South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, August 4th, 2018 - 31 comments
Categories: Africa, Deep stuff, democratic participation, elections, Globalisation, International, racism, treaty settlements - Tags:

In 1962, John F Kennedy said “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

That’s on my mind when I see three things this week.

The Zimbabwean election, the declaration by the South African President of legalising forced farm possession by the state for redistribution, and a map of New Zealand showing every settlement of Maori land disenfranchisement so far.

South Africa

Upon his release Nelson Mandela chose not to violently overthrow white land ownership, in favour of a great compact between his political leaders and the major businesses of the day. This choice enabled democratic reform, eradication of official apartheid, and the election of his party to power.

Now, with national rage growing about the slow pace of land reform, that same party are on their way to simply taking farms from whites without compensation. Woo-hoo the radical Economic Freedom Fighters.

Kennedy’s little maxim has some bearing here. Revolution or die. But land seizure aided by constitutional amendment is going to cause substantial disruption to the society, economy, and viability of South Africa. There is simply no way of telling which way their society will go after that: more like Zimbabwe, or more like New Zealand.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s government seized land by force from white farmers 18 years ago, and is finally getting around to compensating those people for that loss.

With the benefit of hindsight, the Zimbabwean experience tells us that the notion of expropriation without compensation is ruinous. They collectively paid for it with eight consecutive years of economic decline that led to job losses, deindustrialisation, loss of export revenue, economic growth foregone, and now a huge reliance on imported donor food aid. Zimbabwean MP and economist Eddie Cross calculated that loss at about $20 billion a decade ago. That’s a whole bunch of futile, unjust misery inflicted.

Even with the original revolutionary leader gone, the Zimbabwean version of a free and fair society is desperate and fraught right now, and will be for decades to come.

New Zealand

And then there’s little old New Zealand. This country went through the fastest land alienation process of the three, and also the most successful in its amelioration of the damage. You can check out both the speed of that, and the miserable compensations for the loss settlement by settlement, here.

Sure, our collective record of mechanised violence from the introduction of guns is not black and white, and our reforms have been gradual in successfully defraying any thought of armed uprising for 150 years. But on most native peoples stats, honestly we are pretty disgusting.

Above my fireplace is a map (one of four in existence) from the New Zealand Parliamentary records showing the boundaries of the land it is about to take from all Maori to punish them for their uprising. What a pen they weilded to go with the victors’ gun.

Not necessary to run counterfactual histories. But for all our success, very few Maori feature in any of it.

I can’t come to a settled conclusion on this yet. Every postcolonial situation is different. Every national trajectory is different. So much of the long term record of both brands of government here stand us in positive stead compared to any other African country I can think of. That’s not a high benchmark.

Plenty of work to do, but it’s still fine to stand back and say why one is better or worse with as much objectivity as one can muster.

Thinking back on those opening words by John F Kennedy, we were damn lucky.

I’m going to leave the last word to Nelson Mandela, who has a great political legacy but a pretty mixed economic one. Here’s an excerpt from his closing at the trial that sentenced him for decades:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people,” he said. “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

31 comments on “South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand”

  1. AsleepWhileWalking 1

    One thing I find annoying about Treaty settlements is the complete lack of understanding the public have.

    Settlement money often benefits entire communities.

    • KJT 1.1

      If the majority of New Zealanders objected to treaty settlements. I am sure there would have been much more of an outcry.
      Instead we just have a loud mouthed Brashite minority objecting.

  2. OnceWasTim 2

    Another argument for teaching ‘Civics’ in schools. Call it what you like ….. Social Studies maybe, or even as they have in a few 3rd World developing countries: ‘GK’ (or General Knowledge, taught from an early age)

    • OnceWasTim 2.1

      Sorry…this was supposed to be a reply to AWW at 1.
      It befuddles me too @AWW why we have Te Tiriti – a contract, and ongoing partnership, yet it is barely covered. Likewise, since it is an ongoing partnership, perhaps the reason we have the Maori seats.
      Then Civics should cover the electoral system and how it works.

