1908 Convention, preparing the Constitution for the Union, there is no trace of safeguarding the future rights of or a concern for the fate of Blacks in post-1910 South Africa.3,24
In retrospect, most of the 1908-delegates to the founding of the union regarded the ordinary South African Black as persona non grata; more precisely, they were persona non human. These non-human Blacks stayed for a very long time.
These negative attitudes on the Blacks in 1908 and the racial attitudes reflected by prominent leaders not only laid the foundation for the future racial policy of South Africa, but confirmed the belief that Blacks are inferior and can not be allowed into the intimate circle of Whites. Whatever was going on at the homes of Blacks, their daily struggles to survive financially, and the substandard quality of healthcare they received, were not only of little concern to the ordinary Afrikaners, it was taboo for them to want to know, understand or see it for themselves. These problems were not regarded as the Afrikaners’ concerns, notwithstanding the fact that the Afrikaner racial policy was responsible for much of the Blacks’ suffering. The 1908-views on race relations, cemented into the Constitution of the Union of 1910, paved the way for keeping White and Black away from each other as far as possible, not only socially but also statutorily. The Constitution of the Union of South Africa made Blacks into strangers to Afrikaners aside from cordial, subordinate workplace contact. The opportunity for the Afrikaners to understand, accept and appropriate the indigenous realities of South Africa was curtailed by their own negative racial attitudes and inclinations in 1910.2-4,6,11,12.24
This racial split that prohibited assimilation between White and Black, thus blocking the opportunity for a better understanding among Whites and Blacks, was edified by various kinds of racial legislations. This legislation was accompanied by supremacy and an authoritarian Afrikaner thinking on Blacks as humans and with regard to their civil rights. An example is Hertzog’s legislation of 1936 that accomplished not only the removal of the Black voters from the common roll, but established distinctions of race or colour as legitimate grounds for the denial of political rights and an all-out discrimination. This deprived the Blacks and Coloured people of their political rights (the racial discrimination became the basis for the later apartheid dispensation).3
White and Black became more and more estranged from each other: two opposing aliens living in the same country. The passing of more extreme legislation, culminating in grand apartheid, destroyed any opportunity for Whites to learn more about Blacks and South Africa’s realities.2-4,6,11,12
This side-lining of the “Black problem” in 1908 became a chronic problem, left unaddressed for many years to come. It was never successful addressed until the dawn of the ANC regime. The union was to benefit exclusively the Whites, not the Blacks; the matter of citizen status for Blacks was treated by the union-makers as a matter of subsidiary importance. In the minds of the racially discriminative White policy makers, Black voting and civil rights would have meant the end of White supremacy and the doom of White civilisation. Political power had to stay in the hands of Whites to maintain White supremacy and to enforce a full-blown policy of segregation. This segregation, which within short time developed into full racial discrimination, was intentionally obtained through the formation of the union. Apartheid was introduced to Afrikaners as morally, and statutorily righ and acceptable. This was an outcome that was welcomed by many greedy nationalist Afrikaners who were now assured of their income through job reservation and profited from property expropriation, etc. But the most successful outcome of apartheid was the deliberately isolation of ordinary Afrikaners from the Blacks’ indigenous culture, their lifestyles, politics, ambitions, dreams, humanity and, most of all, the Blacks’ immense suffering as a result of the nationalist Afrikaner leadership’s policy of systematic discrimination against Blacks and the open degradation and disrespect for them as humans. By 1908 the table was fully laid for discrimination against Blacks and a lifelong estrangement that the 1994 dispensation have not been able to address. The events of 1908 also became the barrier for the Afrikaner to obtain insight into South Africa’s realities.2-4,6,11,12
The harshness of apartheid is echoed by the nationalist Afrikaners’ disdain for Jews during the 1930s. Like the Nazis hid the Jews from the German civilians, the fate of Blacks and their existence was kept hidden from the Afrikaners’ daily view. In this way they saw to it that Afrikaners would not develop any sensitivity for their fate (based on the principle “out of sight, out of mind”). Up to the 1930s, Jews were regarded as “brothers” of the Afrikaners, yet they were shunned when it suited the Afrikaners. This makes clear the cold-bloodedness of the discrimination against the Blacks during apartheid and the damage done to any future “brotherhood” between Blacks and Whites after apartheid.3
The next section shortly chronicles the Afrikaner reaction to immigrants and the “Jew problem” to show how groups that used to have amicable relationships can suddenly turn on each other. Such outcomes make any unification in a country impossible. This piece of history also shows how the fears and prejudices of the proto-Afrikaners and Afrikaners were hijacked by crafty political leaders from the early 1900s. These leaders had dubious personal and political views. They masterfully steered these unfortunate and insecure Afrikaners in the direction of extreme racial discrimination and the expulsion of other ethnic and racial groups from their lifestyles and living spaces. The endorsement, acceptance and establishment of authoritarianism and moral double standards as part of the political lifestyle of these insecure Afrikaners fitted well with the racial discrimination promoted by ultra-nationalist Afrikaner leaders. It is evident from the political behaviour of the puritan nationalist Afrikaner leaders (the rulers of South Africa from 1948 to 1994) and those in their inner circles from the 1930s onwards.2,3
3.1.3. The puritan nationalist Afrikaners’ discrimination against Jews▼
The sentiment around Hitler and his Nazis became very prominent in 1935 with DF Malan (a future prime minister) and his Purified Nationalist Party (PNP) [launched in 1934 and later becoming the core of the National party (NP) which came to power in 1948]. This sentiment is well-demonstrated by Malan, Hertzog, Strydom and Verwoerd’s justification of Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia and Poland and his growing aggressions to Germany’s neighbours. These four were leaders in the Purified National Party.2,3 The purified nationalism of Malan was very much in line with the political thinking and philosophies of Hitler. Friedman writes about the PNP and Malan3, p. 125: “Its aim was domination. It sought a state of affairs which would ensure the undisputed ascendancy of the ware Afrikaner in every sphere of the national life and reduce all unnational elements – British, Jews and detribalised Afrikaners who followed Smuts – to the status of second-class citizens. The Republic, the goal of all his aspirations, would be founded on the principle of ‘Een land, een volk, een taal’”.
The severity of Malan’s purified nationalist intolerance of democracy is noticeable from the fact that he scolded JBM Hertzog, who was seen as the father of Afrikaner nationalism, as a renegade and a traitor to the cause, and an enemy of the volk. Malan’s purified nationalist Afrikaners assimilated Hitler’s Herren-volk doctrine, so much so that a party member, JG Strydom3 (a future prime minister), said that if the Afrikaners do not accept and practice the “Herren-volk idea” of the Nazis, the Whites would fail to be the political masters of South Africa and to rule the Blacks.3,12
Hitler’s prominent use of anti-Semitism as one of the main strategies (the other strategy was to use the dire poverty of the Germans after the First World War) to muster authoritarian political power had a direct impact on the purified nationalist Afrikaners. Malan, when he was Minister of the Interior, was himself a man who initially publicly praised the South African Jews for their contribution to various areas to the country and as an important group of the population who had fully identified themselves with the White society and its people. Now, beset by purified nationalism and suddenly under the Nazi-doctrine of anti-Semitism, Malan denounced the Jews as an unassimilable group. Even the belief that the Jews are the Chosen People of the Bible was skilfully extinguised in the mindsets of the Boers under the influence of the purified Afrikaners. The Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church annulled the Divine decree that the Jews were God’s Chosen People after a study on the historic credentials of the Jews (In doing this the DRC assured Afrikaners that any manifestation anti-Semitism would not and could not incur Divine displeasure). DRC members were careful to observe the Biblical injunction to “love their neighbours”, but the church aligned this commandment with anti-Semitism and the Afrikaners’ new Christian duty became to ensure that their neighbours are Gentiles and not Jews.2,3
In this regard it must be noted that South Africa was at that time a safe place to settle for German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution and genocide. However, Malan and his collaborators’ anti-Semitism and pro-Nazism immediately saw the Jews becoming a target for the purified nationalist Afrikaners. The PNP wanted to stop them from entrance into South Africa. Action was started by the Purified Afrikaners to prohibit Jewish immigration. Malan himself declared that the country did not want more Jews because they were an ‘unassimilable element.’ The anti-Jewish hostility of the purified nationalist Afrikaners reached a climax when a German chartered ship, the Stuttgart, arrived in Cape Town filled with German Jews and urgently looking for asylum. The agitation by the purified Afrikaners forced Hertzog’s government to act and the Aliens Bill ended the entrance of Jewish refugees. Even the liberal Smuts did not block this draconian act.3
What is of immediate importance is that this unprecedented official ethnic discrimination, fully in the public domain and promoted with “Afrikaner pride” by prominent nationalist Afrikaners, was internalized during the 1930s by ordinary nationalist Afrikaners as good, applicable and correct behaviour. For Blacks, this increase discriminatory thinking among the majority of Afrikaners and the inclusion of discrimination in the political system was a sign of doom. An entire sub-society of nationalist Afrikaners formed. The question must have been clear to Blacks at that time: if the Afrikaner could not assimilate other Whites like the Jews, how could they ever freely assimilate Blacks?
This without a doubt increased the Blacks’ distrust in the Afrikaners and they increased the distance they kept. The estrangement between the two racial groups was exacerbated, leaving the Afrikaners in isolation, with a growing misunderstanding of Blacks and South African indigenous realities (and the Blacks of Afrikaner realities).
The racial incitement against the Jews revealed the authoritarian and self-centred political and psychological thought patterns of the purified nationalist Afrikaner leaders. Not only did they steer and manipulate the Afrikaners into their weird and abnormal thinking on humanity, but they also sought votes and political empowerment, cunningly and deliberately creating false ideals for the insecure Afrikaners and promising that their injustices would be rectified and their political, social and financial needs would be satisfied. The leaders’ own intentions, ideals and attitudes on extreme racial discrimination and White supremacy were hidden from ordinary Afrikaners.3
As with the Germans’ immense poverty that offered Hitler the opportunity to direct his ideology of revenge at the “culprits” and to focus on the correction of the imbalance in richness between the Germans and the “culprits,” the Jews, the purified nationalist-Afrikaner leaders identified the Blacks as the “culprits”. Blacks as cheap labour was seen as competition for the poor and unskilled Afrikaners. The White English had comparatively higher incomes than the Afrikaners. The purified Afrikaner leaders exploited this state of affairs to strengthen their self-centred political racist dogma, personal agendas and to gain support among the Afrikaner electorate. They basically relied on White supremacy and kept non-Whites isolated and on a distance as strangers whose influence must at all time be blocked. Support for the purified Afrikaners (as with the Nazis in the beginning in Germany) was initially small, but it quickly gathered momentum intil they won the general election in 1948 (when the Purified Afrikaner Party came to power in 1948 they won with a majority of eight seats, while obtaining only 37% of the polled votes. Nineteen years later, in 1977, on the NP’s pick, the NP captured 134 of the 164 seats, drawing 64.5% of the polled votes with an estimated 85% voter support from the Afrikaners).2,3
When comparing the authoritarian personality of Adolf Hitler with many of the leaders of the purified Afrikaners and later nationalist Afrikaners, the similarities are astonishing. The same goes for a comparison of their political planning and institutions. The same political and emotional rhetoric, well-planned false racist propaganda, dogma and doctrine, authoritarian thinking, planning and management by the leadership, exclusive small beneficiary support groups around the top management, like the SS versus the AB, the Gestapo versus the Civil Cooperation Bureau, the immense poverty of certain sectors of the German and Afrikaner populations to exploit, extremely charismatic leaders that could secure a mass following of up to 85% of the population, constant pleas for nationalism and nation building, group interests above that of the individual and unselfish service to and sacrifices for the nation, the emphasis on injustices done to the Germans and Afrikaners, extreme suppression of political enemies, reckless political behaviour by the leaderships of both when their power started to thane, etc., distinguish both groups. Also, the failure brought on the Germans by the racism/ethnicity and political corruption of Hitler and the failure brought on the Afrikaners by the ultra-racism and political corruption of their leaders, show great similarities. The only two differences between modern Germany and modern South Africa is that Germany re-captured its position as a world leader after Hitler and the Nazis, but the Afrikaners failed to be a group of any significance after the fall of the NP-AB-alliance leaders and the NP, and they seems to be on their way to dissolution in a century’s time. Secondly, where it took the world to bring down Hitler, the NP was brought down easily by South African Black empowerment without a real war.2,3,28-30
Regarding the characteristic authoritarianism of the Afrikaner leaders like Malan, Strydom, Verwoerd and Vorster, it will be foolish to argue that it was unique to them. This is far from the truth: the behaviours of the Trekboers on the Eastern border of the Cape in the 18th, the Boers/Burghers of the republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State and their previous governments under leaders like Paul Kruger, Smuts, Botha and De Wet as well as the various delegates to the 1908 Convention, bares evidence of this. Also, the behaviour of the management structures of the Afrikaner churches like the DRC was and is still today founded in authoritarianism. Authoritarianism seems to be embedded in the worldviews of most ordinary Afrikaners, which made it very easy for their autocratic leaders to beset their political minds and to steer them towards the thinking and belief system of their leaders and into extreme apartheid from 1960. Hitler’s impact on leaders like Malan, Verwoerd and Vorster did not a lead to the creation of a new political behaviour or ideology based on authoritarianism, but rekindled old behaviours and thinking. The practices that result from this thinking were driven unashamedly and with certitude by a prominent (notorious) world leader in world politics, setting an example for subordinate leaders. It is an open question if one could describe the strong tendency of many Afrikaners to underwrite and to practice authoritarianism in their daily life as abnormal psychological behaviour that reflects psychopathology. However, one could say that authoritarianism did contribute to the Afrikaner’s abnormal racial discrimination and apartheid. The role of authoritarianism in the Afrikaner’s resistance to Black empowerment and his isolation from South Africa’s realities can not be doubted or denied either.2,4,6,11,12,24
It essential to understand the autocrat Adolf Hitler and his dogma if one wants to understand the authoritarian behaviour, intentions and thinking of the NP-AB-DRC leaders, apartheid and the extreme racial segregation with all its consequences, the isolation of the Afrikaners from knowledge of South Africa’s indigenous realities.
In an effort to understand the corrupting influence of Hitler on the nationalist Afrikaner leaders during the 1930s (a mindset that still seems to exist today), the article provides short descriptions of the anti-Semitic and general Nazi-authoritarian behaviour of DF Malan, HF Verwoerd and JB Vorster. There is also a short reference to the post-Vorster period of NP leaders.
▲Cross-references: see Part 2, subdivisions 184.108.40.206 and 3.1.5.
220.127.116.11. DF Malan
Malan’s extreme authoritarian mindset and his shameless manipulation of the ordinary Afrikaners (characteristics that became well-known with the NP leadership up to the party’s disbanding) are described well by Friedman3, p. 126: “He [Malan] denied that there was a Nazi persecution of the Jews, a rather ironic statement for, in effect, he denied that Hitler had put into practice the sort of discrimination he, Malan, was planning to enforce against the Jews in South Africa. Thus he exonerated Hitler, whilst convicting himself of anti-Semitism”.
Looking back on the blocking of German Jewish refugees from South Africa by Malan and his collaborators, Malan made himself directly part of the killing and genocide of German and other European Jews by making it impossible for them to flee the Nazis. Judged by his post-1930s behaviour, his part to these murders by the Germans did not seem to worry him. This is a good indicator of how “unworried” he was when he ruthlessly conducted his policy of apartheid from 1948 onwards.
