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Post South Africa's Bantustans: Could They Have Worked?
Created by John Eipper on 11/03/19 9:01 AM

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South Africa's Bantustans: Could They Have Worked? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 11/03/19 9:01 am)

Once in a while the topic of Apartheid emerges in our discussions. It is always demonized without really investigating the path taken by the Republic of South Africa government.

The first thing not considered is that the Soviet Empire pushed like hell to destroy the RSA, as the Soviets perceived it to be the greatest opponent to the conquest of Africa by the Communists.

The process of the creation of the Bantustans as independent states started in 1951 and was almost completed with the Black Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970.

The aim of this act was the creation of 8 independent states in the RSA and another 10 in South West Africa/Namibia.

Around the world, people are convinced that the Blacks of the RSA are only one cohesive ethnic group. Instead they are divided in several ethnic groups (nations), as are the peoples of Europe. Such an erronoeus conviction is Euro- and American-centrist, and ultimately racist, as it does not recognize the various peoples and their peculiarities. The two main ethnic groups are the Zulu and the Xhosa.

The RSA was looking for the creation of an economic partnership with a group of independent states as already existed, such as Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.

All Bantustans (except Swazi) had in 1972 their Legislative Assemblies. At least two government leaders, Chief Kaiser Matanzima (Transkei) and Chief Gatsha Buthelezi (Kwa Zulu) were great personalities. See the books The New Transkei (1975) and Gatsha Buthelezi:  Zulu Statesman (1976).

Unfortunately except for Transkei, almost as large as The Netherlands, the Bantustans were states were like leopard spots divided by white properties, whose owners wanted to remain inside the White area.

In Transkei there were lands owned by Whites who had to become citizens of Transkei. They could leave and sell their lands, but only to Black citizens of Transkei.

The independent Bantustans, initially Transkei and later Bophuthatswana, Venda, Ciskei, etc., were never recognized by the international community, even if in 1976 the question was raised in the US Congress. The RSA had embassies in the capitals of the Bantustans.

Instead of demonizing the RSA, the entire world probably should have made all possible efforts to enlarge and unite the various states encompassing swaths of disconnected territory using the same principle adopted for the Whites in Transkei. The situation now could be much better both economically and in terms of human relations. Of course and consequently in the White area, Apartheid should have been abolished and the legal residents and visiting Blacks should have been treated in the same manner as any White European resident or visitor.

Oh, by the way, not only are Whites assaulted and killed at present, but also the immigrants from North of the border may risk their lives.

Keep in mind that 367 years after the arrival of Jan Van Reibeck, the Whites of South Africa are Africans too.

I do not write this as my usual Bastian Contrario, but as a strong supporter of ethnic principles.

JE comments: Time for self-reflection:  when Eugenio Battaglia's draft showed up yesterday, I squirmed in discomfort.

Those of us who came of age in the 1980s, when South Africa protests marked every college campus in America, have a visceral inability to look at Apartheid in any nuanced way. But Eugenio's hearty dose of Bastian Contrario argues that the South African "homelands" could have been made to work. On the one hand, we have the legacy of Plessy v Ferguson and myriad incidents of "ethnic cleansing" around the world. Yet Bastian forces us to ask: why is "self-determination" (think Versailles 1919) a positive thing for white people but racist when it's applied to non-whites?

I'm still squirming...

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