JCH 2017 Volume 42 Issue 2

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  • ItemOpen Access
    The Battle of Lomba, 3 October 1987: a tactical and operational analysis
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Scholtz, Leopold
    The Battle of the Lomba, which was fought on 3 October 1987, was the final contest between the South African Defence Force (SADF) and Forças Armadas Populares de Libertação de Angola (FAPLA) during the first phase of Operation Moduler. In this battle, 61 Mechanised Battalion Group (61 Mech; with a Ratel 90 squadron as the battering ram) attacked the vastly superior Angolan 47 Brigade and all but wiped it out. The basic question in this article is why and how this happened? The answer lies in the tactical and operational handling of both forces on a command level. On the one side, from a professional viewpoint, the SADF leadership of 20 SA Brigade and 61 Mech did almost everything correctly, and even lay the foundation of the victory before a single shot was fired. The Angolan commanders did almost everything wrong. The tactical and operational lessons learnt from the battle may provide material for officers’ training, and these lessons are discussed as part of the conclusion.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Radical land reform in South Africa - a comparative perspective?
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Jankielsohn, R.; Duvenhage, A.
    A great deal of political rhetoric has been uttered regarding radical economic transformation that includes calls for more radical land reform proposals. This rhetoric is the source of political mobilisation in both the governing African National Congress (ANC), as well as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition. While the ANC call for the end of the willing buyer, willing seller principle in land reform policies and legislation in line with their National Democratic Revolution (NDR), the EFF support a more extreme expropriation without compensation approach. Both these approaches can be regarded as forms of radical land reform that are grounded in their specific ideological orientations. Since no academic definition exists regarding the concept “radical land reform”, it is necessary that this is conceptualised. In order to analyse the possible implications of radical land reform, this article explores the outcomes of similar approaches in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Zimbabwe. The lessons of this comparative analysis indicate that land reform requires a balance between existing land rights and food security on the one hand, and the urgency for historical redress and redistribution on the other.
  • ItemOpen Access
    "A rich storehouse for research": the historical development of the Western Cape Archives and Records Service
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Hendrich, Gustav
    Without the existence of archival repositories, or institutions responsible for the safekeeping and preservation of records, there will be no fundamental source for studying the past. The primary role of archives the world over is to preserve historical sources of information for the benefit of future generations. For understanding the South African past, particularly from its early beginnings at the Cape, the Western Cape Archives and Records Service (WCARS) in Cape Town, plays an instrumental role in the proper recordkeeping of some of our country’s most valuable and irreplaceable records. Despite the centuries of possible hazardous influences such as water, damp and weather damage to the paper-based sources, the oldest records have largely remained intact. The aim of this article is to describe the efforts of archivists and record their pleas for more effective storage space/locations. It is also intended to shed light on the historical development of WCARS as a renowned research institution that today serves the interests of a wide spectrum of the public; most notably academics, historians, scholars and family researchers from not only the Western Cape region, but also from across South Africa and abroad.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Political party caucuses and democracy: contradictio in terminis?
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Napier, Clive J.; Labuschagne, Pieter
    The concept of “caucus” has historically been imbedded within practical politics and in the disciplines of political science and history. In a general sense, a caucus (also referred to as a parliamentary party) aims to reach agreement between individuals on specific matters. In parliamentary politics and at all levels of government a caucus forms an essential structure in the functioning of a political party within a legislature, being an integral part of the strategic makeup of parties from central parliament down to the local level. The leadership of political parties organise their members into groups, but individual members may also organise themselves into groups which are generally known as caucuses. In the various caucuses, general strategy, policies and the candidates to be voted for, or to be elected into office are decided and agreed upon – this, to ensure that the party demonstrates solidarity within the respective legislatures and to the outside world. The secret manner in which a party caucus operates within a supposedly transparent democracy raises a number of concerns. The question is whether such secrecy and the insistence that all party members of a caucus – particularly in parliamentary political systems – toe the party line, infringes on the diversity of interests that elected members are supposed to represent? The purpose and values of democratic representation presuppose a direct line from the individual voter(s) to the representatives in a legislature. The caucus in effect inserts a space between individuals and their respective legislatures which may require that diverse interests be sacrificed for the sake of solidarity and a common strategy. The aims of the article are to make specific reference to the South African experience to ascertain whether a caucus undermines the democratic principle of representation and is in effect a contradictio in terminis.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Half a century of South African "Border War" literature: a historiographical exploration
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Wessels, Andre
    Half a century ago, in 1966, the so-called “Border War” broke out in what was then called South-West Africa (SWA) – known as Namibia after gaining independence in 1990. It was the most comprehensive, costly and traumatic of all the apartheid wars, and although it focused on SWA/Namibia, the conflict spilled over into Angola and Zambia, and should also be viewed in relation to the role played by the then South African Defence Force (SADF) in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and in Mozambique. While the War for Southern Africa (1966-1989) was being fought, a number of books on the conflict were published. In the 1990s, while South Africa experienced a decade of dramatic political changes and concomitant transformation, not many books on the war “up north” and “on the border” were published, but from about the dawn of the new millennium, there has been a steady stream of publications (mostly in South Africa) that deal with the abovementioned conflict. Why this renewed interest? Who are the authors? What do they write about? This article endeavours to provide answers to these and related questions by analysing half a century of “Border War” literature, primarily focusing on books published in South Africa. The way in which these publications can influence people and thus, also the extent to which the legacy of the apartheid era is continued, will also be addressed. For obvious reasons, the issue of memory and violence, the legacies of trauma, the legacies of conscription, and the challenges with regard to researching the apartheid wars, as well as related matters, will also be interrogated.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Weg met die wit "Dubula iK****r" - Die Stem: onversoenbare standpunte rakende Suid-Afrika se nasionale volkslied soos weergegee in persberigte
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Moll, Johan
    Although it was initially accepted that the inclusion of Die Stem in the national anthem was part of the compromise reached during the founding of the new democratic state of South Africa in 1994, many black people, and especially young blacks, are unapologetic and insistent in their demands for complete transformation. Consequently, cries for the removal of Die Stem (closely associated with apartheid) from the national anthem, Nkosi Sikele’ iAfrica (in short Nkosi), have grown stronger, as is pointed out in this article, “Down with the white “Dubula iK****r” – Die Stem: Irreconcilable views regarding South Africa’s national anthem as presented in press reports”. Objections against the national anthem are widespread, and it emanates from many segments of the population. Agnostics and atheists object to the fact that their views are not taken into consideration or respected. Some musicologists complain that the melody of Nkosi’ is prayer-like, in contrast to the triumphal march music of Die Stem. This article concludes by proferring possible resolutions in adopting a national anthem that could promote greater inclusivity, seeing that most whites show scant enthusiasm for the Nkosi’ lyrics. They, unfortunately, distance themselves from African languages, while many black people reject the preference given to only three of the country’s indigenous languages. One solution would be to change the national anthem to a purely instrumental presentation. This would entail the appointment of a representative overview panel, with an appropriate prize for best composition; the latter with the difficult commission of including elements from all South African languages’ most important songs. Another solution would be to follow Zambia’s example with only English lyrics in the national anthem. The question, however, is whether there is sufficient tolerance in this country to view with empathy all the legitimate protests raised against the South African national anthem. For the sake of greater unity, sacrifices will have to be made by all to respect exclusivity, giving every voice a chance to be heard, to eventually mesh this into a new whole, and in earnest follow the liberating road to an inclusive national anthem.
