Is South Africa going the way of Zimbabwe?

It looks like extremists in South Africa have gained the upper hand in that country’s Parliament.

White South African farmers will be removed from their land after a landslide vote in parliament.

The country’s constitution is now likely to be amended to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation, following a motion brought by radical Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema.

It passed by 241 votes for to 83 against after a vote on Tuesday, and the policy was a key factor in new president Cyril Ramaphosa’s platform after he took over from Jacob Zuma in February.

Mr Malema said the time for ‘reconciliation is over’. ‘Now is the time for justice,’ News24 reported.

‘We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.’

There’s more at the link.

Given the political cronyism and disastrous economic results of land confiscation in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), many are already predicting the collapse of the South African economy as a result of this decision.  It’s hard to disagree with them.

However, I’m frustrated by the blatantly racist comments directed against this decision by many commenters here in the USA.  They appear to regard this as a simple black-versus-white issue.  They exhibit little or no knowledge of the history of land confiscation in South Africa – particularly the fact that most white-owned farmland in that country was, in fact, confiscated from the black tribes who formerly lived there.

  • In some (but by no means all) cases, those tribes had already been driven from their homes by intertribal conflict (particularly the period of the Mfecane, the genocidal tribal wars from about 1815 to 1840 that depopulated large parts of southern Africa).  However, the survivors always regarded their tribal territories as their own.  Unfortunately, when they returned, they often found that Boer “Voortrekkers” had moved into the area and now claimed it for themselves.  The tribes became, in Boer eyes, “squatters“;  but to the tribes, it was the Boers who were squatters.
  • In other cases, black tribes were physically driven from their land by armed conflict with Boers and other settlers.  The so-called “Kaffir Wars” (now euphemistically called the “Xhosa Wars” in these politically correct times) are well-known examples.

In essence, the colonial era ended with the colonial power(s) regarding all the territory in their possession as being, essentially, the property of the colonizers.  The local inhabitants were to be exploited as a labor resource.  That was their only value, their only asset.  The British Empire was just as bad as the later apartheid government in that regard;  in fact, many apartheid laws had their genesis in colonial legislation (e.g. the Natives Land Act of 1913, which initially allocated just 7.5% of the total land area to “natives”;  the punitive “hut taxes“, aimed at forcing black tribesmen to work on white-owned mines and farms in order to earn money to pay them;  etc.).

The apartheid government that took office in 1948 continued and extended these measures with great enthusiasm.  In particular, as far as land was concerned, the Group Areas Act built on the foundation of the Land Act of 1913.  Black people (forming 70%-80% of the total population of South Africa) were allocated a mere 13% of its land (mostly the worst areas – non-arable or poorly suited for farming, remote from urban areas and the resources of civilization).  Under apartheid, most black workers had to travel long distances to their jobs in urban or mining areas, where they were paid a relative pittance and housed in giant hostels under poor conditions.  Their families were forced to remain in designated tribal areas, using subsistence agriculture to survive.  All the best land, including almost all arable land, was officially and legally reserved for whites.

After universal democracy came to South Africa in 1994, Nelson Mandela exercised his very considerable influence to keep radicals in check.  They wanted to reclaim traditional black tribal lands immediately, but Mandela realized that if they did so, there would be an unstoppable white flight – the very people who had run the economy for decades and generations, and who were needed to keep it going during the period of transition.  He successfully reined in the radicals, and ensured that, at least at first, fair market value was paid for redistributed land, under the principle of “willing seller, willing buyer”.

Unfortunately, not many farmers were willing to sell their land, having a deep attachment to it (frequently being descended from generations of farmers who’d worked it).  Also, the demands on government funds were so great that not much could be spared for land redistribution.  As a result, not much progress was made – and the radicals grew more and more impatient.  After Mandela’s death in 2013, his restraining influence was removed;  and under the rule of less honorable men such as former president Jacob Zuma, corruption, nepotism and incompetence became the key features of the South African government.

