Gabriel P Louw
Research Associate, Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa
Prof. Dr. GP Louw; MA (UNISA), PhD (PU for CHE), DPhil (PU for CHE), PhD (NWU)
Keywords: appraisal, black, executive, history, leaders, performance, political, profile, regime, white.
Ensovoort, volume 40 (2019), number 4: 1
At the end of 1794, France invaded Holland and in January 1795, they captured Amsterdam. As a result, the monarch, the Prince of Orange, fled to England. In Holland the Patriot Party came to an agreement with the French Republic in May 1795 and took over power to create the Batavian Republic, for all intents and purposes a vassal state of the French. The Prince of Orange, living in exile in England, requested the British government to protect the Cape Colony until he could recover the throne. He wanted to prevent the strategic halfway house falling into the hands of the French. For the British government, this was an excellent opportunity to safeguard their immediate interests in India and they decided to send a fleet of nine vessels. This fleet was under the command of Admiral Sir GK Elphinstone. He was accompanied by a military force sixteen hundred strong under the command of General Sir JH Craig. The fleet reached False Bay in June 1795, and after minimal resistance, the VOC’s force surrendered. Commissioner-General AJ Sluysken, the acting Governor of the Cape, signed the Treaty of Rustenburg on 6 September 1795, handing over the Cape Colony to the British to rule temporarily on behalf of the Prince of Orange. The VOC’s soldiers became prisoners of war, while Sluysken returned to the Netherlands. General Craig acted as governor until May 1797 when he was relieved by the Earl George Macartney.1,2
The total population within the borders of the Cape Colony was as follows at that stage1:37:
- White free burghers numbering 16 000, with more or less 11 000 living in the rural areas and 5 000 living in Cape Town.
- About 1 500 White officials and 1 200 troops.
- Non-White slaves numbering 17 000.
- A KhoiKhoi population of 4 000.
Regarding the European population at the Cape in 1797, the proportion was 50% Dutch, 27% German, 17% French, and other elements representing 6%, mostly Scandinavian.1
1.2 The presence of the civilized world in the form of the British Empire as temporary rulers of the Cape, 1795 to 1803
We already saw in Part 5 of the series that the Cape’s inhabitants were exposed to different commanders and governors of the VOC over the period 1652. In general they brought very little that was positive, but they all had one common feature: they were all Dutch and of the same culture and political orientation as most of the White inhabitants living at the Cape. The inhabitants could address their appeals about wrongdoings by the VOC government and the commander and governors, to organizations that were Dutch, although these appeals mostly went unanswered. As a direct result of the VOC’s mismanagement on many terrains, a culture of lawfulness had developed in the Cape Colony, and this had become entrenched among the White frontiersmen. This made them resistant to stricter governance and order and to the change to a more humane attitudes to the non-Whites. The arrival of the British as temporary rulers meant the end of the VOC. The British had often been at war with the Dutch before this and were directly responsible for the downfall of the VOC’s rule at the Cape with their shipping trade embargos.1-5
The free burghers certainly did not see the British as trustworthy comrades and true partners when they came to the Cape in 1795, especially not the unruly White frontiersmen. Most of all, they did not foresee the collapse of the VOC and its partnership with the Netherlands, opening the door for one of their greatest enemies to become their ruler without a shot being fired. The unpreparedness of the free burghers is reflected in the arrogance of the inhabitants of Graaff-Reinet and Swellendam when they declared themselves “independent” from the Cape, seemingly as part of the Batavian Republic.1-3
On the other hand, the British were interested in expanding their Empire and they had little respect and consideration for different from what they considered their “civilized” culture. Their domination of the globe was equally entrenched in their thinking, and they forced many groups around the world to march to a British tune. They came with an aggressive intent to shape and control the indigenous cultures and people under their control. Those who adopted the British culture were always ultimately still the underdogs. The Europeans of the 1800s, like the British at the Cape, were inclined to distinguish themselves from “other” human beings by taking and consuming a growing share of the world’s goods. They skillfully manipulated the environments in their territories. Roberts4 shows this very well in his research. Self-service, self-enrichment and self-empowerment formed the bases of their British thought and behaviour. They tapped other nations’ resources, potential and human energies by overpowering them. In this way, they created a self-perpetuating wealth, opening up and creating new resources and more wealth at the costs of the oppressed.4
The profits of Congo rubber, Burmese teak or Persian oil would not for a long time be reinvested in those countries. The poor European and American benefited from the low prices of raw materials, and improving morality rates tell the story of an industrial civilization finding it possible to give its peoples a richer life. Even the European peasant could buy cheap manufactured clothes and tools while his contemporaries in Africa and India still lived in the Stone Age.
In the minds of the British, the inhabitants of the Cape Colony were uncivilized. A later reference after the British final occupation of the Cape Colony in the 1800s reveals that the felt obliged to make the people of the backwards Cape Colony acceptable and functional so that they could become part of the mighty British Empire.
Compared to what the British knew as civilized, the Cape Colony indeed did not hold to this standard Roberts writes4:761:
When they looked for it, they tended to see only heathen, backward, benighted people or a few striving to join the civilized. Such an attitude was an important part of the story of European success; what were taken to be demonstrations of the inherent superiority of European ideas and values nerved men to fresh assaults on the word and inspired fresh incomprehension of it. The progressive values of the eighteenth century provided new arguments for superiority to reinforce those originally stemming from religion. By 1800, Europeans had lost almost all of their former respect for other civilizations. Their own social practice seemed obviously superior to the unintelligible barbarities found elsewhere.
It was in this “uncivilized” Cape Colony that the British arrived in 1795. Up to 1872, they ruled the area without disturbance by means of a series of autocratic governors. The period 1795 to 1872 can be divided in four: the first British occupation as caretaker of the Cape Colony (1797–1803); the Cape as a colony of the Batavian Republic (1803–1806); the second British occupation of the Cape Colony by conquest (1806–1814); and the British occupation of the Cape Colony by treaty (1814–1872). A total of twenty-nine governors served between 1795 and 1872 (2 Dutch and 27 British).
1.3 Overview of this study
This article (Part 6) is part of the second project (Project 2) on the executive leadership and regimes of South Africa. The two projects cover the period 1652 to 2018. The first series (Project 1) of five articles (Part 1 to 5) have been published in Ensovoort. The first five articles evaluated and described the performance profiles of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa (previously the Cape Colony) for the period 1652 to 1795. These five articles, published under the main title: An appraisal of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa: 1652 to 2018, are titled as follows:
- Part 1: Leadership characteristics in perspective;
- Part 2: The entities in government and society that executive political leaders use to aid their political behaviour;
- Part 3: Factors that influence the development of executive political leaders;
- Part 4: A basic checklist for the appraisal of executive political leaders and regimes;
- Part 5: The performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 1795.
The reader is referred to this first project for the theoretical basis of this endeavour. The five articles that constitute Project 2 cover the remaining period of 1796 to 2018. In this project, the focus is on the performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes in five timeframes: 1796 to 1872 (Part 6), 1873 to 1909 (Part 7), 1910 to 1948 (Part 8), 1949 to 1994 (Part 9) and 1995 to 2018 (Part 10).
The research was done by means of a literature review. This method has the aim of building a viewpoint from the available evidence as the research develops. This approach is used in modern historical research where there is not an established body of research, like with the functioning of executive political leaders and their regimes of governance for the period 1795 to 1909 in South Africa. The sources included articles for 2018, books for the period 1945 to 2018 and newspapers for the period 2016. These sources were consulted to evaluate the functioning of executive political leaders and to put thoughts, views and opinions on the South African political leadership for the period 1795 to 1909 in perspective.6-8
The research findings are presented in narrative format.
2.1 Problem statement
The research question asks whether the executive political leaders of South Africa (Cape Colony) during the period 1795 to 1872 made any extraordinary contributions to the country and its people and whether their behaviour as leaders and individuals was above reproach.
- People refers to all the South African groups – the various races, cultural groups, tribes, etc. It includes the minorities and the majorities – it does not refer to any sole grouping in terms of dominant political party, etc. In the above reference would it be more correct to refer to “peoples”.
- Country refers to today’s greater South Africa as represented by the Republic of South Africa. It also refers to the Cape Settlement and Cape Colony, etc.
2.2 Research aims
- The first aim of the research is to determine if the South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1795 to 1872 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time of rule.
- The second aim of the research is to determine if the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 were above reproach.
In light of above, two research questions must be asked and answered to discover the truth about the South African executive political leaders. This then leads to two objectives, as well as two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses.
2.3 Research questions
The following two research questions focus the research intentions:
RQ1: Did the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 make any extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their times in office?
RQ2: Were the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as individuals above reproach?
2.4 Objectives of the study
The following two objectives guide the study:
RO1: To determine if the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made any extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office;
RO2: To determine if the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons were above reproach.
The following two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses are tested:
H1: The South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office.
H1A: The South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 did not make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office.
H2: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons were above reproach.
H2A: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons were not above reproach.
3.1 First British occupation as caretakers of the Cape Colony (1797–1803)
3.1.1 Autocratic governors
During the British government’s acting as care-taker of the Cape Colony on behalves of the Prince of Orange, the following four British governors’ served1,2,9:
1797–1798: George Macartney
1798–1799: Francis Dundas
1799–1801: Sir George Yonge
1801–1803: Francis Dundas
The British temporary military management under General Craig started well and he attracted positive input from many pro-colonists. The colonists were required to take an oath of allegiance to the British king for as long the Cape stays British property. The rights and property of the VOC were transferred to the new authority, but the laws, rights and customs of the colonists stayed the same. The Cape, Stellenbosch and Swellendam accepted the new regime, but Graaff-Reinet stayed aloof until November 1796 after the defeat of the Dutch fleet at Saldanha Bay. Many of the Cape inhabitants, even those took the oath of allegiance, remained hostile to the British.1-3,5
18.104.22.168 George Macartney (1797–1798)9
On 5 May 1797 with the take-over by governor, Duke Macartney, political management suddenly changed to a strict form of Crown colony management. He introduced Imperial Authority immediately at the Cape and over the Colony, a system that remained valid until 1872. All civil and military powers were now vested in the hands of the Governor, he abolished the Political Council and soon after that the other bodies. He also created a strong official management, excluding the colonists. Any form of direct representation was absent and a further loss of political freedom followed. Strict action was taken against colonists who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the British king. A new High Court of Justice replaced the Council of Justice, while the Appeals Court consisted of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor (the commander of the military forces) with the right of higher appeal to the Privy Council in Britain. Most of the other administrative and judicial bodies of the VOC remained. The Roman-Dutch Law was retained.1-3,5
Improvements included the abolishment of corrupt monopolies, overdue land tax were written off, there was freedom of conscience and religious freedom, and torture and the barbaric execution of the death penalty on slaves were abolished. He also made the benefits of the two English Navigation Acts of 1651 and 1660 applicable on the Cape colonists.1,2,5
However, the British love for material gain emerged in the benefits and salaries paid to the British top executives and their officials, undoubtedly to detriment of the colonists. In this sense, the British were no improvement. British officials like Frans Bresler and John Barrow who were placed at Graaff-Reinet to oversee the eastern border of the colony were responsible for much of the hostility towards the British. Macartney favoured and promoted Anglo-orientated colonists, which damaged his relationship with the White inhabitants.1,2,5
The biggest challenge for Macartney was to solve of the conflict between the races, especially keeping the Xhosas within in the confines of their territories with promises and smart talk. More or less the same approach of “termination” was followed that the VOC took. The colonist-commandos received orders to keep them in their place and if needed, to drive them to the Kalahari. He tried to solve conflict by separating White and Black along the borders where the different groups started to come into contact more and more. The Macartney apartheid of 1798 failed in the end, as did the grand Apartheid of the NP a hundred and fifty years later.1,2,5
Although the temporary British government’s executive leader created a better administrative environment, Macartney failed to establish a balanced government to benefit all the inhabitants living in the Cape Colony. The British government, like the VOC government previously, was one of autocracy.
22.214.171.124 Francis Dundas (1799–1799, 1801–1803)9
The Lieutenant Governor of the Cape Colony’s forces, Francis Dundas, acted as the first governor (the office was run by Sir George Yonge’s from 1799 to 1801).
Craig’s arrest of the two Graaff-Reinet leaders, Adriaan van Jaarsveld and Marthinus Prinsloo, caused conflict between the early Afrikaners and the Britons that did not calm down before 1961. The result of these arrests was a group of colonists from Graaff-Reinet on the eastern border staged their first failed rebellion. At the same time the attitude of the KhoiKhoi, mostly those living along the Orange River on the undefined northern border, changed for worse and serious conflict broke out between the Whites and the KhoiKhoi. Some British officials sided with the KhoiKhoi, which caused a further deterioration of the relationship between the early Afrikaners and the British governor and the other officials appointed by the British government. Meanwhile, an alliance formed between the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas. The situation became very dangerous for the colonist farmers on the Eastern Frontier. The Xhosas attacked the southern part of Graaff-Reinet, committing atrocities and creating enormous chaos during the Third Xhosa War. No real action against the Xhosas and KhoiKhoi followed. The only consequence was new regulations, and the early Afrikaners felt that these regulations favoured the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas. The British authority compelled the colonists to behaviour well towards the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas. The British also limited the punitive action farmers could take against the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas after an attack or livestock theft. The eastern border districts were reduced to chaos, with homesteads and farms being burned down. Racial hatred against the KhoiKhoi, Xhosas and KhoiSan deepened, especially after the Xhosas occupied large colonial areas in the east of the colony.1,2,5
Although Dundas did improve the Cape Colony in some ways, he could not solve the increasing conflict on the eastern border. The political strife between Blacks and Whites was far worse by 1803 than in 1795.
3.2 Batavian Republic (Dutch Colony) (1803–1806)9
During the Council for Asian Possessions’ rule of the Cape Colony on behalf of the Batavian Republic, the following two governors served9:
1803–1804: Jacob Abraham Uitenhage de Mist
1804–1806: Jan Willem Janssens
The Peace of Amiens between Britain and France gave the colonies back to the Netherlands. The VOC was closed down in 1798 and replaced in May 1800 by the Council for Asian Possessions, a body subject to the Dutch government. They were responsible for the further administration and management of the Cape Colony. The Cape was handed back to the Batavian Republic in February 1803 to be governed by a commissioner general. De Mist was appointed in the position, assisted by General JW Janssens as the governor in charge.1,2,5
De Mist quickly established a functioning system. Many of the VOC bodies were reinstated, like the Political Council and the Council of Justice. The Cape Colony’s juridical status changed to that of a province of the Netherlands and was managed directly from there.1,2,5
The non-Whites who had no human rights up to 1803 were now burghers and formed the majority of the population. By 1803 there were 22 000 Whites versus 25 000 slaves and 10 000 KhoiKhoi (making the population ratio 4:6), while in 1805 there were 25 757 Whites versus 29 545 slaves and 20 006 KhoiKhoi (ratio 3:6). Both De Mist and Janssens, as liberal thinkers, were worried about the oppression of the Blacks by the government itself and by the colonists, especially in the areas along the inland borders. This concern was justified, seeing that the non-Whites were the majority, and growing, left without any civil or human rights from 1652. The Dutch leaders improved on many of the regulations designed to limit the lawless actions of the White frontiersmen. They for instance compelled White employer to sign service contracts with their KhoiKhoi employees. This was a positive step that better work- and race relations. De Mist also wanted to gradually emancipate the slaves by freeing slave children at birth. However, his short period at the Cape and the rigid attitudes of the White farmers thwarted his humanitarian efforts. The White farmers wanted cheap labour and they kept importing of more slaves.1,2,5
Another positive contribution was De Mist’s establishment of a Board of Education to manage education and to rectify the neglect of education by the British caretakers. His intent to get education of an equal standard to the frontiersmen is especially noteworthy. He also focused on maintaining of free trade and made efforts to improve the local wool and wine industries. With respect to religion, he introduced measures to reorganise and recognise various religious dominations. This included help with gatherings of congregations to the payment of their ministers. However, he made it clear that the church in all its forms is subject to the state. He addressed the colour issue directly, opening religious practice to all.1,2,5 Van der Merwe writes5:147:
…public religious gatherings on Sundays could only take place on Sundays with open doors, so that no-one, Christian or heathen, White or Black, slave or free man, could be refused entry (Own translation).
For the first time since 1652, there was the flickering of hope that there would be a form of executive and political leadership that would serve all the populations of the Cape, gaining the respect, support and approval of all races. The hope was that this leadership would guide the future politicians in their duties and behaviours as leaders at the Cape.1,2,5
De Mist’s Memorie expounded a new civil and juridical code of governance that was unknown to the Cape Colony until that time. It covered every facet of live from health, education, religion, economics, farming, civil and political rights, defence to taxation. Although the De Mist Code did not suggest one-man-one-vote, his various governmental and civil bodies granted more representation to inhabitants in every sphere of life and clearly intended to end civil unrest in daily life. His code also limited power abuse by the executive leaders of the Colony and its inhabitants with respect to economic, civil, political and juridical rights. De Mist did wonders in his short time (1803–1804) at the Cape. Although his progress with rights for non-Whites was limited, he significantly improved the situation of the Whites.1,2,5
Regarding the Black–White issue, especially in the Graaff-Reinet and areas along the eastern border, he addressed possible future mistreatment of the slaves, KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and the Blacks by the colonists by the placing of a subdivision of soldiers there to oversee justice. However, his liberal policy of befriending the Xhosas failed, as evident from continuing attacks. De Mist’s one-sided view of the non-Whites as the only victims at the hand of the colonists changed over time. The Whites often saw reprimands for illegal Black behaviours as support for the Whites. Later in history, Whites often cited these incidents as proof of the evil intentions of the KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and the Xhosas in the 1800s. They rarely mention the transgressions of the Whites, like land grabbing, stock theft and the murder of these non-Whites as punishment actions (like the “hunting” of the KhoiSan).1,2,5
Historical writings rarely reflect both sides of the story. The events occurred in a less civilized world than today. The Whites saw the KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and the Xhosas as African barbarians, and the non-Whites saw the White frontiersmen as White barbarians. The impact of these early conflicts on later hostility and counter-hostility is often underestimated. The problems that started in 1652 and that went on to affect South African politics until 1994 and beyond, did not resolve under De Mist.1,2,5
In 1803 De Mist entered a political system where racial differences (and discrimination and domination) affected religion, culture, cognition, emotion, education, lifestyle and standard developments and functioning and where these differences were already deeply entrenched. The situation could not have changed with a single code. Continuing the separation that Macartney started in 1798 seemed the best solution, but it ultimately spelled disaster.1,2,5 Van der Merwe describes the doom lurking in De Mist’s policy5:153:
…the intention of the Batavian authorities was to create a better grounding for the relationship between the colonists and the Bantus along the eastern border. According to Alberti [captain of the military forces based at Fort Frederick on the Eastern border and later military magistrate at Uitenhage in charge of overseeing peace in the area], the policy had to be founded on two principles, namely dispelling all Bantus from the Suurveld and driving them across the colonial border, and ending all contact between colonists and Bantus, and between Bantus and Hottentots. This principle was also included in the first message of De Mist to the settled populations along the border districts and to the Xhosa captains. The Bantu had no concept of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’, and this was at the core of all the problems. Nobody was allowed to move across the border and back. Alberti felt that sixty soldiers would be enough to patrol the border. The policy therefore came down to inexorable separation to maintain peace between the eastwards migrating Whites and the southwards moving Bantu stream (Own translation).
