Apartheid in South Africa and U. S. Involvement African Politics Pols 4401-01 April 16 th, 2002 From 1948 until 1991, South Africa was a nation separated by forced isolation. The word separateness in Afrikaans, the language of the descendants of Boer Trekkers, is "apartheid." For Afrikaners, the word would also come to mean white-minority rule in a society where everyone was separated by race according to law. Individual mentality, such as wanting to separate people so that you stay pure, should not violate the rights and freedom of anyone else.
Justly, if an individual consciously chooses not to be around certain people, it should not restrict other people from living and mingling with whom they please. Passed from generation to generation was the unjust Boer mentality that, their way of thinking should be away of life for those they conquered. Harsh treatment and discrimination on behalf of British rule was a major catalyst for "The Great Trek." The cape farmers, known as Boers, were in opposition to the British ending slavery. Boers were economically and politically disadvantaged, for example, they were excluded from land ownership. Instead of them striving for a better life of self improvement through social equality, they sought to better themselves by being the ones doing the discriminating. The quest this group of people went on was for the purpose of manipulating the indigenous populations in order to gain political and economical advantages and power.
And the Trekkers did accomplish these things through forcing their policy of apartheid upon the Africans, Indians, and Coloreds. Though 1948-1991 marks the legal period of Apartheid as a system of government in South Africa which, "required segregation in housing, education, employment, public accommodations, and transportation." (cd-rom) These type of living conditions were already a part of the social structure the Afrikaners were shaping. For instance, "Control was established over the conquered Africans through a system of forced pass-carrying, which restricted them to certain areas at certain times, and use of captured prisoners by the colonists as indentured servants." (Eades, 1995, 7) The establishment of two republics, the Transvaal and Orange Free State, was followed by even more segregation, discrimination, and just over all separation. The Transvaal constitution of 1858, states, "the people desire to permit no equality between colored people and the white inhabitants of the country, either in church or state." (Eades, 1995, 8) The political landscape in the early 1900's of South Africa resemble those of the United States marked by slavery and after in the south. The institution of slavery is the initial reason for making a distinction between the races, and discrimination easily followed in both cases of the history of the United States and South Africa. There were laws that applied to only blacks in the U.
S. during slavery, called slave codes, that continued to have discriminatory effects of the past after slavery. In order to maintain white supremacy during the 50's and 60's, slave codes turned into Jim Crow Laws which still applied to only blacks. These laws were intended to keep the African Americans in a disadvantageous position by segregation and discrimination, socially and politically.
The case for South Africa is similar in that, the legislation passed on behalf of the Trekkers previous to the declared Apartheid system of government, allowed for discrimination to build upon itself. By 1960, all nonwhite representation in parliament had been abolished. African Americans deeply sympathized with the victims of apartheid because of such similar circumstances and common backgrounds. Both slaves in the U.
S. and blacks in South Africa had to endure similar restrictions. Slave codes followed by black codes in the U. S. , resembled laws in South Africa, "requiring Africans to carry passes and prohibited them from carrying guns and registering land ownership." (Eades, 1995, 9) Although similar in some ways, there are still major differences between the plight suffered by South African nonwhites and African Americans. In South Africa, there was to be no mingling between the four distinct classes of people; Afrikaner, Indians, Coloreds, and Bantu, established through the Population Registration Act.
People were separated and isolated from one another, "the Group Areas Act laid the foundation for comprehensive separation of the races into distinct residential areas." (Eades, 1995, 9) "Mixed Marriages" were prohibited as well as interracial sexual contact. Even though these were not characteristics of the social landscape in American society, African Americans supported the fight against oppression, discrimination, and segregation. The African American Civil Rights Movement influenced the struggle of anti-apartheid movements in South Africa. The late 1940's and early 1950's, marked an era in the U. S.
in which the courts began to recognize the need in repealing discriminatory laws against blacks. By the late 50's early 60's, protests, such as boycotts, sit-ins, and demonstrations were key political tools in gaining a voice and some power in politics. Though there was some success in these efforts, the gain, and change blacks wanted immediately, was a gradual process because the South was reluctant to change. As a result, violence tended to occur, between police and civilians as well as inner-city unrest. As blacks continued to fight for their rights, some progress was made toward repealing old unconstitutional laws and they also gained political power. African Americans political voices were not just herd by the U.
