Tag Archives: Apartheid

African Youth Leagues: Pawns In Struggle

Before the fall of Apartheid, teenagers faced violence from their former schoolyard mates over the color of a tee-shirt or voiced support for competing political ideologies. Homes are torched, supporters ‘necklaced’, and rival youth gangs held power in the classroom.

The struggle of the adults filtered down to the children, when the liberation movement created ‘youth leagues’, aiming to draft their supporters younger and younger. The children are seduced by free clothing and promise of money, and filled with wild notions, which in their youth, they have not fully understood.

The children are told–and they believe–that the ANC will grant them land and equity. Their rivals claim to see though it, and hold out for something better. Neither side is clearly right or wrong.

The best position for anyone to take to take isn’t entirely clear. But adults have compelled these young men to pick, and wait for violence to finally reach them.

Contemporary: Supporters of the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, gather during clashes with police forces

Contemporary: Supporters of the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema gather during clashes with police forces.

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SA:’Race-Based’ Rations & Radicalization

Apartheid era menu showing the racialization of food rations.

Apartheid era menu showing the racialization of food rations.

During Apartheid, the political prisoners of South Africa’s Robben Island would frequently go on hunger strike over the quantity and quality of their rations.  Dietitians in the service of the state’s racial system determined ‘racial diets’, according to the Western determined ‘tastes’, with little input from the races themselves. Taste differs from individual to individual.

When prisoners complain, wardens would often respond, “like it,” or “I eat no better at home.” The food would then be quickly traded among the prisoners, until that activity found out and suspended; it later resumes.  There is no need for a racial structure of rations, except but to make detention efforts more backwards and cumbersome. Why should they go through such an effort?

It seems to me that a diet of hunger and frustration only serves to radicalize.

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SA TRC: What Truth & Reconciliation?

Tutu_TRC-1From the onset, declared in the constitution, amnesty for past atrocities was proscribed to all parties of South Africa’s Apartheid era conflicts. Initially, it was commonly represented that amnesty was granted for the crimes of the Boer. Men of all colors lost their hands, their lives, or bore indefinite detention, prison sentences or fire-bombings.

Yes, it is true that the state system of apartheid was an injustice. Anyone who did not recognize it long ago, realizes it now. Many whites might long for standard of living they once enjoyed, but all of us now know the great moral cost it inflicted.

It’s “a new beginning…not about skin color, culture, or language, but about people.” The international press would do well to recognize that, and not characterize the Afrikaner as the stereotypical villain. There are villains enough on all sides, regardless of color.

Amnesty, it turns out, has come to shield the new government from their crimes against humanity. The average individual did not engage in criminality. That was the doing of our government, and one set of tyrants has been traded for another.

Reconciliation will happen in the future, but not now. The wounds are too fresh. The villains have negotiated a compromise, and given themselves immunity from their actions. They will rule for another generation, and then maybe the tree will be cleansed from root to branch.

Image source & Additional TRC coverage: http://www.sthp.saha.org.za/memorial/articles/the_truth_and_reconciliation_commission.htm

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SA: Homeland of the ‘Migrant Labourer’

65-254-E6-168-overcoming_apartheid-a0a7h5-a_3272Blacks came to be considered ‘migrant labor’; never ‘indigenous’ in South Africa. If you were not able-bodied, you were a ‘superfluous appendage’ and subject to removal and criminal penalty.

White children could play in the park, supervised by their black nannies. Black children played in the street, unsupervised. The nanny feeds her charge but her children are malnourished back home. She is lucky, even, if she gets to see them. If the father also lucky, if he gets to play any part in raising the children, because the law forbids their cohabitation. Families are separated, consigned to hostel living, and state barriers to intermingling. 

‘Family’ reached new definitions under apartheid.

Whites, Coloureds, Asians, and ‘honorary whites’ have their own sit-down restaurants. Blacks are made by law to stand and eat the fast-food on their local corner.   Because of this, ALL people in SA are still forced to look over their shoulders in fear. Could policy makers not see how this builds resentments? Did they blindly believe these policies would stand in perpetuity?

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