The endemic corruption finally led (a couple of weeks ago) to the downfall of President Zuma, and his replacement by Cyril Ramaphosa (whom I met a couple of times during the transitional period in South Africa).  He appears to have made a great deal of money, very quickly, in the private sector, leading to allegations that he’s just as corrupt as his predecessors.  I don’t know, because I wasn’t there, and I won’t speculate.  However, I’m quite sure he’s aware that his party, the African National Congress, has become deeply unpopular in South Africa thanks to its corruption and indifference to the plight of the “ordinary people”.  Elections are due next year, and the ANC is under serious threat of losing power.

I suspect Ramaphosa has embraced the radical position on land reform (i.e. land confiscation), as a quick and easy way for the ANC to regain popularity among the broad mass of the people.  Furthermore, he and his party were probably “pushed over the edge” on this issue by the Economic Freedom Fighters, a political party founded by a former ANC Youth League president.  It’s unabashedly revolutionary and socialist (if not hard-core Communist) in its objectives.  The EFF’s president, Julius Malema, has long argued for land confiscation, and is likely to receive increased electoral support as a result of his “triumph” on this issue.  He refers to current white farmers as “criminals”, on the grounds that their ancestors stole the land from blacks, and therefore their descendants share their guilt.  That’s nonsense from any rational legal standpoint, but then, rationality isn’t what he’s about.  He’s a populist in pursuit of power, and he understands the tribal mentality.

So, you see, the situation is a great deal more complex than most US commenters will admit.  There is a real, historically factual and accurate grievance among the black community in South Africa.  At the same time, the present white farmers argue – naturally – that they did not confiscate anyone’s land, so why should they be held accountable for past injustices?  They also argue – probably correctly – that without them, the land will become unproductive, just as it did in Zimbabwe when white farmers were driven from their farms.  I don’t foresee anything different happening in South Africa . . . but that’s not the point, as far as many black people are concerned.  They still believe – and historically, they’re correct in believing – that their ancestors were robbed of their land.  They want it back.  It’s as simple as that.

Many black people in South Africa appear unwilling or unable to recognize the likely consequences of this step.  In many cases, that, too, can be laid at apartheid’s door, as it refused to properly educate black people (see the Bantu Education Act and its consequences).  The late Hendrik Verwoerd, a Prime Minister of South Africa, infamously said:

“Blacks should never be shown the greener pastures of education, they should know that their station in life is to be hewers of wood and drawers of water.”

On another occasion, he opined:

“There is no place for [the Bantu] in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour … What is the use of teaching the Bantu child mathematics when it cannot use it in practice? That is quite absurd. Education must train people in accordance with their opportunities in life, according to the sphere in which they live.”

Faced with such attitudes, such contempt for their very humanity, is it any wonder that black resentment boiled over in so many years of internal conflict under apartheid?  And is it any wonder that many black people, now that they control the reins of power in South Africa, want their land back as a repudiation of colonialism and apartheid, which took it away?  And is it any wonder that so many of them, educated under such philosophies, are literally incapable of understanding the likely consequences of their desire for revenge?  They’ve never been given the tools to do otherwise.

I’m glad I no longer live in South Africa.  The next few years are going to be very difficult there.


EDITED TO ADD:  From reader comments, it appears that many expect black South Africans to approach this issue logically and rationally, from a Western perspective.  Sadly, that’s not realistic.  They approach it from a knee-jerk, gut-feel perspective:  “The land was ours.  They took it.  We want it back.”  It’s the same dynamic driving many Palestinians, driving the cultural wars in Nigeria between north and south (the religious dimension of Muslim versus Christian is merely a later veneer over a much older and longer-established conflict), and so on.

It’s important to understand the factual reality behind such emotional, irrational reactions, if we’re to understand the problem at all.  That’s why I wrote this article.  I don’t agree with the confiscation of white-owned farmland, because it’s very likely to go the way of Zimbabwe.  Nevertheless, it’s a reality that South Africa will have to deal with – and, in due course, the rest of the world will be affected by its consequences, one way or another.

There’s also the influence of animist religion on land confiscation and redistribution, about which I’ve written a subsequent article.  That’s an integral part of the issue, so please read that as well.


