Monday, April 14, 2008

A Brief History of Africa (er...that's Southern Africa)

Wiki: The history of Southern Africa is still much of a mystery, due to its isolation from other cultures on the continent. In 500 BC that isolation ended with the settling of Bantu migrants in modern Zambia. To the southeast, Khoisan "Bushmen" adopted cattle domestication and moved from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that had dominated life in the region since the beginning of time. By 300 AD, the Bantu had reached modern South Africa laying the foundations for centralized states.

What happened after that is the 'Bantu' moved south colonising - btw here's a definition of colonisation: whenever any one or more species populates a new area - Bushman lands, and yes, drove the Bushman virtually into extinction. In other words, they found Bushmen on lekker landscapes, and killed them so that they could use them. The Zulu were responsible for a Diaspora: Shaka killed over 2 million during his 10 year war [not counting the deaths during mass tribal migrations to escape his armies]. Shaka also opened the door to Colonists and as such should perhaps have 'hero status' revoked:

European entrance into the Zulu nation was granted by Shaka under a rare occasion. H.F. Fynn, noted earlier for his report on Shaka Zulu, provided medical treatment to the king after a battle. To show his gratitude, Shaka permitted European settlers to enter and operate in the Zulu kingdom. This would open the door for future British incursions into the Zulu kingdom that were not so peaceful. Shaka did clearly make an attempt at understanding the European way of life.

Meanwhile, someone wrote the following on a blog:
We Africans still deserve Apology for the criminal conduct that was colonialism.

No one is saying (if you're the group facing colonisation) it's nice. We are saying it's part of life for all creatures, it's cruel but it's also the way of the world.

But hey, I'm all for being nice and I'm all for good manners. We can start writing letters to Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, France and other earlier Empires, asking them to apologise. Korea can start their missives to Japan (China should also start getting ready for letters from Tibet, and addressing their own to Japan), America can apologise to the planet, and then to the Indians, and we can all start the process of everyone apologising to everyone else. In South Africa someone must write letters to the Zulus regarding their unnecessary carnage and try to get an apology from Shaka's great grandson or some other relevant party. And we need to find van Riebeeck's and Da Gama's great grandson's so they can apologise. I've moved to Johannesburg recently - I apologise for that, but I found a better job here. Have I forgotten anyone?

Meanwhile let's ignore the kindgarten mentality of the strongest kid getting to play where, and how and with whomever he or she wants (because as biggest, strongest kid he/she gets to do that). Fisticuffs and wars are started to prove who is the stronger, especially when there is a disagreement on who gets what, and who should get what on the basis of muscles. Parents slap children to remind them who is running a household. Husbands often do the same to wives. It's not nice, but it's not uncommon. The losers/victims either accept defeat or fight on. If they can't win they can resort to bribery, extortion, terrorism or moaning. Moaning is strategy that, while more civilised, probably in the end produces even worse results. By the time the recipient of the endless nagging and moaning has had enough, the explosion of vented rage tends to create large craters of social damage.

In nature, the strongest animals mate with the best females, and the fittest survive. It's not fair, it's just how it happens. The dominant male doesn't mate with his lioness and issue an apology for spoiling the fun of the other 'losers' afterwards. But we're not animals, we're intelligent, civilised human beings. Let's start apologising, and then let's also have the Bushmen included, because they were preyed on by blacks and whites to the point, as I say, that they have been virtually wiped out as a people. If there are any [Bushmen]left we can ask them to apologise to the animals, for colonising lands that belonged to vast herds of Springbok. The Springbok can be asked to apologise to the grass, the grass to the soil and water, the water to the clouds, the clouds to the Heaven's, and Heaven can then apologise to God and God can apologise for creating this whole ungrateful mess. Well, he's done that before.

But hang on, I think it is part of the Bushmen culture to apologise anyway (to the animals whose lives they take out of necessity). So they're off the hook. Everyone else owes everyone else an apology, but I'm guessing no one is queueing up to be first. The God of Blame has a far better feel-good factor, or at least, that's what we're kidding ourselves to believe.

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