Chapter 3 Apartheid (1948-1994)
The major challenge, among others, facing the Anglican Church in society from its inception until 1994 in South Africa was the racial oppression and segregation of the indigenous Africans by the white European settlers. This way of life enforced upon indigenous people by those in authority eventually culminated in 1948 in the Nationalist government’s “Apartheid”.
Black South Africans, unlike Black Americans, were not directly enslaved and held in bondage, but their domination and oppression were by-products of European imperialism that used its cultural, scientific, economic, and military power to subjugate people of colour and to rob them of their land and dignity (Maimela 1983:30). The racial domination and negation of Black personhood has been in existence from the first contact between whites and blacks to the present. In South Africa as in America, racial prejudice and stereotypes developed to rationalize the depersonalization and domination of Blacks, who were considered inherently underdeveloped culturally (Maimela 1983:31).
In this chapter I will explore in detail the concept of Apartheid and as such consider the following aspects: a definition for Apartheid, the purpose of its institution, a few comments on its background and history, Apartheid Legislations and some of the consequences of Apartheid.
Our understanding of the apartheid policy and its consequence and impact in society especially in relation to removing the human dignity of people, will assist us in understanding and putting into context the theological prophetic mission and ministerial roles and functions played by the various bishops and archbishops in their quest for human dignity. Also we will be able to understand their theological influence and position that aroused in them the desire to defend in all forms the restoration of human dignity and thus challenge injustices of their time.
Definition of Apartheid
Apartheid, according to Ngcokovane (1984:1), is an Afrikaans term which means “separateness”, “apartness” and refers to an elaborate system of rules and customs that promote a partitioning on many levels in society between Europeans and Blacks. It was a system of legalized racial segregation enforced by the National Party government between 1948 and 1994; “a system that maintains the privilege of one group of people at the expense of another and this refers even to the extension of such a system to political and economic dispossession”, as Kistner (1988:138) maintains. It is clear that Apartheid was a policy aimed at separation of people in terms of race, tribe, language and wealth and to uphold white supremacy as the only chosen race while others exist as subordinate to it. This system arose from a longer history of settler rule and Dutch and British colonization (Roberts 2001:29; Culpin & Dawson 2000:22).
Worsnip (1991:38) maintains that the word Apartheid was a new word and didn’t appear at all in the Afrikaans dictionary before 1949, however it seem to have been used before 1948 though not in the same form and not always with the same meaning. Its first recorded use was in 1917 during a speech by Jan Smuts who later became a Prime Minister. However, Roberts maintains that the word was first used in discussions about politics and race in the 1930’s by Afrikaner thinkers who led the nationalist revival during that time (2001:29).
Purpose of Apartheid
From the Nationalist perspective the purpose of apartheid was to create peace since the country’s history, in their view, had proved that the different races could not live together in peace. The fear was that one race was bound to oppress the others; close contact between races caused fear and hatred and thus the different races had to live apart and develop their lives separately (Roberts 2001:29).
The purpose of Apartheid was to preserve “purity’ of white heritage and to keep European ways of life from being polluted and destroyed through cultural fusion between races. Thus, it envisaged the creation of white states to exist alongside black states/homelands (Ngcokovane 1984:1-2). Furthermore, it was to protect, promote, and secure the propaganda of white superiority and seniority against all other cultural groupings in the South African society. Worsnip assert that it was a policy designed to maintain and protect the white race as a distinc-tive group through separation thus would lead to national self respect and pride in race (1991:38).
History and Background of Apartheid
The European contact with southern Africa goes back a long time beginning with the Portuguese traders and explorers fumbling their way around West Africa in the mid-fifteenth century. They were seeking African allies against the Islamic empires of North Africa and a route to the East Indies (Walshe 1983:1).
Apartheid is known as the grandchild of a racial system that existed for over 300 years when the Dutch East India Company established a vitalisation station on route to the Indies in 1652 (Walshe 1983:1; Ngcokovane 1984:2). It gave land to its employees to produce food and meat to supply merchant ships on their way to India. Most of these farmers or “boere”36 failed to meet their targets and thus began to enslave blacks providing cheap labour. As a result the white presence expanded into the interior during the nineteenth century. Eventually, after considerable turmoil, the indigenous African clans and kingdoms with their communal organizations and hallowed patterns of consultative democracy were subdued by the white minority settlers (Walshe 1983:1; Ngcokovane 1984:2).
The Germans and the French Huguenots came to South Africa during the 1680’s and the British during the 1700’s. The British then conquered the Cape by force in 1806 and then expanded into other parts of the country but little changed for the welfare of blacks. Apartheid it would seem was not only an Afrikaner invention but also a legacy of the British colonialism which introduced many restrictive measures and eventually the pass law system in the Cape and Natal during the 19th century. This was aimed at regulating the black movement from the rural areas to those occupied by whites and coloureds, and ruled by Britain (Ngcokovane 1984:2-3; Wikipedia Encyclopaedia 2008:3).
