Updated: Apr 6
For a period of 51 years, from 1910 until 1961, South Africa, with exactly the same borders that it has today was a colony of Britain. It was called the Union of South Africa. It wasn’t until 1961 that South Africa became an Independent Country and was officially named The Republic of South Africa.
During the time when the country was under the British, the South African whites (Boers) were very dissatisfied with the way things were done and they wanted nothing and absolutely nothing less than self-rule; self-determination. The right to decide their own future.
Now, everybody knows that the Boers are fiercely patriotic and proudly nationalistic. I must confess that I know of no other people who are so proud of their identity, so confident of their abilities, and so optimistic about their capabilities and prospects like the Afrikaners of South Africa.
I cannot help but feel pure unalloyed admiration for the spirit of nationhood; volksheid, that the Afrikaners have among themselves. Something that the black people should perhaps emulate.
In Parliament the Boers fought British domination tooth and nail until they won the government in 1948 under the auspices of the National Party until 12 yrs later they won total independence from the British and could call the country their own.
Now, the Boers were not only passive talkers. They were shrewd planners and industrious men, hard workers who were not shy to roll up their khaki shirt sleeves and get dirty from work.
The Boers were not only hard workers, but they were hard thinkers and tireless community organizers too. The following explanations will attest to the assertions I made above.
While the Boer fathers and grandfathers were debating in parliament about the future of South Africa, Afrikaner Volksbewegings (Civil Society Movements) were doing a great job in organizing Boer communities across the country to solidify social cohesion.
Private funds were established to send bright young Boer students to Universities overseas to learn the wisdom of those times.
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As a result bright eyed young Afrikaner scientists graduated from European universities with degrees that equipped them with the knowledge of how to convert iron ore into an industrial product called steel which proved to be a commodity whose commercial value was inestimable. Now, the Boer Fathers and decision makers set up an industrial milk cow named Iscor/Yskor.
In 1958, even before they got independence from the Britons, the Boers withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
They now had a challenge of importing fuel at inflated prices from countries which were members of the commonwealth, but like I said before, the Afrikaners, the South African Boers, are smart thinkers, shrewd pragmatists and tough minded business dealmakers.
They had earlier, a few years before, sent clever Boereseuntjies, bright and sharp young Afrikaners to study abroad about what was then a relatively new technology of converting coal into fuel.
With the new witchcraft which they have learnt overseas, the Boereseuntjies, helped their Vaders to establish an oil processing giant which they proudly named the Suid Afrikaanse Steenkool and Olie Ko-operasie/ South African Coal oil Industry; that is SASOL. This was another cash cow; die geldelike melkkoei, if I may borrow the Boeretaal phrase.
With cash generated from the self made industrial milk cows, the Boers could simply and very easily launch and sustain secondary industries; Transport (SAA, SAR,), civil service (Post Office), Infrastructure (Telkom, EVKOM) etc.
The Boers even established their own research organ, the CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research).
When the ANC took over government from the Boers, the Boers had already made serious progress into research about Nuclear Power (Electricity) generation. There’s not enough space here to explain everything that the Boers, had done for the country that they called theirs.
But my point is; what are black people doing to lift themselves up just as the Boers wanted to lift themselves up and free themselves from the Brits? What are black people willing to do except wail, whimper and cry?
Where are Black Civil Society movements? Even up to today, the Boers still have AfriForum. The name might have changed from Broederbond, Volksbeweging, or whatever the Afrikaners decided to call it, but the spirit is still the same; the spirit of self-determination and the indomitable desire to have the freedom to decide your own destiny.
The Spirit of Volksheid (Nationhood, Community, Togetherness, Unity, or brotherhood if you like). The right spirit. The spirit without which nothing can be accomplished.
Maybe when Oliver Tambo said in 1979 that the ANC must sometimes imitate their enemy, he had in mind some of the few things I mentioned here which the Boers have without any shadow of a doubt accomplished; and accomplished so magnificently.
Education for the Boerekinders during the reign of the NP was something to be admired. It was an education that empowered them to create giants like EVKOM, TELKOM, YSKOR (I am deliberately using Afrikaans abbreviations), SASOL, SAS (Suid-Afrikaanse Spoorwee) and others.
What kind of education do we feed our kids today?
And lastly, what have we created in the twenty three years that the ANC, a black man’s liberation organisation, has been in power?
Where is Black Power? What are we doing except except complain and project ourselves as victims? The Afrikaners still have Afriforum; what do we have?
Jotted down the mouth of Mmatlou Josias Ntjana, a black South African