Malan, although not part of the war clan of Hertzog, Botha, De Wet, and Smuts, started to have a political impact on the Afrikaners during the early 1900s. He became a strong opinion and policy maker on Afrikaner interests after he became editor of Die Burger in 1916 and the leader of the Cape NP in 1920. His intention was to give specific meaning to the then rather undefined concept of the Afrikaner, the immediate mobilization and empowerment of Afrikaners in the South African politics (and to successfully mask the various divisions) to establish a nationalist Afrikaner identity and – entity that is separate from White English speakers and Coloured Afrikaans speakers. He was, in the words of Giliomee2, p.12, “part of the rewriting of history along nationalist Afrikaner lines: the gestalt of the Afrikaners as a distinct group living among groups of ‘savage’ and ‘heathen’ nations, the construction of a new nationalist Afrikaner ideology founded specifically on the long-standing beliefs of White supremacy with the subordinate position of non-Whites and the condemning of racial mingling”. Primary to these new ideas was neo-Calvinism (Malan was previously a minister of the Word in the DRC), which Malan propagated in the south alongside the Doppers of Potchefstroom in the North.
This “neo-Calvinism,” strongly underwritten and propagated by Malan2, p.12: “argue[d] that God had ordained separate nations, each with a unique destiny, which charged the Afrikaners to maintain themselves in separate cultural, religious and political institutions”. Malan’s later acceptance of the Nazi ideology (and extreme racial discrimination) was clearly present in his mindset in the early 1900s and was waiting to be set free in the mindsets of Afrikaners when applicable.
Malan’s disrespect for the rights of the individual is evident from the NP’s consistent violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of South Africans after 1948. One means to do this was the Suppression of Communism Act which placed the NP regime above the law. Malan could eliminate individuals and political opposition from politics, ban persons from public life, etc., by means of executive order. This shows how the ghost of Nazism became a living Dracula in South Africa after 1948. This act was amply applied to Black political leaders.3
18.104.22.168. HF Verwoerd
A good example of the significant Nazi-orientation and – manifestation among the leaders of the purified nationalist Afrikaners is the extreme racial and ethnic discriminative mindset of HF Verwoerd (A born Dutchman and later leader of the NP and premier and president of the South African Republic) in the 1930s. When the German ship, the Stuttgart, arrived at the Cape filled with German Jewish refugees, Verwoerd – at that time a professor at Stellenbosch University – addressed a mass demonstration and threatened to lead a march on parliament to vent the people’s anger and resentment against this unwanted and undesirable influx of Jewish refugees.3
This attitude and these actions against White immigrants who were fleeing from the murdering madness of Hitler (and himself an immigrant) provide a good idea of Verwoerd’s early Nazism. These ethnic and racial attitudes and Nazi ideas and behaviour never left Verwoerd. The tragic outcome of his twisted political mindset for Black South Africans is evidenced by his later grand apartheid.2,8,11,23
The highly charismatic Verwoerd, as Malan before him, captivated nationalist Afrikaners and he became the most unchallenged leader of the NP. His advice, viewpoints and opinions were untouchable and were followed without questions. The same went for his political dogma around apartheid. For a many opportunistic and shortsighted nationalist Afrikaners, his extreme racial politics worked excellently, at least in the short term, although totally at the cost of the Blacks. Ultimately his vision, promises and manipulations not only failed the NP, but also all the Afrikaners. The backlash by the Blacks after 1994 erased to a great extent many of his racist wrongdoings, but the psychological and physical estrangements he brought between Black and White seems to have become permanent, making the Afrikaners today outcasts with a limited knowledge of South Africa’s indigenous realities.2,3,11
22.214.171.124 JB Vorster
Vorster, a president of the old South Africa, was an agitator for Nazism in his younger days and was interned by the Smuts regime to curb his undermining political activities in the country during the war.
His Terrorism Act highlighted his Nazi-draconian and authoritarian mindset. In terms of this act the South African police could at any time arrest anyone without stating reasons and they could suspend Habeas Corpus for 180 days. The act conferred unlimited authority on the arresting official. Detainees could be held in solitary confinement without visitors or reading and writing material. The arrestee could on the termination of the 180 days be rearrested for another period of 180 days if the police deemed it necessary.3
Vorster’s political behaviour was very similar to that of the SS and the Gestapo, only two decades later and outside the borders of Nazi Germany. Although he tried to establish ties with various African leaders, his government also failed to introduce the Afrikaners to any African realities.
- The post-Vorster leaders of the NP
Looking back at the examples set by Malan, Verwoerd and Vorster, there can be no doubt how, where and from whom the ordinary nationalist Afrikaners learned White supremacy, the practice of racial discrimination and the tendency to dissociate themselves from Blacks from the 1920s onwards. Regarding Malan, Strydom and Verwoerd’s political teachings and doctrines, there can be no doubt where they found in some way the inspiration for their political dogma: Hitler and the Nazis.
To declare the post-Vorster-period of NP-leaders’ and –members’ thinking and behaviour free from the authoritarian and racial political policy as practiced by the Malan-to-Vorster-leaderships is wrong: the political ideology preached and practiced under Vorster, had continued. P W Botha shows throughout his political life his authoritarian NP-orientated racial-inclinations. Indeed, as a disciple of D F Malan he learned and internalised a lot of the NP-AB-doctrine. Although F W de Klerk, a minister in Botha’s cabinet, activated the dismantling of apartheid, he underwrites till 1990 as a member of the NP – and before his seemingly Damascus Enlightenment and political conversion – fully apartheid in all its negative consequences for Blacks. This political inclination was home-and family-bred. His father, Jan de Klerk, a nominated senator, was a minister in the Strydom- and Verwoerd-cabinets and a stalwart apartheid-preacher and –practitioner himself. More, de Klerk Senior was the brother-in-law of J G Strydom, the prime-minister of South Africa after D F Malan. How much it can be debated, F W de Klerk, notwithstanding his receiving of the Nobel-prize for Peace and his political self-crucifixion in the eyes of many South Africans and the international public to dismantle apartheid, undoubtedly benefited over a broad terrain and in long term from the pre-1994 NP-reign. He is direct and indirect as much collectively guilty to apartheid’s mal-behaviours as Malan, Srydom, Vorster, his father Jan de Klerk and Botha are: No-one can escape his past, also not De Klerk Junior. About the political and humanitarian guilt to apartheid’s wrongdoing of the last leader of the NP, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, there is little to say in this political condemnation and pinpointing of NP-culpability: he was a political non-account in Afrikaner-politics and a short lived leader.
126.96.36.199 Plentiful autocrats like Adolf Hitler
Various researchers3,22,31 offers an excellent description of Hitler and the NP-AB leadership’s mental functioning. They shared elements such as their ability to easily motivate masses of ordinary citizens to follow their leadership and doctrines blindly and unquestioningly. In the case of the Afrikaner leaders, there was the successful implementation of the doctrine of apartheid for many years; their establishment of segregation so that the Blacks, notwithstanding centuries of living in the same country, remained complete strangers for the Afrikaners; their successful radical economical transformation of the Afrikaners at the cost of Blacks and their successful state capturing after 1948.3,22,31 Boon’s description on autocrats and the mental functioning of Hitler is of such importance in helping to understand the modern Afrikaners’ politically deviant behaviour during apartheid that I quote it at length 31, p. 69:
Autocrats will not be keen to draw on the analogy between themselves and such a heinous individual as Hitler. However, Hitler was a dictator and an autocrat. To the German people he was presented as a saviour, someone to look up to and to follow out of the terrible depression of the 1930s. People wanted to follow him – he was charismatic, charming and convincing. But that was his public image. Behind the scenes he was ruthless. He cared nothing for the German people or their wishes. He only fed them with what they wanted for as long as it satisfied his personal needs and objectives. He created the Gestapo to eradicate any resistance to his ideology.
At a senior level Hitler behaved very differently. He was utterly and openly dictatorial. There was genuine conflict among his senior leaders, to the point where some of his general staff attempted to kill him in 1944.
