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Protea Boekhuis

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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Iron in the soul evaluates how the leaders of the official parliamentary opposition contributed to the shaping of South Africa’s history

Iron in the SoulThe lot of the leader of the official opposition is never a happy one. It takes exceptional personal attributes, or “iron in the soul” as Van Zyl Slabbert defined it, to be an efficient one.

In terms of the Westminster political system, which formed the basis of the South African parliament between 1910 and 1994, the official parliamentary opposition, led by the leader of the biggest opposition party was an important office-holder of parliament. He received a degree of latitude and preference, not allowed to ordinary parliamentarians, from the Speaker of parliament.

This group biography investigates the leaders of the official parliamentary opposition before democracy to evaluate how they contributed to the shaping of South Africa’s history. The focus is on those who never became a prime minister, or executive president.

Prime ministers J.B.M. Hertzog, J.C. Smuts and D.F. Malan’s years as opposition leaders have been investigated by historians, while the opposition leaders who failed to win elections are long forgotten, or at most reduced to historical footnotes.

The aim of this book is to bring to life the political “losers” – Sir Leander Starr Jameson (1910-1912), Sir Thomas Smartt (1912-1920), J.G.N. Strauss (1950-1956), Sir De Villiers Graaff (1956-1977), Radclyffe Cadman (1977), Colin Eglin (1977-1979 and 1986-1987)), Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert (1979-1986) and Dr. A.P. Treurnicht (1987-1993).

Prof. FA (Alex) Mouton is a Professor of History at Unisa. He teaches modern South African history and is the author of Voorloper: Die lewe van Schalk Pienaar, Margaret Ballinger’s Prophet without honour: FS Malan – Afrikaner, South African and Cape liberal.

Book details

  • Iron in the soul: The leaders of the official parliamentary opposition in South Africa, 1910-1993 by F.A. Mouton
    EAN: 9781485305507
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Heruitgawe van Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 deur Gerhardus Pool

Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907Die heruitgawe van Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 deur Gerhardus Pool is nou beskikbaar by Protea Boekhuis:

Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 is ’n heruitgawe van ’n boek wat ses keer tussen 1976 en 1979 deur HAUM gepubliseer is. Die lotgevalle van die Hererovolk word in hierdie boek geskets, ’n stuk geskiedenis wat ’n sentrale plek in Namibië se kleurryke geskiedenis beklee. Die opstand van die Herero’s in 1904 teen Duitse koloniale gesag kan beskou word as die enkele gebeurtenis wat die gebied se volksverhoudinge die ingrypendste verander het. Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 vertel van die geleidelike opbou na die konflik, die skielike uitbarsting van geweld en die tragiese afloop vir die Herero’s toe duisende verhonger het en hulle grond en politieke seggenskap verloor het.

Oor die outeur

Gerhardus Pool (1941) is in Upington gebore en het in 1953 saam met sy ouers na Otjiwarongo verhuis. Hy behaal sy MA graad in Geskiedenis (1976) by die Universiteit van Stellenbosch. Hy werk as onderwyser by hoërskole in Keetmashoop en Windhoek en is sedert 1976 verbonde aan die Universiteit van Pretoria waar hy spesialiseer in die geskiedenis van suidwestelike Afrika.

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Nuut: Die VOC aan die Kaap, 1652-1795 saamgestel deur Con de Wet, Jan Visagie en Leon Hattingh

Die VOC aan die Kaap, 1652-1795Die VOC aan die Kaap, 1652-1795, saamgestel deur Con de Wet, Jan Visagie en Leon Hattingh, is nou beskikbaar by Protea Boekhuis:

Daar is reeds baie navorsing gedoen en ’n groot aantal publikasies het verskyn oor die geskiedenis van die Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) se tyd aan die Kaap. Nogtans het baie kundiges ’n behoefte aan ’n gesaghebbende publikasie wat die VOC se bewindstyd aan die Kaap volledig sou behandel, geïdentifiseer. ’n Motivering was ’n nuwe belangstelling in die Kompanjiesgeskiedenis en heelwat aspekte van die VOC se verbintenis met Suid-Afrika wat nog nie in die historiografie neerslag gevind het nie. Sewentien medewerkers, wat elkeen ’n deskundige op sy of haar besondere terrein is, is gewerf.