The above description reveals the complete lack of understanding of the problems along the border. The Blacks and Whites were seen as two groups, there was no understanding that neither these categories consisted of a natural unity. At this point in history, not a single executive political leader, Dutch or British, had shown insight or had made decisions beyond their own short-term interests. The leaders came from European tradition of the separation of nations where each nation is financially independent and large enough to form a nation. This was not the case here. What is more, the right to land and the ownership of land played a significant role in the relationships. The South Africa of the 1800s was basically an agricultural economy, making the sole ownership of land a point of conflict. It was naïve of Alberti to think that they could stop the migration of the different groups. It was a complicated process, and the politicians of the 1800s were used to settling these kinds of problems with brute military force.1,4
De Mist’s hopes that his governance would inspire good leadership that would serve all the populations of the Cape and that he would be remembered as a leader who was respected, supported and approved by all the different races, failed to become a reality. He started well in 1802, but he undid all of his own good work. This begs the question: Would any future South African judiciary or political regime or executive leader be able to do better than De Mist? Time will tell.
De Mist and his assistant Janssens inherited a dysfunctional system. They had the genuine intention to better it and made honest attempts in their short rule of two years (1802–1804). However, it was already an unhealthy situation where each race was trapped in their little corner with their own fears. Van der Merwe5 writes as follows about De Mist and Janssens5:155:
However, their work at the Cape was not without fruit, although their limited time did not allow for it to be thoroughly tested. Their labour was fraught with extraordinary difficulty. All their actions and decisions were aimed at promoting the good of South Africa. In cases where measures were not received well by the citizens, this should not be attributed to ill will or a lack of diligence, but rather to the fact that the authorities were not informed of the intricacies, morals and habits of the communities to which these measures were made applicable. They regarded the communities as people with the same prejudices as all colonists, which was not true. This became clear from the colonist’s views of all beings who are not White, and their religious views in this regard. In essence the leaders were confronted here with a people who were no longer Dutch, but who showed the traits of a new, separate nation with an own language and views regarding all terrains of life, and they differed significantly from those of their Dutch, German and French contemporaries (Own translation).
Van der Merwe5 poignantly captures the problems created by the fact that the White inhabitants were developing a unique political identity. They actually needed their own state by the 1800s, run independently without outsider interference or intervention. He highlights the beginnings of the early Afrikanerdom, a people prepared to challenge anyone who dares to limit their identity and human rights. However, this imminent Afrikaner historian does fail to describe, like many of his contemporaries, the many changes and transformations the KhoiSan, KhoiKhoi and Xhosas also underwent, often by force, since the 1600. Nor does he acknowledge the role, good or bad, that the Whites (both inhabitants and authorities) at the Cape played in these many changes and transformations. This information sheds light on why the Cape Colony’s politicians and executive leaders failed to appoint good leaders and to establish a permanent regime up to the 1800s.1,2,5
Most historians and Afrikaner scholars fail to offer sound alternatives to the political debacle of the 1800s and to indicate how early Afrikaner nationalism and its hunger for territory and political power over the non-Whites could have been managed differently. It took an outsider, the historian JM Roberts4, to do this in the space of only a few pages in his History of the World. The De Mist Code was by far the best guideline for managing affairs at the Cape. It had the potential to change the attitudes of both non-White and White inhabitants and to unite them under a good leader. The potential of the code was immediately lost with the British imperial intervention of 1805. The British failed to understand the early Afrikaner, perhaps as result of their “civilized” British culture. De Mist and the Batavian rulers did have this understanding. Van der Merwe5 rightfully points out that there was too much of the Rousseau doctrine left in the British mindset and too little common sense.1,2,4,5
However, the British also failed as a result of how contaminated the system was by the political dogmas, doctrines and ideologies of the early Afrikaners and the non-Whites themselves. Neither the early Afrikaners nor the non-White tribes designed these dogmas, doctrines and ideologies. They were inherited from the various foreigner rulers of the Cape and exacerbated by poor leadership. The British were notorious for ruling with dogma.1,2,4,5
De Mist retired on 25 September 1804 and moved back to the Netherlands in February 1805, leaving the enormous task of being governor to Janssens. However, the plans for the new Cape Colony came to an absurd end with the military takeover on 18 January 1806. The Cape surrendered to the British forces under David Baird for a second and last time.1,2,5
3.3 Second British occupation of the Cape Colony (1806–1814)9
3.3.1 Autocratic governors
Up to 1814 the British held the Cape Colony by conquest and not by treaty rights. The legal position of the Cape Colony as a full British possession was only finalized with the Peace of Paris. The six governors for 1807 to 1814 were1,2,9:
1807–1808: David Baird
1808–1808: Henry George Grey
1808–1811: Du Pré Alexander, 2nd Earl of Caledon
1811–1811: Henry George Grey
1811–1814: John Francis Cradock
1813–1814: Robert Meade (acting)
From day one it was clear that although the Cape Colony was held by conquest, which should technically have limited their rights to make large statutory and administrative changes, many changes and autocratic actions followed.1,2,5
The second British occupation resulted in comprehensive statutory changes and political conflict between the early Afrikaners and the British, as well as between the early Afrikaners and the various non-White ethnic groups. Although the British promised to maintain certain parts of the De Mist code, there was a dramatic change from a centralized governmental system to a autocratic one-man regime with the governor as head of the executive, legislative and juridical powers. There was no a consulting body to guard against the governor’s misuse of powers, he ruled by proclamation.10
The six governors were autocratic rulers who were only subject to the Secretary of State in London. Their submission was reflected in favouring the followers of the Prince of Orange in civil service appointments at the Cape. Although the Roman-Dutch Law was retained, the High Court was demoted to its lower level status of the pre-Batavian times, while the despised Office of the Fiscal with all its negative features was restored. The Burgher Senate was reinstated as a town council for Cape Town, while it also became an advisory body to the Cape government. Again, the Cape administration was overburdened by highly paid officials as during the first British occupation. The De Mist Code’s stipulations on churches and the improved Batavian administration of rural areas were retained, but the central governmental system was replaced by an autocratic one-man rule. At this time there was still no sign of democracy at the Cape.10
The White colonists were doing well financially as result of the growth in the shipping industry and better sales of produce to these visiting ships and a rise in exports. However, the Black–White conflict really reared its head. Racial conflict and governance problems were awaiting the colony.
