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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 2 of Episode 16

01:152000 Years ago the southern part of the African continent was inhabited by hunter-gatherer peoples, the Khoi and the Bushmen. Slowly moving down from further Northern Africa into these parts were several groups of farmers called the Bantu. To the people of other continents Africa was unknown until the first European seafarers rounded the Cape in the sixteenth century and were met by very assertive Khoi people. In 1652 Jan van Riebeeck arrived. Africa south of the equator changed forever. Van Riebeeck established a refreshment station on the ideal halfway mark between Europe and the rich Eastern trade routes. The halfway station soon became a colony, and French and German settlers joined the Dutch at the Cape.Full Transcript
02:05Centuries ago, from war torn Europe and bitter religious strife they came from various cultures, languages and persuasions to the southern tip of Africa, not to colonise or to exchange merchandise in the first or the final place but to become what is known as free burghers. Full Transcript
02:25The British however cottoned on to the Cape’s strategic importance and for many years the Cape colony was tossed between the two colonial powers. The free burghers’ disenchantment with the colonial powers caused them to trek further east, where they first encountered and later clashed with the Xhosa people. The eighteenth century saw one of the greatest social upheavals in the history of southern Africa: The reign of King Shaka, who conquered and assimilated many tribes to form the Zulu nation. With the arrivals of the 1820 British settlers the trek Boers soon felt that once again their freedom was compromised by the colonial government. When the government freed the slaves in 1834 it was the last straw. // Piet Retief and others loaded their wagons and started the ”Great Trek” north. They repeatedly clashed with the African tribes they met along their way. ‘Die Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek’ and the ‘Republiek van de Oranje Vrystaat’ were established in the mid 1800s. In ...moreFull Transcript
04:17This union entrenched European domination and effectively excluded the indigenous people from the political, economic and military dispensation established under the Union of South Africa Act of 1910, adopted by the so-called seat of democracy, the British House of Commons. Full Transcript
04:39The years after union saw both the formation of the Afrikaner Broederbond, initially a self-advancement organisation and the National Party. It also saw the formation of the first non-tribal national African political movement: the African National Congress. The two nationalisms started to square up to each other. The ‘Native Question’ was dealt with in the Union’s first Parliament; one of its first steps was to deprive Africans of most of their land with the Land Act of 1913.Full Transcript and References
05:13Having been overcome by the colonialists because of their superior weapons, mobility and fire power the African people correctly decided to resist the unholy alliance by setting up political organisations, drawing up petitions, organising protest marches as well as involving students and workers in strike action.Full Transcript
05:42Their tactics were essentially peaceful. Two delegations led by Sol Plaatjie to Britain to appeal to the British crown achieved nothing to turn the tide of events. The symbolic great trek of 1938 marked an upsurge of Afrikaner nationalism. In 1948 the National Party won the election and for the first time the cabinet under the leadership of D. F. Malan was constituted entirely of Afrikaners. // As the Western world recovered from WWII and the shock of Nazism they also recovered from the racist philosophies so popular during the twenties and the thirties. Not the Afrikaners. Full Transcript
06:20There was a time when the whole developed world was guilty of the very same things of which the policy of apartheid was guilty.Full Transcript and References
06:38When bright young Dutch immigrant Hendrik Verwoerd took over the leadership of the National Party he turned apartheid into an ideology interwoven with a strict Calvinist religion. His laws required all South Africans to be classified according to race and to live in racially segregated areas.Full Transcript and References
06:58It remains however a sad fact that we have to admit that the historic struggle of the Afrikaner for freedom and self-realisation did not bring about the sensitivity that was needed in order to understand the same motivations and concerns when they came from black people. Perhaps the worst of our past was that we never knew each other.Full Transcript
07:22The 1950s saw wide spread resistance against the carrying of passes, a document which severely restricted the movement of Africans in the country of their birth. Hundreds of thousands of people were jailed for not carrying a valid passport. In 1952 the ANC launched a deliberate campaign of civil disobedience: the Defiance Campaign. The organisation gained momentum as a mass movement. In 1955 it was the nucleus at the Congress of the People where the Freedom Charter was adopted. This historic document wanted freedom and democracy for all and declared that South Africa belonged to all its people: white and black. Full Transcript and References
08:08The Africanists opposed the Freedom Charter because it diluted the true nature of the struggle. The charter opted for multi-racialism as opposed to genuine non-racialism. It attempted to transform the struggle from one of national liberation to one of integration. The Africanists faced with this change of policy decided in 1959 to form the Pan Africanist Congress as the custodian of the principles enshrined in the 1949 programme of action. Full Transcript
08:47Ironically, in the same year in which the Freedom Charter was adopted the African population of the mixed suburb of Sophiatown was removed to Meadowlands. In 1960 when the Union was celebrating its 50th anniversary Verwoerd withdrew from the Commonwealth and declared South Africa a republic. // ‘What we did, we did for SA and we deserve no praise because there was no other choice.’Full Transcript and References
09:32Black resistance in South Africa during these years were partly inspired by the spread of ‘uhuru’ in the rest of colonial Africa. By the mid-sixties many African countries had cast off the colonialist yoke and became independent states. // The PAC organised a massive protest against the pass laws on 21 March 1960. In Sharpeville police killed 69 demonstrators. // This event rocked the country and focused international attention on South Africa. // It also marked the start of its isolation. The government responded to the outcry by declaring a state of emergency and passing legislation banning the ANC and the PAC. After much debate and agonizing the ANC decided to change strategies to include limited armed action. // ‘There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence against a government whose reply is only savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people’ // The PAC formed Poqo and the ANC created Umkhonto we ...moreFull Transcript and References
12:16Still, apartheid was not complete. // The issues that we debated deep into the night centrered on the question of how we could come to grips with this changing world on the one end and yet retain our right to our own national self-determination on the other. How would we avoid the chaos that was sweeping much of the rest of Africa that was depicted in horrific photographs of refugees fleeing from the Congo or Angola? And yet ensure justice and full political rights for black and brown and Indian South Africans? The solution that we then came up with was separate development.Full Transcript
13:03‘I’ve just announced in Parliament details of the granting of self-government to the Transkei. The Transkei is the first Bantu homeland which has approached the government of the republic to aid it by means of this great step on the road to independence for which in its final form it rightly feels it is not yet ready.’ // ‘It is indeed a historic hour that we are experiencing as within the hour the Republic of Transkei will be born. It is given to very few to be present at the birth of a new state.’Full Transcript and References
13:39The policy of separate development had clearly failed. Instead of providing a just and workable solution it had led to hardship, suffering and humiliation to institutionalize discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity.Full Transcript
13:55White South Africa went into deep shock when apartheid’s greatest philosopher Hendrik Verwoerd was stabbed to death in Parliament in 1966. // His successor, John Vorster successfully kept the lid on resistance with bannings, detentions, and imprisonment. // ‘As far as the government of South Africa is concerned, as far as my colleague the minister of police is concerned, as far as the commissioner of police in the South African Police force is concerned, the breakdown of law and order in South Africa will not be tolerated under any circumstances whatsoever.’ // But a new generation of leaders and activists began to emerge in the early seventies. They were also inspired by the success of Marxist FRELIMO in Mozambique and the MPLA in Angola. The giant of this period was Steven Bantu Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness Movement. // ‘Any changes which are to come can only come as a result of a programme worked out by black people. And for black people to be able to work out ...moreFull Transcript and References
15:59The apparent involvement, in fact I should say definite involvement, of international communism within the South African crucible was a major inhibiting factor which determined Afrikaners’ reactions to this conflict. This brought a religious dimension to the perception of the Afrikaner that he had about his battle in southern Africa. This ideological dimension introduced an element of fanaticism to the Afrikaners’ resistance against change.Full Transcript and References
16:29Minister of Defence, PW Botha became president in 1979 after BJ Vorster resigned. The South African Defence Force stepped into power with him. Botha initiated a period of reform which included the scrapping of many apartheid laws including the mixed marriages act, the population registration act and influx control. His creation of a tricameral Parliament which excluded black South Africans gave birth to the United Democratic Front in 1983. It was the most effective internal resistance ever. The townships soon became ungovernable.Full Transcript
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