Aspekte wat bespreek word, is die ontdekking van die seeroetes na die Ooste en die Amerikas teen die einde van die 16de eeu en die interafhanklikheid wat daardeur tussen Europa, die Ooste en die Amerikas ontstaan het. Dit het ook in Nederland neerslag gevind met die ontstaan van die VOC in 1602 en die groei van sy Oosterse handelsryk in die 17de eeu, wat dit die eerste groot internasionale handelsmaatskappy gemaak het. Daarna word die maatskappy se geleidelike agteruitgang en sy uiteindelike ondergang aan die einde van die 18de eeu geskets.

Daar word gefokus op die rol wat die Kaapse diensstasie in die VOC se Oosterse handel gespeel het, die Kaapse bestuursinstellings en owerheidsdienste word bespreek en aandag word gegee aan die verdediging van die Kaap – die strategiese waarde van die Kaap en die verdedigingstelsel om dit te beskerm, die verdediging teen ’n buitelandse bedreiging en die bekamping van binnelandse bedreigings. Laastens word die regspraak, gesondheidsdienste en onderwys volledig behandel. Daar is ook ’n fokus op die verskillende bevolkings-, kulturele of beroepsgroepe aan die Kaap, te wete die Khoisan, die Kompanjiesamptenare, die vryburgers, die slawe en die gemengde of “bruin” bevolkingsgroep. Ten slotte is daar ’n samevattende oorsig op die geskiedkundige nalatenskap van die VOC se teenwoordigheid aan die Kaap op die ontstaan en ontwikkeling van Suid-Afrika soos ons dit vandag ken.

Oor die redakteurs

Con de Wet, Jan Visagie en Leon Hattingh is kenners op die gebied van die VOC en die verbintenis met Suid-Afrika en het met ’n paneel van kundiges saamgewerk, onder andere: Dan Sleigh, Helena Scheffler, Kay de Villiers, Hans Heese, Piet Westra, Thean Potgieter, Gawie en Gwen Fagan en ook Nederlandse medewerkers Gerrit Schutte en Thom de Schmidt.

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A photographic record of history: The Spirit of District Six by Cloete Breytenbach

The Spirit of District SixProtea Boekhuis is proud to present The Spirit of District Six by Cloete Breytenbach:

This year it will be 50 years ago that District Six was declared a whites only area and this publication commemorates this event in our history.

This revised edition (in a smaller format aimed at the tourist market) of this beautiful book shows poignant images from Breytenbach’s collection of District Six during the 1970s before the area was dramatically demolished by the apartheid government. It is an historical record about the inhabitants and their surroundings of that time and was compiled over a period of five years.

The Cape Town area known as District Six (so called for its geographic position on the municipal map of the city) developed into a dense residential area close to the centre of Cape Town during the second part of the nineteenth century.

Home to a diverse community with a wide range of historical origins, neglect on the part of landlords and local authorities led to the area becoming rundown. The government repeatedly directed requests to the city council and the landlords – most of whom were white and not residing in the area – to upgrade what was fast becoming a slum on the doorstep of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. On 11 February 1966, the government declared District Six a white area under the Group Areas Act, and the wholesale removal of the inhabitants was started – mainly to areas away from the city. This process took 15 years and some 60 000 people were removed.

About the author

Cloete Breytenbach embarked on his photographic career in Cape Town in 1951 on the Afrikaans-language daily Die Burger. For the better part of the next 10 years, he worked as a news photographer on various South African publications before leaving for London (The Daily Express) and Europe (on assignment for news magazines including Paris Match and Bunte). On his return to South Africa, he established a photo agency with fellow photographers to supply both local and international publications with images covering major events from the African continent and the world. These photo stories included the ground-breaking first heart transplant for Life in 1967 and conflict coverage from across Africa, including Angola, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Mozambique, Congo and South Africa.

Cloete has held photographic exhibitions in South Africa, the USA, Europe and Japan, and a collection of his images of Albert Luthuli are held in the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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Verstaan die Slagtersnek-opstand beter met Slagtersnek en sy mense deur JA Heese

Slagtersnek en sy menseSlagtersnek en sy mense deur JA Heese is nou beskikbaar op Protea Boekhuis se rakke:

Slagtersnek is een van die bekendste name in ons geskiedenis. Met sy grusame assosiasie was dit ‘n magtige propagandamiddel in die politieke ontwikkeling van die Afrikaner. Juis hierdeur het dit egter al gou ‘n volksmite geword waarna herondersoek dringend noodsaaklik geword het. Dit is wat dr. Heese in hierdie boek doen. Deur deeglike navorsing van die voor- en nageslag van almal wat daarby betrokke was, vorm hy ‘n helder beeld van wat werklik plaasgevind het. Hy toon oortuigend aan dat die Slagtersnek-opstand verkeerd vertolk is. Daar is helde gesien waar geen helde was nie, en dit was juis die bekampers van die opstandelinge, asook die neutrales, wat later die Afrikaner volksbewussyn tydens die Groot Trek bevorder het.

Heese skilder talle kleurryke figure: die bywoners, die ryk patriarge, die sukkelende swerwers, die dwarstrekkers, skoolmeesters en nie-blanke bediendes. Met hierdie boek word ‘n belangrike en oorspronklike bydrae tot ons geskiedenis gemaak.

Oor die outeur

Wyle dr JA Heese het sy bekroning op sy argiefstudie in 1971 bekom met die baanbrekerswerk, Die herkoms van die Afrikaner, 1657–1867. Talle artikels uit sy pen het ook reeds in Familia, kwartaalblad van die Genealogiese Genootskap in Suid-Afrika, verskyn waarvan hy ook stigterslik en ere-sekretaris was.

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Castle of Good Hope Hosts a Celebration of As the Crow Flies by Delville Linford and Al J Venter

Al J Venter

 
Many of the men who gathered in the Officer’s Mess at the Castle of Good Hope early in November wore a tie with a distinctive crow. They were soldiers who had fought under the command of Colonel Delville Linford in the legendary 31 Batallion some 40 years ago in the military campaign Operation Savannah.

Eavesdropping on the conversations it was clear that each man there had a story to tell, but they had come together to celebrate their collective story, and that of their erstwhile commanding officer, and they raised their glasses to honour his memory and to welcome the publication of As the Crow Flies: My Bushman Experience with 31 Battalion by Linford with Al J Venter.

Venter spoke about the challenges Linford faced and the context he had entered into. Brigadier Constand Viljoen had issued instructions that a base be established in the western Caprivi to accommodate, equip and train “Bushman soldiers” to help protect what was the South West African border against SWAPO. With the help of six national servicemen and 39 black troops, Linford established Camp Alpha. Combat Group Alpha participated in Operation Savannah from October 1975 to January 1976 after which the company was named 31 Battalion and operated in south-east Angola and Zambia.

Nicol Stassen and Al VenterAs the Crow Flies“In the battle for the independence of Angola,” Venter said, “the Bushmen had been marshalled by the Portuguese to do their tracking and attacks. They were extremely efficient at killing the guards without guns. With the Portuguese Carnation Revolution and the independence of Angola, the country was bled dry. When the Portuguese left, the Bushmen were abandoned to their own devices. The South Africans entered the region and, realising their potential, recruited the Bushmen.”

Delville Linford was given staff to form 31 Battalion but had a very difficult time in the beginning. “The attitude of the Portuguese had been to ‘live and let live’. The Bushmen had a job to do, but no real discipline had been established. They could stand at attention and march, but none of the traditional military rigmarole was imposed on them. Also, their training was a means to kill. They could track and scout, but when it came to military conventions they did only the basics. When they came south and the South Africans accepted them, Delville was under orders to make a large number of people into soldiers. He had to marshal them into a military community.”

Venter said that under Linford’s instruction the 31 Battalion built schools, and attempted to turn the Bushmen into “civilised” people in that environment. “Delville built camps but had to marshal people. The trackers were being sent through for our own border war. However, they were not issued with guns, so, when they were sent out to track with a squad of South African troops they would go through, hot on the trail, then trail would ‘go missing’. This happened half a dozen times. Eventually Linford got together with the Bushman leaders to find out what was going on.

