South Africa is a country that had been controlled since the 19th Century by Dutch Afrikaaners and the British Empire, which has resulted in a combination of languages, accents and some of the most stunning women anywhere. The British fought bloody wars against the Zulus. The Boar War (which produced the legendary nurse Florence Nightengale) was another horrid affair. No matter which way the struggle played itself out, black natives of South Africa were shunted to the lower rung of society by a racist institution known as Apartheid.
Even though Apartheid had been in place in this country for many years, it did not become an international cause celebre until the Civil Rights Movement of the U.S. in the 1960s. American black athletes like tennis star Arthur Ashe drew attention to Apartheid by refusing to play in tournaments in South Africa. Throughout the 1970s and '80s, white South African athletes in golf, tennis and the Olympics found themselves either banned or discriminated against, regardless of their personal views on Apartheid.
The American government found itself in a difficult situation dealing with the issue. First, Communism had spread in the 1960s, '70s and '80s throughout Africa. The white South African government was staunchly anti-Communist. The main arm fighting Apartheid was the African National Congress, a Communist organization. South African Apartheid also represented the great conundrum of racism. As decolonization occurred and black countries became black-ruled, a disturbing, obvious truth became apparent. That truth is that blacks living in the worst racist conditions of the Jim Crow South, under repressive white regimes in Africa, plus black populations in Europe, all lived much better lives than blacks living under black leadership.
Today, South Africa is black-ruled, although the white leadership is included. The result is a certain amount of anarchy, and most average black South Africans actually live in worse conditions than they did under white Apartheid. However, life for blacks in South Africa is paradise compared to African nations that are completely "ruled" by blacks.
Zimbabwe, once ruled by whites, has been taken over by the blacks. They stole the farms from the whites, and the country has descended into chaos. Most African countries - Mozambique, Somalia, Liberia, just to name a couple - have no real government, little diplomatic clout or function, are simply killing fields of civil wars; pitched battles between savages, war lords, drug dealers, slave traders, and other low lifes. AIDS has spread like wildfire and is used as a military weapon, as is rape, torture, mutilation and other charming actions. Zaire in 1994 and the Congo in 2003 have seen genocide that approached holocausts. There is every evidence that since Africa went from the controlled, racial politics of white rule to the rule of blacks, Satan has decided that this is his next battleground. The discouraging fact is that the worst racist whites are substantially better than black African "leadership." The term "lesser of two evils" applies here as well as any place, but the "most of all evils" is what history has determined to be Africa's fate. The devil has moved inexorably from Europe to Asia to the Middle East, and removing him from Africa is a job only one country has the resources to tackle. That country is the U.S.
In 1994, Nelson Mandela became president of the multi-racial South Africa government, following victory by the African National Congress in general elections. Mandela is a hero to many, but the reality of his life is mixed.
Mandela was a key figure in South Africa since the 1950s. Some questions have risen concerning the part that Mandela actually played. In 1948, Apartheid became law under National party leader Dr. Daniel Malan. He was a hard-line Afrikaner, and racial purity was his goal. This term, in wake of Hitler, caused much squirming, but Dr. Malan advocated roughly "separate but equal" conditions for blacks and whites. He was voted Prime Minister in 1948 at a time when white and black children played together. He felt this mixing was unhealthy. Apartheid was a vague policy at first. As it became a tightly controlled way of life, white domination replaced the fairly easy-going relationship that existed between the races. The blacks suffered under it. Blacks and whites were not allowed to marry. Blacks and whites who were already married had to split. The Population Registration Act 1950 registered people by race and borders. It was followed by the Immorality Amendment Act 1950, Group Areas Act 1950, Natives Act 1952, Native Laws Amendment Act 1952, and the Bantu Education Act 1953.
At first, the Apartheid movement was unopposed, since the blacks had no political power. The Communists saw that Africa was a natural battlefield. Their rhetoric, centering around re-distribution of wealth, played perfectly using race as a metaphor for the proletariat. They formed the African National Congress. The ANC did not advocate the violence of most Communist revolutionary movements of the 1950s. Martin Luther King used much of the ANC platform in forming his Christian organization. The ANC became a multi-racial, non-violent organization. The Pan African Congress, however, was all black and violent.
The Defiance Campaign protested Apartheid, using peaceful protests that included singing, clapping and civil disobedience, patterned after Gandhi. Mandela, an attorney, was the national volunteer-in-chief of the Defiance Campaign, addressing crowds in non-violent appearances. He was jailed in 1952 but the ANC numbers grew from 7,000 to 100,000. Mandela became President of the Transvaal ANC, but was banned from gatherings and ordered out of Johannesburg and to step down as head of the ANC.
In 1960, 69 people were killed and hundreds injured at Sharpeville. Many were shot while running away. The massacre was followed by a state of emergency in which the government gave itself de facto martial powers. The ANC was banned and the world press investigated Apartheid. U.N. Security forces urged South Africa to end the practice. The U.S.A. condemned it. Riots and the mass burning of passes ensued. Both ANC and PAC were banned. Mandela came to Sharpeville to speak on the issue. In 1961, Mandela was jailed again, this time for a period of almost 30 years, for planning guerrilla warfare and organizing invasion by foreign Communist armies
At Soweto township near Johannesburg in 1976, school children protested. 179 children were killed and thousands were injured when police fired at the peaceful gathering. More killings occurred in Soweto and elsewhere. Steve Biko died in detention from brain damage when his head was beaten by police.
At Robben Island Maximum Security Prison, Mandela endured hard labor. Every six months he was allowed to write and receive one letter. His wife, Winnie, was eventually allowed to visit, but she was not allowed to speak of her visits publicly. Mandela was not allowed to keep a diary or read newspapers. An "information network" eventually developed. Winnie was imprisoned for 491 days in 1982. Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison until 1988, when he was hospitalized for tuberculosis. He was finally released shortly thereafter.
W.P. Botha had become President and he reformed Apartheid. Businessmen advocated the reforms because they needed a free, educated black labor force. Botha's Presidency ended Apartheid. Multi-racial facilities and black trade unions were legalized. In 1989 President Botha suffered a stroke and resigned and F.W. de Klerk became President.
The ANC and the Inkartha Freedom Party (Zulus) threatened security forces. White South Africans favored ending Apartheid, but the great fear was that if the blacks had political control, the country would descend into the chaos and murder that occurs most times in which blacks control countries. Fear of civil war was rampant. Blacks routinely engaged in a practice called "necklacing," which involved the act of throwing a tire around a man so he could not move his arms, dousing him with gasoline, and setting him afire. Blacks would gather around and watch these spectacles like sports fans. Winnie Mandela regularly ordered necklacing. She stole huge funds from ANC coffers and ordered men to be made her slaves, all under the control of security forces provided her as Mandela's wife. Whites did not approve of necklacing. They desired to live in a country in which the threat of being necklaced themselves would be reduced. The fact that blacks necklaced humans scared them. People are funny that way.
Ronald Reagan had been criticized for a "go slow" approach to South African Apartheid. However, Reagan knew that black-ruled African countries were embroiled in chaos and killing. He did not want to encourage such a thing, and helped husband the partnership between whites and blacks that eventually allowed South Africa to avoid the genocide of other African nations. He also did not wish to advocate legalization of the ANC, a Communist organization, fearing that the Communist Mandela would lead a Marxist revolution. Apartheid really ended when Communism died, and the threat of international Marxism in South Africa died with it.
In December of 1989, while the Berlin Wall was crumbling, de Klerk and Mandela met and the ban on the ANC was lifted. Bans were lifted on the PAC and 30 other organizations. Non-violent political prisoners were released. Death sentences were commuted. Mandela was unconditionally released after 27 years.
Mandela was horrified when he heard about his wife necklacing people, stealing funds and holding slaves. They were divorced in 1992. With her at his side, he would not have had credibility. She went to trial for murdering a black boy.
Mandela was voted President of South Africa in 1994 with 62 percent of the vote. If they had garnered 66 percent of the vote, their constitution would have been amended to eliminate whites from the government. Mandela breathed a sigh of relief, since he knew, as Reagan and others knew, that whites were needed to maintain order and stability. Otherwise, Mandela felt South Africa could plunge into hell like the other decolonized African states, and he would be blamed.
While Apartheid was a racist policy, South African blacks living under it lived better than African blacks in other countries. This is a statement that is unable to be couched in a manner that does not imply the racist view, but nevertheless remains that with which is true. South Africa became rich, prosperous, a major source of investment, and a travel destination. The switch to black-majority rule has not been smooth. Overall it has been a good thing only in theory. Actual people who live there - white and black - do not live any better than before. Whites live decidedly worse. They live much better than everybody else on the African Continent.
Mandela, despite his Communism and marriage to a murderer, is an international hero to many. He is very critical of the United States, apparently unable to come to grips with the fact that if the U.S. did not win the Cold War, Apartheid may not have ended and American media played the biggest role in his eventual victory. The difficulties of his life allow for wide leeway in judging his choices, associations and statements. His intelligence and advocacy of non-violence in the Gandhi/King tradition were heroic, especially considering the violent tendencies of the people under his influence. Mandela gained the trust of white South Africans and partnered with them without holding a grudge. Had South Africa become an all-black government, the country would likely have seen the deaths of thousands, if not more. All those prevented deaths are attributed mostly to Mandela, and partially to de Klerk and Botha.
"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination," Mandela said in 1990 upon his release from prison. "I have cherished the ideal of a Democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be it, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism