Saturday, 16 March 2013

Slave trade and Apartheid


Slaves and Apartheid

Dear friends,

I was so hoping to be able to keep this blog positive and light-hearted, but that would mean to move around in a fool’s paradise. Therefor I have included here the very sad facts that led to South Africa being what it is today: a murderous and unbelievably violent society. So in order to have a look at the country’s culinary delights and other wonderful African feasts, we have to deal with “politics” first, also because I am asked these questions in e-mails and otherwise, especially by Non- South Africans. I know I am on very thin ice with this blog post but I am convinced of my rough but righteous opinions and tend to be very critical of the whole arrogant colonisation movement. I also know that I am slightly jumping around in history, but that too seems to be normal around here.
 
 

Slave trade, Apartheid and SA 2013

Once the colonizers of the New World discovered how useful slaves were to their economy, the slave trade grew rapidly. Greed drove the whole operation.  The leaders and kings of the western coastal African countries warred with neighbouring countries in order to get more prisoners that they could trade with Europeans for guns. Guns represented power to these African kingdoms, so the more the better. It was a never-ending cycle of greed, which led to the peak of slave trade.

 The many hundreds of years of slave trade were first documented as early as 1520. Some figures concluded that +- 70 Million Africans perished, being marched to the slave ships. This figure does not include the thousands and thousands that were actually captured, loaded onto ships and sold to foreign countries or within South Africa.
The African Slave trade was very profitable for those that were part of powerful groups that controlled the trade and one of those groups was Britain. They were making lots of money from the cash crops in the colonies that they had shipped slaves to. Because the labour was free, not only were the plantation owners getting rich, but Britain’s economy in general was getting better. However, in 1788 the Parliament finally picked up on all of the petitions that British citizens had started that were fighting against the selling and trading of human beings. Committees were formed to fight slavery and give evidence as to why slavery should stop and how Britain’s economy would survive without it. Public outcry and other Acts about human rights finally convinced the British Parliament to abolish slavery in March of 1807. Slavery was abolished after about 300 years because the initial amount of greed blindsided the corruption of trading human beings.
 
 

 

 The many hundreds of years of slave trade were first documented as early as 1520. Some figures concluded that +- 70 Million Africans perished, being marched to the slave ships. This figure does not include the thousands and thousands that were actually captured, loaded onto ships and sold to foreign countries or within South Africa.
 
 
 By the time that the white man arrived in South Africa, however, “slavery” had been established almost all over the world and this created the general mind-set that Africans, black people, were inferior. This high and mighty attitude arrived back in Africa with every single white man who later set foot on the African continent. This perception was so deeply ingrained that it is still widely popular in the global white world of today.
 
 
Personally I think that the much hated Apartheid recedes into insignificance compared to those preliminaries. It was different in that it was made a law by some hard headed Dutch colonists, but it was much less severe than the hundreds of years of actual slavery.  Apartheid rightfully upset the whole world, and more so with the occurrence of better ways of communication between countries and people. There was so much pressure on the National Party that they finally decided they could not uphold the system and freed Nelson Mandela in 1994.

When the white man arrived in Africa, the lights went out for the Africans. Not that there was peace and quiet before that time, but there had been vicious and violent fighting (mainly for cattle and grazing land) going on since the Bantus arrived in South Africa. It was “only” that another party was added to the on-going wars.
 
I have lived in South Africa under the Apartheid regime for 14 years (1982-1996) and it is my honest observation, that the poorer black communities are NOT better off today under the ANC government.  Although a new and very rich class of black people has emerged, mainly through corruption and exploitation of the workers (what else is new?), the poor have stayed poor.
It is my opinion that slavery led to Apartheid and both led to the unrests, murders and violence of South Africa today. Brutality leads to brutality. Other contributing factors are the failed promises of 1994/6.  Issues that were swept under the carpet before in this country are making the masses very angry now. South Africa was a violent country even before slavery and Apartheid and now this is erupting once more into a lawless nation about to explode. South Africans are generally inclined to close their eyes to brutality, probably as a self defence against turning insane as they feel that tensions are coming to a head. So they make “laagers” again, like their ancestors, the ‘voortrekkers’ and lock themselves up behind bars and security fences. In the face of a rape every 20 Minutes, 50 murders a day, endemic corruption, service delivery protests, the police in shambles, an incompetent government and people being burnt alive, it is really kind of hard to be positive!! The order which the Apartheid regime tried to establish in these brutal societies has not come.
It’s a matter of where to focus the attention on. After we have dealt with the politics, we will not have to come back here necessarily. For many South Africans the positive aspects of the country are still greater, I am one of them!
My late brother in law, a boer of format, always said: This is Africa! Love it or leave it. How wise!
The following post will deal with the historical background to “Slavery and Apartheid”. It contains excerpts from a website by Wallace G. Mills, which I highly recommend to anybody who would like to study the subject in more depths:
I greet you for today with a photo that was recently taken in the vicinity of the farm, where I have the priviledge to be staying.
Barbara
 
 
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