“They held an indaba. In his own language the Bushman leader said, ‘Do you think we’re stupid? If we lead you there, who is the first one to get shot? You won’t give us guns. We aren’t going to take you to them.’ Linford was then faced with the challenge of making these troops fully qualified to make a fire drill,” Venter recalled.

At that point Operation Savannah happened. “The battles they fought were quite remarkable. At Benguela the place crawling with MPLA. The Cubans were coming through all the time. They got through and took the airport. There were South African troops but also a lot of Bushmen. The Cubans had already smuggled men into the country and saw the South Africans as a problem. When Operation Savannah was over, we had suffered just a fraction of the casualties because of the way we had husbanded our resources with just a few thousand people,” he said.

“We didn’t get to gates of Luanda but we got a long way north.” Venter had been in Luanda while this was happening. He was working for Scope magazine at the time. He shared his harrowing stories of death threats and capture with a Le Monde journalist, the torture and his narrow escape thanks to Francois Mitterand.

Returning to the subject of As the Crow Flies, Venter said of the Bushmen, “There are so many facets to their story.” He summarised an exchange that stood out in his memory between a captain who had issued a command of dubious wisdom. It illustrated the sharpness of the Bushmen when they countered him, implying it was not a very clever move. “‘Are you trying to tell me I’m stupid?’ asked the captain. ‘No Sir, you’re the cleverest captain I know!’ said the Bushman. ‘So, what are you saying?’ asked the captain. The Bushman replied, ‘A very clever man doesn’t make the kind of decision you’ve just made.’”
 

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:


 

 

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Facebook Album

 

Also read:

 

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Nuut deur Karel Schoeman – Imperiale somer: Suid-Afrika tussen Oorlog en Unie, 1902 – 1910

Imperiale somerImperiale somer: Suid-Afrika tussen Oorlog en Unie, 1902 – 1910 deur Karel Schoeman is nou beskikbaar op Protea Boekhuis se rakke:

Die boek gee ’n voëlvlugoorsig van die vier Suid-Afrikaanse kolonies gedurende die Eduardiaanse tydperk van 1902 – 1910. Dié tydperk word deur Schoeman beskou as die “hoogtepunt van die hele Imperiale gedagte” wat uiteindelik met die uitbreek van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog sou eindig.

Die klem val egter nie op die politieke besluite en ontwikkelinge nie, maar op die persoonlikhede van leiers- en ander figure, die omstandighede in die vier kolonies met hulle stede en dorpe, belangrike sosiale gebeurtenisse, die aanloop tot unifikasie in 1910 en die uitwerking van die belangrike Naturelle Grondwet van 1913 op die lewenswyse van swart mense direk ná Uniewording. Kort maar insiggewende tiperings word gegee van persoonlikhede so uiteenlopend soos oudpresident Steyn, Lord Milner, die dramaturg Stephen Black, die bendeleier Robert Foster, die avontuurlustige Mrs Edith Maturin en die deelsaaier Kas Maine. Ruim aanhalings uit verskillende bronne verlewendig die bespreking van alledaagse omstandighede op verskillende plekke in wat later die Unie van Suid-Afrika sou wees, soos die sketse van Jacob Lub oor die lewenswyse in Johannesburg, die setlaar Leonard Flemming se boeke oor sy eensame bestaan op ’n afgeleë Vrystaatse plaas, en die talle verwysings na riksjas in die reisbeskrywings van besoekers aan Durban. Besonder boeiend is ook die hoofstukke oor die rol van Joodse smouse en handelaars in onder andere die volstruisveerbedryf en die toestande in die inrigting vir melaatses op Robbeneiland.

Talle anekdotes en klein kameebeskrywings maak van Imperiale somer ’n besonder interessante leeservaring. Die boek word toegelig met ruim fotoseksies wat ’n visuele beeld van die era gee.

