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HIST252: Modern Africa

Unit 6: White Settlement in South Africa   European colonialism in Africa took two general forms.  So far, this class has focused on the first type, colonial rule without settlement.  Under this kind of colonialism, European powers exploited the natural and human resources of Africa but did so through relatively small groups of European government, military, and business officials.  This form of colonial rule was most common in West and East Africa, where tropical climates and diseases made immigration an unattractive proposition.

Settler colonialism was a very different kind of colonial rule, in which large groups of Europeans established permanent residence in Africa.  The areas most amenable to European settlement were located in Southern Africa and the East African highlands (modern day Kenya).  In these regions, white settlers formed a powerful political bloc and fiercely opposed African nationalist and anti-colonial movements.  Conflict between white settlers and native Africans had a long and violent history in southern Africa, and political violence reignited in settler colonies as Africans struggled for self-rule after World War II.

In this unit, we will focus on present-day South Africa, tracing the history of settler rule from the first Dutch settlers in the 17th century to the emergence of the apartheid system in independent South Africa in the mid-20th century.  We will examine how white settlers tried to increase their control over southern Africa while the rest of the continent raced toward independence from European control.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 12.0 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 3.0 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 3.0 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 6.0 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.3: 3.0 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Trace the development of African-European interactions in southern Africa.
  • Explain the unique position of South Africa within the broader historical context of Africa.
  • Identify and describe the differences in colonial rule in South Africa vis-à-vis the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Discuss the relationship between British and Afrikaner and its effect on African peoples.
  • Analyze the origins, manifestations, and effects of apartheid.

6.1 Africans and Europeans on the Cape of Good Hope before 1900   6.1.1 Native Inhabitants   - Reading: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “Southern Africa: Oppression of Khoikhoi and Xhosa” Link: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “Southern Africa: “Oppression of Khoikhoi and Xhosa” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire article linked here.  Note that this reading covers the topics outlined in subunits 6.1.1-6.1.4.  This article will give you a sense of how the native inhabitants of Southern Africa interacted with each other and with European settlers.
 
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6.1.2 Dutch Settlement   - Reading: South African History Online’s “Governance and Politics:” “A Land Dispossession History” Link: South African History Online’s “Governance and Politics:” “A Land Dispossession History” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the selection titled “Conquest: 1600s-1800s” to understand how the first European settlers arrived on the Cape of Good Hope, and why they moved inland and fought with Africans.  Please note that an additional reading for this subunit is listed under subunit 6.1.1.
 
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6.1.3 Frontier Wars   - Reading: South African History Online’s “Colonization and Land Supremacy:” “Frontier or Xhosa Wars, 1779 to 1879” Link: South African History Online’s “Colonization and Land Supremacy:” “Frontier or Xhosa Wars, 1779 to 1879” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this entire article linked here to gain an understanding of how European settlers and African societies competed for land and resources.  Note that this reading also will cover the topic outlined in subunit 6.1.4.  Also, an additional reading for this subunit is listed under subunit 6.1.1.
 
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6.1.4 Zulu Expansion and the Mfecane   - Reading: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: a Country Study: “Background to the Mfecane” and “Shaka and the Rise of the Zulu State” Links: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: a Country Study: “Background to the Mfecane” (HTML) and “Shaka and the Rise of the Zulu State” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read both articles to understand the effects of Zulu expansion under Shaka and his successors on South Africa.  Please note that additional readings for this subunit are listed under subunits 6.1.1 and 6.1.3.
 
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  • Web Media: Simon and Schuster’s and HieroGraphics Online’s version of Edward W. Crosby’s Your History Online: “Sotho and Nguni Migrations into Central Africa, 1820-1840” Map Link: Simon and Schuster’s and HieroGraphics Online’s version of Edward W. Crosby’s Your History Online:Sotho and Nguni Migrations into Central Africa, 1820-1840” (HTML) Map
     
    Instructions: Scroll down this web page to the image titled “Map 11: Sotho and Nguni Migrations into Central Africa, 1820-1840.”  Examine this map to see how the peoples of Southern Africa moved in response to the Mfecane.
     
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6.2 British Imperialism in South Africa   6.2.1 Great Britain and Afrikaners   - Reading: South African History Online’s “Colonization and Land Supremacy:” “Great Trek” and St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ version of Piet Retief’s “Manifesto of the Emigrant Farmers” Links: South African History Online’s “Colonization and Land Supremacy:” “Great Trek” (HTML) and St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ version of Piet Retief’s “Manifesto of the Emigrant Farmers” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the text and examine the map of Afrikaner trek routes on the first webpage linked above.  Compare the map of the Afrikaner trek routes to the map from subunit 6.1.4.  Then, read Retief’s article to identify the key motives behind the Great Trek.
 