The pleasant climate, fertile ground, and the discovery of mineral resources such as gold (1860’s), diamonds (1880’s), uranium, chrome, iron, coal etc. attracted more whites to the country. Britain as a result of greediness extended its authority over whites and blacks alike; it crushed the indigenous Africans who resisted and also gave rise and participated in the prolonged Boer war 1899-1901 to subdue the Afrikaner republics that had arisen in the interior (Walshe 1983:1-2; Ngcokovane 1984:2-3).
Kistner (1988:138) maintains the following about the Apartheid system in South Africa:
“Firstly, it has its roots not only in the cultural and religious heritage of the Boer commu-nity, but also in the heritage of the white community in South Africa as a whole. Secondly, that racial attitudes are in many cases deeply embedded in the thinking and in the actions of West Europeans, even if they consider themselves to be free from racism. Thirdly, that economic factors have played an important role in the different phases the apartheid system has gone through.
Finally, that shifts of the economic interests of the different sections of the ruling group and shifting alliances between the sections of the ruling group have had the effect of changing strategies in the maintenance of the apartheid system.”
The emergence of the Apartheid system derives from the feeling and attitude of racial superiority over the indigenous African people which the first European settlers brought with them to southern Africa. This attitude of European superiority promoted the feudal and later the capitalist exploitation of the black people and furnished an absurd ideological justification for it (Kistner 1988:139). Furthermore, according to Kistner (1988:139), the roots of western racism can be discerned even in the anti-Semitism at the time of the Roman Empire and the anti-Semitism of the Christians of gentile origin since the time of Emperor Constantine. The Europeans also tended to consider the military superiority and cultural power they enjoyed towards the end of the Middle Ages to be determined by race and Christian faith and thus interpreted it as human superiority in general.
Britain, in order to heal the breach between whites and end the Boer War bequeathed a racist parliamentary system to South Africa within which the Afrikaner majority asserted its control (Walshe 1983:2). According to Walshe (1983:2); in 1910, Britain offered some kind of self rule or independence37 to South Africa and by 1914 an Afrikaner National Party had been formed. In May 1910, Louis Botha became the first prime minister of the newly established Union of South Africa, a dominion of the British Empire, and Jan Smuts became his deputy. Furthermore, by 1918 the Broederbond took shape being a secret society of Dutch Reformed Church ministers, teachers and farmers. The Broederbond38 dedicated itself to the cultural and economic regeneration of the “volk39”. They did this by accepting a moral imperative to maintain the Afrikaner nation at all costs thus they developed a civil religion which placed Afrikanerdom and Apartheid in the vanguard of God’s plan for the country. This resulted in the replacement of Dutch by Afrikaans as an official language joining English in 1925 and the development of Afrikaans dictionaries. It also encouraged class divisions through the formation of separate Afrikaner trade unions and in this way the socio-economic foundations for Afrikaner nationalism were being carefully laid down (Walshe 1983:3).
In 1948, the Nationalist Party won the elections and brought the country under Afrikaner rule and control thus ushering in the era of Apartheid. It campaigned on its Apartheid policy for the 1948 elections and narrowly defeated Smuts’ United Party and thus formed a coalition government with the Afrikaner Party. The Afrikaners therefore, continued the system of racial injustice started by the British to its logical conclusion (Ngcokovane 1984:2).
By the time the Nationalist Party came into power and Apartheid introduced legally, South Africa was already a very segregated country and the majority of the African indigenous people had become victims of the socio-economic, political, and religious injustice perpetuated by the white British settlers. David Yudeliven and Heriman Gilionece argued that the system of Apartheid could be traced to the labour movement in South Africa and the Cape colony policies as early as 1907
(Wikipedia Encyclopaedia 2008: 5).
Under the colonialist British government40 the following oppressive and unjust Apartheid and inhuman legislations were passed:
Native Land Act. Firstly, that the blacks could no longer own or rent land except in the black reserved areas which at first constituted 7% of the land; and was extended to 13% by the 1936 Act. Secondly, that the share-croppings was banned. Thirdly, that the blacks could only occupy white-owned land only if they worked for a farmer.
Native Urban Areas Act 1923. This act allowed local councils to segregate housing in towns into black and white areas and to build new black townships. Furthermore, town councils could demolish black housing in white declared areas and move the inhabitants to black only remote townships (Culpin & Dawson 2000:28).