Oor die outeur

Karel Schoeman, een van Suid-Afrika se produktiefste skrywers, het talle romans, novelles, dramatekste en historiese werke geskryf. Sy werk is reeds talle male bekroon, onder andere met die Hertzogprys en die Recht Malan-prys.

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One SADF Soldier’s Fight for Paradise – Read an Excerpt from Eden’s Exiles by Jan Breytenbach

 
Eden's ExilesFounding commander of 32 Battalion Colonel Jan Breytenbach’s book Eden’s Exiles is an important source of information on a lesser known part of the South African Border War, also referred to as the Angola Bush War. It was first published in 1997 with a second edition out this year.

Eden’s Exiles tells the story of one soldier’s fight for paradise and describes how Breytenbach, one of the most important leaders of the SADF during that time, discovered that Military Intelligence was involved in illegal wildlife trade with Angolan political and military leader Jonas Savimbi. He writes that “all elephant and rhino poaching was conducted on an organised basis” and shares details of what went on behind the scenes as those who were supposed to protect the animals conspired with criminals.

“It was my fortune – and at the same time my misfortune – to be propelled into the forbidding harshness of this wilderness by the circumstances of war,” Breytenbach writes of his time in Angola, introducing readers to the environment and circumstances soldiers faced there.

Read the introduction to Eden’s Exiles for a taste of the book:

 

Introduction – Eden's Exiles

 

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Image courtesy of 32 Battalion


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What Was Apartheid? It’s 67 Years Since DF Malan Explained what the Policy Would Entail

A History of South AfricaOn 2 September, 1948, South African Prime Minister DF Malan explained to parliament what the new policy of apartheid would entail.

The following year, the first apartheid measure was introduced: the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949. In 1950, an amendment was made to the Immorality Act of 1927 that “extended this restriction to all people of colour”, and the Population Regulation Act was brought into law.

The Bantu Education Act was introduced in 1953, and was followed in a steep decline in the number of black teachers in training – from 8 817 in 1954, to 5 908 in 1961. The pupil/teacher ratio in black schools rose from 40:1 in 1953 to 50:1 in 1960.

With constant commentary in the media reminding us how far we have to go, this excerpt from A History of South Africa: From Past to Present, edited by Fransjohan Pretorius, serves to reminds us how far we have come.

The extract is taken from Chapter 15: The consolidation of the apartheid state, 1948–1966 by David M Scher.

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What was apartheid?

The first time that the term apartheid appeared in print appears to have been in a pamphlet issued at a conference on the missionary endeavours of the NG Church in Kroonstad in 1929. It was used in the speech delivered by the Rev. JC du Plessis of Bethlehem. In Die Burger it was first seen in 1943 in a leading article. At about this time Dr DF Malan, leader of the NP, began to use the term in Parliament to differentiate his party’s policy from the segregation plan of the ruling United Party (UP).

During the premierships of Generals JBM Hertzog and Jan Smuts, South Africa was a segregated society. Black people had extremely limited political rights, schools and residential areas were segregated, the pass law was enforced to keep black people out of the cities, and there were separate sport and recreation facilities. On the other hand, during Smuts’s second term as prime minister (1939–1948) there was an increase in the variety of social services available to black people and the level of these services was improved. Furthermore, virtually every government report, especially the report of the Fagan Commission in 1948, recommended that black people’s permanent residence in the cities should be officially recognised. However, the NP was determined to curb this line of reasoning and to extend and enforce the separation between white and black people.

Although the clever use of the apartheid slogan played a role in the NP’s victory at the polls in 1948, there was not yet unanimity on its exact meaning and implications. Eventually, in Parliament on 2 September 1948, Malan, now prime minister, explained what this new policy entailed. He said that although complete apartheid, or territorial apartheid, was the ideal, its implementation at that stage was not feasible because many sectors of the South African economy were reliant upon black labour. Nevertheless, separate spheres, not necessarily with absolute territorial divisions, would be established. Within these spheres, each population group would be able to develop fully its own ambitions and unique capabilities.

The NP government was convinced that social apartheid was crucial to the preservation and safeguarding of the white population’s identity and wellbeing. The first measure to implement social apartheid was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949. This made all marriages between white people and those of other races illegal.

In 1950 this law was supplemented by an amendment to the Immorality Act of 1927. The original act had prohibited sexual relations between white and black people; the amendment extended this restriction to all people of colour. CR Swart, the Minister of Justice, stated frankly in Parliament that the main purpose of the legislation was not so much to check immorality as to prevent further “admixture of blood” between white people and other races.

To facilitate the administration of social apartheid legislation, the Population Regulation Act of 1950 was passed. It provided for the classification of the population on the basis of racial categories. The racial group of an individual was determined by physical appearance (such as skin colour), general social acceptance and repute. In accordance with this Act racially based identity documents were issued. The NP ignored warnings that this classification system would bring hardship and anguish to coloured, black and Indian South Africans. In its defence the NP said this was a small price to pay in comparison to the advantages a strictly separated society would bring.

SANDRA LAING

Few people personify the suffering that the Population Registration Act caused better than Sandra Laing. Although both her parents were white, at 10 years of age Sandra was removed from her school in Piet Retief (today emKhondo) and registered as a coloured person because of her dark complexion and curly hair.

When she married a black man 10 years later, her family rejected her. Her father died without ever speaking to her again and her two brothers avoided her. After about 30 years she was eventually reunited with her mother. In 2000 she was quoted in an article in the Sunday Times as saying: “In 1966, when I was 10, the police came to take me away from the school (Deborah Retief boarding school). Mr Van Tonder, the principal, said I was not white and could not stay. I was taken to the hostel and told to pack my things. Two policemen drove me to my father’s shop in Panbult. They said I was being expelled because I looked different … My father cried. I stayed at home for two years.

“In 1976 when there were uprisings against apartheid and the education system, I turned 21 and I thought things would change. I applied for an identity document then, but it took six years before I finally got my first ID as a Coloured. Until then I could not prove who I was or find work, or open an account or do whatever a person has to do. “Through those years I longed for my family, just to hear from them. I wrote several letters but they remained unanswered … Apartheid has ended, and I would like to shake Mr Mandela’s hand for that, but it is too late for me.”

According to TE Dönges, at the time the Minister of Internal Affairs, The Group Areas Act of 1950 was the cornerstone of apartheid. The aim of this Act was to make residential separation compulsory. This meant that the Union of South Africa would be divided into thousands of residential areas so that the different races could live completely separately.

Despite Dönges’s assertion that this Act would be administered with justice and without discrimination, in practice this was not the case. It proved to be one of the cruellest Acts ever passed by the South African legislature. The Act cut across all traditional property rights and led to the eviction of thousands of black, coloured and Indian people from their homes, causing deep resentment. An example of this was District Six in Cape Town. From 1966 about 55 000 residents were forced to move from their homes near the city centre to the remote, windswept Cape Flats.

The NP government also wanted separate public facilities for white people and those of other races. The outcome of the Separate Amenities Act of 1953 and its amendments was the implementation of “petty” apartheid (as opposed to “grand” apartheid on a larger scale). Notice boards in public places such as halls, post offices, and restrooms typically read: “Counter for non-whites”; “Entrance for delivery boys”; “Queue for nonwhite servants”; or “Whites only”. In terms of these laws social and cultural apartheid was increasingly imposed in South Africa.

The implementation of apartheid in public theatres regularly led to absurd situations and in most cases exposed the compelling motives of the apartheid ideology. In 1961, when the first drive-in theatre was opened for coloureds in Wetton, near Cape Town, the parking area was divided into two sections: one for coloured theatre-goers and another for white people. This while they were all parked in their cars viewing the very same film.

In 1966 the Minister of Community Development first had to give his permission before the concert pianist Jan Volkwyn, a coloured man who had just returned to South Africa from London, could perform with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra in front of a coloured audience in the coloured suburb of Coronationville. The permit stated that Volkwyn could not perform as a member of the orchestra but could merely be accompanied by the orchestra. It was also agreed that he would not be allowed to mix socially with members of the orchestra, nor could he use the same dressing rooms or other facilities as they did.

Another example was when Shakespeare’s drama Othello was being presented at the Maynardville open-air theatre in Cape Town in 1968. The character in the title role is a black person, but because of apartheid regulations it had to be played by a white actor.