      Not just taught in schools at an early age, but also to what we might call new New Zealanders (to use an old term used by Fortress Australia) as part of the PR/Citizenship process

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Yeah, I was talking to a young man a few weeks back about this, asked him if he got any education along those lines & he said no. Half a century on, the education system hasn’t improved. At college in the sixties, we got told we were being prepared for adult life, yet we never got any explanation to help us with the difficulties we encountered in adult life. Labour & National are useless.

        • OnceWasTim 2.1.1.1

          True.
          I don’t want to derail this thread, but actually I’d go further.
          I’d require all senior public servants in leadership positions to show their understanding of the Treaty before appointments (along with a few other ‘competencies’ that seem to have lapsed in recent times).
          My grandson is 8 years old (and Maori), and has yet to have anything like the above covered. He is left to his own devices (including an iPad) and family.
          I know several ‘New New Zealanders’ who know more about things that many New Zealand born Kiwis, simply because they’ve been educated in places where ‘civics’ or ‘GK’ or Social Studies have been taught.

  3. Chris T 3

    Read the subject and thought this was going to be a thread about Winston’s Waka jumping bill

  4. Morrissey 4

    You quoted J.F. Kennedy pontificating about peace? Oh yes, you’re the one who wrote that sub-sophomoric “Trump/Putin” essay, aren’t you.

  5. Gabby 5

    South Africa turning to shit might at least address our tradie shortage.

  6. Um… interesting comparing African country’s with NZ, inasmuch that the black tribal populations seem to be -collectively – the majority in most case. Whereas in NZ , after the colonists had arrived , the Maori were quickly relegated to the minority.

    Well , over time , … that comes home to roost. Forceful taking back of lands and whatnot is far easier when you are majority. Then there was the fact NZ was part of the British Empire settled from people of those Isles,… close to Australia,… and could be utilized as a bread basket for Britain. Lots of reasons, really…

    Still ,… the social turmoil created by what South Africa is now doing can only lead to more problems,… similar to what you say about Zimbabwe. Its like the pendulum has now swung the other way with yet more unrest.

    • Ad 6.1

      In almost every other British Empire country than New Zealand and Australia, the British took land from the majority and kept it until that native majority were subjugated either by a new legal system, or until war and disease turned the previous majority into a minority. So, no, your middle paragraph is wrong.

      • In Vino 6.1.1

        Are you sure of that Ad? It may apply in Canada and Australia, but India was the Jewel in the Crown of the Empire, and in the vast majority of other significant countries concerned (mainly African) like Kenya, Rhodesia, Uganda, etc, the indigenous majority never became a minority. Even in South Africa, if you add the Boers to the British, I doubt if that total outnumbered the indigenous total. And even if it did, you still cannot justify ‘almost every other British Empire country…’

        • Ad 6.1.1.1

          Learn to read.

          “…either by a new legal system [India, Kenya, Rhodesia, Uganda, etc], or until war and disease turned the previous majority into a minority [Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, etc]”

          • In Vino 6.1.1.1.1

            Not sure what you are quoting there. Ad. I read your post at top, but did not read all links. Do we have to laboriously read all links? OK, the legal thing explains all the countries I had excepted, so I withdraw my criticism.

        • Gosman 6.1.1.2

          The indigenous community in South Africa is the KhoiSan people. The English and South African communities both out number the remaining KhoiSan in South Africa on their own.

  7. OnceWasTim 7

    “Are you sure of that Ad? ”
    Yea I was wondering about that as well. Glad to see it wasn’t just me entering dotage.

    Quick! Put that man in charge of our immigration policy before they wake up

  8. Wayne 8

    As has been noted, only in Australia, Canada and New Zealand (and I suppose the United States) did the settlers become the majority. In all these cases the settlers acquired the majority of the land by war, treaty and purchase. Actually in Australia there was no treaty and no purchases, just straight out seizure. Which accounts for the fact that the indigenous population in Australia is in the most adverse position of the four countries.