S. , but across the world by South Africa too... The fight of anti-apartheid organizations was very similar to the civil rights activists, in the 50's and 60's. In, "1955 the Congress Movement of, the ANC, Natal Indian Congress, white radicals in the Congress of Democrats, and the now banned Communist party, came together and drafted the Freedom Charter, which affirmed its commitment to a nonracial democracy, equal opportunity for all people, and some redistribution of wealth. The charter was endorsed by all member organizations and established as a pillar of opposition to apartheid for the next thirty-five years.
Clauses within the charter stressed that, 'South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people... [and] the rights of the people shall be the same regardless of race, color, or sex.' " (Eades, 1995, 14) Anti-apartheid crusaders, inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, protested apartheid by staging boycotts, demonstrations, and strikes. Political unrest was often incited in South African communities and cities as a way of expressing and releasing frustration over discontent with the social conditions. The Anti-apartheid movement was brought to a halt when the South African government officials intensified apartheid in order to disenfranchise the political forces. Just as in the United States, the police were given the power to use violence against civilians and able to detain people without charge, the South African government had many political prisoners such as Nelson Mandela. A large-scale forced relocation was also an effort, on behalf of the Apartheid government, to disband and discourage anti-apartheid political groups.
People were separated even more and the government was, "moving them out of sight" (Eades, 1995, 16), so as to not influence that type of behavior else where. "The government was successful in the diffusion of organized resistance to apartheid in the 1960's." (Eades, 1995, 17) But, anti-apartheid movements diverted and began to mirror the "Black Power" campaign taking place in the U. S... The Black Power Movement developed in 1966, which, "urged blacks to gain political and economic control of their own communities and to reject the values of whites and form their own standards." (cd-rom) They also stressed that "black is beautiful" and suggested that black Americans no longer refer to themselves as Negroes or colored people but as blacks, African-Americans, or Afro-Americans. (cd-rom) The influence of "Black Power" replaced anti-apartheid protests in the form of a movement known as "Black Consciousness." The focus of Black Consciousness was the tradition of African ism, and aspects of the ANC and PAC also played a part in it. Therefore, the momentum of the anti-apartheid movement was not totally lost but instead, just redirected.
Later, anti-apartheid activities would resume with similar tactics as before. As blacks gained political power through more representation in government, there concerns became more important to address. They used their power to question the government on the issue of, U. S.
ties to the Apartheid government. As their issue gained support of many citizens, it eventually reached the national agenda. Though African Americans were the largest political force opposed to apartheid, they were not the only ones involved in the political struggle. A lot of U. S.
citizens were against associating with any country with apartheid as a system of government. Starting in the late 60's thru the 70's, students around college campuses often protested against apartheid and the relationship between the United States and South African government. Since South Africa was an "economic powerhouse", the U. S. had always tried to maintain a good relationship with the apartheid government. South Africa was economically and politically supported by the United States because it was a strategic location for resources and allies, in a favorable position against enemies.
South Africa was the only stable zone in its region in the eyes of America during the Cold War. The country was surrounded by communist threat, and after the Cold War, the United States aimed to reduce Soviet influence in southern Africa. The plan was to continue good economic relations with the country in order to exert capitalist and democratic influence over the nation. During the 50's and 60's, the U. S. could not be critical of the Apartheid system of government because of their own discriminatory laws, practices, and history.
However, as the U. S. government began to progress toward racial equality and human rights standards in the 70's and 80's, as a part of the international community, they were expected to judge South African politics. "All United States administrations during the 1970's and the 1980's condemned apartheid, but they were generally opposed to broad economic sanctions, often arguing that the most severe impacts of such sanctions would be felt by the same segment of the population that was most disadvantaged by apartheid." (cd-rom) U. S. standards were not in unison with that of the international community, in which most had imposed economic sanctions against South Africa.