The NP government also advanced apartheid in the field of labour. The Native Building Workers Act of 1951 reaffirmed the “civilised labour” policy of the 1920s. It sought to protect white and coloured workers against the threat of cheap black labour. Certain sections of the Act forbade the employment, unless special exemption had been granted, of black workers by whites at their homes, for bricklaying, carpentry and other skilled work. The Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act of 1953 also prohibited strikes by black workers. Although the Act did not expressly forbid black trade unions, it did not recognise them legally.

The high point of labour apartheid was reached with the passing of the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1956. It reserved several categories of work to safeguard the economic welfare of employees of any race in any undertaking, industry, trade or occupation. This legislation was in fact designed to protect the interests of white labour by preventing competition by black workers in the labour market. Black workers were trapped at the lowest level of the economic scale. One result of this law was that all lift attendants in Johannesburg were dismissed and replaced by white workers.

One of the most controversial measures passed by the NP government was the Bantu Education Act of 1953. Before 1948 most black schooling and virtually all black teachers’ training was provided at mission schools. Most NP supporters viewed this as a particularly dangerous situation, believing that liberal anti-government ideas would be pumped into young black minds by malicious outsiders. They were determined to restructure black education in accordance with the new apartheid society.

The Bantu Education Act of 1953 established state control over all black education and the state therefore also took control of existing mission schools. It is notable that the Department of National Education was not given the responsibility for black education; instead it fell under the Department of Native Affairs, headed by Dr HF Verwoerd. In the Senate’s discussion of the draft bill, Verwoerd declared that the black learner should only be equipped “to meet the demands which the economic life of South Africa will impose on him”. According to Verwoerd there was “no place for him in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour”. However, in their own communities they would, he said, have plenty of economic opportunities.

Verwoerd also suggested that black people had previously been subjected to a school system that was traditionally European, one which alienated them from their traditional social background. This had misled them by showing them the “green pastures of European society” in which they were “not allowed to graze”. According to Verwoerd it served no useful purpose to teach a black child a curriculum that was traditionally European. He went on to say that it would be unnecessary and even absurd to teach a black child mathematics, because he would never use it in practice. Black children should be trained and taught, he said, “in accordance with their opportunities in life”.

The Bantu Education Act aroused widespread protest, but Verwoerd was unmoved. The immediate result of the Act was a dramatic decline in the quality of black education. This could be seen in the decline in the number of black teachers in training from 8817 in 1954 to 5908 in 1961. At the same time the pupil/teacher ratio in black schools rose from 40:1 in 1953 to 50:1 in 1960. There was a corresponding deterioration in examination results.

The most telling criticism of Bantu Education was the fact that while the number of black children at school doubled between 1954 and 1965, there was no corresponding increase in government spending. Indeed, in this period the government expenditure on each black learner dropped considerably.

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Intrigue, Corruption and Double-crossing on the Witwatersrand in TV Bulpin’s Storm over the Transvaal

Storm over the TransvaalProtea Boekhuis presents Storm over the Transvaal by TV Bulpin:

This book tells the dramatic story of the Transvaal from 1884 until 1900 – a period which covers a singularly lurid stretch of South Africa’s past. In his remarkably engaging style of writing, Bulpin transports readers back to the rugged Transvaal where gold seemed to be the centre of all things. It was a time of adventure in which any man could strike it lucky, or die alone with little else than disappointment as company. The remarkable story of the Witwatersrand provides an often hilarious background to a history of events so important, that they are still of vital interest to every South African today. All the fantastic intrigue, corruption and double-crossing which led to the grim climax of the Anglo-Boer War is described with a wealth of detail and anecdote.

About the author

Thomas Victor Bulpin (1918–1999) was a writer about African big game hunters, South African travel and history. He was a well-known and very prolific travel writer – he wrote 29 books and thousands of pamphlets and features on southern Africa for magazines and newspapers. An inveterate traveller, he was the author of classics such as Islands in a Forgotten Sea, The Ivory Trail, Natal and the Zulu Country, The Hunter is Death and the Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa.

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