Since the Europeans were convinced that manual labour was reserved only for black people they enforced this belief through their legislations. In 1809, the British government introduced pass laws through which the Africans were forced to become the labour on white farms. Thus only a person in white labour would be entitled to a pass and whoever didn’t have or carry a pass would be arrested as a vagrant or a loafer and forcefully offered to Europeans in need of labour (Kistner 1988:140). Furthermore, various methods were employed by the Europeans authorities to force blacks into direct or indirect labour in the mines. Chiefs were utilized as labour recruiting agents and compensated by the authorities; and also blacks would be deliberately indebted so that they could be forced to seek employment in the mines.
In 1894 the Glen Grey Act was passed in the Cape forcing blacks who were resisting mining employment for three months each year to pay the annual tax of ten shillings thus according to Rhodes this law was intended to remove blacks from the life of sloth and laziness and feeding them dignity of labour. A similar law was passed in the Transvaal in 1896 forcing blacks to enter into mine labour contracts and introducing additional taxes (Kistner 1988:142).
The new Prime Minister of South Africa DF Malan in 1950 appointed a commission chaired by Tomlinson to investigate the strategies and systems for the practice of Apartheid in South Africa. In 1955 the Tomlinson commission reported that the separation of races could work provided the government was prepared to put in place the required financial resources. The commission advised that the country should divide the black areas into seven self governed but never independent Bantu stands according to ethnicity groupings being Venda, Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei, Kwa-Zulu and Lesotho & Swaziland (Roberts 2001:29-30). However, the Tomlinson report seems to have had flaws from the beginning:
Firstly, the homelands allocated to blacks were only 13 percent of the country, far too 49 little for blacks who constituted 70 percent of the country’s population.
Secondly, they miscalculated the black population increase by predicting that it would increase much more slowly that it did.
Thirdly, it failed to realize how fast the factories run by whites would expand and pull more black labour into the white towns.
Nevertheless, despite these flaws the implementation of these recommendations went ahead and ushered new legislations enforcing the vision of Apartheid (Roberts 2001:29-30).
The white European supremacy was not only politically legitimized but was also theologically justified. The racial segregation was promoted within the church through accepting the political trends in society to inform and influence the status quo. The racial feelings of superiority and colonial traditions prevailing among church members grew for centuries without being effectively questioned by the churches. Kistner (1988:144) holds that “the SACC41 member churches of European origin42, though they condemned Apartheid as contrary to God’s law, their lifestyles and political values were no different from those prevailing in the Afrikaner churches like the Dutch Reformed Church.” In essence racial segregation and separation was indirectly practiced within the various churches and it was only later in history that they abolished segregation within their constituencies and thus fight it as the policy of the state.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 – Introductory Remarks
1.1 Social conscience
1.2 Focal points of the dissertation
1.3 Two major sections
1.4 The various chapters
1.5 Concluding remarks
Chapter 2 – Historical background of ACSA
2.1 Early missionary developments (1799-1855)
2.2 The years 1855-1870
2.3 Formation of the province (ACSA)
2.4 Splits from ACSA
2.5 Provincial expansion of dioceses
2.6 Change of provincial name
2.7 Theology of the Anglican Church
2.8 Theological influences in ACSA
2.9 Structure and governance
2.10 Concluding remarks
Chapter 3 – Apartheid (1948-1994)
3.2 Definition of apartheid
3.3 Purpose of apartheid
3.4 History and background of Apartheid
3.5 Apartheid legislations
3.6 Concluding remarks
Chapter 4 – Response and Contribution in facing the challenge of apartheid
4.2 Overview of Anglican Church since 1948
4.3 Anglican Churches response & contribution
4.4 Concluding remarks
Chapter 5 – Challenge and Impact of HIV/AIDS and Poverty in society
5.4 Concluding remarks
Chapter 6 – Response and contribution to facing the challenges of HIV/AIDS & Poverty
6.2 Biographical information
6.3 Archbishop Ndungane’s contribution
6.4 Perspectives on HIV/AIDS – Archbishop Ndungane
6.5 Worldwide Anglican Communion’s response on HIV/AIDS
6.6 ACSA’s strategic plan on HIV/AIDS
6.7 Response initiatives on HIV/AIDS and Poverty
6.8 Team conference outcomes
6.9 Local and global leadership views on Ndungane’s contribution
6.10 Concluding remarks
Chapter 7 – The local congregation as a social conscience in its quest for human dignity
7.2 Challenges faced by the community
7.3 Outline of practical parish mission and ministerial initiatives
7.4 Concluding remarks
Chapter 8 – Closing Remarks
8.1 Theological basis for challenging injustice
8.2 Analyses of the ACSA’s contribution
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
THE CHURCH AS A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE: THE QUEST FOR HUMAN DIGNITY