"The United States maintained formal diplomatic relations with Pretoria throughout the apartheid era. The United States was still South Africa's second largest trading partner, with exports and imports valued at more than US$1. 6 billion per year, during most of the sanctions years." (cd-rom) However, the United States did participate in the United Nations arms embargo on Pretoria in 1964, "and had joined the international consensus in refusing to recognize the "independence" of four of South Africa's black homelands between 1976 and 1984. It was obvious that the U.
S. was reluctant to punish South Africa for Apartheid. Even the small efforts, such as the United Nations arms embargo, were becoming obsolete. With the 1969 inauguration of Nixon, U.
S. policies toward South Africa were becoming even more questionable. The Nixon Administration seemed to benefit South Africa's government, "the administration simultaneously and secretly formulated a new African containment policy. Prepared by the staff of National Security Adviser Henry A.
Kissinger as a comprehensive review of U. S. policy toward Southern Africa, National Security Study Memorandum #39 (N SSM), recommended closer ties with the white governments in Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia, and South Africa. The new guidelines enabled the United States to sell South Africa aircraft and other equipment prohibited under terms of the United Nations arms embargo.
These revisions also encouraged U. S. business to increase South African transactions." (Culverson, 1996, 127) This piece of legislation took U. S. policy in a direction that "selectively relaxed" restrictions on the Apartheid government. During this time, African American interests and concerns regarding foreign policy continued to grow and received attention.
And with political crisis surrounding and arising in South Africa, such as, "the acceleration of the liberation wars in Mozambique and Angola in 1974-1975", the policy debate commanded even more attention. Nixon's involvement in scandalous activities prompted his resignation in 1974 and Kissinger was left as the dominant force shaping the new administrations foreign policy. Anti-apartheid concern did reach the national agenda, and U. S. presidential primary elections of '76' were adversely affected by the conflicts in South Africa. The Nixon administration left no productive solutions, in trying to resolve the conflicts in southern Africa, for the incumbent president.
During Carter's run in the 1976 presidential campaign, he used to his advantage Kissinger's efforts in South Africa. By making Africa a high priority on the national agenda, the Carter administration gained support and popularity. Anti-apartheid activism was allowed opportunity to expand and received special attention with the help of the Carter Administration. The president appointed a board of top officials regarding the issue of majority rule, that were especially sensitive to the subject. In the Senate, policy liberalization was made possible in part because of Dick Clark, "who chaired the Subcommittee on African Affairs from 1975-1978." (Culverson, 1996, 140) Also, "The House Committee on Africa reconvened in 1977 and resumed its role of addressing the southern Africa conflict." (Culverson, 1996, 140) The question of U. S.
involvement with South Africa spread to the state and local levels, and in the late 1970's, "state legislatures and city councils began to consider, and later pass, divestment legislation." (Culverson, 1996, 140) A way to accomplish the task was to, "threat to withdraw nearly $200 billion of invested public-employee pension funds and other public funds from companies conducting business in South Africa." (Culverson, 1996, 140) By 1978, the trend was beginning to die out and reverse itself because the administration began losing key congressional supporters of foreign policy reform. Attention was also beginning to dwindle because of other international crisis. But the House Committee on Africa, helped in keeping the focus on southern Africa even after, "Carter Administration's policy had lost its urgency." (Culverson, 1996, 141) In November of 1980, Ronald Regan defeated Carter in the presidential election. Chester Croker, the assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, rejected the Carter Administration's ideas of evaluating foreign policies on South Africa.
Instead, Croker suggested the use of, "constructive engagement", which supposedly would encourage peaceful change toward democracy with the influence of the United States. Constructive Engagement policies resembled the Nixon Administration efforts; "Punitive measures were to be avoided, while a programme of positive sanctions was put in placed. The American arms embargo was relaxed, economic links were encouraged, and diplomatic support was extended to South Africa in the United Nations and else where." (Thomson, 1995, 84) The goal of Croker was, "to promote a strategy that would bring peaceful change in the region, enabling America to 'pursue its varied interests in a full and friendly relationship' with South Africa, 'without constant embarrassment or political damage.' " (Thomson, 1995, 83) To try and satisfy interests all the way across the board there was, "a series of educational and training aid projects directed at the black community." (Thomson, 1995, 84) The idea of Constructive Engagement was not a success in America or Africa. Anti-apartheid campaigns rapidly spread and pro-economic sanctions protests led to, "state legislature divestment campaigns, US corporate withdrawal from the Republics economy, and mass arrests outside the South African embassy in Washington, DC" (Thomson, 1995, 84) The victims of Apartheid wanted the U. S. to impose sanctions, but the administration contended that it would only affect the disadvantaged population.
Overall, the policy of Constructive Engagement was only partially implemented. Most people would argue that the administration had failed to reach its objectives. The Regan administration has been highly criticized for its, "performance against its declared goals for South Africa as outlined by Kenneth Dam, the Deputy Secretary of State." (Thomson, 1995, 86) "The policy of this administration has been to foment change away from apartheid: By unambiguous public statements condemning apartheid evils; By reinforcing these views with quiet diplomacy; By working with elements within South Africa that share a vision of peace and equality; By including ourselves as a government in financing programs... to give South African blacks better training and educational opportunities." First, the Regan administration did not do a good job of verbally condemning apartheid, so it seemed to therefore condone it. Their approach seemed too friendly and therefore questionable. This was its failure to be unambiguous in reference to their position on apartheid.
Second, the United States could not maintain quiet diplomatic relations with South Africa. They wanted to avoid confrontations, but it was inevitable because of definitional issues. The US's idea of constructive engagement, was not what South Africa's officials were seeking. Furthermore, the South African National Party was not fond of outside interference into the republics affairs.
U. S. , South African diplomacy remained rocky throughout the Regan era. And there was not much progress on behalf of the South African government. So anti-apartheid action was taken during this policy vacuum, "Congress did, indeed, implement sanctions against South Africa.
Backed by substantial domestic support in the United States, the legislative branch of the U. S. government stepped in to instigate what the Executive had refused to do." (Thomson, 1995, 92) In 1983, "the Gramm Amendment opposed the extension of International Monetary Fund credits to 'any country practicing apartheid.' " (CD-Rom) Then, "the 1985 Export Administration Amendment Act barred United States exports to South Africa's military and police, except for humanitarian supplies and medical equipment." (CD-Rom) By, "working with elements within South Africa that share a vision of peace and equality", the Deputy Secretary of State claimed the initiative would help Constructive Engagement by, influencing South Africa away from apartheid. This task was not fully done on behalf of the U. S.
The U. S. did not make an effort to become, "a credible partner on both sides of the lines", as had been declared by the Regan Administration. Their aim seemed to be working with the white regime. From the start, it was obvious that contact with black opposition were not on the agenda, "When Crocker visited the Cape Town in April 1981, he chose to talk officially with government representatives and not with black leaders." (Thomson, 1995, 92) It was not until 1986, when Edward Perkins became Ambassador in Pretoria, did the U.
S. make an effort to build meaningful relationships with black communities. Reluctantly, Regan was in compliance with contact on a regular basis between South Africa and the U. S... Another major flaw in the Constructive Engagement policy was over-reliance on The Sullivan Principles, fair employment practices.
Though it was aimed at improving the employment conditions for blacks, it was insufficient because of the disproportionate numbers of people it adversely affected. The administration wanted to stress the importance of The Sullivan Principles in making progress for blacks social conditions. But, it was so small in helping that it can be viewed as irrelevant in the struggle for equality. Similar to that is Dam's final declared aspect of the U. S. policy, "financing programs...
