What If South Africa Never Had Apartheid? | Alternate Afterthought


Power! To the people! Power! To the people! Oliver Tambo! Oliver Tambo speak to Botha! There are those who would like us to believe…
…that the past does not exist. But the economic and social devastation of
Apartheid remains. Our country is in a mess! Modern day South Africa is a mess! It started out well as the hopeful Rainbow
Nation… …under the inspiring leadership of Nelson Mandela However, since then, increasingly incompetent
and corrupt cabinets… … have not been able to keep this promise. Enormous social inequality and poverty persists, while policies meant to alleviate this… …only benefit a small elite. Crime rates are still among the highest in
the world, despite a steady decline since the end of Apartheid. Enjoying a comfortable majority from day 1,
the ruling ANC party has perhaps simply been too powerful and complacent for the country’s
good. As rising economies throughout Subsaharan
Africa are currently going through a riveting development, South Africa is being left behind. Extremist populist fringes are now on the rise… … and seem to be setting the agenda for
the country, pushing it onto a perilous path. More than a century of segregation and brutal oppression … has clearly created a deeply troubled
nation that is still struggling to overcome that legacy. But what if South Africa had instead been
at the forefront of civil rights from its very inception and apartheid had never been
introduced? What if the entire populace had been empowered
and involved in building its society from the get go, instead of the majority being
disenfranchised and mostly used as a cheap labour force? Could it have become a modern African superpower? Let’s find out! We will never know how Southern Africa would
have developed had its Native peoples been left on their own. There is no inherent reason that they could
not have created advanced societies like so many other cultures around the globe. The medieval ruins of Zimbabwe mirror those
of the ancient civilizations of the Fertile Crescent. Combined with the trading fervour of the Swahili
coast who knows how far they could have gotten? So to be clear: This alternate history scenario
is not meant to be taken that Southern Africans needed Europeans to amount to anything. However, in our timeline the Europeans did
arrive and history has shown that -more often than not- they exploited their technological
headstart nefariously. Therefore, it may sound surprising that one
of the early constituents of what later would become South Africa had a relatively egalitarian
and inclusive system of democracy! The so-called Cape Qualified Franchise, practiced
in the British Cape Colony from 1853, allowed every man to vote and participate in political
life regardless of race. All that was required was a minimum property
ownership of 25 pounds. This was attainable for Native peoples at
the time, since tribal land ownership counted too. However, especially one man and his rise to
power was instrumental in the erosion and eventual dismantling of this early multiracial
experiment: Cecil Rhodes. As prime minister of the Cape Colony in the
late 19th century, he started the process in which slowly but surely the rights of non-whites
were taken away, culminating in the apartheid system of the 1960s. And let’s make no mistake: Disenfranchisement
in colonial societies was almost unavoidable in the socio-political climate of the time. After all, this was the century of the Scramble
for Africa with European powers dividing up the continent as if the indigenous peoples
were merely part of the local fauna. Despite the abolition of slavery, racism was
still quite popular in the Western World, now being used to further colonialism instead. So how to alter a timeline so dismally fateful? How to simply have people getting along? The history of the relations between settlers,
imperialists and Natives is highly complicated and has been marred by political intrigue,
betrayal and spats of violence by all parties involved. But there have also been instances of friendly
diplomacy and mutual deference. So, let’s amplify the latter into a perhaps
unlikely rainbow scenario of peaceful coexistence. For starters: Let’s suppose the Boers and
Zulus encountering each other maintained amicable diplomatic ties, helping each other keeping
the British at bay and even grow mutual respect. Could there have been a mighty Zulu-Boer alliance? Well, the Boers were fiercely Protestant and
already before the Great Trek had begun seeing the Natives as irredeemable heathens, in line
with the Calvinist dogma of limited atonement. The South African n-word, K*****, is even
directly derived from the Arabic word for “heathen”. In our timeline, this developed into an ideology
of the Boers being a chosen people settling the promised lands of Africa, supplanting
what they saw as hopeless savagery. This doctrine is not unlike the US American
Manifest Destiny. So an important factor for boosting the Boer
acceptance of Native peoples could perhaps be the latter fully embracing Christianity
early on, like they eventually did in our timeline anyway. Ideally, an early Zulu king may have deemed
it a good idea to convert and spread the new religion among his and neighbouring peoples. There are many parallels of this in history,
like for instance the Danish king Harald Bluetooth converting in order to appease the powerful
Christian empires, thus ending the Viking era. Especially notable is the christening of nearby
living Tswana Chief Sechele in 1848 of our own timeline, who then single-handedly converted
thousands of locals to the faith himself. In our own timeline, there was the infamous