126.96.36.199 The Earl of Caledon (1808–1811)9
Caledon’s reign was autocratic, with him being in charge of the executive, legislative and judicial powers. There was no advisory body to temper his behaviour. He legislated by proclamation and was only accountable to the Minister of Colonies in London. He could do as he pleased, and in the case of urgent decisions, he did not always act with wisdom. The lag-time involved in communication meant that London could often not intervene.1,2,10
Some of Caledon’s more positive policies include the division of the territory’s six districts, namely the Cape, Stellenbosch, Tulbagh, Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage, into smaller districts. This resulted in better administration and offered Caledon more control over the countryside and the unruly White frontiersmen. It enabled him to gradually expand the British system of centralizing political, judicial and legislative power. He attained this goal by establishing a circuit high court at Caledon to support the magistrate’s court, lower the cost of high court cases.10
Caledon regarded human rights as important, especially the position of the KhoiKhoi in the Colony. Up to this point the KhoiKhoi were treated as an independent group managed by own chiefs, although under the care of the Cape government. However, they disintegrated into small travelling groups without work or sometimes in the service of the White farmers. In November 1809, Caledon made the KhoiKhoi inside the country’s borders citizens to whom all laws were applicable. In an effort to manage their movement, all KhoiKhoi had to have a permanent place of residence and needed a pass from their employers to move around. Caledon tried to instil a work ethics in the KhoiKhoi and to make them a future substitute for the slaves, who became a problem for London from 1809. He also wanted to stop White farmers from abusing the KhoiKhoi and being cruel by enforcing work contracts between farmers and workers. This decision elicited a reaction from the London Mission’s managers in South Africa, Read and Van der Kemp, who lived in Bethelsdorp. Dissatisfaction with Caledon’s racial policy spread to London where the philanthropist William Wilberforce was already creating awareness of slavery and the mistreatment of the KhoiKhoi by the Whites at the Cape. This issue quickly escalated after 1814.1,2,10
The Xhosa problem needed swift action from Caledon. They were still living in the Zuurveld and frequently entered the districts of Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage, causing chaos. However, it was clear to Caledon that driving them back would create conflict with London. He ultimately left an already failed border policy untouched. Black and White were in direct conflict over land, with various governments failing to offer a sound future strategy and a plan for a permanent working relationship between the two groups.1,2,10
188.8.131.52 John Francis Cradock (1811–1814)
The new governor ignored London’s request not to address the “Black problem” with military action and in the fourth Xhosa war, he drove the Xhosas back across the Fish River. In an effort to limit the fast northwards migration of White frontiersmen into Black territory, he also introduced a new system of land ownership in Cradock in 1813 where the Black-White conflict was prominent. He replaced the loan farm system with a system of hereditary possession, hoping to bind the farmers to their farms to stop them from migrating.10
Cradock’s actions against the Xhosas and the KhoiKhoi quickly got a reaction from the White missionaries at Bethelsdorp and other role players concerned about human rights. This led to the so-called “Swarte Ommegang” (Black Circuit) where several White farmers and their families were accused of theft and murdering KhoiKhoi. Although these accusations were found untrue by judges Strubberg and Cloete of the Circuit High Court, the White farmers lost trust in London as a ruler and in the foreign missionaries. From then onwards the mission stations were side-lined. The Blacks and Whites were now positioned as enemies.1,2,10
Strubberg and Cloete of the Circuit High Court gave a description of how chaotic Black-White relations became in 1814. The groups were played off against each other by foreign powers like Wilberforce in London and Read and Van der Kemp in South Africa. The two judges described the KhoiKhoi at Bethelsdorp as people living in a situation where10:162:
…the natural state of barbarism has seemingly taken the place of civility and social order…where laziness and idleness and the subsequent dirtiness and taintedness have grown to perfection (Own translation)
The two judges also commented on the feebleness of people like Wilberforce in London and Read and Van der Kemp in South Africa as they played off Blacks and Whites in 1814. Grundlingh quotes them as follows10:161:
If the lords Van der Kemp and Read went to the trouble of succinctly and impartially investigating the different stories they were told, they would have viewed many of these complaints that caused a racket inside and outside of the colony as purely fictional, and as a result neither the court nor the government would have been pestered (Own translation).
The Black Circuit was the first sign for the Cape Colony’s inhabitants, especially for the White frontiersmen, that the Peace of Paris of 1814 would change their lives forever and that the British had different plans for them.
Roberts writes as follows about the dramatic impact of the British political system from 1814 onwards4:740:
No European nation has so successfully seeded the globe with its own stock as the United Kingdom. By the end of the nineteenth century, it had created an Anglo-Saxon world which was an identifiable sub-unit within the ambit of European civilization, with an historical destiny diverging from that of the European continent. Its components included growing British communities in Canada, Australia and South Africa (the first and the last containing other important national elements, too).
The Dutch descendants in the colony had settled into a quasi-Dutch lifestyle and governmental dispensation. The change to an autocratic British system was dramatic and they struggled to adjust. To some extent, they never accepted it and sought to escape, like with the Great Trek later. The indigenous people who mostly lived outside the Cape’s statutory and political management and control experienced this change from a Dutch to a British system as less dramatic. This was also true for the slaves who had become separated from the ruling processes as a result of their loss of human rights.1,2,5,10
Looking back at the British rule of 1806 to 1814 critically, it was an immensely autocratic regime, for Blacks and Whites alike. It left the Whites confused. The situation was equally devastating for non-Whites, especially the slaves, the KhoiKhoi and the KhoiSan. Notwithstanding their new status as citizens awarded by Caledon, they were exposed to abuses by the White frontiersmen of Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage more than ever. On the other hand, the slaves, the KhoiKhoi and the KhoiSan were also often cruel and barbaric towards the Whites. Livestock was frequently stolen and they were lazy and undisciplined. No one-sided description of either of the groups at the Cape could do justice to history. These renditions of history should be considered critically. For example, one Afrikaner historian wrote as follows during the heyday of Grand Apartheid10:161:
Some of the complaints pertained to events in the remote past and a great number sprung from the fruitful and stimulated imagination of the Hottentots with their unbridled tongues and the malicious of unbalanced negro-loving zealots. It is true that there were cases where workers and servants had been abused in the pioneer community along the Cape borders, just like in America and even in a factory country like England, but one can assume that the Cape colonists did not act more callous than their White peers elsewhere and that the non-Whites in the Cape colony in general were better off than people elsewhere (Own translation).
Grundlingh10 words here are not quite true and are to a certain extent in line with the thinking of DF Malan, HF Verwoerd and BJ Vorster, leaders of the racist NP. He contradicts himself no less than six times in the above passage. By referring to the “remote past”, he acknowledges that the early Afrikaners did indeed commit wrongs towards the KhoiKhoi. With the reference to “unbalanced negro-loving zealots” he not only uses inappropriate language to create a false history for his Afrikaans readers, but also shows his subjectivity. This was so characteristic of the Afrikaner nationalist historians who wrote during Grand Apartheid. When he speaks of the “pioneer community along the Cape border”, he gives away his naiveté about who the Swellendam, Uitenhage and Graaff-Reneit border farmers really were. They unlawfully invaded Black territory, what we would call terrorism today. The claim that “the non-Whites at the Cape colony in general were better off than elsewhere” is a blatant lie. White farmers from Swellendam and environs went on official “hunting expeditions” to “terminate” KhoiSan and to take the KhoiSan womenfolk and children as “apprentices”, meaning forced slaves. This makes his claim far-fetched. These farmers constantly rebelled against the government, one reason being that their actions were no longer condoned.1,2,10
I would like to refer back to Geen’s1 words quoted in Part 5 about the calibre of the farmers who lived in the region of Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage around 1814. They became the Voortrekkers, some rising as prominent Voortrekker leaders and politicians in the later republics of Transvaal and the Free State. Geen said1:29:
…but the isolation and difficulties of frontier life also made them limited in their outlook, impatient of all forms of control and so intensely individualistic that it became difficult to unite them in effective cooperation. They lost most of their civilization on the way to the Promised Land. Some could write, still more could sign their names, many read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, into which they read a justification of themselves, their beliefs and all their works, but for the rest learning and the affairs of the great world were closed books to them.
This lawlessness among the White frontiersmen resulted in the Slaughter’s Nek Rebellion in 1815 under Frederick Bezuidenhout, which ended with the hanging of five of the ringleaders by Lord Charles Somerset. Geen writes1:57:
In 1815, there occurred the Slaughter’s Nek Rebellion, a typical incident of lawlessness on a distant and disturbed frontier. It was really nothing more than the resistance of a truculent type of frontiersmen to the new conceptions of law, order and justice that were gradually being made effective in the remoter districts.
These farmers lost their civility on their way to the Promised Land. They were cut off from the rest of the world, the Bible serving as their only literature. They read especially the Old Testament and used it justify their actions. This isolation self-righteousness made for naïve decisions on governance later in the republics2:120-121:
The new British authorities had to deal with many of these culturally poor and isolated early Afrikaners on the one hand, and pre-modern Xhosas, KhoiSan and KhoiKhoi with little understanding of simple political and governance matters on the other. They had been schooled to deal with the enemy the African way for centuries, namely war. The political refined British found it difficult to manage the situation.
The second British Cape Colony (1806–1814) with the British holding the colony by conquest, undoubtedly improved the economy of the Cape. Also, from an objective political-historical view away from the contaminated writings of Afrikaner nationalist writers and historians, the governmental administration, law-enforcement and law-making as well as the execution of leadership, progressed. Although serious issues like border and racial conflicts remained largely unchanged, they did have plans to address it. The British governors were backed by a much stronger system than were the Batavian governors.
The South African race issue became more and more laden with aggression, hate and murderous intentions from 1814 onwards.
3.4 Third British occupation of the Cape Colony (1814–1872) by treaty1,2,9
3.4.1 Autocratic governors
The Cape Colony became a rightful British possession with the Peace of Paris. The Netherlands was forced to hand it over to the British Empire permanently in August 1814. The seventeen governors who served from 1814 to 1872 were as follows1,2,9:
1814–1826: Charles Somerset
1820–1821: Rufane Shaw Donkin
1826–1828: Richard Bourke
1828–1833: Galbraith Lowry Cole
1833–1834: Thomas Francis Wade
1834–1838: Benjamin d’Urban
1838–1844: George Thomas Napier
1844–1847: Peregrine Maitland
1847–1847: Henry Pottinger
1847–1852: Sir Harry Smith
1852–1854: George Cathcart
1854–1854: Charles Henry Darling
1854–1861: George Grey
1859–1862: Robert Henry Wynyard
1862–1870: Philip Edmond Wodehouse
1870–1870: Charles Craufurd Hay
1870–1877: Sir Henry Barkly
The British authority lacked democracy. On the other hand, the Boers wanted excessive freedom. This dissatisfaction with authority and the limitations of borders limited their vision. They were intolerant of all forms of control and so intensely individualistic that it became difficult to unite them for effective cooperation. This became characteristic of many of the Boers during the Great Trek and later on in their “Promised Land”, the Boer-republics.1,2,4,10
Between 1806 and 1814 there were not large numbers of British citizens in South Africa, so the British that were present were only there to rule. After 1814 this changed dramatically when thousand of British settlers arrived. Although they were outnumbered by the Boers, they had the backing of the British government and thus the Cape authority. The introduction of British assumptions and laws and the large new English population, created a world that the Boers were not ready for. This ultimately led to negative outcomes. Roberts reports4:777:
This opened a period of whittling away of the privileges of the Boers, as the Dutch farmers were called. In particular, they were excited and irked by any limitation of their freedom to deal with the native African as they wished. Their special indignation was aroused when, as a result of the general abolition of slavery in British territory, some 35,000 of their blacks were freed with, it was said, inadequate compensation.
The Boers became increasingly annoyed, especially with their lack of influence. The Boers found the British regime unacceptable and below standard with respect to full political rights. Roberts says the following about the relationship between the Boers and British4:778:
It was the beginning of a long period during which Anglo-Saxon and Boer struggled to live sometimes apart, sometimes together, but always uncomfortably, their decisions as they did so dragging in their train others about the fate of black African.
184.108.40.206 Charles Somerset (1814–1826)
Somerset arrived at a time when the relationship between non-White and White and between British and Boer had been damaged. The autocratic Charles Somerset damaged these already sensitive relationships further with his management of the unrest at Slaughter’s Neck, causing the dislike for the British occupiers to increase as a result of his over-reach with his political and juridical powers.1,2,10
Somerset inherited the eastern border problem. The policy of segregation failed and led to further Xhosa attacks on the White areas. In this instable situation, two Xhosa leaders entered into conflict themselves. This caused the one leader, Ndlambe, to move into White territory. He reached as far as Grahamstown for an unsuccessful attack on 22 April 1819. Somerset ignored London’s liberal policy and started a clean–up operation by removing the Xhosas from the area between the Fish and Keiskamma Rivers, making the Keiskamma the new outer border. He created a neutral area between the Fish and Keiskamma Rivers as a buffer to keep the factions away from each other and reinstated the segregation policy.1,2,10
Somerset addressed slavery by issuing a proclamation in 1816 making it compulsory to register all slaves. In 1823 he determined the workdays and hours of slaves and prescribed the minimum standard of their food and clothing rations. Married slaves could no longer be sold separately, and the Christian religion had to be made available to them. The number of strokes for physical punishment, and their testimonies were allowed in the court in cases against their owners. In 1826, a slave protector was appointed in Cape Town and various assistant protectors in the rural areas to attend to the complaints of slaves.1,2,10
In the meantime, the British government acted to minimize the Dutch influence in the Cape. They Anglicized the churches, schools and the legal system.1,2,4,10
Although the autocratic and despotic one-man regime at the Cape was replaced by a governor and a Council of Advice that could make laws by way of ordinances, the early Afrikaners could give little input. The problems between the British and the Boers were largely attributable to failure on the side of the British to appoint an effective leader at the Cape who considered the interest of the Afrikaners. Roberts4 points out how this became a situation ready for conflict4:780:
When people then spoke of a ‘racial problem’ in South Africa, they meant the problem of relations between the British and Boers whose conciliation seemed the most urgent need. The defects of the settlement would take some time to appear. When they did it would be not only because the historical sense of the Afrikaner proved to be tougher than people had hoped, but also because of the transformation of South African society which had begun by the industrialization of the Rand could not be halted and would give irresistible momentum to the issue of black Africans.
These racial defects never disappeared – the foundation had been laid for Afrikaner nationalism and its rejection of anything British. The cracks that would lead to a deep divide among Afrikaners, the subsequent founding of the Republic of South Africa 1961, and Apartheid with its racial discrimination, had started to appear.1,2,4,10
The British government was caught off-guard by the British Settlers of 1820. The process started while Somerset was on leave in Britain (1820–1821), leaving the Cape in the hands of an acting governor, Donkin. The settlers, who were used to democracy, immediately got into conflict with the government. This brought a second force to the foreground against the Cape Colony’s way of ruling and their human rights practices. Although most of these immigrants had no voting rights in the UK (this only changed in 1832), they knew what discrimination was why they had to fight it. The settlers’ agitation and resistance on various terrains started slow political reform at the Cape.1,2,4,10
The arrival of the British settlers also affected the Boer–British relations. The settlers were placed in or near Black territories and close to the Xhosa conflict. They became the Eastern Province. They were more well-intended towards the Crown and were therefore considered a better defence. The Western Province was inhabited by a more political independent-minded population.1,11
The Cape colonists did not get into direct conflict with Somerset, they left that to the British Settlers. The settlers had success in 1828 when Bourke came to power.1,2,10
Grundlingh10 writes as follows about Somerset10:174:
The autocratic Somerset in his self-righteousness did not realize that the influence and power of the ruling “High Tories”, his congenial spirits and protectors, were decreasing in his mother land. The rise of the progressive “Young Tories” under the leadership of Canning, and especially the increasing power of the liberal Whi-opposition, heralded the beginning of the end of Somerset’s glory. The increasingly passionate criticism of Dr. John Philip and Exeter Hall contributed greatly to undermining the governor’s authority.
There is no doubt that Somerset made more enemies than friends and that his rule, besides the exaggerations of his Exeter Hall and settler enemies, had serious flaws like tyranny and corruption. The Governor was sharply criticized in the British parliament, and his actions came under the scrutiny of the Colebrook-Bigg commission, who visited the Cape from 1823–1826 for a thorough investigation into a number of government matters (Own translation).
The autocratic behaviours of the various governors at the Cape were being questioned. Human rights also began to make some progress, although it was still limited. The introduction of the first rudimentary rights for the Cape’s Black population was a prominent step in the right direction.11
220.127.116.11 Richard Bourke (1826–1828)
During Somerset’s second leave (1626–1628), the acting governor, Richard Bourke, suddenly had to face a flood of pro-Black sentiment from for instance John Philip. Bourke himself was pro-Black, and started a process to undo the limitations Somerset and earlier governors had imposed on the Black population. The Black-White conflict was steered by a liberal policy that the early Afrikaners saw as discriminatory. They felt that it affected their property, economic, social and political rights. The British started using KhoiKhoi to police Whites, and with Ordinance 49, all legislation that had forbidden Blacks to cross the border into the Colony was recalled. The punishment expeditions of White farmers to retrieve stolen livestock from across the borders were forbidden. Ordinance 50 recalled all legislation pertaining to the KhoiKhoi and lifted discriminatory laws against the free inhabitants of the Colony with respect to property rights, movement, living place, lifestyle or work and choice of work. The KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and free Coloureds received the right to own property. Legislation to fight slavery was also put in place, with laws to abolish it following. The political and social position of non-Whites in the bigger British society improved dramatically from 1928.1,2,11
This progress with Black emancipation was followed up with the rule of Galbraith Lowry Cole (1828–1833). He shortened the working hours of slaves and stipulated better accommodation. In August 1833 legislation was passed that slavery would be forbidden after the 1st of December 1836 in any of the British colonies.1,2,10
The reformations still did not bring democracy to the Cape. It was a first wave of human rights and freedom for the Xhosas, KhoiKhoi, KhoiSan and slaves.11
18.104.22.168 Benjamin D’Urban (1834–1838)
D’Urban inherited the immense task of emancipating 39 021 slaves. He had to calculate the value of the slaves. Compensation for slaves became a disputed topic in South African history books as parting with “Black gold” meant tremendous losses.1,2,10
All this led to utter bewilderment at the Cape. Mortgages were foreclosed on; foreign agents and speculators exploited the confusion of the colonists by buying up their claims for ridiculously low sums. Many slave owners received one fifth or less of the capital value of their slaves. Wealthy families, especially the large patriarchal households in the Western Province, became so impoverished that many were unable to overcome the significant economic crisis. Stock farmers in the outlying districts also suffered. Although they had fewer slaves than the Boland farmers, some of them were quite considerable slave owners (Own translation).
The above Afrikaner sentiment that was mostly put on paper during NP rule, is misleading. Firstly, as with any apparatus or instrument used to generate money, there is always the unavoidable annual depreciation of the apparatus or instrument as a direct result of use and damage (with a slave this would take the form of aging, poor health, being constantly over-worked, poor accommodation, live conditions, and money already generated for his owner, etc.). It seems that the values were calculated on the sales value of the slaves (in other words a depreciated price) in 1836 and not on the initial purchase price minus the depreciation. Secondly, the many children born to slave parents became the sole property of the farm owners. Geen reflects as follows on the economic impact of the developments in the slave trade1:55:
It is true that the abolition of the slave trade proved to be a source of gain for a time, for the value of the slaves increased and, as their owners obtained considerable profit from the hire of their labour, greater care was bestowed on them.
Geen’s1 description below shows the subjectivity and arrogance of many of the White South African writers before 1990. They adhered to an undisputed right of ownership, even as late as the beginning of the 19th century. One human being may own another human as long as the owned person was Black1:55:
However, the numerous regulations made slave-ownership a burden, as the slaves were gradually removed from the control of their owners, though they continued to be private property. In contrast to the West Indies slavery at the Cape was largely domestic and the slaves on the whole were well treated, so that Lord Charles Somerset could write to the Colonial Secretary, ‘No portion of the community is better off or happier, perhaps, than the domestic slave in South Africa.
If the slaves were such a burden, why did the British government struggle so much to grant them freedom from 1816 onwards and why did the White slave owners at the Cape try everything to prolong slavery? Geen1 neglects to mention that it was only in the time of De Mist that the use of the pain bench and the barbarous torture of slaves were forbidden. The 1823, 1826 and the 1830 Ordinances had to end everything that was still happening to slaves. If the Whites were so “fond of their slaves”, seemingly as intimate family members, why did they want to keep them in chains? Somerset is the last person to make remarks on slaves. He had a track record of cruelty to any opposition, even other Englishmen, at the Cape.1,2 Did Geen1 forget the Slaughter Nek’s executions of five White farmers by Somerset or Somerset’s punishment of the Xhosas?
It later became fashionable for South African history books written by Whites to attack individuals such as William Wilberforce, his wife Hannah Gurney, Elizabeth Frey and Dr Philip and other Whites for their roles in the emancipation of not only of Black slaves, but also “free” Blacks from political oppression in their own country by foreign settlers. They were called “Black boeties” or “negrophiles”. These personal attacks lack any sound arguments and insight. These derogatory names were also used by the Afrikaner nationalists of the Verwoerdian republic to refer to Jan Smuts. “Liberal” people like Wilberforce were ahead of their times and they laid the foundation of today’s Code for Humanity. These “Black Boeties” should get more respect in the modern South African political history. They shone the rare light in a dusky world of abuse and suppression of non-Whites, helping to bring humanity to all.1,2,7,10,11,14-17
The importance of these early abolitionists, not only in South Africa but worldwide, is well described by Martinez12:235:
The abolitionists raised the political and moral consciousness of enough people to change the rules of their society. By redefining what was acceptable, they built a movement powerful enough to make the unthinkable inevitable. A similar task faces all those who value freedom today. The moral and political consciousness of society once again needs to be raised; a unifying, compelling, inspiring vision again needs to be articulated – and the ideal of freedom needs to be at its core.
The argument on the “value” of Black slaves is a further indication of how morally sick the White community at the Cape had become over time. Their value was calculated equally to that of cattle in the 1830s. Geen states1:56:
Besides some very old slaves, there were at the Cape 35,800 slaves valued at ₤3,041,290:6:0 – an average of just over ₤85 each…
The colonists did not object to the emancipation itself, …but they did resent the financial loss it involved and, still more, the fact that no vagrancy laws were passed to control the movements of the liberated slaves, who became ‘free persons of colour’ in terms of Ordinance 30.
South Africa had become a White country for the benefit of Whites only. “Free” non-Whites were walking around without work, homes and internal security by the 1830s because of the abuse of non-White labour and the orchestrated disorganization of their societal life, their political suppression, their dehumanization and the illegal occupation of their land by Whites. This resulted in immense poverty and political disorientation. The many similarities between the situation in the 1830s and the situation in South Africa from 1910 to 1994, are obvious. It shows us where the dispensation of 1910 to 1994 came from.1,2,10,14
The fact that farm activities came to a virtual halt without the presence of slaves after emancipation shows how selfishly slave owners previously profited from cheap labour. Why could the members of the large patriarchal families not do the work themselves given their numbers? Was it White laziness? The Council of Policy in 1717 described the Whites as “lazy and incompetent and more expensive than slave labour”,1:22 or was it because the White farmers were13:7-8:
…drunken, lazy, boorish oafs who went to stay at the Fort despite all threats and coercive measures, and set up boarding houses, attempted to exploit sailors and visitors, and further wasted their porch-sitting lives with endless drink and idleness, which is the root of all evil (Own translation).
or was it because,
…every common or ordinary European becomes a gentleman and prefers to be served than to serve…We have in addition the fact that the majority of the farmers in this Colony are not farmers in the real sense of the world, but owners of plantations, and that many of them consider it a shame to work with their own hands.1:25
Although the emancipation was meant to teach Cape Whites to find dignity in manual work, it failed to do so. The early Afrikaners’ alleged loss of about three million rand from the emancipation of the slaves in 1836, is nonsense.10:179 Why could the British settlers make a living on their farms at the Cape without slave labour?10
The poor remuneration to White farmers for their freed slaves is often cited as the main reason for the Great Trek. The poor payment was undoubtedly a secondary reason for the Great Trek, but later Afrikaner writers exaggerated its importance. The primary reason for the Great Trek was racism and the early Afrikaners blindly refusing to be equal to slaves and Black citizens.1,2,10
In this regard Geen writes1:67:
Perhaps, Mrs. Anna Steenkamp, a niece of Piet Retief, writing in 1876 has expressed as truly as anyone the most important cause of the Great Trek: ‘The shameful and unjust proceedings with reference to the freedom of our slaves; and yet it is not so much their freedom which drove us to such lengths, as their being placed on an equal footing with Christians, contrary to the laws of God, and the natural distinction of race and colour, so that it was intolerable for any decent Christian to bow down beneath such a yoke; wherefore we rather withdrew in order thus to preserve our doctrines in purity.
Geen gives an apt summary of the benefits of the emancipation1:56:
…in the words of the great English historian, Lackey, ‘The unweary, unostentatious and inglorious crusade of England against slavery may probably be regarded as among the three or four perfectly virtuous pages comprised in the history of nations’.
In the South Africa of 1830s emancipation did not bring one-man-one-vote, but at least it gave some dignity to non-Whites. However, they were low on the socio-economic ladder. The improvement came solely by order from London, not due to the morality or efficiency of the governors at the Cape.
D’Urban did make changes to the executive management of the Cape Colony to make it more liberal so that it could serve the people. He did this by the replacing the Council of Advisory by a Legislative Council and adding five to seven members to the Cape government. Although the governor’s autocratic power was not greatly affected by this change, this new legislative body’s approval was needed in future for the proclamation of ordinances. However, much of the government was still run from London.1,2,10
The Xhosa conflict did not disappear after the 1830s, notwithstanding the various ordinances to improve the citizenship of non-Whites. This hostile aggression of this situation was far more complex and the various Xhosa wars did not cease. In 1834 the Sixth Xhosa War broke out when 15 000 Xhosa soldiers unexpectedly entered the Colony. The outcome was devastating for the Whites (and for future Black-White relations): 22 White farmers were murdered, 456 homesteads burned down, 5 700 horses, 115 000 heads of cattle and 161 000 sheep were stolen by the Xhosas. D’Urban’s reaction was fierce and swift. He drove the Xhosas from the White farming areas and established the Province of Queen Adelaide between the Kei and Keiskamma rivers. London overruled this in 1836 and the area was handed back to the Xhosas with the reinstatement of the 1819 borders.1,2,10,14
By the end of D’Urban’s reign there had been no improvement in Black-White relations and the direct conflict between the two races raged on, especially the aggression from the Xhosas. In 1846 the new governor, Pedegrine Maitland (1844–1847), fought the War of the Axe. Again the Xhosa warriors penetrated the Colony in a war that lasted the terms of governor Henry Pottinger (1847–1847) and governor Harry Smith (1847–1852).1,2,10,14
22.214.171.124 Harry Smith (1847–1852)
Smith, like his predecessors, inherited the Cape Colony’s chaotic Black-White relations, border conflicts, growing Xhosa unlawfulness and a London government that lacked an understanding of the political and racial energies of Southern Africa. Some of Smith’s efforts to manage the border did partly correct some of the political failures of the past. In an effort to contain the ongoing war-like behaviour of the Xhosas, Smith declared the area previously known as the Province of Queen Adelaide a formal British area. The name changes to British Kaffraria, but it was not part of the Cape Colony. It became a separate Black reserve, managed by a Chief Commissioner that resorted with the British High Commissioner. However, peace still eluded the border areas. In 1850 military villages in British Kaffraria were destroyed by the Xhosas. Some of the inhabitants were murdered and the Colony was again entered again, which led to another series of murders of White farmers and the destruction of farms.1,2,10,14
What made the situation in 1850 worse, was the entrance of a non-White allied force against the British rulers of the Cape Colony. It no longer consisted of the Black inhabitants of British Kaffraria only, but of groups from Transkei and the Kat river KhoiKhoi. Smith indecisiveness on finding a workable solution to the growing Xhosa problem, led to his replacement by George Cathcart (1852–1854) who successfully reinstalled the British management of British Kaffraria. However, he did not really establish permanent Xhosa rule. This finding of a solution became the task of George Grey (1854-1861).1,2,10,14
By the 1860s it was clear that the autocratic Cape governors, guided by their unable imperial government in London, had been failing to serve all the inhabitants of the Cape, Black and White. The Cape Colony remained autocratic, while the racial situation became increasingly explosive. A permanent hostility had developed between the Whites, mostly the early Afrikaners, and the Xhosas. It seemed that the only resolution would be one of the groups being wiped out completely.1,2,10,14
126.96.36.199 George Cathcart (1852–1854)
By the 1850s the autocratic style of governance became untenable. A unity started developing among the White Afrikaans-speaking inhabitants and the English-speaking settlers and they started viewing the government as oppressive. This newfound unity was illustrated by their joint obstruction of the boat Neptune, which was set to unload bandits from Britain at the Cape in 1849. Harry Smith, the then governor, wrote as follows about this unity1:80: “This is the first occasion on which Dutch and English inhabitants coalesced in opposition to Government”. Prominent leaders against the penal colony for convicts (similar to Australia) were Porter, Solomon, Fairbairn, Molteno and Stockenström. This unity between the White groups goes deeper: they had an overwhelming belief that London was incapable of understanding the Cape inhabitants’ interests. They strove for self-government based on liberal, inclusive multi-racial politics.15,16
This unity changed the views in London, making the government more inclined to eventually granting some form of self-government for the Cape. The Attorney-General at the Cape sent a draft constitution to London, which was returned after revision by the Privy Council in London.1,2,10,14 This set into motion a process in 1830 where two petitions to London from the Albany District and Cape Town asked for representative government. It was without success. In 1841, the two districts re-petitioned London, on which the Colonial Secretary replied1:79:
The Colony was not ripe for such a measure’ and enlarged upon some of the difficulties in the way of introducing an elective assembly – the choice of a capital, the possible separation of the Eastern Province, the coloured franchise and the danger of the townsmen gaining control of the parliament.