to give South African blacks better training and educational opportunities." (Thomson, 1995, 97) Like the Sullivan Principles, out of the great majority of people being affected by apartheid, only a small number of people could benefit from the initiative. The organizations for which increased levels of aid were aimed, to promote 'black empowerment', rejected the operation because of the inappropriate time-scale restraint. The motives behind this initiative was questionable because, "some rightly wondered why the Regan Administration was not willing to back existing 'empowerment' initiatives, such as that for shop stewards by the Federation of South African Trade Unions (Fosa tu)." (Thomson, 1995, 98) Reforms that did occur on part of the South African Government during the Regan Administration, could be seen in its concept of "total strategy." Total strategy was the, "idea of replacing racial division with class differentiation." (Eades, 1999, 22) Changes that took place was, "the rights of Africans who qualified to stay in the cities, granted more mobility between urban areas, and established more control over government in townships", as established by the Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act of 1981. Urban foundation programs were formed to improve living conditions in townships, and public amenities were desegregated. Other reforms included the abolition of the Immortality and Mixed Marriages Acts and some attempt to reform political representation. These changes did not formulate popular appeal because in general the people felt that, "these changes seemed cosmetic with no real attempt to change the political or social system of apartheid." (Eades, 1999, 22-23) What can be viewed as the most positive step toward reform occurred in 1988 when, "tensions between the United States and Soviet Union eased after President Mikhail Gorbachev offered to withdraw Soviet involvement in Cuba.
In return, he call on the United Stated to demand democratic elections in Namibia." (Eades, 1999, 26-27), Regan complied. Other than these minor accomplishments, the Regan Administration's Constructive Engagement looked more like an 'Incomplete Engagement'. The Regan Administration is attributable to the end of apartheid in the sense that it heightened the awareness for anti-apartheid activities in the U. S.
and contributed to the growth of the movement by being criticized for its policy. Though continued economic contact with South Africa was a goal of Regan's administration, it was the not the goal of most the U. S. , which made a mockery of Regan's administration by voluntarily divesting and imposing its own economic sanctions against the apartheid government. "Between 1984 and 1988, as a result of economic and political pressures, as many as 178 (over half) of the American companies withdrew from South Africa, including such flagships of TNC representation as Ford, IBM, and General Motors." (Thomson, 1995, 97) A major factor that contributed to divestment came with, "the passage of the United States Comprehensive Antiapartheid Act (CAAA) over presidential veto in 1986, the United States Congress established an elaborate sanctions structure prohibiting future investments, bank loans, and some forms of trade with South Africa." (CD-Rom) Under this legislation, "more than 200 of the 280 United States companies in South Africa sold all, or part of their operations there, and many of those remaining adhered to business principles intended to ameliorate the effects of apartheid." (CD-Rom) Under the CAAA, the president was to report each year to Congress on the reform of apartheid in order to assess the next steps of the U. S...
Another initiative put forth by Congress was the Intelligence Authorization Act in 1987, which, "prohibited intelligence sharing between the two countries." (CD-Rom) Overall, U. S. involvement in apartheid was ambiguous. The administrations in the U. S.
during the apartheid era were usually not in accordance with the American agenda. Most of the time their interest was in encouraging good economic relations with the white regime while Americans wanted a social change in apartheid. So, "by 1990, twenty-seven state governments, ninety cities, and twenty-four counties had also imposed sanctions against South Africa or divestment measures on their own citizens's outh African holdings." (CD-Rom) Both sides played major parts in the eventual outcome of U. S. policy on South Africa. Therefore the awkward relationship proved to be beneficial in the gradual reform in South Africa.
The Regan Administration tried hard to make its' policy a success, but, "African Americans were successful in defeating President Ronald Regan's policy of Constructive Engagement toward the white minority regime, partly because such a policy was generally responded as incompatible with basic American values and the deeper moral foundation upon which the American society is built." (Africa Today, 1994) Apartheid was officially ended in 1991, at this time, "United States President George Bush declared South Africa's progress toward democracy 'irreversible', and the United States began to lift sanctions imposed under the 1986 CAAA." (CD-Rom) The U. S. then began to invest in the change to a democracy, early in 1994, Washington contributed $10 million to assist the electoral process. With the election of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa in 1994, the Anti-apartheid Movement in America lost its momentum and influence on the policies on South Africa.
After the '94' elections, the Clinton Administration, "announced a US$600 million, three-year aid, trade and investment package for South Africa. Helping to reconstruct the economy of post-apartheid South Africa became the focus of U. S. administrations object in foreign policy regarding South Africa.