    I would also note in the Caribbean the indigenous population were also substantially displaced, but the subsequent majority population were former slaves, not the free settlers.

    I used to think (in the 1980’s and early 1990’s) that Maori could become the majority again in about 100 years or so. That now seems unlikely. Thirty years of high rate immigration from various parts of Asia from 1990 onward now seems to make that an unlikely prospect. The Maori percentage of the total population has barely shifted in the last thirty years, though there is much more intermarriage. Some of the children identify Maori, some don’t but instead are inclined see it as part of their overall heritage.

    But we are clearly way more bicultural and multicultural than we were 30 years ago. I am pretty sure that is cemented in. It didn’t require an revolution, just a progressive shift in attitude.

    • Anne 8.1

      As far as NZ is concerned Wayne I would go further and say than many Pakeha now regard Maori culture and heritage as being part of their culture as well. I am one of them, which is why when I saw the photo of those two Canadian neanderthal throwbacks effectively taunting Maori in the arch-way at Auckland Airport I was offended.

      We don’t need those types anywhere near NZ and I would like to think most National supporters would agree with those sentiments. Do they?

      • Naki man 8.1.1

        “taunting Maori in the arch-way at Auckland Airport”

        If you watch Mozzys clip the full interview with paddy on open mike, listen to their explanation and look at their hands you will see that they were not taunting Maori.

  9. OnceWasTim 9

    A pha pha pha pha @ Wayne. Your observations have been duly noted along with your factuals and in depth knowledge (going forward).
    Corrin??, or is it NewShub Nation’s Lisa – I can’t remember – they’ll be proud of your fairness and balance on pontificating
    I’m sure you’ll treat us all to your expertise on the next mainstream media opportunity.
    “But we are clearly way more bicultural and multicultural than we were 30 years ago.”
    Clearly we’ve convinced ourselves of that (so we can sit back, pontificate, and knock back a gin or two).
    I appreciate you’ve managed to remove yourself a couple of degrees from reality (probably through god damn bloody hard work and effort hob nobbing in the bubble),
    but pha pha pha pha.
    But you know – you’ve paid your dues and you haven’t got where you are today (etc.)

    Have you thought of a new party (going forward) that the gNatz might hook up with?

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    The dark side of the drooling incompetence that has characterized NZ governance over the last generation can be seen in the alienation of our farm land. It is reaching the point at which overseas interests are becoming the majority or default land purchasers – the locals having been so impoverished by poor governance that most of them struggle even to secure housing, much less the farm that was the aspiration of previous generations.

    I expect that, as foreign owners continue to demonstrate their lack of concern for local people, and we see more entitled vermin fleeing North America or other kleptocracies, and global warming makes its negative impacts felt, friction will visibly increase. I don’t anticipate a revolution however. The governments will take the side of foreign interests against local citizens as colonial governments always do.

  11. Sanctuary 11

    As someone who was there in 1981, developments in South Africa pain me. If anyone white is in danger due to racism, NZ has a responsibility beyond the mere academic. Getting rid of apartheid was righteous. Welcoming white South African refugees if they become subject to vicious racism would be equally righteous.

    • BM 11.1

      Russia is offering refuge and opportunities for South African people

      Fuck NZ and all the other western countries who will turn a blind eye and let the blacks slaughter the white Africans.

      • marty mars 11.1.1

        Russia sounds like a plan – why don’t they go there – good result for all it seems.

        • BM 11.1.1.1

          Saffa’s are good people, they love NZ, they really love Maori people, we should open the door to them.

          They’d be a real asset.

          • marty mars 11.1.1.1.1

            Some good ones and some arseholes – pretty much like everyone else. I’m not sure how effective the assimilation is though – sometimes some can try to retain their culture a bit too much and not integrate into OUR society.

  12. Gosman 12

    The struggle in South Africa was not about land reform. It was about democracy. South Africa does not need major land reform now. It needs and end to corruption, lower crime and jobs (mainly in the cities).

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