In 1848, Harry Smith renewed the request for self-government at the Cape. This led to the preparation of another draft constitution in February 1850, but infighting delayed the outcome (infighting had behaviour become typical in South Africa and in the later Boer republics).1,2,10,14,16,18
During the office of Cathcart, the first signs of democracy appeared in the Cape Colony with the establishment of a Parliament in 1853 by her Majesty, the Queen. The constitution was finally approved in December 1852 by the Duke of Newcastle, the then Colonial Secretary. It was promulgated as the Constitution Act of 1854. In 1853, the Cape Colony became a British Crown colony. The Cape’s “independence” came through a gradual evolution and not a sudden revolution.1,15,16,18
Geen comments as follows on the work and powers of the first parliament (1854–1858)1:81-82:
The Governor had to convene Parliament at least once a year; he could dissolve both houses of the legislature or the House of Assembly alone; he could approve or veto the bills passed by Parliament or submit them to the Crown, which retained the power to disallow them within two years of their reaching England. The Executive Council was still composed of senior officials appointed by the Colonial Secretary and was responsible to the Governor and not to the Parliament, but it could not follow a policy opposed to the wishes of Parliament, which consisted of two houses. The upper house, called the Legislative Council, consisted of fifteen members elected for ten years, seven by the Eastern Province and eight by the Western Province. On the first occasion, the four members for each Province with the least number of votes had to retire after five years. Members had to be at least thirty years of age and possess ₤4,000 worth of general property or land to the value of ₤2,000. The Chief Justice was the President of the Council, but he had not the right of voting. The lower house, the House of Assembly, had a membership of 46, elected for five years by 22 constituencies, Cape Town alone being represented by four members. The Speaker…was elected by the members and he had a casting vote. The franchise was a liberal one and remained unchanged for almost forty years. The vote was given to all adult male British subjects, who earned at least ₤50 a year or had occupied for at least a year property with a minimum rental value of ₤25 per annum. Thus was Ordinance 50 carried to its logical conclusions and not on colour introduced by the new constitution.
The Constitution Act of 1854 was a relatively liberal document that prohibited any racial or class discrimination. It instituted a non-racial qualified franchise. The same qualifications for suffrage were applied equally to all males, regardless of race. It changed the Legislative Council to the Upper House of the new parliament, of which members were elected according to the Western Province and the Eastern Province that formed the Colony. A New Lower House, the Assembly, was also constituted.16,18
However, the Constitution of 1854 was a troublesome one: it instated a parliament without a parliamentary government. The executive power remained as before firmly with the office of the appointed governor from London. The parliamentary body led to serious conflicts between the representative legislative power and the appointed executive power until 1872. This was especially true during the political abuse and power play of governor Philip Edmond Wodehouse (1862–1870). This unstable governmental system and its ineffective constitution created enormous conflict between the Cape inhabitants and the British in London.11,16,19 Wiid writes as follows about this early effort to bring some form of democracy to the Cape19:324:
The constitution of 1853 carried the seed of self-destruction and provided sufficient proof of its uselessness. Repeated disagreements and deadlocks between the resprentative legislative authority and the elected executive authority, especially during the rule of the autocratic sir Philip Wodehouse, demonstrated that a parliament without parliamentary government under the British system was a constitutional evil (Own translation)
For the poor non-Whites, who formed the majority of the non-Whites and the total South African population, this legislation did not bode well, notwithstanding its non-racial clause. It had the potential to become a White man’s and a rich-man’s constitution to maintain White rule. Both the Dutch and English wanted to ensure that they could dominate politically. This became clearer after 1874. The only power available was in the hands of the executive governor and London.1-3,10
It took eighteen years to move to a more democratic system. Since 1853, a more realistic idea started to develop about effective rule in the Cape. Prominent was the growing political and financial responsibility assigned to the management of the Cape Colony. Internal struggles also obstructed effective governance from London. It was clear that an improvement to the self-management of the 1853 constitution at the Cape was urgently needed.10
The initially introduction of the representative constitution was delayed by the Eight Xhosa War. The First Cape Parliament (1854-1858) was at last opened by Governor Charles Henry Darling (1854–1854) on the 30th of June 1854. The governor that really implemented the constitution and its parliament was Sir George Grey (1854–1861).1,2,10,16,17
This First Cape Parliament (1854-1858) was, in terms of office, followed by the following three parliaments15,16,18:
- Second Cape Parliament (1859–1863)
- Third Cape Parliament (1864–1869) [Office was ended by dissolution of British Governor]
- Fourth Cape Parliament (1870–1873)
188.8.131.52 Henry Barkly (1870–1877)
The deadlocks and conflicts between the representative legislative power and the appointed executive power of the First Cape Parliament continued, hampering political decision-making. In 1862, Wodehouse got into trouble with the Cape Parliament, which refused to take over British Kaffraria from the imperial government or to impose additional taxation. British Kaffraria was annexed in 1865 by a bill that also increased the membership of the Legislative Council to 21 and the House of Assembly to 666 to include the representatives of British Kaffraria. After another conflict and a deadlock in the Parliament in 1869, the governor dissolved parliament. This internal conflict between the executive and legislative powers continued, and in May 1870 the parliament was prorogued. Democracy, even in its primitive form, was not handled effectively by the Cape Colony’s inhabitants, however much they dreamed and fought for democracy and their political rights since 1652.1,2,19
Ultimately, the Colonial Secretary ordered Henry Barkly (1870–1877) to introduce responsible government at the Cape. The colony and its ineffective leaders were becoming more of a burden than an asset. The British government felt that drastic action was needed, as Wiid17 states19:325:
The British government argued that, if the Cape colonists would not be ruled from above, they should be allowed to assume the responsibilities of self-government (Own translation).
This noble belief (and hope) of the Empire was easier said than done. Notwithstanding their internal fights and obstructions, Barkly steered the colonists. A Responsible Government Bill was passed to instate responsible government in 1870. It passed successfully through the House of Assembly, but was rejected by the Legislative Council owing opposition from the Eastern Province. The bill was finally passed in April 1872 by both houses, but opposition was still prominent.1,15,16
After unsuccessful appeals to eminent Capetonians, like Southey, Porter and Solomon, Barkly asked JC (John) Molteno (who also became the first Prime Minister) to put a government together, which he did with success. The 1872 Constitution of the Cape Colony, also known as the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872, had as its underlying principle full responsible government for the Cape Colony. It brought important changes to the political empowerment of the Colony’s inhabitants. This happened 220 years after the establishment of the Cape Refreshment Settlement. This development ended the autocratic reigns of governors, like Phillip Edmond Wodehouse (1862-1870), who became famous for their wrongdoings. Sir Henry Barkly’s efforts and initiative as well as that of the Colonial Secretary in London to bring full responsible government for the Cape Colony, are praiseworthy and shows that the British leadership in London was not always unsympathetic to the colonists’ interests. Also, the prominent role of Sir John Molteno, an English-speaking Capetonian, in getting Afrikaans- and English-speaking Whites into a political unity to embark on responsible government towards the Union’s foundation, needs special reference. Barkly and Molteno were the first good leaders at the Cape.1,2,15,16,18
The positive implications of the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872 were numerous, as Geen1 spells out1:84-85:
Responsible Government means government by a ministry which is responsible to Parliament and which continues in office only as long as it receives the support of the lower house of Parliament. Thus civil servants appointed by the Colonial Secretary and responsible to him through the Governor ceased to form the Executive Council, which from 1872 consisted of a Prime Minister without any other portfolio and four other ministers, all of whom were members either of the House of Assembly or the Legislative Council and belonged to the party in power in the former body. The Cape Government could no longer be ordered by the Imperial Government to do what it did not want to do, though it could have foreign policy of its own and was bound by many British treaties that affected the whole Empire and also by various admiralty and merchant shipping laws. However, the Governor had to act on the advice of the Cabinet in regards to local matters, though as High Commissioner he still had considerable powers in territories beyond the borders of the Cape Colony.