  • ItemOpen Access
    'n Kontekstualisering van paradigmas in die Afrikaanse filmbedryf en die daarstel van 'n ideale Afrikaanse filmargief binne 'n Suid-Afrikaanse konteks
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Van Jaarsveld, Anthea
    The article aims to serve as a basis for the critical evaluation of the current position of the Afrikaans film industry within the larger South African context. Against the background of a long-standing problematic South African socio-political history, the obstacles and challenges in the industry are discussed. The ultimate purpose of this article is an exposition of issues related to the conservation of the entire Afrikaans film heritage in an effort to reflect on the possibility of a comprehensive and accessible film archive in view of future research possibilities. Important conclusions can be drawn about the influences of political considerations in certain periods in a country’s history; economic considerations; as well as social sentiments of the community and/or the government at a given time. Given today’s archival practices, the apparent peripheral factors mentioned play a decisive role. It largely influences the way in which archiving is approached. This article focuses on gaps and problems identified within the industry. These include: the limited amount of material available due to the specific exclusivity of the Afrikaans film history; the attachment to certain selective Afrikaner themes; the fragmentary archival system; and finally, the availability and accessibility of material to the public. The outline of the existing gaps and problems presents ample opportunity for the possible structuring of a workable Afrikaans film archive. Ultimately, in this article an attempt is made towards a proposed ideal Afrikaans film archive for the future.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reflections on the conduct of the South African Police (SAP) and violent political conflict, ca. 1984-1989
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Stemmet, Jan-Ad
    During the 1980s, political violence had the best of the South African landscape. While the minority regime struggled to find a political solution, it simultaneously employed its vast security complex to suppress the upheavals. The South African Police, naturally, represented the apartheid-state’s immediate mechanism. The carnage was unprecedented in scope and severity. As such the South African Police, bolstered by draconian security legislation, utilized unprecedented means in quashing opposition. The article aims to address certain aspects of the police’s conduct during this time. It should, however, be taken into account that an in-depth analysis of police conduct during the 1980s cannot be undertaken in a single article.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Crossing the racial divide: the 1946 Rhodes University versus Fort Hare University athletics meeting
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Labuschagne, P. A. H.
    In the annals of South Africa’s sporting history, the intervarsity athletics meeting between Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare that took place in 1946 is not well-known. This encounter between two neighbouring universities is unique for a number of reasons: not only was it the first reported athletics meeting at club level between two universities in the Eastern Cape, it was also the first time in South Africa that different race groups competed at club level. The meeting flouted the government’s policies at that time, as well as its stated position on the segregation of the different race groups. In the article the broad background of segregation in South Africa is outlined, with a description of how clubs developed in keeping with segregationist policies. The historic meeting between the universities of Rhodes and Fort Hare is the focus of the second part of the discussion, which demonstrates how athletics officials at Rhodes were prepared to challenge national policies in an attempt to further racial harmony. The historic athletics meeting between the two universities was a brave effort to normalise society and reflected an enlightened approach to the prevailing segregationist policies being imposed on all levels of society.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An analysis of regime capacity and a nascent environmental conflict in the Niger River Basin
    (Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, 2017) Mahlakeng, M. K.; Solomon, Hussein
    The Niger River Basin (RNB) is and has been important to the cultural and socio-economic development of the West African region. However, the basin, which is home to some of the poorest countries in the world, might be experiencing a new landscape of conflict with water resources being a key factor. A combination of climate change, human population growth and unsustainable resource use is threatening the RNB. The purpose of this article is to determine, through the Homer-Dixon Environmental Scarcity Theory, the impact and effects of environmental scarcity in contributing to a nascent conflict in the RNB. The article conceptualises Homer- Dixon’s Environmental Scarcity Theory as a theory that argues for the potential of conflict in transboundary river basins as a result of environmental scarcity. Furthermore, the article conceptualises Regime Theory, particularly in the RNB, as treaties on international rivers that hold essential norms and encourage rule-based cooperation to politically resolve problems and conflict in the field of international river basin management. The article will therefore use Regime Theory to examine the existence and formation, role and progress (i.e. successes and challenges) of the regimes and/or institutional mechanisms that aim to deal with environmental scarcity in the RNB.