As an autocrat, charismatic as he was, he used song, charm and rousing speeches to instil unbelievable pride in the German people. Because he made them feel good about themselves and gave them hope, they loved him. But all of this was designed to foster loyalty to him alone so that he could better achieve his ambitions. Hitler lied to the people all the time. When ambition is coupled with dishonesty, one finds the evil of autocracy.
Hitler did not share his real goals with the people. He did not stand on a podium and talk of murder and genocide. Instead, he talked of love and care for the ordinary German people. This is the kind of thing that makes autocracy so dangerous. The autocrat is unassailable and need not even share his visions. People are therefore never empowered, and rely entirely on the autocrat. ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’
3.2 Afrikaners’ negative life experiences and lost opportunities to better South Africa▼
It must be conceded in all honesty that the proto-Afrikaner and later the Afrikaner were exposed to many negative and unfavourable life experiences and examples from 1652 onwards. This created the tendency to feel that injustices have been committed towards them and attitudes of hatred towards others. They were conditioned to form negative racial attitudes and to shy away from contact with the Blacks.
Since the 1900s there were several opportunities to incorporate Black South Africans into the White governmental system successfully. They could also have been included in the Afrikaners’ personal and social lives, but Afrikaners ignored South African indigenous realities and the fate awaiting them as indigenous Whites in South Africa. They were politically and emotionally blinded by their purified nationalist Afrikaner leaders’ doctrine (which became stronger from the 1930s). They also clung to unsustainable selfish political rights and privileges.
The first opportunity was the founding of a federation instead of a union in 1910. Although the idea of a confederation of states like that of the United States of America (USA) instead of a union was initially favoured, this plan was short-sightedly abandoned after political manipulation (see 3.1 on the role players and their intentions). The negative consequences of this decision not to accept a federation for the Whites, especially the Afrikaners, were enormous. First, the concentration of Afrikaners in particular provinces, like the Orange Free State, could have empowered them. Second, the further division of the provinces in terms of tribes and their particular territories could have led to a variety of racially orientated federal states inside the confederation by awarding equal federal areas to the Afrikaner, the Coloureds, the Zulu, the Venda, etc. This outcome would have prevented the racial friction that resulted from the union. This would also have eliminated the competition with the Blacks for resources since federal states would have guaranteed the equality of the citizens. This competition was a strong driver in the implementation of racial discrimination. The Afrikaner would also have had the opportunity to grow out of their racial fears in a less racially laden environment where the communication and interaction between races would have been less influenced by the doctrines authoritarian racist leaders. The structure of a federation would from have made it difficult for the authoritarian Afrikaner leaders to proclaim their dogmas on race.3,6,12,32,33
In the 1930s there was another opportunity to make a positive turn-around on racial discrimination with full voter’s rights and a confederation of tribal states. Again, the selfish interests of nationalist Afrikaner leaders and their political parties to stay in power with a developing but an unstable Afrikaner nationalism, made reconciliation with the Blacks impossible. This was just a repeat of the continuing denial of South African indigenous realities; realities that had to be solved as fast as possible.2,3,6
The arguments in the 1950s that there is enough room in South Africa for all its’ people and for the peaceful inclusion of the Blacks in the political system were ignored. The Afrikaners took the road of no return regarding reconciliation with the Blacks. Their last opportunity to understand and get to know the Blacks was lost. In this vacuum the Blacks unofficially took up the position as master of South African politics, ignoring the Afrikaners.
When the NP and its NP-AB leadership promulgated the laws that made up grand apartheid in the hope that it would assure Afrikaner supremacy through state capture and management of the “Black-problem”, the “doors of reason” of even politically moderate Blacks closed on the Afrikaner. His fate as an obstruction to sound interracial relations and an uninvited and “an unwelcome White colonist” in South Africa was sealed. At present, there are few opportunities in South Africa for the Afrikaner to accept the indigenous realities and to make good with the Blacks. The Blacks regard the Afrikaner as the stranger who they don’t want to know.3,6,12,33
▲Cross-references: see Part 2, subdivisions 3.1.3 and 3.1.5.
4.1 The Afrikaner’s failure to “read” the future and to accept indigenous realities
4.1.1 The early indigenous realities and visions of JC Smuts and JBM Hertzog
One of the main failures of the Afrikaners was that they could not “read” their future in South Africa correctly. This statement does not refer to the Siener van Rensburg fantasies that so commonly beset the minds of some Afrikaners, but rather to hard facts of the South African economical, social, racial and political realities. JC Smuts spelled out the reality of Blacks and Whites and the Afrikaner’s future possession of the (their) South African territory [the Union of South Africa and later the Republic of South Africa (RSA)] as a whole when he said in 1908 on the eve of Convention to found the union, that the Blacks were here before the Whites. The implication of this comment is that Whites have illegally occupied their territory. This means that repossession is emminent; a South African reality for Smuts that will still happen in the future, notwithstanding the ideologies of purified Afrikaner leaders like Malan and Verwoerd of an everlasting Afrikaner South Africa.3,34,35
This South African indigenous reality was central in the mindset of Smuts, but definitely not in the mindset of the ordinary nationalist Afrikaners, whose thinking on the Blacks were guided and driven by exclusive Afrikaner realities (or better: unrealities). There views were steered by ideas such as permanent White supremacy and Black subordination and inferiority developed over centuries. The return of the South Africa territory as a whole to the Blacks in 1994 would be an understandable and an unavoidable fact for the ordinary nationalist Afrikaner if his thinking about the future was based on a sound understanding of the South African indigenous reality.
The 1994 dispensation was a logical and predictable outcome based on a South African reality. When JBM Hertzog said in the 1920s that the Blacks will one day become “equally civilised” to the White civilisation and that the Blacks would then swamp the Whites in South Africa, he was referring to a reality. This explosion of the Black civilisation to “equality,” suppressed for decades by apartheid (but in real life unknowingly promoted by the Afrikaner with his separate development and the progress of the impoverished Blacks on various terrains), indeed happened in 1994 when the Black civilisation seemingly “overtook” the Afrikaner civilisation. This specific African reality observed by Hertzog, but denied by the ordinary nationalist Afrikaner (and masterly concealed by the NP-AB leaders), not led only to the repossession of all of South Africa by the Blacks, but it also permanently annulled the Afrikaner’s “baasskap” (or in more finessed words: guardianship and trusteeship as the ordinary nationalist Afrikaners liked to call it) over the Blacks in South Africa. The Afrikaners did not in the 1020s foresee this nullifying of their “baasskap.” They thought they would have indemnity from any Black reaction and revenge in the future.3
Hertzog furthermore warned when this “equality” of the two civilisations manifested, the White civilisation in South Africa would start to disappear. It is exactly what started to happen from 1994 with the Afrikaners, with all the Whites as a unit, in South Africa. However, in 2017 it seems as if this South African reality is still not embedded in the mindset of many ordinary nationalist Afrikaners. There is still the belief that they might regain political power through some manoeuvre and will be restored as the everlasting Afrikaner, standing out in the world’s history.3,9,10,36
Smuts and Hertzog clearly outlined the path (and South African reality) that the Afrikaners should have taken to the future from 1902 up to 1994 to avoid their fixed destination. It also shows that the empire building and false Afrikaner nationalism imprinted in Afrikaners by their nationalist Afrikaner leaders under the umbrella of patriotism to guide Afrikaners into apartheid thinking, failed. The primary aim was to change their doomed route and to keep nationalist Afrikaners lifelong in power. Today such ideas are laughed at as a political joke because it is so unrealistic (In Africa all the European states that tried to do the same thing in their colonies had dolefully failed and left the continent long ago). The Afrikaner, it seems, will continue on this journey and it will result in the dissolution of the Afrikaner tribe by 2117. This is a South African reality that the ordinary nationalist Afrikaner have not yet figured out.3,9.12,37,38
Smuts’3 insight in the future in the early 1900s (although he himself ultimately did nothing constructive to solve the Afrikaners’ lack of insight into South Africa’s realities) is echoed by his honest view that the Black-White issue will only be solved in the far future when he said at that time that it is an “intolerable burden” that only “the ampler shoulders and the stronger brains” of the future can solve3. The later NP regime lacked this insight and this contributed to their downfall in 1994. The problem has not been solved yet. Blacks have succeeded in liberating themselves from the oppression, but the race problem has now only shifted. Instead of the “Black problem” it is now the “Afrikaner problem”.2-4,12,20,24,32,39
The Blacks quickly realized that such a foolish system can not contain them. The 1994 dispensation and the transfer of Afrikaners’ political power to the Blacks took place without a single shot being fired; a South African reality which the ordinary nationalist Afrikaner did not consider or think of ever before the 1990s, basically because they thought that it was just impossible that it could ever happen. Even a revolution was seemingly outside their frame of reference.9,20,21,38
Giliomee anxiously warned in 1988 about military counter-actions by the Afrikaners against Blacks in the event of a change of regime2, p. 4: “Should its own political dominance be threatened Afrikanerdom may well unleash a ‘scorched earth’ policy. It will destroy the modern infrastructure, demolish industry and explode the edifice of civilised rule and orderly government – and take as many Blacks down with it as possible”. However, the mighty Afrikaners their systems and institutions simply started after 1994 to collapse. This also proved Zille wrong in her over-estimation of the military and political power and the influences of the right-wing nationalist Afrikaners as an uniform group who would run down Blacks when she warned in the late 1980s23, p. 4: “One thing at least seems clear: the right wing is a serious obstacle in the way of South Africa’s transition to a society beyond apartheid. The Right is no paper tiger”. Today the Afrikaners are nothing more than a nuisance for the ANC.
