APARTHEID'S GRAND DESIGN
by Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund
Washington, DC, United States
Contents: how it would work • Impact on family life • definitions • The leaflet says South Africa's policy is to preserve white power and control through an unequal system of separate development, more commonly known as apartheid; a central feature of this system is the carving up of the country into what white South Africans term as ten "independent states" for Black people; these ten states, considered by South Africa to be the "homelands" of specific Black ethnic groups, comprise a mere 13% of the land, yet are designated for 73% of the population; the remaining 87% of the land is to be reserved for whites, Indians, and Coloreds. South Africa's strategy is to establish "independent" Black states, so Blacks will be forced to exchange their South African citizenship for bantustan citizenship. The leaflet says the South African government states that the homeland governments should have control of health, education, pensions and local government; the South African government however, would retain control over the common structures such as defense, the monetary system, the economy and foreign policy; Blacks will have only advisory powers in these common spheres; in addition, these Black states would function as buffer zones against any external threat, since most of them shield white South Africa from the Black countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique; Bantustan leaders have become allies in this process of dispossession; they have been seduced by promises and limited opportunities for a privileged minority; they have been coerced by the threat of withdrawal or reduction of assistance. The leaflet says according to a recent report, 3.5 million forced removals have occurred from 1960 – 1980; by the end of 1982, four of the homelands which the South African government unilaterally formed had been granted "independence" by the apartheid regime, although none have received international recognition; these four are: Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei; all of the homelands are becoming pockets of economic and political instability and have been described as economic disaster areas - the exception being Bophuthatswana which is reasonably prosperous as the result of foreign capital poured into its enterprises at SUN CITY, a huge entertainment, sports and casino complex where many U.S. entertainers such as Millie Jackson, Liza Minelli, Stephanie Mills and Frank Sinatra have performed. The leaflet says another great tragedy of the resettlement process is that often it not only means the loss of jobs or the prospect of getting one, but also, directly undermines the family unit and leads to the breakup of families; what usually happens is that non-working Blacks (mainly women and children) are resettled in the homelands while those who have productive work remain in the designated "white areas." The leaflet says even if entire families are resettled as a whole, the conditions in the homelands are so squalid and jobs so scarce that the men must return to the white areas to find work, leaving their wives and children behind for months at a time; what has evolved is a migratory system of cheap Black labor in which the predominately male laborers work and live in the white areas but are not permitted to be joined by their families; the more unfortunate are those who must migrate hundreds and thousands of miles to find work and thus can only see their families a few times a year; legislation affecting migrant workers passed by South Africa in 1983 will not significantly alleviate these problems; the workers usually live in cramped, disease-ridden all male hostels near their workplaces, using their meager salaries to support both themselves and their far-off families in the undeveloped, impoverished homelands; many wives and children have ignored the stringent pass laws and influx control regulations prohibiting them from joining their husbands and fathers in the white areas, and have settled in large squatter camps on the edges of urban centers in the "white areas"; in most cases the government's response has been swift and brutal; squatter settlements have been teargassed and bulldozed to the ground and many inhabitants arrested, fined and dumped back in the desolate homelands. The leaflet says the daily economic reality for the vast majority of people living in the bantustans is the struggle to survive on the corn and millet produced by exhausted and eroded, often arid land; the bantustan area includes no major urban, industrial, or commercial center; half of the children in the bantustans die of malnutrition before they reach the age of five; there is no adequate housing, education or health facilities. The leaflet discusses the Minister of Bantu Affairs. [Note: the correct spelling of the name is Liza Minnelli.]
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the Africa Policy Information Center).
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers