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406 Origins of Apartheid

406 Origins of Apartheid - Origins and Practice of...

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Origins and Practice of Apartheid in South Africa (sa1) The Population (in millions) of South Africa in 1987: 20.6 African (variety of ethnic groups) 4.9 White (descendants of Europeans) 3.1 Coloured (descendants of Dutch and imported slave labor from Indonesia, India, Madagascar and some from South Africa; generally belong to the Dutch Calvinist Church and speak Afrikaans; distinct culture; Apartheid employment legislation favored Coloureds over Blacks and many Coloureds favor of the Nationalist Party in response to losing privileges in an ANC-controlled society. (2)) 1.0 Asian (Indians imported to Natal in second half of 19c. as indentured servants to work on sugar plantations because native African labor considered unsatisfactory) Annual Income/Person (in rands): Black (1,246); Coloured (3,000); Asian (4,560); White (14,880) Infant Mortality/1,000 in first year: Black (63); Coloured (41); Asian (16); White (9) Literacy Rate/Spending on education in Rands per child: Black (32%, 504); Coloured (62%, 1286); Asian (71%, 1857); White (93%, 2538) 1. Afrikaners: The First Anti-Colonialists or the Last Colonials? White South Africans see themselves as the native people of South Africa in the same way that many Americans of European origin do in the United States. To understand the White sense that South Africa is their country, it is necessary to delve into the historical memory of White South Africans, and particularly of the majority of Afrikaner descent. The initial Afrikaner settlers saw themselves as God's people and their settlement as God's will (much like the Pilgrims in New England). In the seventeenth century the Afrikaners (or Boers) who settled at the Cape of Good Hope immediately became dependent on the subordination of non-European labor for survival. While there were native Black Africans in the area, it was also a period in which different African ethnic groups were in conflict with one another. The Afrikaner version of history equates the Dutch with these new dominant tribes and claims that as both arrived in the area around the same time, the Whites have as much right to be in South Africa as the Blacks; they even refer to themselves as the "white tribe of Africa."
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Afrikaners established large farms using slave labor, often imported--the ancestors of the Coloureds. Believing that each settler was entitled to 6,000 acres, they gradually extended outward from the Cape of Good Hope, pushing Black Africans northward in the process. Through the nineteenth century, settlers of European origins fought a series of wars against African farming populations. From the Afrikaner perspective, this idyllic era was brutally interrupted by the British occupation of the Cape of Good Hope during the Napoleonic Wars. The British were critical of the Afrikaners' brutal treatment of slaves and slavery. The crucial events in the Afrikaner vision of the past concern their "anti- colonial" struggle against the British at least as much as their relations with Black Africans: in Afrikaner ideology, the long experience fighting British oppression unified the Afrikaners and gave them the will to resist internal and external pressures to sacrifice their culture and society.
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