betrayal by Zulu King Dingane of a Boer delegation who were brutally murdered after initial peaceful
negotiations. Thousands of Zulu warriors then went on to
indiscriminately massacre hundreds of Boer settlers including women and children, until
they were decimated themselves at the Battle of Blood River. This traumatic event in history probably hardened
the Boers’ prejudices, but may have been avoided
if Dingane were replaced much earlier by his more amenable half-brother Mpande. In this alternate timeline, Mpande would then
also fully embrace the new faith. Correspondingly, a different Zulu leadership
may have cemented the continuation of this state of harmony. Missionary and diplomatic successes such as
these could perhaps have diverted the Boers into a more inclusive religious doctrine. The
now Christian Zulu could perhaps be exerting more soft power through missionary activity
especially among the Xhosa and other Bantu peoples along the South and East coast. As a result of migrations, conflicts, proselytization
& diplomacy among peoples and incumbent nations… …mid 19th century Southern Africa could
perhaps have looked something like this: There are the British possessions of the Cape
Colony along the southwest coast A christian Zulu kingdom, assimilating Swati
and other Nguni peoples along the coast. The different Xhosa tribes perhaps united
under Zulu missionary influence as a vassal state. Boer Republics covering inland areas
A Sotho kingdom in the south roughly like in our own timeline
A Tswana kingdom in the north roughly like in our own timeline
Several nations founded by the mixed-race Griqua and related peoples
Many of the remaining peoples and tribes would be falling under abovementioned realms. The British Empire would struggle with this
tapestry of peoples and nations and eventually succeed in taking over most of Southern Africa,
similar to what happened in our own timeline. By the turn of the century, the map of Southern
Africa could then look like this: Another key point of divergence would be halting
the road to apartheid by relegating the role of Cecil Rhodes and his ilk. Perhaps they’re visited in their sleep by
Alien Space Bats convincing them to change their ways…
…or to eat them. No matter how, the system of Cape Qualified
Franchise will now be maintained and applied throughout the newly founded Union of South
Africa, providing a much more stimulating incentive for partaking in society than the
increasing amount of hurdles and eventual walls put up in our timeline. [hurdling image] English & South African Dutch or Afrikaans
would still be the two sole official languages for the time being. In this alternate timeline, this South African
Dominion of the British Empire could develop more like Canada, coalescing into a single
unit during the early 20th century, but now as a federation. The more equitable social climate could make
it more likely for British protectorates like Botswana and Lesotho to enter the Union as
well as South-West Africa [Namibia], almost doubling its territory. Fast forwarding through the 20th century,
South Africa gains independence on par with Canada and Australia -amongst others- with
the Statute of Westminster in 1931. The Black and Coloured population -enjoying
full citizenship- would gradually grow in representation and influence and thus start
to demand representation of their own mother tongues. In South Africa, this could lead to the adoption
of a regional language model as used in Belgium, Canada and Switzerland, where different administrative
areas are designated for each language. Negotiating this model would prove difficult
as there are many languages and many mixed areas, especially in metropolitan districts. Present day South Africa of our own timeline
recognizes 11 official languages! Alleviation of this could be achieved by harmonisation
of those language clusters with a high degree of mutual intelligibility and by thus devising
overarching standard languages. So this could lead to four main official languages:
Nguni covering Zulu, Xhosa, Swati and Ndebele communities. Sotho-Tswana covering Tswana, Pedi and Sotho
communities. Afrikaans covering the communities of coloured
as well as white Afrikaners And English as the umbrella language for the
entire nation and for metropolitan districts Botswana with its majority Tswana-speaking
people would fit well in this union, as well as the southern half of South-West Africa,
because of its Afrikaans-speaking community. Metropolitan areas -with their mixed ethnicities-
would have to service several languages. Further boosting the different communities
would be institutions offering higher education in the respective languages and even universities. The more people that are raised from poverty,
the more they can contribute to society and create a prosperous and dynamic economy. The Union would thus encompass a huge and
diverse landscape with plenty of resources and thus become a regional power player. Perhaps even a potential superpower? Comparing the South Africa of our own timeline,
we can ask ourselves: What went wrong? We only have to look at the success of neighbouring
Botswana to see how early inclusive governance, rather than brutal exploitation and marginalization,
can put a country on the right track. A lot of the conflict and oppression that
lies at the foundation of our present day South Africa originally centered around resources. Not only arable land, but also diamonds and
gold. All the while South Africa’s greatest resource
was being ignored: The people themselves. Thanks for watching! And remember:
History is made by individuals. Bye, bye!

Maurice Vega

34 Responses

  1. Very interesting video! Glad to see you make more videos too!

    It's a real shame this scenario didn't happen in our timeline

  2. I don't know why I'm still surprised by how in depth you are with your videos. Very nicely researched, detailed, balanced, and pleasant to watch in general. Glad to see you back! Also, be prepared for toxic comment section, just saying.

  3. Pretty linear video that comes from flawed historiography. Better that you don't cover these sort of topics in the future.

  4. If there was no apartheid. SA would have been a super power for sure |*apartheid architects committed a serious mistake*|. SA had good potential. Right now, we are stuck up on the past and unable to move forward with a huge influence from politicians. we have no politicians focusing on encouraging the people to move forward. we are stuck up and the future does not look very promising, with all the arrogance from different races and groups. there is zero unity, we hate each other based on what the ones before us did, we are exactly where Rwanda was in 1994 (just without the genocide yet)

  5. Awesome video, but alternative question if I may? What if the british empire never annexed the boer republics and created South Africa?

  6. @Phrenomythic Your idea is flawed in the sense that you approach the problems with a European mindset and you ignore the the larger problem the African mindset which is both cultural and genetic. Something else you ignored is the influence of Communism that started in the 1920's and that influenced black African culture in a major way. Converting Europeans to Christianity and Africans to Christianity are two completely different things too, Christianity did not have the same effect on Africans that it had on Europeans largely again due to cultural and genetic factors. When the Europeans had first contact with the African tribes in South Africa the could not count beyond 10, did not use the wheel, had no written language, and their spoken language even up until today is very crude and lacks functionality that more evolved Asian and European Languages has. The African civilizations are possibly thousands of years behind the Asians and Europeans and even with over 500 years of European influence they have not been able to catch up.

  7. South Africa is definitely an interesting case study for me. As a business student, I remember the word BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) being used all over the place as a buzzword a few years ago. But if you look at it, Brazil is blowing up, Russia has stagnated into oblivion, India and China are slowing, and South Africa is just getting worse and worse. It's clear all these nations had a lot of hope (hence why many of them accepted to host the World Cup, for example). I was in South Africa a few years ago and loved it so it's truly a shame.

    A great video man.

  8. Nice video and question why do you think colonialism affected Africa worst then other countries besides south America.

  9. What happens if South Africa never had communism or witchcraft or people blaming other people. What if what if 50 million blacks in South Africa now you have a master race called communist China what if blacks were not enslaved by communist China what if. And is end of a discussion

  10. What if South Africa was split into numerous nations like it should have been. The multi ethnic experiment has failed. Xhosa and Zulu dont get along just as Anglos and Afrikaners dont get along. South Africa is a mess because of the Rainbow Nation policy. Apartheid was wrong but multiculturalism will only strengthen the divide and there is no way you will get the various peoples to abandon their culture. For 11 languages and ethnic groups their should be 11 Nation States.

  11. Fascinating video – as a South African I found the prospect of what might have been absolutely wonderful .. very very sad that it didn’t

  12. The ANC is too big for its britches and too corrupt for its office. And the openly communist EFF is not the answer. I have mixed feelings about the Democratic Alliance, but they seem like the country's best bet.

  13. I was very suprised to learn the "K" word was a racial slur in SA, it just means non Muslim in Turkish

  14. This was very well done.
    Very well-researched.
    Well-balanced also.
    I prefer this alternate history then the other ones.

  15. I see you had a debate about racial IQ differences between race. Which begs the question wouldn't thousands of years isolated from the rest of the world created the IQ differences

  16. Certainly…. christians don't fuck each other up at every corner…
    And zulu's "assimilating" other tribes has a very peaceful history, adding proselytizing to it certainly would make everything better…

    Honestly, if it was for me I'd change way more…

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