  1. Peter – you just discussed the generic history of human migration. This is always what happens – there are victors and vanquished. Sometimes, given enough time, the two eventually merge to become something new. Mostly they don't.

    This event in South Africa is not the result of the radicals – it is absolutely bog standard. The vote in parliament was overwhelming. It is also what has happened almost every single place where the colonized have gained the upper hand over the former colonizers. (Pakistanis and Indians are now colonizing England, for example.)

    In this particular case, it quite simply is a black versus white thing, as the colonizers are white and the colonized are black. As was the murder of over ten percent of all white farmers over the last twenty years in ZA. It's disingenuous to claim otherwise, when the facts are obvious. The only thing the numerous black tribes agree on is that the whites have to leave or die.

    (If this sounds a lot like the parable of the goose who laid the golden eggs, you're paying attention.)

  2. A big issue how the economy has not improved for the majority of SA’s since the end of apartheid.

  3. @McChuck: The facts are not obvious, as is evident from your analysis. You ignore many other African nations where this sort of thing has not happened. In addition, many South African black people oppose the extremist rhetoric and tactics of the land-grabbers.

    You simply can't paint everyone in the same colors. There are differences, just as there are differences between Democrats and Republicans in America. You might as well accuse all Americans of being Trump supporters, because he's the president – or of being Obama supporters, because he was the president. It's nonsensical. In the same way, there are extremists in South Africa, but there are moderates too. Nelson Mandela was one such – although many Americans refuse to acknowledge that fact.

  4. As far as educating blacks – the American experiment has shown that the overwhelming majority of blacks either can not or will not be educated. They've been free here for over 150 years now. It's been over fifty years since desegregation and forty years of forced integration.

    It doesn't work, and it was never a good idea. Wherever the African goes, there is Africa. And as you and LawDog say, Africa always wins.

  5. McChuck- black americans can be educated. African american's IQ rose about about 16 points between 1945 to 1995. That's HUGE! Read here:

    I suspect much of the difference in current IQ scores between blacks and whites in the USA is do to a widespread black cultural lack of interest in education and studying.

    I see black students in my classes who are smart enough to make A's or B's failing because they don't care to study.

  6. Meanwhile, what can be done to ensure that those displaced farmers come here, rather than to Canada or Argentina?

  7. Nelson Mandela, moderate? Mandela, who along with the other ANC leaders, was responsible for the Umkhonto we Sizewe terrorist bombing campaign, which killed scores and injured hundreds? whose political philosophy and financial backing came from the Communists, who are responsible for so much turmoil and misery in Africa. that Mandela?
    Who, when imprisoned for terrorist actions against his country, had his wife Winnie Mandela, acting as enforcer in the townships, burning alive those who would not cooperate with the ANC, stating "Together,hand in hand, with our matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country." That moderate Mandela. Unfortunately, South Africa under the ANC is headed the same way as Rhodesia under Mugabe, and for the same reasons tribal warfare, the urge to revenge and the toxic touch of Communism.

  8. Culture.

    Peter tries to excuse the reality of what is occurring by saying its not all of Africa, or by using sentimentality, the fond memories of past relationships, as if that had something to do with Africa being Africa.

    Ask this one simple question: what would Africa be like if zero western European people and culture had ever visited Africa?

    Answer: similar to North America if the same had (not) occurred.

    In Africa, western European culture did not sufficiently displace the indigenous savages, and consequently lost the momentum. It is now just like any untended garden; it is reverting back to form.

    Leave Africa to itself. It is a completely failed continent that exports nothing but trouble. Leave it alone, completely.
    They will either pull themselves up and out, or they do not, and the end result will prove any and all theories.

    Think about it, when was the last time you bought anything that said: "Made in Africa".

  9. @vorkosigan: I addressed the subject of Mandela and terrorism some years ago:

    Please see that for background information that I think you currently lack. Also, please beware of extremism in your views on him:

    Furthermore, don't forget that to live in apartheid South Africa as anything but a white person was an unenviable experience:

    There's far more to the South African mess than most US observers or commenters are aware of, or are willing to take into account.

  10. Peter,

    While I respect your opinions, I think that you're ignoring the bigger picture and have stepped a little too close to the SA issue to see the "forest" – dang trees get in the way! How is the movement of people and the taking of land in South Africa any different than darn near anywhere else in the world from time immemorial? Vikings in Britain, English in America, Portuguese in Brazil, Normans in Gaul? You get the picture, I'm sure.

    The issue is really something that we could perhaps label, "Reparation". It's a slippery slope – and when you distill the concept of reparation down to its essence, it's nothing more than using the a "legal system" to conduct warfare (i.e. to TAKE something that someone else holds).

    It does make me think about the concept of appropriate response. What does one do when one's life and livelihood is under attack – is a person somehow bound to fight back using the rules under which the aggressor opened the game, or once "war" is declared is a man right in fighting back with any tool at his disposal?

    One of the things I enjoy about reading your writings is that you often make me think.

  11. @DaveS: Let me advance the opposite perspective. Isn't the real problem that too many people see the problem only in terms of the "forest", and refuse to examine the "trees" that make it up? Unless you know what the forest consists of, how can you ever come to understand, manage, and live with it? And if you react to the mass of softwoods that fill the forest, how will you ever identify the more valuable, worthwhile hardwood trees that are to be found scattered through it?

    One has to pay attention to the trees, in order to understand the forest.

  12. Peter,

    How is Africa any business of anyone except Africa.

    It is a failed country when using any standard of measure.

    Pick any country on the African continent and show me a thriving, modern, peaceful (and yes, I mean by western standards, because you have to use a standard, and western culture (as in U.S.) is the one with the most individual liberties, greatest personal safety, and the most internally peaceful) one.

    Show me one that, absent western influence, would have any economic, medical, technological, etc development.

    Just one.

  13. After the failure of apartheid, I was amazed that the whites didn't bail as quickly as possible. The prior and pending actions were forecast in stone. No other results could be expected.

    I understand the financial situation the farmers were in. I would have been looking into developing a black business group trained and educated to replace my family, while finding a new country to move to. A long term lease-to-own agreement might have salvaged some value, while providing an income stream, from a family's land.

  14. Righting generational wrongs.
    It doesn't seem to work well in reality but that doesn't seem to stop anyone as it sounds like we are about to see again.

  15. When treaties are signed and agreements are forged that end a conflict that would most likely end in an eventual genocide, who really owns the land after that point?

    You don't have to invoke the entire black-versus-white argument when there's a white-versus-white argument you can make instead: the former Finnish land known as Karelia.

    Is Karelia still essentially "stolen" Finnish land, or is it essentially Russian for more than legalistic reasons? The Finns reached a solution that ended a war, and so most of those people went on to survive as Finns rather than living under Russian rule.

    What I find amazing in South Africa is how utterly incapable of understanding the descendants are that they are very lucky to be alive.

    My concern is that events in South Africa, in Zimbabwe, and elsewhere have already convinced the generals of the armies of the future not to sign treaties and to forge agreements, but instead to pursue a total scorched earth policy.

    Insofar as the best thing that the white apartheid regime ever did for the world, it was to dismantle South Africa's nuclear capabilities before handing over power to the ANC. Can you imagine the size of the bulls-eye on South Africa's back if the South Africa government still had its nuclear weapons?

  16. Wow, I am not big on hand-wringing, but this is truly a sucky situation. I *hope* the white people leave before there is a blood bath. Seeing there is, I believe, about 4.5 million white people in SA, where can they go? I *hope* the black people can run the things they intend to take over. But, given their political leanings, that doesn't seem likely. A bloodbath followed by economic collapse and starvation – God help those poor people.

  17. "After the failure of apartheid, I was amazed that the whites didn't bail as quickly as possible."

    A lot did, including our esteemed host.

  18. Though there are lots of issues between blacks and whites, and communist partisans and everyone else, it sounds as if the current government is just acting like spoiled children. Kinda like the party that said "We won, get over it!" here in the good old USA.

