Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Apartheid SA, East London, Skorrokorro Collapse, 1993

My hearing and Selborne College work conditions worsened while civil war raged. For years, Mr. Gordon and Blumrick had ignored my requests for fair work conditions. Management could've organized annual lab rotation, which would've sorted out biology lab congestion, but it didn't happen, as science and biology teachers with labs were selfish.

After insecure stuttering, Blumrick was promoted to a PE school. New Principal Mr Gunn, from Queenstown, continued lab discrimination by squeaking, "I'm not changing anything." Mr. Gunn stayed white principal for years after apartheid's demise. That summed up years of post-apartheid SA: white oppressors would control bureaucracy and business, while blacks ruled.

Some 1993 unrest: Intimidation and deindividuated mob violence prevailed.

'Maritzburg Table Mountain: 6 Zulu children killed by ANC. (Daniel Reed, Beloved Country, South Africa's Silent Wars, BBC Books, London, 1994).

Harding, Natal: White farmers killed on their farms.

Thousands of Zulus killed in Natal Midlands, in KwaZulu, and near Port Shepstone, while ANC's communist leader Gwala and Inkatha leaders squabbled.

April. ANC's Hani (Fort Hare alumnus and MK commander) was shot by a Polish migrant Waluz. Mandela, awaiting presidency, TV appealed to protestors not to riot. There were riots in Jo'burg, Cape Town, Durban, elsewhere. TV showed Zulus bashing shop windows. Property was destroyed, despite ANC marshalls' attempts to control mobsters. According to John Allen (Editor) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Rainbow People of God, Bantam, London, 1995:

"Up to 2.5 million people took part in eighty five events during a national day of mourning on 14 April. Violence was reported at three places with up to seventeen reported killed... On 19 April, the day of Hani's funeral, much of the country came to a standstill. Four million people were estimated to have stayed at home. Twenty five people were killed, nineteen of them in hit-and-run attacks at night in Sebokeng... More than 100 000 attended the funeral at a Soweto soccer stadium."

Leah and I felt unsafe at home and while shopping and travelling. Our sons saw violence on TV. There was no future for them in SA. In my lifetime, I'd witnessed African countries (except Egypt and Ethiopia) become independent from colonial rule. For us it was trek time again to unknown parts. I wrote to people I knew had emigrated, and while applying for our NZ residence-visas, I twice drove to Pretoria central cop-shop to get police clearance papers. While I drove, Jake and I sang, "We are marching to Pretoria..."

Posters hanging on Pretoria central cop-shop walls described hundreds of cops, whites and non-whites, killed on duty: murdered because they were seen as cop collaborators - houses fire-bombed. Not all cops were Sellouts, Death Squad, Third Force, or AWB. Leah's brother Al was a conscripted cop during 80s States-of-Terror. His options were cops, army, navy, SAAF, gaol, or exile, aged eighteen. Thousands of conscripted white teenagers were forced by securocrats to choose.

In Natal University Focus, Vol 7, No 1, 1996, Antoinette Louw, in her Counting the Cost of Crime wrote there was, "white-collar crime... illegal drug trade... property crimes... motor vehicle thefts... violent crimes... Numbers of police killed increased from 1989, peaking in 1993. Most police were attacked for their weapons, some for political motives. At least 1166 police died between 1989 and 1995, and 2515 members were injured between 1989 and 1994 in attacks..."

"Over 23000 people died in political violence since 1985. Most deaths occurred in 1993, although monthly violence levels peaked before the 1994 election."

According to Reed (Ibid above):

"Since 1990, SA had been experiencing the most violent years in its history, a chaotic interregnum euphemistically known as 'a period of transition to a new, democratic SA'... The transition period, characterized by lengthy negotiations between the white government and its former foes in the newly unbanned ANC, had lasted for four years, during which more people died violently than in the Boer War. Most of the 60 000 deaths, according to the SAP, had been the result of crime. A mere 14000 had been classified 'unrest related'"

In comparison, 30 000 civilians and combatants died in Rhodesia's Bush War. (Peter Joyce, Zimbabwe The Beautiful, Struik, Cape Town, 1996).

Two weeks after Hani's assassination, Tambo, Mandela's old Fort Hare pal and law partner, died of a stroke. (Martin Meredith, Nelson Mandela, A Biography, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1997).

May, Highgate Hotel near home: 5 whites killed by APLA. (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report, Volume 3, Macmillan, London, 1999).

Codesa: While ANC's Ramaphosa, Nationalist's Meyer and others negotiated a democratic constitution, AWB nincompoops invaded the World Trade Centre where talks were held, bashed down the door with an old, skorrokorro, armoured car, rampaged through the building, and terrified delegates. TV showed an AWB kerel slapping Rajbansi's face. CP leader Treurnicht died that month.

May. General Viljoen, former SADF chief (since 1980) Angola, Mozambique, SWA veteran, and other retired generals formed the Afrikaner Volksfront (National Front), wishing for an Afrikaner Volkstaat (National State). Volksfront members included AWB; Conservative Party; Transvaal municipal associations; Transvaal and OFS farmers unions; white trade unions. (Ibid Meredith).

Norman timetabled Mr. Gunn history-teaching in my class during my free periods. Mr. Gunn was the only white principal I worked with who did classroom teaching. Mr. Gunn squeaked about boys messing my class and not cleaning up. I sent him a note: "I was a London street-sweeper and cleaner. I was the only teacher who objected to Mr. Gordon's hired Xhosa cleaners cleaning classes once a week. High pupil turnover classes like mine need more frequent cleaning than daily cleaning of your low-turnover office..." I also complained about my lack of permanent lab space: "Some biology teachers like myself are discriminated against..." Mr. Gunn didn't reply, but left my class. He sent Bands to shriek at my classes, when my boys' rowdiness spoilt his chatting to Forword and Norman in the staffroom. They humiliated rather than helped.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.


::Alejandro:: said...

I have listed your blog as part of the BlogDay 2007 celebrations!

Very interesting reading...

Here is the link

And you may want to add this Technorati tag

Mark JS Esslemont said...

Thanks alejandro for the encouragement and interesting links.