The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of Apartheid

The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of Apartheid

The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of Apartheid

The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of Apartheid

Synopsis

"In this narrative, Louw effectively tells the story of 20th-century South Africa by examining three political periods: British Hegemony (1900-1948), the Afrikaner Nationalist Period (1948-1993), and the post-1994 Black Nationalist Period. He argues that apartheid was premised upon the notion of "political partition" and not "white supremacy". Apartheid was a political strategy, constructed by the ethnic minority in order to prevent them from becoming politically powerless. Unfortunately the partition plan failed, causing an era of pain for South Africa. With apartheid now formally over, Louw presents a comprehensive overview of this important 20th-century phenomenon." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The outlines of the modern state we now call South Africa emerged during the first decade of the twentieth century. This South African state was a creation of the British Empire—its foundations laid by Lord Alfred Milner while he was British governor of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony following their annexation in 1900. As governor of these two northern conquests as well as high commissioner of Britain’s other southern African territories, Milner began the process of transforming and reconstructing South Africa into a modern industrial capitalist state. He established British hegemony over Southern Africa and planted settler capitalism at the heart of this British domain. From this was born the racial-capitalist state as a peculiarly South African means of socioeconomic organization. Therein lie the roots of apartheid.

During the twentieth century, the British created many states to serve as the administrative fulcrums for politically and economically managing its far-flung domains. The boundaries of these states were determined by the need to create viable economic administrative entitie. This often threw together ethnically and culturally distinct people, sometimes with a history of conflict. The invention of South Africa as a unified modernizing state was precisely such a British creation. Designed to service the needs of mining capitalism, it brought together within one polity a diversity of people. Significantly, the majority of the people incorporated into this new British-built state were premodern pastoralists, who consequently needed modernization to become productive workers and consumers within the capitalist society being constructed.

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