    We, in the USA, have come close to forced land redistribution in these modern times. 'Reparations' have come surprisingly close to being passed either through legislation or by executive order.

    And the way the country is factioning, I shudder to think what horrid punishments the democrats will levy against us red-staters if they get a majority in Congress, on the Supreme Court and in the White House.

  19. Peter, why are you here in the US when you could be back in SA helping these wonderful people? Your black friends would surely protect you, right? Instead, you are taking the land and resources of the Native American tribes! Amazing, how a refugee becomes an invader, isn't it?

    How long do land claims stay valid, Peter? My people once walked this land, do they still have claim hundreds of years later? Do I get to evict you from your house and take it? No. It's Ramaphosa's smokescreen to hide the theft, that's all.

    South Africa will follow the path of Zimbabwe, sinking into squalor and misery. Wakanda is a fantasy.

  20. nelson "I am not a terrorist" Mandela was a terrorist. He was busted with a cache of explosives and righteously imprisoned. He did moderate as i think he realized while in prison that dispossessing whites was fools bargain. Rhodesia was already well down that road when he was released.

    While true that life under apartheid wasn't fun, life with the Xhosa and Zulu at each others throats wasn't either. Yet, illegal immigration was rampant during apartheid. Africans were fighting to get in because life was better in South Africa than in the hellholes they left.

    South Africa is now going to become a hellhole it self. There has been a lot of decline since Mandela left the scene, but it's going to see like the "good old days" in the not too distance future. I have friends who have left and are thanking their lucky stars they made it out. A woman who attends church with me got her kids out. She tried to get them to the states, but Obama's racism prevented that, but they got to Oz. She's now moving completely to here. The consensus is the same as that expressed by Anonymous at 10:39. South Africa will be in squalor within 20 years. The Zulu and Xhosa will probably be back at each other's throats again as well.

  21. How many years before this land is 'my' land? Nasty question that. My family has owned this land for seven generations, it has been in this area since 1640… What this land is, is due to my ancestors.
    I'm sorry people died, generations ago. But this is My Land. And I will die for it, if that sort of demand is made.
    Should DNA tests be given before land can be purchased? That is what that argument leads to.

  22. From what I found on demographics in sa the white population numbers last couple of years seems pretty constant.

    What an I missing?

  23. "The next few years are going to be very difficult there."

    And then it will get a lot worse, due to the extermination of the remaining whites. And then it will get really bad. After the tribes have knocked each other's numbers down, the Chinese will move in and re-colonize the area, while the tribes continue to melt away for unknown reasons. I wonder what they will call it?

    Anyone thinking of an African Safari had better get cracking. The Chinese don't care about game animals. They refer to them as pests.

  24. I would wonder, having ruled White land can be taken by confiscation without compensation, how they keep it under control. Do any Whites have secure property rights in SA now? Even if unintended, how do they keep it from being extended to homes, businesses, etc.?

    And without secure property rights, there is no rule of law and this tidbit might be of interest:

    "But the World Bank gives this information in their book and they never put it on one page, if scholars will note, I had to site two sources to put it together. Here’s the short of it, the biggest source of wealth in the world according to the World Bank is the rule of law. 44% of the wealth in the world, the single largest source of wealth in the world is the rule of law. "

  25. We could counter the Democrats demographic games by offering the South African whites the opportunity to immigrate to California, with the truly legit explanation of helping prevent a genocide.

  26. I read the books of Wilbur Smith 40 years ago. I read other books too. What I remember is european settlers came to the land and crossed the river and it was an empty land. Jesus and God hadn't cursed them yet.
    The kings made for population control back then. And then the whites blew it.