4.1.2 The Afrikaners’ unwillingness to confront South African indigenous realities
It is open question whether Afrikaners ever developed a true Afrikaner nationalism and whether they ever reached the final stage of a real tribe (especially the Afrikaner segments of Transvaal and the Free State after their psychological ordeal during and after the Second Anglo Boer War). Have they ever overcome the negative impact of the great diversity in the Afrikaners’ political thinking, education and culture that existed from 1902 between the various Afrikaner groups? Did the nationalist Afrikaners ever try to see the larger South African reality and to understand themselves within that context? It seems as if the Afrikaners over time also adopted a certain selfish materialism. The Afrikaners became so preoccupied with their own suffering and financial struggles and their later power, that they lost contact with South Africa’s realities and with the existence of the other large civilisations inside South Africa besides the limited Afrikaner realities that were based on a false “Afrikaner empire” and “Afrikaner nation.”2-4,12,20,32,39
The nationalist Afrikaner leadership ultimately failed to transform the various groups of Afrikaners (and their own unique realities) into a true nation to reach true Afrikaner nationalism, basically because these role players failed to position themselves inside the greater South African reality that in the 1900s set the rules for Black government in 1994. The ordinary nationalist Afrikaner, it seems, became more and more driven by empty public political rhetoric based on exclusive Afrikaner realities, like that of Hertzog in 1911 and other prominent NP leaders such as Malan in the 1930s. All rhetoric was cleansed from South African realities to make sense to the Afrikaners. The Afrikaners never regarded it as important to think about their future within the greater South Africa. They assumed the permanence of Afrikaner rule. This short-sightedness has lasted for so long that even modern Afrikaners struggle to consider their place within South Africa.2-4,6,11,32.33
4.1.3 The indigenous realities of Black numbers and ultimate Black rule
The Afrikaners’ failure to think about their future was not just an innocent mistake. Leaders adhered to a policy of deliberately ignoring and concealing facts from the general public. They especially did not communicate the fact that the Black population would ultimately swallow the Afrikaners. In the early 1900s the ratios of Whites to Blacks in South Africa was 1 to 3 and people like Hertzog already warned then that the Blacks would outnumber the Whites and that Whites should address this But the 1913, 1923 and 1936 legislation on the “Black question” only addressed it superficially, as if it was not a South African reality that had to be addressed immediately and critically. The laws were aimed at ensuring the continuation of White supremacy, nothing more. It never occurred to the Afrikaners that this was not rational or realistic. They did not notice the increase in the Black population and showed immigrants the door because they feared sharing their resources and allowing people in who may not vote for them. They were more concerned with giving White women the right to vote that with increasing the White population or actually solving the underlying problems. 3,33,39-44
The Afrikaners were too short-sighted to see that the numbers of the Black population was getting out of control when viewed in relation to White numbers. Indicators of this trend emerged early. In 1804 the Cape Colony’s population was: 25 757 Whites, 29 545 slaves and 20 006 Hottentots. This implied 25 757 Whites against 49 551 non-Whites (ratio: 1 to 2). In Cape Town itself the non-Whites were the majority with 6 273 Whites against 9 129 slaves and 452 Hottentots (6 273 against 9 581 or a ratio of 2: 3). The 1904 statistics reflect 1 116 805 Whites, 3 491 056 Blacks, 445 228 Coloureds and 122 734 Indians (ratio: nearly 1 to 4). The 1911 census showed 1 276 000 Whites against 4 000 000 Blacks, 525 000 Coloureds and 152 000 Indians. In totals this means 1 276 000 Whites against 4 677 000 non-Whites (ratio: nearly 1 to 4). In other words, the ration doubled from 1804 to 1911.33,41-44
The census of 1936 shows a growth in the Afrikaner population compared to the English-speaking Whites (1 121 000: 783 000). Afrikaners were 56% of the total White population, and the ratio Afrikaners versus English-speaking South Africans were as follows: age groups 7 to 21 years, 64.6% versus 35.4%, under 7 years, 68.2% versus 31.8%. This comparison of Afrikaners with White English-speaking South Africans steered attention away from the population statistics of the greater South African society and the Black statistics specifically. When comparing White statistics with Black statistics, the 1936 census reflected 2 000 000 Whites, 6 500 000 Blacks, 750 000 Coloureds and 219 000 Indians [(meaning 2 000 000 Whites against 7 469 000 non-Whites (ratio: nearly 1 to 4)].33,41-44
Although the ratio stayed the same from 1911 to 1936 (25 years), the numbers of the Blacks increased from 4 million in 1911 to 6.5 million in 1936 (growth 2.5 million) and the Whites from 1 276 000 to 2 000 000 (increase of only 724 000). The 1960 statistics show 3 088 492 Whites, 10 928 264 Blacks, 1 509 258 Coloureds and 477 125 Indians (ratio: 1 to 4). Fifty-one years later, in 2011, the numbers were as follows: 4 586 838 Whites, 41 000 938 Blacks, 4 615 401 Coloureds and 1 286 930 Indians (ratio Whites to non-Whites: 1 to 10). From 2011 the Coloureds passed the Whites as the second largest race group. The hopelessness of the Afrikaner’s case in terms of numbers in the new South Africa is evident from the 2015 statistics of the Afrikaner and Whites in the new South Africa. In 2015 the Whites were estimated to be 4 534 000 against 44 228 000 Blacks, 4 832 000 Coloureds and 1 362 000 Indians. The ratio of Whites to non-Whites is more or less 1 to 11.33,41-44
The final nail in the coffin for those nationalist Afrikaners who still cling to their empire is their fast decrease in numbers. The White population (which includes the Afrikaners) has become an old population, lacking young people to assure growth. Where in 2016 the ratio for Black persons under 16 years to persons over 60 years was 100:20, this ratio for Whites was 100:130. This imbalance will increase over the next five years as more young Whites are leaving South Africa permanently and the high concentration of the elderly is growing. Statistics indicate that the Afrikaners may decrease to between 1% and 3% of the total population in 30 to 40 years from now, leaving a remnant of less than 1 million Afrikaners against an estimated 70 million Blacks in South Africa. As a very small minority group, their influence and empowerment will be zero. The Afrikaners are primarily responsible for this situation themselves because of the decrease in birth rate as well as the high rate of emmigration of younger Afrikaners.44-48
The estimated growth of the South African Black population for the period up to 2110 is lower than the rest for Africa but it is still estimated that the growth may be between two to five times the 2015 numbers. This would mean that the total Blacks population for 2110 may be 100 million. The Whites have shown a constant decline in numbers for many years, which can make them an absolutely insignificant group in 2110 in South Africa with a possible ratio of 1 to 30 or more to the Blacks.33,40-43, 48
4.2 Cultural assimilation versus biological assimilation
The Afrikaners were indeed in denial during in the early 1900s about the reality that the Blacks were waiting in silence to gobble them up from 2011. In this regard they also failed to hear the sound warning of historians, anthropologists and socialists to be realistic, that when two opposite peoples meet in the same living area, the weaker one is always over-powered by the stronger one. The weaker group with either have no influence on the new society, or will be absorbed by the stronger culture to such an extent that the weaker culture has no effect on the stronger one’s culture. The other option is that a new society develops after a process of adaptation and intermingling between the various elements of the initial groups. The groups ultimately disappear in a new social unity. The process of integration activates one or more of these outcomes, mostly very slowly and insignificantly, but comprehensively in the end.33,39
For South Africa, with its complex multiracial society and Blacks increasing in numbers from the early 1900s, the long-term intent and reality of this process has only one way to go, as Prof RFA Hoernlé predicted39, p. 9: “firstly cultural assimilation, followed by economical assimilation, social assimilation coupled to political assimilation, ending in biological assimilation”. Stress and conflict are part of this transformation, especially in the stages of socio-political and biological assimilation. These are stresses and conflicts that the Afrikaners have already been experienced since the 1990s.
