Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wither South Africa

In desperation I once wrote about 'South Africa, the Solution' and
ended without having written about the solution at all,only the
problem. The problem has come to pass.
Top Beira 1975.

Bottom. Beira 25 years on.

Why did it take as so long to hand over to the blacks? I'm sure most will agree that with our experience of Black’s incompetence and their inability to properly govern the states to the North, there was nothing that would assure us that this inability would not continue in South Africa once the blacks took over. Only when the international community withdrew all support from the White Government did it succumb in dramatic fashion and with dire consequences for most whites and many blacks. We handed over a well run country to the ANC government in good faith ,only to have it intent on revenge by changing history.Removing many of the White government servants and instituting BEE and AA, and changing place names willy-nilly, which is the most impressive thing that they have done to date.

It is admirable that so many whites have thrown in their support for New South Africa, but it seems for a lost cause. South Africa is living on the capital of the past, created with white brains and energy. Blacks helped with their labour,sure,but this was not necessary as Australia and New Zealand have shown. South Africa actually imported labour from India because of the reluctance of the Blacks to work in the cane fields. This capital created by whites will eventually run out.There is still nothing that assures us that this inability will not continue.Just look at the Manto fiasco.

However I don’t agree that the end is nigh, but it is nigh for most whites if they don’t embrace black culture and attitudes. For Blacks there will be a slow decline, but they will live with it as they are used to it. Their ways are not our ways.

The decline will be very slow as multinational companies will keep it afloat for the most part. Crime though, soon got out of hand after 1994 because the infrastructure was destroyed with the replacement of so many White and experienced police with untrained and uneducated Blacks. The decline in other sections is not so readily noticeable. The roads, railways, electricity supply, water supply refuse removal sewerage removal and health services, and other service delivery will slowly go down the tubes over time. Like the frog put into cold water and gradually brought to the boil. Not noticed until the frog was cooked.Not that the frog ever noticed.

If however the farms are invaded after the football world cup, and it is still not certain if that will go off smoothly, then the decline will perhaps reach tipping point and will be rapid.But who knows? Zimbabwe was supposed to implode yet it still carries on so what does the worst scenario look like?

Agriculture and food production may be the decisive factors. If the farms are invaded change will be rapid, but the government may not be as stupid as Mugabi who encouraged the invasions. They may have learned something. It has not been easy to farm in South Africa, more difficult than in Zimbabwe and many countries to the north. For the past century Agricultural and animal research has been carried out at South African universities and agricultural colleges. Research in agronomy, pasture and veld management, soil conservation, horticulture and viticulture, soil science, entomology, plant pathology, animal husbandry, dairy science, veterinary science, poultry science and forestry has made South Africa self sufficient and independent of food imports. The Universities and colleges also educated young farmers to fulfill the role of food providers under South Africa’s difficult conditions. Apart from the training received considerable experience was gained over years of farming and if this is lost agricultural knowledge will be lost forever. Knowledge often passed on from father to son.
South Africa is a very arid country and has required quite a bit of innovation to overcome the problems of persistent droughts through conservation of soil moisture and fodder conservation. The knowledge gained is applicable to South Africa and cannot be gained from other countries. Farmers often take trips to places like New Zealand to learn about pastures but little can be applied to South African conditions.
Pasture research has been done by pasture scientists like Scott, Meredith, Pole-Evans, Bews, Tidmarsh and Acocks to name just a few. John Acocks criss crossed South Africa studying the different veld types, dividing the country into seventy different vegetation communities. The research was in advance of the United States and the philosophy of management was quite different with the emphasis on correct periods of resting to maintain and build up energy reserves in the roots, allow for seeding and special management to prevent selective grazing. Different systems were devised for sweet, mixed and sour veld types. On top of this, knowledge has been gained on how to prevent bush encroachment and how and when to burn the surplus growth. Timing of the burn is critical. Moreover even plants have been named after famous South Africans like Smuts finger grass Digiteria smutsii and Aloe tidmarshii after Charles Tidmarsh, just the first two to come to mind.Will these be renamed?
Over the past two hundred years or so animal husbandry has improved through correct feeding and breeding.New breeds have been developed like the Bonsmara, by Dr. Bonsma, the Boerbok and the Dorper sheep, all adapted to the drier areas. Artificial insemination technique has been learned and applied to herds and more recently farmers have even learned to do embryo transfers to increase the rapidity of improving their herds. Considerable experience over the years is necessary before the technique of Embryo implantation can be mastered.
Arnold Theiler was the first Director of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute outside Pretoria. This institute under his leadership carried out research on African horse sickness, sleeping sickness, malaria, East Coast fever (Theileria parva) and tick-borne diseases such as redwater, heartwater and biliary. A Faculty of Veterinary Science was established here in 1920 which enabled vets to train locally for the first time. Theiler became the first dean of this faculty.'(Wikipedia)
His son Max Theiler received the Nobel Prize for medicine for finding a vaccine for yellow fever.

What of the wine industry? Three hundred years of knowledge and experience has gone into producing South Africa’s famous wines. Knowledge started with the French Huguenots and carried on from one generation to another. Will this be lost as well? Viticulture has to be carried on with great precision and timing. Substandard wines will never be sold on a world market that is saturated with substandard wines.

South Africa has a very dense population considering the fact that such a high percentage of the country is not suitable for agriculture without irrigation. But South Africa has limited surplus water for irrigation and the present dams have a limited life because of siltation. Most is only suitable for stock farming at a very low stocking rate. The idea that the blacks only had 13% of South Africa’s land was misleading because of this fact that most was in the high rainfall area of the eastern seaboard, in Natal the Transkei and Ciskei. If these areas had been farmed correctly they would have had a very high production. Blacks have never been particularly interested in farming properly. If the farms are handed over to peasant farmers there will only be subsistent farming and there will be no surplus for the general population.White South Africans know more about Africa than the Black population as they occupied much of it long before the Blacks migrated south, and without them the Blacks will never learn about the running or the country.

Commercial farming is the only way to produce food for South Africa’s needs.


Two areas where Black’s have been successful were at Taung where lucerne and wheat was grown under irrigation, and in Natal in the
sugar belt. Thus far when farms have been expropriated they have become unproductive and derelict. In the Southern Cape they were wisely and successfully leased back to white farmers.Photo showing a milk scheme in the Witsieshoek homeland 1958 under the supervision of the white Agricultural Officer.

The very efficiently run Lucerne Depot at Taung run by White Agricultural Officers in the Department of Bantu Administration and Development for Black farmers. The Irrigation Lands also at Taung.

I photographed the transport system in 1958 at the lucerne depot



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bloody Blacks. They need to be taught a lesson...just out of a alien concept called 'Justice'.

December 21, 2008 at 7:41 PM  

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