Tag Archives: South Africa


1 Jan

eBook Eurasians Grassroots small(Cover Image)


(DOWNLOAD eBOOK FOR FREE by visiting the website with the link above)

ISBN: 9781310573545
Description: Eurasians at the Grassroots – Vol.1 is a collection of short stories regarding Eurasians and the memories of Eurasians. Its purpose is to collect and publish stories as a collective work about Eurasians, by Eurasians and for Eurasians. There are stories about Eurasians contributed from Malaysia, Singapore, as well as from Australia, The Netherlands and USA.
Word Count: 15,150 (approx.)

By Nutmeg Publishing
Co. No. SA0057587-D

**In Support of the Malaysian Dutch Descendents Project (MDDP) ‘The Eurasians at the Grassroots Projects’ under the leadership of Dennis De Witt.**


Vereniging Nederland-Maleisië (VNM-Nieuwsbrief, November 2013)

30 Oct

The newsletter to contain numerous articles written in Dutch, Afrikaans, and English. Do check all articles by different contributors before checking on my contribution.

I contributed an article for VNM-Nieuwsbrief November 2013 which entitled Malaysia’s 2013 Haze Blitzkrieg.

Do refer page 6 & 7 of the VNM-Nieuwsbrief.

Click VNM-Nieuwsbrief_2013-2 to access the newsletter. Enjoy!

For information please contact or checkout the website below:

Editor: Bert Lever

Vereniging Nederland-Maleisië / Netherlands-Malaysia Association

Adres: postbus 95581, 2509 CN Den Haag (NL)
Tel: +31(0)70-3839550, mob: +31(0)6-23344851
E-mail: vnm@smhi.nl

Website: http://www.nederland-maleisie.nl

*Also Refer to the Vol. 1/2013. VNM-Nieuwsbrief May 2013

Case Study: South Africa

17 Oct

Written By Simon S. Sundaraj-Keun

References & Review
Book: Politics in the Developing World by Peter Burnell & Vicky Randall.
Part V: Case Studies: Chapter 16b: Fragmentation or nation-building? South Africa by Robert A. Schrire.
Reference: The Other World: Issues and Politics of the Developing World 6th Edition, by Joseph Weatherby. Part II: Other World Region: Chapter 6: Sub-Saharan Africa: Case Study: South Africa.

The Politics in the Developing World book edited, by Peter Burnell and Vicky Randall examine the problems of political development around the globe. This book was divided into multiple sections that comprises on multiple theories, issues, ideologies, and case studies that influence the politics in the developing world. The book also offers coverage of both empirical and theoretical issues. There are numerous articles and case studies contributed by a broad panel leading experts of their respective academic fields.

Part V: Case Studies: Chapter 16b: Fragmentation or nation-building? South Africa by Robert A. Schrire requires a closer observation in this study in order to focus in on the issues in the developing world and to place South Africa in context. One of the main theses of this book is to deal with central political themes and issues in the developing world, such as globalization, inequality, economy, culture, identity, religion, the military, democracy, the environment, and policy development. South Africa is a prefect case study that incorporates the issues that the thesis of this book talks about in order to provide a concise and analytical framework.

To most individuals South Africa is a nation with abundance natural beauty and resources seem fated to fail due to its turbulence past and geographic location. South Africa is a nation that seems to be on the brick of fragmenting when the walls of apartheid were brought to an end in 1994. Most analysts predicted civil unrest and territorial disintegration within a decade. The interesting fact about South Africa it still is a nation. Even as analysts predicted the collapse of the South Africa Union it did not materialize but there are avenues within the nations political, social, judicial, economical, and governmental infrastructures that requires an enormous amount of improvement.

In understanding the current predicament of South Africa is to first understand its violent past. Firstly, the focus South Africa’s past is to comprehend the relationship of South African society and state which has an influence on the wider context of South Africa economic and political processes. Secondly, to solve South African problems one has to explore themes and raised issues in order to answer the ongoing debate in the manner in which development would bring to this nation and other developing countries around the globe.

Robert A. Schrire article in Chapter 16b titled as Fragmentation or nation-building? South Africa in Part V: Case Studies of the Politics in the Developing World book explore the historical contribution in its nation’s political future. The author started out with a brief look at South Africa formation as a nation-state and political development through its history. South Africa’s political development was in the hands of the white minority and the legacy of apartheid that became a rift in the development of its national identity. The white oppression in turn created a powerful black response which promoted the possibility of relatively peaceful deracialization.
The historical legacy of apartheid in South Africa began with the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910 after the Second Boer War in which the British defeated the Afrikaans. English and Afrikaans speaking whites contested fiercely for power and control over South Africa’s political future. This political rivalry led up to a decisive victory of Afrikaner nationalism in 1948. The English, as a demographic minority, tended to maintain the politics of whites while many Afrikaner supported the politics of exclusive Afrikaner nationalism.

After 1948, the National Party (NP) representing Afrikaner nationalism was able to merge its political supremacy, as white unity took primacy in response to mounting pressures, from both the outside world and black South Africans, accelerating after the establishment of a republic in 1961. The problem that arose but never determined was an acceptable political structure that did not jeopardize the Afrikaner’s grip on authority. This led to the meeting of political aspirations of the black African majority as a difficult problem.

The Afrikaner led government response to the ever-growing demands of the majority for the share of power was the introduction of the policy of grand apartheid. Apartheid was introduced prior to the Land Act of 1913 which allocated fertile and resource rich lands into the hands of Afrikaners. Over the decades new policies begun to take shape in order to separate the blacks population from whites’ lands. The result of the grand apartheid policy was the creation of ten black African nations, each entitled to sovereign independence. Every black African, irrespective of culture, origin, residence, or individual preferences, was unspecified to be an unchallengeable member of one of these tribal communities.

This policy of grand apartheid and its predecessors were fought fiercely by the African National Congress (ANC) which was formed in 1911. African National Congress failed in preventing the Land Act of 1913 but the struggle continues for equality against the National Party for the future of South Africa. Other leaders who envision a democratic and united South Africa came to the lime light in the 1960s. Those individuals were KwaZulu’s Mangosuthu Buthelezi who rejects the division of South Africa and Nelson Mandela who led the ANC non-violent struggle and later an armed resistance against the white government of South Africa.

There are other ethnic groups like the Indians, colored, and whites within South Africa’s society who oppose the racism of the National Party led government. These ethnic groups formed political parties like the South African Communist Party (SACP) who formed an alliance with the ANC and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) who split from the ANC began to oppose the National Party fiercely. The white government of South Africa viewed these political groups as a threat to its political power and decided to ban all opposition parties. The move caused an underground armed movement that endorses violence against the apartheid government of South Africa. Mandela and other leaders were imprisoned or exiled when their insurrection were smashed by the government.

Peace returned to South Africa for a decade but the illusion was shattered in 1976 by another massacre, at Soweto, sparked in part by educational grievances. The government had to react by declaring a state of emergency but it was not effective. So the National Party switched to state-sponsored violence in order to quell dissidents and protestors. In 1983 new constitutional proposal by the government unexpectedly brought intense politicization and anger, which led the National Party to embark on modest reform initiatives for urban Africans, colored, and Indians. This move was resented by the wider black population which in turn opened up political space for public debate and greater participation.

The formation of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983 was to oppose the new constitutional proposals by the National Party government. It was a significant development because it brought together a wider range of civil society groups into the political arena, supported by the ANC in exile. The UDF membership was represented by all segments of the population: whites, blacks, colored, Indians, rural and urban, middle class and poor. UDF was an important success in non-racial political cooperation. The new constitutional proposal of 1983 failed to gain legitimacy despite obtaining the support of whites-only referendum.

Furthermore, the National Party government was facing major economic decline, white divisions, sanctions, and other global pressures which has crippled development and prosperity, increasing both unemployment and tax burden particularly on the white population. There were three pivotal factors that prompted negotiations that would eventually transfer power from the rule of minority to the hands of the majority. The first factor was the government failure to restore normalcy in South African society after unrest in the early 1980s. The second was the leaderships of both black and white parties who not moderate their stance if the status quo continues at its present state. This uncertainty within party leadership forced the ANC and the National Party to begin the negotiation process. Lastly and perhaps paradoxically, the negotiations once initiated did not take the form of whites versus blacks.

The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) begun a formal discussion in 1991 and was accelerated with De Klerk victory from a white-only election in 1992. Problems arose with the alienation of conservative Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and its leader Buthelezi, who threatened violence and boycott of elections, was not easily defused. In 1994 a wide agreement was reached around an interim constitution to prevent any advantages were given to any groups in the first openly contested election in South African history. The final constitution was in placed in 1996. In 1999 election was thus the first election held in terms of constitution and the results followed closely those of 1994 with no changes to the constitution of 1996.

The new order from apartheid to the rainbow nation took shape with the emergence of a non-racial and democratic South Africa without any major incident or violence. South Africa’s miracle was not the success of negotiation but the transformation and transition of the political discourse away from race and ethnicity. The call from Zulus and whites for special rights was pushed aside for normal democracy. In order to create national unity among the different groups with South Africa an institutional framework was created to reflect the principle of inclusiveness. The creation of a quasi-federal system, proportional representation, formal and informal power-sharing, all designed to ensure significant space and legitimacy for cultural and political minorities within South Africa.

However in order for the new framework to be successful an entity free of government or political organization was needed to heal the wounds of apartheid. The African National Congress led by Nelson Mandela along with its unity government established of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1995 headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu was surprising successful in building a bridge of reconciliation within South African society. The work done by the TRC and UDC contributed to the decline of black versus white conflict during the transition to non-racial democracy. Political transformation and nation-building took precedence after the TRC run their investigation on previous racial crimes from all sectors of South African society. Cooperation between whites and blacks were needed in order to rebuild the South African economy due to the fact that whites control the wealth and blacks dominate the human capital of the nation.

Race and inequality is part of the history of South Africa state, the political arithmetic of race and ethnicity, and the structure of South Africa’s political economy, all help explain why there is neither a public demand for separate nationalities nor a set of elite driven political strategies based upon ethnic/race mobilizations. Historically, race and classes have coincided in South Africa, dividing it into two nations. The emergence today of rapidly expanding black middle class undermines this conception and is disconnecting race and inequality.