The new constitution held non-racialism as a core value, while the universal qualification for suffrage of ₤25 was seen as sufficiently low to ensure that most owners of any form of property or land could vote. An effort to raise it was successfully stop although it was agreed that rising in levels of wealth would eventually render it obsolete. Many new voters registered, specific the rural Xhosas of the frontier areas who were mostly communal landowners and therefore eligible for suffrage. This caused racial conflict. An important outcome was that the operating language of the Parliament was English, creating to a limitation of (and discrimination against) Dutch-speaking members because of their inability to speak English.15,16,19
The Fifth Parliament (1874–1878) was finally put in place. However, in the eighteen years from the promulgation of the Constitution Act of 1854 to the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872, little changed with regard to racial and cultural conflict, and it all transferred to the Union of South Africa.1,2,15,16
The Third Marquess of Salisbury, Robert Arthur Gascoyne-Cecil, the British prime minister at the height of Britain’s imperial power, believed that to ensure the stability of the wonderful and joyous Empire of Queen Victoria, as little as possible must be done to maintain the utopia. Gascoyne-Cecil summarized this belief in a single sentence quoted by Barber20:1: “Whatever happens…will be for the worse, and therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible”.
Barber20 does points out that Salisbury was by no means the only political leader who aspired to do very little. Barber writes20:1:
William Evarts, secretary of state in the administration of US President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–81), admonished him once by saying, “You don’t sufficiently realise, Mr President, the great truth that almost any question will settle itself if you only let it alone long enough”.
Barber continues by describing the US president Calvin Coolidge (nick-named Silent Cal).20 His biographer, Amity Shlaes, wrote20:1: “Congress always says ‘Do’. Coolidge replied, ‘Do not do’, or at least, ‘Do less’”.
When looking to the political history at the Cape 1795 to 1872, the Salisbury, Evarts and Coolidge attitude became the curse of the inhabitants of the Cape Colony under British rule. As little as possible happened on the political field. The belief was human rights politics would cause chaos at the Cape. The belief was also that the race factor would settle itself.15,16,19
It seems that although the British governors were well-educated men and had talent in terms of thinking, planning and doing. However, they were driven by the imperial spirit to establish and to maintain their much loved Empire.
In the ‘civilized world’ of the British of 1872, it was clear that the Cape Colony’s inhabitants were lacking good British culture. The British, were obliged to make the people of the backwards Cape Colony acceptable and functional parts of their grand Mighty Empire. This “backwardness” is to a great extent the truth, as Wiid confirms19:324:
This colony was still conducting a politically restricted life and, as consequence, lost many of its strongest sons as emigrants. Before the seventies, Afrikaans speakers – who back then only comprised about three quarters of the white population in the Colony – only provided around one third of the members of parliament (Own translation).
But Wiid shows that this backwardness was also created and maintained by the British Empire with their suppression of human and political rights.
The non-Whites’ voting rights, based on the multi-racial Cape Qualified Franchise, using the universal qualification for suffrage of ₤25 as sufficiently low to ensure that most owners of any form of property or land could vote, was a mislead plan to keep them out of the Parliament. The majority of these non-Whites – from KhoiKhoi, KhoiSan, Coloureds to free slaves, as well as Blacks inside the borders of the Cape Colony – was absolutely poor. Most of them could not speak English, which disqualified them as voters. Even early Afrikaners – people who were better educated and economically more stable in the period 1795 to 1872 – could be excluded by the Constitution Act of 1854. Wiid writes19:331:
In these circumstances the Afrikaans-speaking, who at the time constituted about one third of the White population at the Cape, delivered about one third of the parliament before the seventies (Own translation).
There is an immense difference between professing multi-racial politics or race equality in theory, and practicing human tolerance. The White Cape inhabitants knew from early on that to rule the Colony and its people they must capture and hold on to two intertwined energies: money and politics: they who have the money rule the politics and they who have the politics rule the money. Chomsky21 explains this fact clearly21:55:
…concentration of wealth leads almost reflexively to concentration of political power, which in turn translates into legislation, naturally in the interests of those implementing it…
…concentrated wealth will, of course, try to use its wealth and power to take over the political system as much as possible, and to run it and do what it wants, etc.
The Whites did not want a non-White regime in power after their “own suffering” on the hands of the VOC and the British Empire. Engelbrecht22 remarks on politicians after he reviewed Ronnie Kasrils’s23 book on Jacob Zuma, when he says22:12-13:
Kasril’s book reveals a serpent’s nest that confirms one’s suspicions that most politicians – everywhere, not just in South Africa – are cunning and dangerous snakes. [Own translation].
As a regime the British Empire was cold-blooded towards non-British persons when its interests were endangered. It did not hesitate to use extreme force when needed, as later reflected in their war against the Boers and their families during the Second Anglo Boer War (1899–1902). The British autocratic management of the Cape Colony inspired hostility among Blacks and Whites.1,2,10,12,23
They laid the table for future hate and rebellion.1,2
These British Empire’s military actions towards and suppressions of indigenous Southern Africans from the early 1800s are, when comparing it with their own modern British guideline to describe a terrorist, precisely the same, namely24:9:
- Violence against a person;
- Serious damage to property;
- Designed to influence a government or an international organization or to intimidate the public or a section of the public;
- With the aim of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.
This brings to the foreground Boon’s25:75 description of the characteristics of a political mobster:
Selfishness; delinquent inclinations all-over; strategies total stripped of all democratic principles, traditions, thinking, planning and doings; absolute intolerant; anti- order; minorities are quickly eradicated; coercion actions characterized by destruction, threat, killings and brutalities; aim the creation of a delinquent mob-reign; aim the exclusive of executive political mob-leaders to reign the country.
This contamination went much deeper: it also contaminated White inhabitants’ mindsets, as already reflected by the White frontiersmen along all the borders of the Colony.
The Cape’s inhabitants’ isolation from true democracy for over two hundred and twenty years made them political immature (and full of distrust for the Empire), as was reflected by their constant internal fighting and senseless tussling before the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872 could finally be promulgated for self-management. This political immaturity was also internalized into the mindsets of the Voortrekkers as reflected by the problematic ruling of their Boer republics.
The period 1795 to 1872 was characterized by in-fighting between Afrikaans-speaking Whites and English-speaking Whites, the growth of the British Empire and British supremacy and the suppression of especially the non-Whites of Southern Africa. Murder was justified as a means to control Blacks. As much as the British showed justice to the slaves, they were cruel to those Blacks who were independent of their control and who resisted. The British leaders at the Cape, twenty-seven governors, failed. The “Spook of Godske” (Ghost of Godske), whose sole intention is to inspire racism and racial disharmony who started his night walks at the old Refreshment Station’s fort, it seems, had never come to rest, not even two hundred years later.1,12,19
The British Empire’s constant wavering and unpredictable policy on the personal and political rights of the Coloureds, KhoiKhoi, KhoiSan and Black tribes such as the Xhosas, a policy that ranged from a kind of “apartheid” to assimilation and to extreme suppression, undoubtedly laid the foundation of more than one political tragedy for South Africa waiting in the future.
The British Empire was a failed regime at the Cape Colony. The British never learned from the old Chinese proverb: Of all the stratagems, to know when to quit is best.
The two objectives of this study were to discover if the South African leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made contributions to the country and its people during their time, and to determine if the behaviours of the South African leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 were impeccable.
The conclusions that are drawn from this study are presented in accordance with the aims and hypotheses as postulated in 2.2 to 2.5:
H1: The South African leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people.
The findings of this study show that the leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 failed to make extraordinary positive contributions to the country and its people. # Hypothesis H1 must be rejected.
H2: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 were impeccable.
The findings of this study show that the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons failed to be extraordinary and impeccable. # Hypothesis H2 must be rejected.
Looking at the racial discrepancies, discriminations, injustices and conflicts present by 1872 in South Africa, especially between its individual inhabitants, the Italian proverb: After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box, is misleading. After two centuries of gaming together, these groups could not fit into one box.
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Not commissioned; External 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 Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa.
UNSUITABLE TERMS AND INAPPROPRIATE WORDS
Please note that I, the author, is aware that the words Creole, Bantu, Kaffir, Native, Hottentot and Bushman are no longer suitable terms and are inappropriate (even criminal) for use in general speech and writing in South Africa (Even the words non-White and White are becoming controversial in the South African context). The terms do appear in dated documents and are used or translated as such in this article for the sake of historical accuracy. Their use is unavoidable within this context. It is important to retain their use in this article to reflect the racist thought, speech and writings of as recently as sixty years ago. These names form part of a collection of degrading names commonly used in historical writings during the heyday of apartheid and the British imperial time. In reflecting on the leaders and regimes of the past, it is important to foreground the racism, dehumanization and distancing involved by showing the language used to suppress and oppress. It also helps us to place leaders and their sentiments on a continuum of racism. These negative names do not represent my views and I distance myself from the use of such language for speaking and writing. In my other research on the South African populations and political history, I use Blacks, Whites, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaners, Coloureds, KhoiSan (Bushmen), KhoiKhoi (Hottentots) and Boers as applicable historically descriptive names.