The view of Hoernlé39 was echoed by the Tomlinson commission in 195539, showing that there was only one of two choices left for the Afrikaner in his South African reality: integration or segregation (This finding was much in line with the 1908 Convention to prepare for the Constitution of the union). At that time the Tomlinson outcome already clearly indicated that integration was the best option for the country’s people in the long term (as the 1908 Convention also indicated). However, the nationalist Afrikaner never regarded integration and assimilation as an option. They wanted a European solution. This ultimately led to the demise of the NP in 1994. The NP and AB’s top management under the racist leaderships of Malan, Strydom and Verwoerd, ignored the sound Tomlinson advice39 that the Afrikaners should adapt to the South African requirement of a gradual integration to survive in the long term as citizens in South Africa. Instead these leaders continued to believe (or at least reflected it as such to their followers) that their “Afrikaner solution” would bring the necessary solution to the “Black problem.” They successfully concealed the inevitable outcome from their followers with manipulation and political misinformation. Any indications of Afrikaner’s future being endangered as reflected by the Tomlinson outcomes and the Hoernlé guidelines were deposed in public speeches by the nationalist Afrikaners leaders and in NP guidelines as unimportant senselessness. The point of departure was the belief of the NP and AB leaders that the Blacks’ assumed economical, racial and cultural inferiorities, and their alleged African supernatural religion and pre-modern levels of civilisation, are insignificant drivers to make them permanent and dominant role players in the Afrikaner’s South African political and social life. Basically the nationalist Afrikaner in 1908 saw the Blacks as non-entities in an Afrikaner/White society: a persona non-human.39
The results of American and Australian studies that warned about the possible effect of upcoming majorities on the futures of minorities were disregarded as inapplicable in South Africa. The nationalist Afrikaner leadership felt that although the Blacks are the majority in South Africa, their lower cultural level neutralized their power through numbers and that the Blacks were not a reality that could ever disturb the Afrikaner equilibrium. The Afrikaners refused to see the gradual Black empowerment from the 1950s onwards.39
In 1955 the South African greater society was, in terms of the Hoernlé model, already reaching the stage of social assimilation. The 1980s brought the second-last stage, namely political assimilation and the equalization of the Black and White civilisations.6,12,39 The 1994 dispensation confirmed this reality. On the other hand, the 1994 outcome have not yet alerted the individual Afrikaner to South Africa’s realities; specifically the reality that Afrikaners are at present entering the final stage in the South African political equalization, namely biological assimilation into the Black population and therefore dissolution.
The Afrikaner cannot escape this process of dissolution and the harsh South African realities that the year 2017 has brought. However, Afrikaners seem to be oblivious to this South African reality.
4.3. Nationalist Afrikaner leaders’ deceit on Black indigenous realities
The nationalist Afrikaner leaders knew in the 1930s that there would ultimately be black rule in South Africa. The convention in 1908 to form the union showed that the Black problem was already South Africa’s biggest problem and needed urgent attention.3 In the 1910s and the 1930s there were only two choices with regard to the “Black question”:
- to prolong White supremacy and the short-lived comfort of the Afrikaners for as long as possible before it is followed by the total and fast collapse of the Afrikaner empire and its possible dissolution; or
- an immediate incorporation of the Blacks in the socio-politics of the country, together with a gradual transfer political rights, leading to an early curtailing of the Afrikaner’s life of comfort, but the possibly of socio-political survival and the avoidance of dissolution.
Apartheid was not an accidental phenomenon, it was artificially created to protect the interest of the Afrikaner, despite the fact that Black rule was a given from the start. The Afrikaner nationalist leaders DF Malan and HF Verwoerd at times acknowledged “Black danger” as a chronic problem, but they did nothing (besides using it as a lever to gain votes). JC Smuts and JBM Hertzog did not do anything positive and failed the test of immediate constructive and pro-active actions to remedy discrimination and racism in terms of human rights and the Christianity that they as Afrikaners and nationalist Afrikaners publically prided themselves in. This failure to react was basically a fear of the consequences at the ballot box (which happened to Smuts in 1948). Short-sightedness, opportunism and selfishness were sometimes stronger motivators in the political thinking of many of the prominent Afrikaner leaders than wise reasoning and decisions.2,3,9,11,20
Afrikaners failed to be productive and industrious and in their search for financial empowerment, they allowed the economical considerations to outweigh their socio-cultural and political independence and self-rule. Hoernlé and Tomlinson show this South African reality, which completely escaped the Afrikaners. The Afrikaner ultimately surrendered their territory in 1994. This breakdown of power, activated by Black economics, already started in 1658 with the introduction of slavery at the Cape by the proto-Afrikaners, followed gradually by the entrance of the Black labour into White territories to suit the Whites. Indicators in 1913, 1923 and 1936 regarding Black landownership and citizen rights, as well as the 1955 Tomlinson Commission’s findings that the “Black question” is an unavoidable disaster awaiting the Afrikaner in the future, were blindly and bluntly ignored. This was basically a direct outcome of the nationalist Afrikaners’ refusal to acknowledge the South African reality of Black rule for South Africa from as far back as the Great Trek, the Union of South Africa and the establishment of the republic.2,33,39,49 The Arabian proverb: “arrogance diminishes wisdom”, declares this failure the best.
