POLI 211 Chapter Notes -Electoral Roll, Meson, Eastern Cape

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South Africa
- one of the world's youngest democracies
- seeks to escape a bitter political legacy
- during the 2nd ½ of the 20th century the white minority government
built a powerful/militarized state around institutions of racial
- discovery of minerals enabled the development of the industrial
- africans and european settlers were in close contact in the country's
burgeoning urban areas
- political conflicts erupted between blacks who provided labor and
whites who benefits from economic growth
- old regime was dead set against political change until the late 1980s
- apartheid (extreme racial segregation) seemed destined to end in
- political leaders from both sides (especially Nelson Mandela,
president of the African National Congress) realized long-term interest
of South Africa's divided communities were intertwined
- the opponents forged an elite pact that allowed the country to hold
an open election and to install the first democratic government in 1994
- the transition marked the end of colonial rule in Africa and the burial
of the last 20th century government based on racial supremacy
- new institutions/policies redressed the exclusions and inequalities of
the past
- can the government redistribute wealth to blacks without inducing
white flight?
- does the government have the capacity to deliver the benefits
promised by the new constitution?
- absence of democratic heritage
- omnipresence of crime and HIV/AIDs
Global historical context
- southernmost tip of africa:
- dry region
- rich in mineral resources
- supported small hunting
- from 2500 years ago the indigenous Khoisan peoples were
joined by Bantu-speaking african migrants from the north
- bantu-speaking migrants introduced herding, crop cultivation,
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and iron production
- as the 2 groups mingled, they formed a succession of small-
scale chieftaincies (they had little need to establish standing armies
and other state institutions)
- southern africa became less isolated from the rest of the world in the
late 15th century (when spain was dispatching columbus to the
- portuguese mariners rounded the Cape of Good Hope in search of a
route to India
- the Dutch founded the first permanent european settlement there
- the Cape Colony was run along the lines that established the
foundations for modern South Africa
- economic system and sexual liaison between white burghers/malay
slaves/native blacks, gave rise to a complex society with racial and
class lines
- dominance of britain as a global power was marked in southern africa
by its takeover of the Cape Colony in 1806 and arrival of english
settlers on the frontier of the eastern Cape in 1820
- the colony remained predominately rural
- population clustered into 4 mains groups:
1. english
2. afrikaners (dutch descendants who developed their own
africanized culture and dialect)
3. cape coloureds (mixed-race people)
4. indigenous xhosa (on the eastern frontier)
- political conflicts over land rights between these groups gave rise to
demands for government
- agitation against slavery by english missionaries drove many
afrikaners to trek north to escape the reach of regulation
- first colonial administrations were autocratic
- former military officers drawn from the ranks of the english
aristocracy were appointed as colonial governors
- political precedent was set in 1853 when britain allowed the
establishment of an elected legislative council
- the country's political evolution diverged from india's
- elected institutions weren't set up until almost a century later
- cape colony resembled canada --> britain gradually granted
self-government to a small/dominant group of white settlers
- any adult male who owned property or earned a salary was
allied to vote
- africans and coloureds were excluded from political life because
they were poor
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- in other settler colonies (i.e. US) contacts with white immigrants were
devastating for indigenous peoples
- during the rule of the Dutch East India Company the Khoisan hunters
and herders of the western cape had been destroyed by european
disease (small pox/measles)
- by the mid 19th century bantu-speaking peoples lost their land,
crops, and livestock due to euro invaders
- foreign conquest wasn't achieved by strength of numbers (blacks
always outnumbered whites in africa)
- achieved by technological superiority of a metropolitan
industrial economy that could mass-produce firearms
- resistances against conquest:
- xhosa in eastern cape in the 1840s
- zulu in natal in the 1850s (zulu cultivated identity/organization
of a warrior nation)
- sotho, vend, and pedi in the interior highlands in the 1860s
- 4 separate settler states were formed in the territory now known as
south africa
- british controlled natal (second colony on the eastern seaboard),
imported labourers from colonial india (muslims and hindus) to develop
sugar plantations and railways
- christian missionaries were active in natal
- established schools and hospitals
- attracted dispelled africans into modernized lifestyles
- high-altitude savannahs: afrikaner stock farmers set up 2 agrarian
republics based on the institutions of individual land title and armed
- orange free state: constitutional republic run by an elected assembly
of white males
- transvaal: rough-and-ready state held together by roving commandos
- political/religious leaders of these republics constructed historical
mythology of the afrikaners are a chosen people who threw off the
bonds of the british empire and founded their own promised land
- british colonies and afrikaner famed republics had distinct origins
- shared patrimonial ideology
- reduced relations between the races to master and servant
- african peoples of the region were more resilient than the
aboriginals of cape
- they african peoples grew crops for sale to the settlers
- provided labor on white commercial land
- adopted christianized religions and western consumer goods
- presence of missionaries, labor recruiters, and tax collectors int he
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