  27. "No one is going to lose his or her house, no one is going to lose his or her flat, no one is going to lose his or her factory or industry. All [that] we are saying is they will not have the ownership of the land,"
    — Julius Malema

    Came across this good write up of the economic impact of this at the Adam Smith Institute

    "Investors shun countries that take control of property from private hands, for obvious reasons. And if you do want to work with companies in those countries there are hefty costs from banks, insurers and other third parties that have to prudently manage their risk. Each deal requires higher scrutiny, more credit checks, more credit committees, more insurance and more due diligence. Obviously it comes with higher risk. This risk means more cost and that hits the poorest countries hardest as it delays and makes rival contracts and rival investments more attractive. In cases like Venezuela and previously in Zimbabwe it meant a complete curtailment of any transactions by reputable institutions, leaving them at the mercy of less scrupulous regimes and companies. "

  28. South Africa will be a Rwandan bloodbath for those whites who don't flee with dispatch.
    (And not just nationals, but every multinational employee on a hundred mines and other business operations.)
    Then the tribes can get back to their millennia-old policy of knocking each other off, and SA becomes indistinguishable from the rest of the sub-Saharan Turd World.
    Rule by machete.

    Kim DuToit nailed it a decade hence: "Let Africa sink."
    It's what they really want, and they deserve to get it by their own hands, good and hard.

    In a decade or so, after the after the old reliable Four Horsemen whittle the population to a quarter or a tenth of what it is now, the strategic mineral resources will lead someone to re-colonize it, without any pretense, and that's how that will go. At gunpoint.
    The surviving inhabitants won't be enslaved again, they'll be removed, for good, either out, or six feet under.

    Wakanda is a myth.
    Detroit and Chicongo are facts.
    Just look at the rest of the continent for clues.

  29. I love the way the article says that 70% of the most productive farm land is 'controlled' by whites. Not owned, controlled. No attempt is made to determine whether that land is productive BECAUSE of whites. Isn't sub-Saharan Africa full of such potentially areas of land? Why aren't they producing similar yields?

    I feel bad for the white south Africans. The black ones are going to get EXACTLY what they deserve.

  30. Using your thinking, all immigrants to the Americas should go back where they came from, since all of it – from Baffin Island to Tierra del Fuego – was taken from indigenous peoples.

    No thank you.

  31. The blacks have a case against the whites as the gentiles had a case against the Jews. Look how that worked out.

  32. If SA blacks have a rightful claim to the land currently owned by whites (without compensation), don't American Indians have the same claim on land owned by whites here? And don't Australian aborigines have the same claim there?

    The only difference is SA blacks now have political power. Don't sympathize with them unless you're willing to give up your own home, today and without compensation, to an American Indian.

  33. There are plenty of unused farms and empty land, good arable land, owned by the government, which they have not given away and which they have no plans to give away. This is simply about political power. The DA is supported by the white minority and they have gained in every single election, to the point they now control Western Cape and the two largest municipalities in S. Africa, Pretoria and Johannesburg, and the birthplace of the ANC in the Eastern Cape. By financially attacking whites, they attack the political party that is defeating them.

    Most S. African blacks don't want land, they have no idea what to do with it. They want what everyone everywhere wants. A job, a house, some security and a fair playing field on which to get it. The ANC have failed miserably at delivering this, after years of promising the sun, the moon and the stars and delivering nothing. So now some populism to gain power and to hell with the people they are supposed to serve.

    The constitution has not been changed yet, but if they do manage that, there are a lot of people here who have no plans to leave and no plans to give up anything. Civil war is ugly and this will be uglier than most….but when you put a substantial group of people against a wall and refuse to honor your own promises….there is no way this will be good for S. Africa.

  34. The unrest is convenient for those that don't care about human life, liberty or basic rights. These people, like George Soros, will take advantage, make millions, control the mayhem, and continue their reaping of ill rewards until there's nothing left to squeeze from South Africa.

  35. They still believe – and historically, they're correct in believing – that their ancestors were robbed of their land.

    Same could be said for the Sioux, Cherokee, Shoshone, Apache, and many, many tribes in what is now the US — in this sense, Africa is no different than any other place in the world. In fact, I'm willing to bet that if you go back far enough, the disposed tribes had stolen that very land from other tribes — so why should claims of the most recent tribes be honored over those of older tribes? No, I'm not expecting the Africans to behave rationally — I'm expecting that whites will be brutally butchered.

