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Photo Narrative Reflective Essay South Africa: Before and After Apartheid

By fsmonte Aug 01, 2013 2798 Words
Photo-Narrative Reflective Essay
South Africa: Before and After Apartheid
INTL 488

Prepared by: Frank S. Monte

Date Due: July 18, 2013

Race, for South Africans, includes ones skin tone. Dark skin means ‘true’ African roots, milano colored skin are generally a mix of black African and white European, or could be Indian or middle-Eastern decent. The term from Tutu “Rainbow Nation” goes beyond the differences in race. The Rainbow Nation also includes the differences in religious preferences. Christianity is the predominate religion and one can find many Christian inspired development projects like the community center in Iziko Lobomi. The center built with donated over-seas containers with steel trusses connecting them together while supporting the tin roof was all completed with volunteers from Germany, Holland and America. Islam is the second largest religion practiced in South Africa, on par with the growth of Hinduism with the increased Indian population. I was surprised to hear the call to prayer almost every morning and at times in the evening. An incredible fact, that almost seems unreal, is the lack of terrorist’s attacks. Even during the 2010 FIFA World Cup there was an 80% chance and allegations of an attack were rumored, however, the police dismissed the allegations and no disruption of the matches occurred.[1]

Concerns about Islamic extremism have subsided since a 2002 bombing in the Western Cape that police attributed to the People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD). PAGAD is an Islamic-oriented organization opposed to crime, gangsterism, and drugs, but it has been known for violent vigilantism and acts of terrorism. The case remained under investigation, but further progress was not likely. The police have not attributed any terrorist attacks to PAGAD since the 2002 bombing[2].

Many black South Africans still practice more traditional religions under the leadership of witchdoctors and shamans. Much more important and influential in the spiritual life of the Bantu people have been the ancestral spirits. These spirits could communicate with and influence the world of the living and act as an intermediary between them and the deity. The Traditional religion belonging to the early Khoi and San people included a great many mythical tales involving gods and ancestor-heroes, whose lives were regarded as excellent examples of ways of dealing with social conflict situations and personal problem issues.[3] Zulu myth tells of the creation of both black and white human beings, the assignment of the black people to the land and the white people to the sea, and the provision of spears for black people and guns for whites. Many of life's conflicts arise, it is believed, when people defy the divine plan [4]

China has influence substantially, predominantly in more rural areas and introduced Buddhism. The most recent example of China’s influence is the South African State’s delay and potential refusal of a visa to the Dalai Lama, who was planning to celebrate Desmond Tutu’s birthday with him. The ANC government insulted a man, who was a beacon of solidarity during the anti-apartheid days; this had “left the former Archbishop piping mad”.[5]

When various religious factions come together tensions will be raised. Everyone deems his or her religious beliefs as the correct one, the one and only way to live in the afterlife. The many different cultural, traditional, and tribal religions do have some similarities and common factors, they are that there is an all-inclusive higher being and ancestors play a big role in ones future. But what you do not see is violence towards one another like Sunni and Shia or Christian and Muslin tensions found in the Middle East. Although all religions have been living together with respect, the citizens can feel more at ease now with the passing of the South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms that was endorsed on October 21, 2010.[6] Religion is a large factor of the Rainbow Nation, showing that different faiths and beliefs can peacefully live and coincide with one another.

Signs like figure 10, taken at the Apartheid Museum, “Europeans Only” were commonplace and depending on ones skin color, besides black African - would depend on the receiving officer. Violations of using a white designated water fountain or seating in a white bus or diner seat, or for even using the white only labeled front door and not the designated back door for blacks, will get you beaten or arrested, usually both, and even killed during the apartheid era of 1948 through 1994. Restrictions and bans Under South Africa's Apartheid laws people, meetings, organizations, and publications could be banned. Originating in an amendment to the 1929 Riotous Assemblies Act, and extended by the 1950 Suppression of Communism Act, the South African government had wide powers to restrict the movement and associations of its citizens. A typical banning order would restrict an individual to a particular magisterial district, require them to report regularly to the police, prevent them from associating with more than one person at any time (including family members), and prevent them visiting various public places and educational institutions. Additionally, nothing the banned person said or wrote could be quoted in the press or used for publication. There was no avenue for appeal against a banning order[7]

This brings me to the second half of creating Desmond Tutu’s Rainbow Nation; bringing everyone, blacks, whites, colored, Indians and all colors of the rainbow together with the faith that hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation will continue to hold on. One could say repression that led to Apartheid, started with the 1913 Land Act. The Act prohibited black majority to owing land in “native reserves”’ which contributed only 13% of total area of South Africa while the whites owed 87%.[8] It was one of the first laws overturned after the end of apartheid. The act, the Restitution of Land Rights Act No. 22, 1994, returns the land, majority farmlands, to the original black owners or heirs.[9]

The task of ending apartheid takes incredible political and personal will power. Denis Goldberg added during his riveting testimony and presentation to the group, it also takes the right person that is articulate and intellectual, but more importantly, a man of respect.[10] That man, whom I have great respect for, next to Mandala, is FW de Klerk of the National Party. I believe he actually put the country’s needs in front of his own needs and desires, with the possibility of diminishing the National Party’s power. He essentially committed political suicide, for the decision to release the ANC’s powerhouse Nelsen Mandala from prison, knowing the majority of all black South African support the anti-apartheid and civil rights leader. Then with the unexpected loss to the Conservative party, which was the continuing of the party’s decline, the ANC have remained in power ever since[11].

Mr. Goldberg included the leader of the Rainbow Nation has to be someone who will honestly look out for South Africans well being and equal justice, a man of action, not just words. It takes a man of character that lives what he edifies.[12] One can see the differences in politicians and their capabilities by comparing the two political figures we met in South Africa, Denis Goldberg and Paddy Chappie, could include Allen we met at the Disaster Management Office also. Someone with true care and compassion like Archbishop Desmond Tutu; this is why he was selected to start-up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Though a few may say it had it failures, one cannot deny there were much more that the success, in fact, the TRC was used as a model for other countries.

Mandala, as the first black President elected in 1994, was charged with the duty of bringing the Nation back together after decades of segregation, prejudice, and white supremacy, perhaps, worse then what the U.S. experienced, notable because it was National Law and in a modern era right up to the end of the twentieth century. Mandala’s reconciliation began at the quarry on Robbens Island. It started small by forgiving the wardens and placeing a rock on the Rainbow Pile at the quarry. I believe we [Americans] can learn about putting the past in the past and reconciliation. The racial narrative keeps rearing its ugly head, most recently the Zimmerman case. I believe and feel, that South Africans are working hard to create a Rainbow Nation where everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and religious beliefs can put aside their differences for the good of the country. In a country [USA} that proclaims to overcome racism, we sure tend to provoke and stoke, at every little chance, the fire of racism along with race-baiting. There are racists anywhere one goes, it is inevitable, but it is and has been, a very small segment of society i.e. the KKK or Skinheads in America. However, in South Africa it was the entire government, it was the law, its how one deals with those people.

South Africa knows the ill effects of true racism and work hard to create an equal atmosphere after apartheid. In the U.S. post-civil rights era, it seems we look for racism. We once had an assignment to write about “Should America have a Queen?” instead we get the likes of Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson who keep stoking those fires of racism. They do more harm by keeping the country divided, by keeping racism alive and on the forefront then bringing the community together. (Perhaps to keep themselves relevant?) However, community activists in South Africa are moving in a different direction by uniting the country and, now, in present day, look beyond skin color. Under apartheid segregation, racism, and division’s were deeper and deadly. We [Americans] need a Nelson Mandela and white leaders like a Frederick W. de Klerk or a Denis Goldberg who knows what segregation and National, lawful, white supremacy really means. Why white? Because there is more weight and respect when a member of the white ruling class stands up for the black and colored oppressed class, my observations and thoughts, may not be scientifically accurate. But has some justification that comes from a quote in a 2010 The Guardian, and UK newspaper, “In an instant he [de Klerk] switched from being a symbol of the oppressed to the global symbol of courage and freedom that he remains today”[13].

In places like Soweto ancient traditions, tribal and cultural are kept alive through ritual dance, song, food and drink. South Africa has been called the Rainbow Nation because of its so many different cultural and tribal practices. Cultural practices are how we talk and behave, the ways in which we pray, the special things we do when we have festivals, births and deaths. RSA has groups with different languages, religions, race, customs and traditions e.g. Zulu, Bantu, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim and Afrikaner people. All of these people are united by being South African and all of their ways of life form part of the country’s identity and culture. It is important to promote and be proud of South African culture and identity. This helps South Africans to understand and respect each other and to learn from each other’s cultural practices. This is part of the healing that democracy has brought after culture was used to divide South Africans in the past. For this reason the government has a project called “Proudly South African” that encourages South Africans to value each other and the country.[14] The constitution is the guiding law on a country's values and rules; it directs the government and all the people who live in a country on the rules for how citizens should be treated and how they should treat others. The new, 1996, constitution supports and protects a country and its people’s heritage and culture. South Africa is said to have one of the fairest constitutions in the world.

