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★ South Africa

South Africa: see Africa & Empire & British Empire & UK Foreign Relations & Black Culture & Sport & Racism & Concentration Camp & Internment

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They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest

Unconfined – just as found:

His landmark is a kopje-crest

That breaks the veldt around;

And foreign constellations west

Each night above his mound.  Thomas Hardy, Drummer Hodge

 

 

The Boar War was a wake-up call to British commanders.  Saul David, Bullets, Boots and Bandages: How to Really Win at War III: Raising Arms, BBC 2012

 

 

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear.  Let him not love the earth too deeply.  Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire.  Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley.  For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.  Alan Paton, ‘Cry, the Beloved Country’

 

 

The Boar War had proved that there was a dedicated minority of Irish committed to break the link with Empire.  Fergal Keane, The Story of Ireland 4/5: The Age of Union

 

 

The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead

And the regiment blind with dust and smoke;

The river of death has brimmed his banks,

And England’s far, and Honour a name;

But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:

‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’  Henry Newbolt, Vitai Lampada   

 

 

Out of that bungled, unwise war

An alp of unforgiveness grew.  William Plomer, The Boer War, 1960

 

 

The Wild West was tame compared to Kimberley.  Here there was a bar for every sixteen men.  And shootings were an everyday occurrence.  But Rhodes thrived as a diamond digger.  Empires: Queen Victoria’s Empire IV: The Scramble for Africa, PBS 2001

   

Rhodes: ‘Does this House think that it is right that men in a state of pure barbarism should have the vote?  Treat the natives as a subject people.  Be the lords over them.  The native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise.’  ibid.

 

Gold was discovered in the Transvaal.  ibid.

 

 

On 22nd January 1879 this was the site of one of the most humiliating defeats ever suffered by the British army.  In just 3 hours over 1,200 British troops armed with state-of-the-art weapons were annihilated by an African army equipped only with spears, shields, and a collection of old muskets.  Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, Lost Kingdoms of Africa II: The Zulu Kingdom, BBC 2010

 

They settled in a region that would eventually become known as KwaZulu-Natal.  ibid.

 

Around the Zulu nation Southern Africa was changing.  ibid.

 

King Shaka: Britain traded with the Zulu.  ibid.

 

The defeat at Blood River split the Zulu kingdom in two.  ibid.  

 

The invasion force consisted of around 12,000 man made up of British soldiers and African support troops.  ibid.

 

The kingdom was plunged into a bitter civil war ... The glorious kingdom that Shaka had built had been systematically destroyed.  ibid.

 

 

In 1901 British troops were fighting a brutal war over the gold-rich territories of South Africa.  The Boar War was fought between the largest empire in the history of the world, and a small force of untrained Dutch farmers  the Boars ... Nineteenth century cavalry warfare was about to meet twentieth-century guerrilla fighting.  Andrew Marrs Making of Modern Britain, BBC 2009

 

The Boar War was known as Joes war.  Chamberlain was confident of victory.  But the Boars were out-manoeuvring the British, ambushing the army and then disappearing into the hills.  The conflict was turning into Imperial Britains own Vietnam.  ibid.

 

There were 30,000 undefended Boar farm houses.  Every single one of them was burnt to the ground.  This destruction left thousands of Boar civilians, mostly women and children, homeless.  But Lord Kitchener had a plan for them as well.  The British army rounded up around 160,000 women and children, crammed them into wagons or railway trucks and transported them to hastily improvised refugee camps, which, guarded by the army, quickly became outdoor prisons ... They became places of horror.  Kitcheners policy gave the world a new phrase – concentration camps.  ibid.

 

Emily Hobhouse decided it was her duty to tell the people of Britain exactly what was being done out here in their name.  And she spoke plainly.  She talked of wholesale cruelty, murder to the children, and a war of extermination.  And Emily Hobhouse was proved horribly right.  26,000 Boar women and children died in British concentration camps.  80% of them under the age of sixteen.  ibid.

 

The Boars finally surrendered in May 1902.  It had taken two and a half years, the equivalent of £20 billion and an army of 250,000 soldiers to defeat 60,000 Boar soldiers.  ibid.

 

 

In South Africa opposition to race-mixing grew in intensity throughout the twentieth century.  Mixed Race Britain: How the World Got Mixed Up, BBC 2011

 

The Black Peril – a paranoid fantasy based on long-standing myths regarding black male sexuality.  ibid.

 

Of all the laws introduced in the Apartheid era it was the Group Areas Act that had the deepest impact on the day to day lives of South Africans.  ibid.

 

Decades after the bulldozers left, District 6 remains a wasteland.  The apartheid regime’s attempt to segregate the country was just one of the persecutions faced by millions of South Africans.  ibid.

 

 

Our policy is one which is called in the Afrikaan’s word Apartheid ... Good neighbourliness.  Dr Hendrik Verwoerd

 

 

Up till now he [the Bantu] has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his own community and practically misled him by showing him the green pastures of the European but still did not allow him to graze there ... It is abundantly clear that unplanned education creates many problems, disrupts the communal like of the Bantu and endangers the communal life of the European.  Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, speech 7th June 1954

 

 

April 9th 1960 Milner Park, Johannesburg mid-afternoon: Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, prime minister of South Africa, takes his place in the VIP stand ... Suddenly, gun shots ring out ... Someone wants the architect of apartheid dead.  Infamous Assassinations: Dr Hendrik Verwoerd

 

The man who has just shot Verwoerd is far from being a victim of apartheid; he is a wealthy farmer and businessman, 52-year-old David Pratt, and he’s white.  ibid.

 

His [Verwoerd] newspapers steadfastly ignore the royal visit.  ibid.

 

Since the British first restricted their movements in the nineteenth century the non-white people of South Africa have long been regarded as second-class citizens.  But now things are about to get a great deal worse.  ibid.

 

One of the more draconian measures he introduces is the wholesale destruction of non-white homesteads.  Entire communities are uprooted and shifted to bleak new housing settlements.  ibid.

 

March 21st 1960, Sharpeville Township, the Transvaal: In a campaign orchestrated by the PAC around 10,000 non-white people descend on the local police station offering themselves up for arrest for the crime of not carrying a passport ... The police open fire killing 68 men, women and children and wounding around 180.  Many of them are shot in the back as they panic and try to run away.  What becomes known as the Sharpeville Massacre.  ibid.

 

World opinion is outraged.  ibid.

 

April 1st 1960 New York: the United Nations Security Council censors South Africa over apartheid.  The country has become an international pariah.  ibid.

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