Time Capsule: 1990 – Beginning of the End to Apartheid

Lead: On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela and other South African black leaders were released from jail. This was the beginning of the end of South Africa’s brutal regime of apartheid.

Intro.: An A Moment in Time Time Capsule with Dan Roberts.

Content: The official system of apartheid, that egregious scheme of oppression and separation forced upon South African blacks by the white dominated minority government, was not implemented until 1948. Yet it reflected the reality of South African life had emerged since the arrival of the first Europeans in the 1600s. From the time the Dutch established a trading outpost on the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, white settlers and indigenous Africans had clashed violently. As the riches of the cape colony and attending regions became more and more evident (particularly after the discovery of gold and diamonds in the Transvaal) Africans increasingly lost their independence, land and freedom to move about without documentation.

 

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Battle of Omdurman II

Lead:  In September 1898, Anglo-Egyptian, effectively British, control of the northeastern African nation of Sudan was secured by force of arms at the Battle of Omdurman.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: During the late nineteenth century, Great Britain and other European nations “scrambled for Africa.” This colonial expansion was motivated by geo-political reasons, religious reasons, but mostly by the economic hunger for trade and the chance to exploit the rich natural resources of Africa. After Britain occupied Egypt in 1882, Anglo-Egyptian forces reached south to absorb the Sudan, but kicked up a nationalist religious revolt that captured the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in 1885.

 

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Battle of Omdurman I

Lead: Sudan is located in northeastern Africa. It is the continent’s largest country and in the late nineteenth century, Britain added it to its expanding colonial empire.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the late 1800s European powers raced to grab Africa. Historians often refer to this as “The Scramble for Africa.” Indigenous peoples were resentful of this absorption. Sometimes there was resistance and on occasion, violence followed.

 

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Winston Churchill as POW – Part II

Lead: Fearful of increasing British power in southern Africa, the two Boer Republics declared war in 1899. Twenty-five year old Winston Churchill, correspondent for the London Morning Post, was taken as a prisoner of war.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Churchill was a descendant of one of England's great families, the son of the Duke of Marlborough. He was a graduate of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and had army service in India and the Sudan. There he displayed great personal bravery but irritated his superiors. They did not like his practice of combining journalism and soldiering. Periodically, he would send accounts of his experiences to newspapers back in England. This smacked of too much self-promotion for the British high command. After a failed attempted to enter Parliament Churchill signed on as a war correspondent following the troops into the spreading hostilities of the South African conflict. On November 15, 1899 he caught a ride on an armored troop train destined for Ladysmith northeast of Durban. Out in the countryside, the train was ambushed by, the Boers, South Africans of Dutch descent, who had been scoring such hits through the use of guerrilla tactics and their knowledge of the countryside. They would eventually lose their war with 350,000 colonial troops, but in the early months of the war, Boer raids posed a formidable challenge to Britain's attempts at pacification.

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Winston Churchill as POW – Part I

Lead: Perhaps the most famous POW in the Boer War was Winston Churchill.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: First established by the Dutch as a way station for sailing ships at the mid-point between Holland and the rich spice islands off Southeast Asia, the Cape Colony or as it came to be known, South Africa, rarely proved itself easy to rule. Perhaps it was the diversity of its population or its relative isolation from the rest of the world, but from almost the beginning, South Africa was a scene of conflict.

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The Great Trek – Part IV

Lead:  Their governor killed and the Zulu clan in open resistance to their invasion of tribal territory in Natal, the Afrikaners emigration known as the Great Trek, was in the winter of 1839 in serious danger of collapse.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Trekking to escape what they considered the pollution of British colonial rule, white South Africans of mostly Dutch descent called Afrikaners moved in covered wagons during the late 1830s northeast away from the Cape of Good Hope in two streams. One headed for the African heartland the other up over the Drankensburg Mountains down into the coastal area of Natal, into Zulu country. They believed the land was theirs for the taking. In the conviction that was common among most white colonials of that era, British and Afrikaner, the superiority of the white race was assumed and land, even though it had been a part of native African holdings for generations, was a ripe target for takeover.

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The Great Trek – III

Lead:  In the 1830s, the migration of white Afrikaners away from what they considered the pollution of British civilization in South Africa brought them into conflict with black native African tribes with powerful military traditions, among the most aggressive were the Zulu.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Almost from the beginning, the Great Trek was divided in its destination. Eventually, the majority of Afrikaaners would settle in the region northeast of the Vaal River in the African heartland, but early on a substantial segment tried to alight in the lush coastal province of Natal. This was Zulu territory and the province of Zulu King Dingaan who looked with increasing alarm at the arrival of the Afrikaner families on their swift horses, brandishing the firearms which could make short work of his theretofore formidable military machine.

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