4.4 The unavoidable realities of 2017
4.4.1. “Forever happy South Africa”
The Afrikaner should consider a few realities. They should be aware of their deteriorating political, social, personal and economical position, the daily build-up of political rhetoric and hostility from the side of Black politicians and leaders against the Afrikaners and the slow collapse of the country since 1994. They should not forget about the tragic experiences of the Jews from 1938 to 1948 in an assumed “Happy Greater Europe,” leaving nearly 60% of their total population dead. There are correlations in the European and South African realities that the Afrikaner can not and must not ignore when considering a “Forever happy South Africa” that many opportunists belief awaits.8
The South African period of Black-on-Black genocide from 1810 to 1840 during which more than 1 million Blacks were murdered and 28 Black tribes annulled and the Afrikaners’ own experience of genocide by the British from 1899 to 1902 in Transvaal and the Free State, must serve as a warning that they can find themselves inside such a renewed genocide of even be the focus. Africa has a tragic track record for genocide. Excellent examples are the present murderous outcomes in Sudan, Mali, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Algeria, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Basically is there not a single African state has not experienced some form of internal conflict based on ethnicity or race in the past, since 1960 or at present. Afrikaners should be reminded of the murdering of Whites in the old Belgium Congo in July 1960 after its independence. There is also the inhumane treatment and murder of White farmers and Blacks from the same ethnic groups as the murderers the last decade or two in neighbouring Zimbabwe under the regime of Robert Mugabe.20,31,33,50-56
It is important to remember that many African countries tend to default on good government. The outstanding academic, Prof Francis Wilson, describes this African reality on governmental failure well. According to him it is mostly due to poor leadership and management that are chronic characteristics of the new South Africa. He writes57, p. 14: “If we look at the 12 most southern countries of Africa and as where each was in 1960 and where each hoped to be 50 years later, we find that many which were hopeful have failed dismally, while two that had the worst prospects, Botswana and Mauritius, have done remarkably well. This is due to several factors but common to all countries is one fact: the quality of leadership. It is this which will determine where we will be 50 years from now”. The constant failure of the ANC regime and its leaders with regard to good and clean governing since 1994 is a strict warning that the next 20 to 50 years can be much worse than the past 20 years for South Africa, and thus also for the Afrikaners. This outcome is a South African reality that must penetrate the narrow-minded mindset of the Afrikaner in their efforts to avoid dissolution in an African setup.20,57
It is also important to remember that history repeats itself. The worst time to live under a regime is when it is starting to crumble, especially when this process takes place slowly. In 2017 the ANC, based on his governing from 1994, seems to be such a regime in making. This makes even their planned or forced assimilation of the Afrikaners into the Black society more impossible by the day. It seems as if new South Africa has reached the point of make or break already. Again, it seems as if most Afrikaners have still not detected this South African reality of chaos.58-62
In reference to above, a successful terrorist organization that changes to a democratic political party and ends up as the people’s government of a country is seldom successful in governance. Extremists, especially with racial, religious, or Marxist inclinations in their politics, belief system, lifestyles and view of human rights, have proven this fact over and over. Stalin’s mass murder in Russia and the Assad family’s cold-blooded regime in Syria are of the world’s best examples. Also the military interference and intervening by the US in political so called “unstable” countries like Afghanistan, Iraqu and Syria and their murdering of hundred thousands of innocent Islamic believers in these countries under the false cover of American/Western democracy, can also awaits Afrikaners in South Africa when the ANC-regime collapse under political unrest and anarchy. Remember: the ANC was an organization of terrorists (now called “freedom fighters”) who now have to be the honourable citizens in the new South Africa, a virtue to which they not always fulfilled too. Especially the arriving recently of the “Zumpta-era” spells possible disaster.8,63-66
Staying on too long in South Africa, especially when the number of the Afrikaner population has decreased below 1 million, can be risky. The opportunities to leave will then also be far less and just too expensive for an impoverished Afrikaner, especially the older generation. Afrikaners have to do constructive and strategic thinking and planning based on the South African realities to safeguard them for survival and for the early detection of genocidal thinking directed at them. Many European nations in the 1940s saw the Jews as a “Jews question,” a problem that is unsolvable even by full assimilation or miscegenation. It could in their view only be solved by the complete dissolution of the Jews as a nation. The Greek, Armenian and Ukrainian “problems” in the 1940s were also addressed with the same savageness.8,63
These tragic Armenian, Greek, Jewish and Ukrainian fates can suddenly await the Afrikaner as the last White tribe of “colonists” in Africa. It is time for the Afrikaner to learn to understand and to master the reality of Blacks, South Africa and Africa and to make place with it. This will better his chances to survive in South Africa.8,63
4.4.2. The Afrikaners’ everlasting curse▼
The “Afrikaners’ curse”, as cemented into their existence by the Herodotus curse67 also constantly hangs over the Afrikaner’s head. Not assimilation or miscegenation worked in biblical times or in modern times to prevent revenge and genocide. Genocide is complicated, unpredictable and unexpected. It starts suddenly and is focused. Even if they live in total isolation in various Orania enclaves, the Afrikaner will not be free from genocide. The Afrikaner must note this. To say68, p. par. 20/61: “Apartheid is gone and Afrikaners are, in the world’s eyes, no longer the bad guys and we must not get stuck in that area. We cannot live with a guilt complex or as hostages of the past…” as propagated by a sector of Afrikaners, is naive and inappropriate. It is a misguided idea that reflects a lack of understanding of the present reality.
Above reflection is a selective disremembering about one’s own past of political wrongdoings and of a country’s inherent political- and racial-instability that were already present before the start-up of the Cape Settlement in 1652. Most of all, it is an evidence of a lack of political knowledge of the Herodotus Rules on injustices, prejudices, hate and revenges, and thus an inability to understand the processes around genocide by over-eager (and sometimes false) propagandists of the “Sacred Afrikaner Race” who still belief the Afrikaners have a calling to spread Christianity and civilisation as well as to preserve the nationhood God ordained for them. Again this reflects the Afrikaners inability to read and to understand the realities of South Africa.23,67,69,70
▲Cross-references: see Part 3, subdivision 3.1.1.
4.4.3 The White problem
After 1994, the “Black problem”, “Coloured problem” and “Indian problem” disappeared. The Whites, including the Afrikaners, have become the “White problem” in the eyes of the ANC regime (this surely reminds the Afrikaner of the “Jewish problem” of the 1930s and their own wrongdoing in those events). The “Afrikaner problem” is presently addressed by means of the ANC’s well-managed policy of anti-White rhetoric and actions embedded in and guided by various pieces of legislation, like AA, EE, and BEE.
In order to survive these growing anti-White actions, the Afrikaners have to take a critical look at the various South African realities like their own radical economical transformation and state capture in the distant past. They have to make peace with certain events that do not always favour the Afrikaners. Many Afrikaners are still unaware that they are the main “problem” at the moment, a problem that occupies the minds of many Blacks. Contrary to the nationalist Afrikaners who had constantly and deliberately ignored the Black problem, the Blacks are clearly not ignoring the White problem. It seems as if they are going to addressed it properly, possibly not always positively.15,60,62
However, to think that the Afrikaners history is replete with their racial discrimination against Blacks is wrong: there is also a significant tradition of non-racialism towards Blacks in the leadership of various South African organizations that opposed apartheid. To argue that a specific skin colour determines specific political thinking and that only an oppressive White minority or only an oppressive Black majority can govern the country means that a non-racial democracy is impossible. Such thinking dooms the Afrikaners. However, the fact that some (although a small number) Afrikaners could successfully bridge the racial gap in supporting Blacks against the majority of nationalist Afrikaners, means that other Afrikaners can also do it in the future. This would not only make a non-racial democracy possible, but also cleanse the history from the self-fulfilling hypothesis of apartheid as an exclusive Afrikaner racial intention and disposition. The basis here is that these dissident Afrikaners acted as individuals and were received into the Black community and politics as individuals. For those the Afrikaners dislodging from their authoritarian group and leaders and becoming individuals who think for themselves, this cross-over seems to be natural, neutralizing the elements of race and class in New South Africa. This can change the “Afrikaner problem” in the mindsets of Blacks from negative to positive. It can be the beginning of a “new Afrikaner” inside a “new nationalist South African movement” who has drawn a line between himself and the traditional Afrikaner of the apartheids era.7,10,31
Berger and Godsell are perhaps not over-optimistic when they write about a future South Africa in which the Afrikaners are also role players7, p. 298: “Neither paradise nor Armageddon awaits South Africa. Instead, a slow and often painful march towards modernity is on the agenda. A non-racial democracy and prosperous society is possible. South Africans simply have to make it happen”. The “new Afrikaners” can be part of these South Africans.