In South Africa everybody is equal. This means that nobody should discriminate against anyone else because of things like skin color, age, religion, language, or whether you are a girl or boy. South Africans have human rights that are protected. For example, some schools have turned away children who have AIDS. However, the new law protects these children’s rights to an education. In the same way the right to practice different religious beliefs ways is protected. Every person has the right to be part of any religion and to use any language of his or her choice. For this reason South Africa has 11 official languages so that all the major languages used in the country are given equal value. These languages are Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Swati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Xhosa and Zulu. Languages used by smaller groups such as the Khoi, Nama, San and sign language must also be respected. Other languages used in South Africa like German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Portuguese, Telegu and Urdu and languages used in certain religions like Arabic, Hebrew and Sanskrit are also protected.

The constitution of South Africa and the Bill of Rights, rules that everyone in South Africa is free to practice whatever culture they wish and speak any language they choose so long as this does not harm anyone else’s freedom to do the same.

The term coined by Tutu, “the Rainbow Nation” Rainbows appear after a storm, the multi-colors is the diversity, apartheid was the storm. The multi-diversity of the Nation is living in the light of peace and harmony, now that the storm of apartheid is over. (word count: 2,277 including picture descriptions and cover sheet)

Photo Index

Figure A: FSMonte Photography© Mandala mural at Imizamo Yethu

Figure B: FSMonte Photography© Hand-woven flag inside at Constitution Hill

Figure 1: FSMonte Photography© Makeshift church in Iziko Lobomi

Figure 2: FSMonte Photography©: Community center in Iziko Lobomi

Figure 3: FSMonte Photography© Islamic study book at Imizamo Yethu library

Figure 4: FSMonte Photography© Call to prayer mosque tower in BoKaap

Figure 5: FSMonte Photography© Multi-colored homes and Islamic student, reflective of the Rainbow Nation

Figure 6: Traditional witchdoctor throwing the bones South Africa religion Iverview, South African religions, copyright © South African tourism

Figure 7: FSMonte Photography© Traditional dance performers at Mama Africa restaurant

Figure 8: FSMonte Photography© Segregation signs reminiscent of the apartheid years, taken at the Apartheid Museum

Figure 9: Desmond Tutu awarded 2013 Templeton Prize | Episcopal Library

Figure 10: FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela at a photo call on Wednesday, May 2, 1990 in Cape Town. Photograph: Denis Farrell/Associated Press

Figure 11: FSMonte Photography® Denis Goldberg at his home during a presentation of life/prison under apartheid

Figure 12: FSMonte Photography© Rainbow Rock pile, started by political prisoners at the Robbens Island prison

Figure 13: Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel File / July 16, 2013 Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, unnecessarily, rile up the crowd

Figure 14: FSMonte Photography© Traditional dancers, prayer through dance for Mandalas health

Figure 15: FSMonte Photography© Traditions kept alive through dance in Soweto

Figure 16: FSMonte Photography© Signs of what culture is and is not at the Workers Museum

Figure 17:

Figure 18:

Figure 19: Boys share Coke in Imizano Yethu, I gave older boy soda who immediately ran to his bother to share

Figure 20: Frank sharing photo with young boy in Masiphumelele. Photo taken by Dr. Robert Bookmiller -----------------------
[1] (Reuters, 2010)
[2] (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 2006)
[3] (South Africa Tours and, 2005)
[4] (Byrnes, 1996)
[5] (Lieberman, 2011)
[6] (Coertzen, 2010)
[7] (Boddy-Evans, 2013)
[8] (Pepeteka, 2013)
[9] (Pepeteka, 2013)
[10] (Goldberg, 2013)
[11] (Wren, 1992)
[12] (Goldberg, 2013)
[13] (Smith, 2010)
[14] (South Africa History Online, 2005)

Figure A: Mandala mural at Iziko Lobomi

Figure B: Hand woven flag in the courthouse at Constitution Hill

Figure 4: Mosque in BoKaap

Figure 1: Makeshift church in Iziko Lobomi

Figure 2: Community center in Iziko Lobomi

Figure 3: Second largest religion

Figure 5: Islamic students and multi-colored homes

Figure 6: Traditional witchdoctor

Figure 7: Traditional dance

Figure 8: Segregation signs common under apartheid

Figure9: Desmond Tutu

Figure 10: de Klerk and Mandela

Figure 11: Denis Goldberg

Figure 12: Rainbow Rock Pile at Robbens Island Quarry

Figure 13: Jessie Jackson (R) and Al Sharpton (L)

Figure 15: Traditional dance in Soweto

Figure 14: Prayer for Mandala’s health through dance and song

Figure 16: What Culture Is and Is Not

Figure 18: New Bill of Rights, for ALL, Written in 11 Official Languages

Figure 17: The new Constitution drafted1996 Written in 11 Official Languages

Figure 19: Boys share Coke in Imizano Yethu,

Figure 20: Sharing photo in Masiphumelele

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