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10.04.2019 Feature Article

War, Crime, And Violence In South Africa

A bench set aside for whites only during the Apartheid eraA bench set aside for whites only during the Apartheid era

During the Apartheid era in South Africa, many around the globe, including Africans, from other countries, did their best to chant down this evil system of government which did subject our brothers under bondage in their own country.

Down in Jamaica, the late Peter Tosh voiced out "You are ina me country, Dig out me gold, You build up your regimes, Handing down injustice, therefore, We have a fight against apartheid," in a song called 'Fight Apartheid.'

In Nigeria, the legend Sonny Okosun, demands, "We want to know, We want to know, Who owns Papa's Land?” While in South Africa, Lucky Dube sings, "Bury down apartheid, Fight down war and crime, Racial discrimination and Tribal discrimination."

Twenty-five years after the fall of Apartheid, South Africans are now on a murder spree killing their own African brothers who stood behind them in the hard and bitter days of a brutal regime, why?

The word 'apartheid' in Afrikaans means "strife" or "separateness." This implies separation, political and domestic segregation. Segregation is the policy of forcibly separating any group of the population.

According to some reports, the concept of 'apartheid' was first mentioned in 1917, by a certain Jan Christian Smuts, the future prime minister of the Union of South Africa.

However, the cruel system of government was approved as the official policy in South Africa in 1948. For much of the 20th century, South Africa was ruled by a white minority.

The black indigenous people, for the convenience of them, called the Bantu, were forced to move to special areas - Bantustans.

There they received a semblance of civil rights, and in some Bantustans, even passports, although independence granted by the South African government to these Bantustans were not recognized in any other country of the world.

In slightly better positions were Asians and 'colored,' children from mixed marriages and their descendants. They were allowed to live closer to the cities, but still separately, provided a bit better education and health care.

Since the early 1980s, they received a limited right to vote after the federal parliament was divided into three chambers: for whites, 'color' and Asians. In the meantime, blacks could only vote in their Bantustans.

But most importantly, the Afrikaners, the white inhabitants of South Africa, the descendants of the Dutch and German colonizers, owned most of the land in the country. Agriculture, along with metallurgy and mining, formed the basis of the economy.

At the same time, blacks were used only as a low-skilled labor force, which means they could not receive farm management skills.

At the post office, bars, buses, and public places, blacks were separated and they drink from different cups not used by whites and used toilets not used by white people.

Surprisingly, many governments around the globe, including British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, were all behind the Apartheid regime.

South African men, including Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko, were imprisoned and tortured by the government, some women who were behind some of the leaders against Apartheid were also subject to this oppression.

Apartheid which had been in existence since 1948, came tumbling down like the Berlin wall in 1994. Nelson Mandela became the first president in South Africa, after 27 years in prison on the notorious Robben Island Prison.

However, twenty-five years after the fall of Apartheid, South Africa is now experiencing an unprecedented wave of crime throughout the country. The crime situation in the country has deteriorated sharply, and the death rate among police officers has increased.

Lucky Dube sings about political unrest in former Apartheid South Africa

The high crime rate, combined with wild poverty, affected the unhealthy dynamics of interracial relations of the well-being of the Boer farmers, the backbone of local agriculture.

In the period between 1994–1998 alone, over 2000 attacks were recorded, in which 550 white farmers were killed.

South Africans who thought the fall of Apartheid could have changed their lives to live better like their white neighbors are bitterly disappointed. They are now pouring their anger and frustrations on immigrants from other African countries.

Migrants are no longer welcome in post-apartheid South Africa, as angry South Africans with machetes attacked immigrants, hoping to drive out the foreigners looking for work.

A lot of foreigners from neighboring countries, and other countries, such as Nigeria, have lost their lives and the trouble brewing in a country which crossed from Apartheid to democracy without bloodshed is still far from over.

Africans have complained bitterly about slavery, colonial brutalities, and the inhuman Apartheid system, yet they are treating their own brothers the same way. How long will this go on?

The South African government must find an immediate solution to this madness before more immigrants are killed. African leaders also must also intervene to protect their nationals.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium.,

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