4.4.4 Was colonialism and Afrikanerism a godsend?
British colonialism served the Blacks and the Afrikaners well, notwithstanding negative emotional rhetoric on the matter. Goodness in a stormy political setup is seldom rewarded by thanks from the sufferer. Good intentions and help are seldom acknowledged by the receivers. Political ambitions and aggression close the wronged mind to remember events that can influence it to do good, but instead focuses on evil done to mankind. Colonialism undoubtedly brought much suffering to the indigenous people of South Africa, but it also benefited the country’s people. British colonialism brought with it early stage school education, healthcare and infrastructure like roads, dams, political networks, buildings, administrations, as well as exposure to new knowledge and expertise, open doors to new worlds and cultures. British missions played a strong leading role, especially in political support of Black activists and the creation of a strong leadership to challenge the Afrikaner’s racial politics and discrimination. Without the early colonial support, Blacks would have never reached the 1994 political transfer. Helen Zille was correct about the benefits of colonialism to all South Africans, Blacks and Whites, including herself. All political systems have pros and cons; to retract a system’s inputs after a century or more is basically impossible. To see only the utmost negative and the wrong, as opportunistic anti-colonial activists and Black politicians do with British colonialism at present, is evidence of the political immaturity and purblind that characterize the behaviour of many inside the ANC.16,49,71-74
Afrikanernism also served the Blacks of South Africa. It put them on the road to self-development, the regaining of their previous identity and self-respect. It offered schools and tertiary education, leadership development, it drained the central government’s coffers to sustain corrupt homelands and wronged the ordinary Afrikaners financially to benefit Blacks. It offered the incoming ANC a sound and comprehensive infrastructure on schools, healthcare, etc., to build on when they took over in 1994.23,73.74
Looking back to 1994 and the impact of the ANC regime on South African up to 2017, it is a massive failure: basically all the previously well-established systems are in pieces. In retropective, it seems as if colonialism and Afrikanerism were godsends to many Blacks in the early times, helping them to reach heights that they failed to reach in the past or even today after 1994.
The Afrikaners can be criticized for failing to understand, accept and appropriate South African realities. However, their egocentric thinking on what was good for Blacks and the implementation of these things in the lives of Blacks during apartheid brought enormously benefits for many Blacks. Many of these successes of Afrikanerism seem to be of a more lasting quality than many of the ANC regime’s post-1994 liberated actions, even that of British colonialism.
Black activists seem to forget that they are themselves in a colonial political and financial structure as old as the British occupation of the Cape of 1795. The majority of Blacks are allowing the country to be governed present-day by a self-serving minority in the name of the masses.76
To say that the present-day Afrikaners are in the worst crisis in their history is a falsity. The devastating Second Anglo Boer War brought a belief of totally loss in the 1910s to the majority Northern Afrikaners. They doubted the continuation of the Afrikaners as a specific indigenous cultural group in South Africa. This crisis was of such intensity that JC Smuts called it the darkest time in the old Boer republics history ever.2,3 The 1980s political turmoil in South Africa and the in-fighting between the left- and right-wing Afrikaner factions about the political road further, was viewedd as something that can destroy Afrikanerdom.11,23 The journalist and writer, later politician, Helen Zille, writes about this23, p. 63: “Afrikaners (and South African whites in general) are facing the greatest moment of crisis in their history”.
It is now more than a century after the Second Anglo Boer War and nearly 40 years after the 1980s Afrikaner right wing’s despair and the Afrikaners are still here, riding out crisis after crisis since 1994. To say that the Afrikaners are before their biggest challenge, that is perhaps correct and true. What is now of importance is what the Afrikaners are going to do with and make of this challenge in the immediate future.2,3,23
The toxic impurities of selfish thinking and opportunism that can penetrate the minds of the White man and which in the end can destroy him – the evil political toxin that the economist John Maynard Keynes8, p.5had so dearly warned the White man against more than a century ago – also infested the ordinary nationalist Afrikaner’s mind. This makes his political rehabilitation and establishment as a future role player in new South Africa, notwithstanding his indigenousness, very difficult. But most importantly, clinging to and believing in outdated Afrikaner realities and lacking political growth and maturity cripple the Afrikaner, just like Ferguson’s White man of 1901 in Europe.8 It was therefore logical that the Afrikaner would fail as a ruler and in the act of becoming a a well-respected member of the greater South African indigenous society.2-4,6,8,11,12,33
The Afrikaners’ insufficient knowledge of South Africa’s indigenous realities left him without any armour to address the demands and requirements of South Africa if they want to stay on here. It is thus time for the Afrikaner to confront these many demands and realities, but to do that an honest and comprehensive self-valuation of his cognitive, cultural, economical, political and racial context is first urgently needed. This means in practice a re-evaluation of Afrikanerism’s frame of reference, thinking and functioning. A total departure from Afrikanerism is prefereable. It is only in this way that they can hope to obtain a place in the new and future South Africa.2,4,20,21,32
The efforts by various nationalist Afrikaner leaders since the 1880s to secure solidarity and security for the proto-Afrikaners and Afrikaners as2, p. 12: “indigenous people occupying a common territory, having a common language, vigorous culture and proud history, identified by a common name and sharing consciousness of kind,” supported by their propaganda that the Afrikaners can realize their full human potential only “through identification with and service of the volk” and not through “individual self-assertion,” failed miserably when this unrealistic dogma of Afrikanerism mets the hard political realities of the 21st century. However heart-breaking it is, the Afrikaner group’s identity is fast being gobbled up by the stronger Black group’s identity. At this stage it seems only to be the Afrikaner’s individual self-assertion that can hold him up in new South Africa.2,17
Thankfully individual Afrikaners have come long away from the lack of insight of leaders on South African realities. One example is HF Verwoerd’s comment in 1960 in the Cape Parliament78, p. 11: “Ons het ‘n land beset wat kaal is…Ons beskou onsself as deel van die Westerse wêreld…Ons is die skakel. Ons is Wit maar ons is in Afrika.”
It can be catastrophic for the Afrikaners if they allow themselves to be led by such foolish leaders again. There is no “Forever happy South Africa” awaiting the Afrikaners. For this privilege they have to become true “South Africans” and “Africans,” but thankfully Afrikaners are “not Whites from somewhere outside Africa,” as HF Verwoerd erroneously asserted. To the contrary: Afrikaners are indigenous South Africans and Africans from the late 1600s, if not earlier. Historically, the Afrikaners became indigenous when their European umbilical cord was cut in 1707 as the rebellious Hendrik Biebouw or Bibault shouted79, p. 75: “Ik ben een Afrikaander!” during his conflict with the Dutch East Indian Company at the Cape (He seems to be of mixed descent, a so-called “bastard” — but was the Afrikaner not then already a “bastard?”).
The poet, artist and writer Breyten Breytenbach writes79, p. 75: “Bibault’s defiant cry (I am an Afrikaner!) of secession from Dutch law and company sovereignty must have been a leap towards defining another identity. He says: I am beyond your possession. But he also says: You cannot tax me or govern over me since I’m no longer a Dutchman or a Frenchman; I’m of this continent”. But still, notwithstanding their established South African indigenousness, to be accepted as true South Africans and Africans in the new South Africa, Afrikaners have to de-Afrikanerise and have to make an effort to adopt a non-Afrikanerism.2-4,11,24,69,70,79
The settlement of the Afrikaner’s ancestors in 1652 at the Cape of Good Hope was geographically located on a massive African racial faultline. It is a giant demographic sinkhole that, when it opens unexpected more than 350 years later, hungrily started swallowing into its dark depths the psycho-political unprepared and bewildered Afrikaners of South Africa as one of the last two indigenous Whites tribes of Africa (with the Tuaregs being the other “White African” tribe). But this unpreparedness and bewilderment are the Afrikaners own fault. It was cause primarily by their unwillingness to understand, accept and appropriate the indigenous realities of South Africa into their Afrikanerism.1-3,20,21,79
It remains to be seen if the Afrikaner can take on the challenge and make the leap from a “bewildered Afrikaner” to a “very happy African.” To succeed, the Afrikaner has to take to heart the words of the human rights activist and academic, Mamphele Ramphele, when she says80, p. 20: “Embracing shared values would enable us to reconnect as fellow citizens and build trust and productivity as economic actors”.
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Not commissioned. Externally peer-reviewed.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The author declares that he has no competing interest.
The research was funded by the Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Arts, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.