The Afrikaner trek routes map shows how Afrikaner settlers fled British control and occupied more interior land in Southern Africa.  While Afrikaners claimed that they were entering an “empty country,” the land was in fact already occupied by settled groups, as well as moving groups of warriors and refugees.  South African History Online provides educators and students historical content about South African history from a non-partisan perspective.  
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.  The St. Mary’s material above has been reposted with permission by Wallace G. Mills.  It can be viewed in its original form here (HTML).

6.2.2 The Mineral Revolution   - Reading: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: A Country Study: “The Voortrekker Republics and British Policies,” “The Mineral Revolution,” and “Africans and Industrialization” Links: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: A Country Study: “The Voortrekker Republics and British Policies,” (HTML) “The Mineral Revolution” (HTML) and “Africans and Industrialization” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read all three articles linked here in their entirety.  These articles will help you to understand why Britain continued to expand its empire into the South African interior, as well as the effect that new economic changes had on Africans living around the region.  The Country Study series, hosted online by CountryStudies.us, was published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress to provide background information on the geography, history, and current events in countries around the world.
 
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  • Web Media: Michigan State University’s Exploring Africa: “Mineral Resources in Southern Africa” Map Link: Michigan State University’s Exploring Africa: “Mineral Resources in Southern Africa” (HTML) Map
     
    Instructions: Scroll down this web page and examine the image titled “Map 10: Mineral Resources in Southern Africa” to see how mineral resources are distributed across Southern Africa.  This map shows which regions of Southern Africa possessed valuable natural resources.  
     
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6.2.3 The Boer War and its Aftermath   - Reading: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: a Country Study: “British Imperialism and the Afrikaners” Link: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: a Country Study: “British Imperialism and the Afrikaners” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this entire chapter linked here.  This study discusses why Britain continued to expand its empire into the South African interior, as well as the effect that new economic changes had on Africans living around the region.  The Country Study series, hosted online by CountryStudies.us, was published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress to provide background information on the geography, history, and current events in countries around the world.
 
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6.3 Origins of Apartheid   6.3.1 Afrikaner Political Supremacy   - Reading: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: a Country Study: “Formation of the Union of South Africa 1910” Link: US Country Studies: Rita M. Byrnes’ (ed.) South Africa: a Country Study: “Formation of the Union of South Africa 1910” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire chapter linked here.  This study shows how Britain created a new state out of African, English, and Afrikaner polities after the Boer War.  The Country Study series, hosted online by CountryStudies.us, was published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress to provide background information on the geography, history, and current events in countries around the world.
 
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6.3.2 Legislative Discrimination   - Reading: South African History Online’s “Governance and Politics:” “A Land Dispossession History” and Project Gutenberg’s version of Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: “Chapter 3: The Natives Land Act” Links: South African History Online’s “Governance and Politics:” “A Land Dispossession History” (HTML) and Project Gutenberg’s version of Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: “Chapter 3: The Natives Land Act” (HTML)
 
Also available in: (Sol Plaatje)
EPub
 
Instructions: Read the selection titled “Control: 1910-1948” in the South African History Online article linked here.  Then, read chapter 3 (pp. 38-48) of the Plaatje’s book linked here.
 
This section of the first reading will help you to understand how white farmers used new laws to seize land and create new pools of African labor.  The second reading provides information on the 1913 Natives’ Land Act, as well as Sol Plaatje’s commentary on it.  Sol Plaatje (full name, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje) is widely considered to be the first black South African novelist. Plaatje began this book, Native Life in South Africa, in 1914 as part of a campaign to convince the British government to repeal the 1913 Natives’ Land Act.  The act was not overturned until 1991.  
 
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  • Web Media: The Open University’s “Making Social Worlds:” “South African Passbooks,” “Classifying Races,” “Held Hostage to a Passbook,” and “Finding Work” Podcasts Link: The Open University’s “Making Social Worlds:” “South African Passbooks,” “Classifying Races,” “Held Hostage to a Passbook,” and “Finding Work” (Adobe Flash) Podcasts
                             
    Also available in:
    iTunes U
     
    Instructions: Use the website’s navigation sidebar to watch the four short films (1-3 minutes each).
     
    These podcasts will help you learn about passbooks and labor control in South Africa.  Passbooks were one tangible sign of apartheid in South Africa.  Africans, Asians, and other non-Caucasian ethnicities were required to carry identification to live, move, and work in South Africa.  Passbooks allowed the apartheid government to control labor, slowing down migration to the cities and keeping under-employed workers in the countryside to create cheap labor for white farmers.  
     
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6.3.3 Resistance to Racism   - Reading: Michigan State University’s South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid: “Unit 4: Protest and Resistance through the Rivonia Trial (1964)” Link: Michigan State University’s South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid: “Unit 4: Protest and Resistance through the Rivonia Trial (1964)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the text (4 pages), and explore the multimedia resources on the left sidebar to see how South Africans challenged racial discrimination.
 
South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, created by the Michigan State University’s Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences in collaboration with the African Studies Center and the Department of History, is an educational resource for students and teachers about the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
 
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