After all strategies to address historical inequalities have the potential to frustrate both blacks and whites and could ultimately threaten nation-building and political stability. A powerful ANC is a force for reconciliation and nationhood yet this very power constitutes a potential threat to a genuine democratic order should its power be threatened. This is where individual leadership has played a significant role in shaping the conception of non-racial, a national identity, and a democratic South Africa for the future. Nelson Mandela was a key example in leading South Africa as its president after the 1994 election but step down in 1999 to hand the presidency to Mbeki.

The process of nation-building is ongoing due to the problems faced by South Africa. The AIDS crisis which plagues millions in South Africa alone will have a significant impact on its political and economic infrastructures in years to come. The alienation of Zulus which class with ANC supporters has caused some political instability but was diffuse by Nelson Mandela intervention. The problem of poverty if not address along with the promise of land reforms for poor black farmers with be a momentous task for President Mbeki to keep his election promises.

The question of crime in its nation is ever rising due to the fact of its historical actions by the ANC and NP to ignore the law in taking matters into their own hands. Each opposing side during the apartheid era promoted disobedience to the law and reacted on their own form of justice which led to thousands of people killed or missing over the decades. Lastly, the question and debate would be to define the meaning of being a citizen of South African regardless of color. Whatever the future may hold for South Africa the problems of today needed to address in order to prevent a disaster in the years to come.

Furthermore, this article written by Robert A. Schrire elaborates the implications of two opposing cultures who were also historical enemies was able to come together in order build South Africa’s democracy. The importance of distinction between class and nationality conflicts with regards to nation-building in South Africa was the deciding factor that propelled reconciliations among its population. One has to understand that the Afrikaners who originally settled in the Cape in 1652 by their leader Jan Van Rieback were cultivators, pioneers, and colonists who came from Holland and were looking a place to call home.

The arrival and occupation of the Cape by British forces in 1795 created Afrikaner’s nationalism. In 1836 the Great Trek by Afrikaners into the interior begins and so did the expulsions of black Africans along the way. As the Boer Wars and Zulu Wars were fought the sense of nationhood drove the Afrikaners to establish themselves a dominant force in South Africa. As the decades role by Afrikaners realization of their political and economical future was in jeopardy and had to reform in order to survive. If one looks at the Afrikaners historical and cultural pattern of interaction clearly demonstrate that each of their action were similar to those of a survivalist.

The end came in sight for the National Party from the external and the domestic front. External pressures from the United States of America begin to shift gears as the Cold War came to a close and South Africa’s neighbors was stabilizing its political infrastructure after years of civil unrest. The Commonwealth and United Nations threaten further harsher sanction if the government of South Africa does not reform. Domestic unrest also contributed to the change of heart within the ranks of the National Party. In relative terms the survival of South Africa as a nation-state rested solely on the National Party to end its apartheid policy and begin to politically reform.

South Africa’s unity government led by Nelson Mandela to established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in order to reconcile with its apartheid past. The only disappointment that the commission could not accomplish was to pass judgment on those who committed the crime during the apartheid era. Even if the crime was not able to be prosecuted it does offer some closure to the families of victims who lost love ones during the apartheid era. The people of South Africa offer the rest of the world a lesson in humility and forgiveness of ones enemy by treating every human being equal and just. It also demonstrate the determination, courage, and optimism of South Africans to work together in order to build a better future.

However the argument in this case study portrayed an accurate analysis on South Africa. The only way for South Africa to moved forward is to put their past behind and move on. The evidence of South Africa success is in its reconciliation between whites and blacks due to the smart thinking of Nelson Mandela who knew the only South Africa to survive as a country is to put its past behind. The other ongoing process by the current South African government is to rebuild the public trust in the juridical system in order to decrease crime. Also to implement a strong police force that is corruption free and will serve as a bridge in building trust between the government and the public. It would in turn promote foreign economic investments and create opportunity for all South Africans to develop its nation’s economy into a regional power.

I agree with Robert A. Schrire analysis on South Africa that the HIV question will be a problem to South Africans in the future. If this problem is not address it will spawn into a crisis unparallel to any in history. There is an effort by developed nations to aid South Africans especially the poor by licensing of generic drugs at an affordable price. In order for South Africa to survive in the global market it has to create a strong and healthy work force. Even if it improves its education system the HIV disease left uncheck would decimate the next generation of workers which in turn would destroy its economic and social infrastructures.

This case study on South Africa paints a pristine image on countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Suriname, Guyana, and many others. The reason I mention those nations was due to their similarities as being multi racial and religious nations plus the fact was they have been colonized by a European power. The lesson South Africa offer to those nations is the idea of unity by reconciliation with the past by building a national identity for the future.

Overall, South Africa is a multi racial and religious nation that is surviving against all odds in rebuilding its divided society and economic infrastructure from the bottom up. The development and stability of South Africa would propel it to become a regional power and a platform for democracy on the African continent. Its success would be a beacon of democracy and optimism on a continent of turmoil but its failure would be viewed as another victim of Western ideology on a hopeless continent.

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