    This part, however, bewilders me: Many black people in South Africa appear unwilling or unable to recognize the likely consequences of this step. [The apartheid government] refused to properly educate black people

    Children learn very quickly the consequences of their actions; asking Mommy for a cookie won't result in a spanking, but taking a cookie without asking (and possibly breaking the cookie jar) will.

    I'm probably misunderstanding your point, but if I understand correctly, you're saying that Africans cannot understand the consequences of their actions because whitey never taught them. Surely Africans were able to understand the concept of cause and effect before the European colonizers arrived, right? Right?

  36. I'll take your political posts seriously again when you can admit that your anti apartheid activism was a mistake. YOU and other comfortable expats help cause this situation, where millions are going to die, out of some foolheaded notion that 70 IQ people can somehow meaningfully participate in an industrial economy. The black population exploded under white rule and all the hospitals, schools and generous wages haven't done a damn thing to make blacks smarter, wiser, or more capable of managing their affairs. They will return to their natural state of cannibalism and subsistence hunting when all the whites are killed or driven off.

  37. @Dark Enlightenment: Please read this:

    Now tell me: irrespective of your race, creed or color, would you have been willing to live under a system that treated you like that? If you would, you'd have been happy under apartheid. If you wouldn't . . . welcome to the real world. Apartheid was as evil as Nazi Germany, in its own way. I'm glad I helped contribute to its demise. What replaced it has all sorts of its own problems, but those don't diminish the outright evil of what preceded it.

    1. Apartheid was the best that could be done under the circumstances. Whites should have made a homeland around the Cape in exchange for giving up the rest of the country. But giving political power to blacks was always going to end this way.And while the prior system certainly had its demons. Those responsible for end of that system are responsible for its consequences.

  38. What percentage of Bantu who are going to get land are non-Zulu? Did not the Zulu take a lot of land from other tribes prior to the arrival of the Boer and English?

  39. @Dark Enlightenment: "Apartheid was the best that could be done under the circumstances."

    Do you understand what you just said? Do you truly believe that a system treating 90% of the country's population as untermenschen (sub-humans, to use the Nazi phraseology), and which tortured and killed them so casually whenever it deemed it necessary, blithely ignoring any protection of law (and undermining that protection to suit itself whenever expedient) … are you sincerely, seriously trying to tell me that was "the best that could be done under the circumstances"?

    Sir, you and I have very different interpretations of the Bible, and very different moral and ethical systems.

    Please don't come back.

  40. It is a gross distortion to say that the apartheid regime blithely ignored the protection of the law. Mandela and all other political prisoners received fair trials and many of them enjoyed some of the best legal representation the country had to offer. Considering that the country was in a state of civil war it is remarkable that the number of casualties directly attributable to the security forces are in the hundreds and not hundreds of thousands. The extra legal operations of some security forces served to contain the insurgents and ultimately prevented far greater loss of life.

  41. Peter, I was struck by your careful explanation of the history that led South Africa here and the complexity of the situation that defies the standard "Somebody just needs to get tough with these people and do the first thing that popped into my head the first time I heard of this problem" Dunning-Kruger magical thinking.

    Unfortunately, I doubt there's much of a market for that right now in the USA, but I'm glad you're out there adding it to the conversation. I freely admit I stopped reading the comments after the first few were racist talking points expressed badly, so I probably missed some other people trying to deal with reality in the comments. Thanks for trying.

  42. It's the same dynamic driving many Palestinians

    I think you may have this backwards. The parallel to the Bantu (and other S.A. region tribes) is the Jews retaking their ancestral land where the bones of their fathers are buried. Preferably by purchasing it, but by violence + international pressure if needed. Irgun even set Arabs on fire and burned them alive. I think it's this last dynamic that's driving the racist comments. Can the ruling S.A. tribes take the Israeli course? Or are they going to go full-Maori on the whites and the smaller tribes?

    If you get a chance, follow Amanda Green's lead and get a copy (from your library if funds are tight) of Dr. Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals. It's weirdly apropos.

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