Jacana Pockets Nr. 1: Govan Mbeki

Liberation. A Journal of Democratic Discussion (Sept. 1956)

“The fundamental economic problem of the Transkei, as other Reserves, is not difficult to state, or once stated, to solve. The land area is far too small and infertile to support the population. Therefore, in order to end the terrible poverty, mainutrition, famines, suffering and misery of the Reserves, it is allocate much more land for African peasants. But this statement of the problem, and its obvious solution is by no means agreeable to the rulers of South Africa, and never has been. The wealthy farmers have no intention of parting with the land that was taken by conquest long ago. And, in fact, a condition of poverty and near-starvation in the Reserves is welcomed by the mining-magnates, the farmers and other employers of African labour, who regard hunger and destitution as their main allies and recruiting agents for a bigger and cheaper supply of labour-power. (…) The latest in this series of ‚shemes’ to solve the desperate needs of a land-hungry people without giving them land, is Dr. Verword’s Bantu Authorities Act. (…) The truth of the matter is that the new plan does not set out to create opportunities for ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT of the African. (…) The best contribution they have made has been to ma. (sic! …manufacturing? (J.K.)) cheap coffins for the trading stations to sell at exorbitant prices to bury the victims of map-fostered FAMINES IN THE RESERVES. (…) What is the management going to manage since there is no labour, no capital, no land? It is a day-dream that is not worth a minute’s consideration. (…)
MASS DISSMISSALS AT THE END OF THE YEAR AND MASS-REMPLOYMENT OF THE SAME WORKERS ON BEGINNERS WAGES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT YEARS – these and other methodes are employed in varying degrees to keep the wages down and to pile up profits to the skies.”
(Govan Mbeki: The Transkei Tragedy. A study in the Bantu Authorities Act (Part 2). in: Liberation. A Journal of Democratic Discussion, November 1956. S. 14-18.)

Colin Bundle: Govan Mbeki (Jacana)In seiner Kurzbiographie über Govan Mbeki, die 2012 in der Reihe der “Jacana Pockets” erschienen ist, fasst Colin Bundy die oben zitierte 4teilige Artikelserie von Mbeki zusammen: “He hammered away at themes that he had raised for 20 years: that the fundamental economic problem of the Transkei was the shortage of land; that the poverty created by landless suited the needs of the mines and other employers; that long-term labour migrancy took a cruel toll on family life and social cohesion; and that chiefs (now restyled as Bantu Authorities) must carry out a land policy which peasants had already strongly opposed.” (S. 91)
Bundy scheint für eine Mbeki-Biographie der richtige Autor zu sein: zum Einen hat er über längeren Zeitraum hinweg zahlreiche Gespräche und Interviews mit Mbeki geführt, die er in das Buch einfließen lässt; zum Anderen hat er selbst über die Rolle der ländlichen Bevölkerung in Ökonomie und Politik geforscht und geschrieben, ein Thema, das Mbeki sein Leben lang – als Journalist, Theoretiker, Lehrer, Aktivist und Politiker – verfolgte. Bundy zeichnet die wichtigsten Stationen im Leben Mbekis, gespickt mit dessen eigenen Erinnerungen, nach: Die Kindheit am Land, die (marxistisch-nationale) Politisierung in Healdtown und Fort Hare, die häretische doch innige Beziehung zum ANC, die Arbeit im Untergrund, den Rivonia-Prozess des Co-Autors (gemeinsam mit Joe Slovo) von “Operation Mayibuye” bishin zu den langen Jahre auf Robben Island.
Mandela gibt sich in seiner (Auto-)Biographie an vielen Stellen große Mühe, seine letztlich doch entschieden anti-kommunistsche strategische Positionierung zu argumentieren; dabei lässt er die enormen Spannungen innerhalb der ANC-Führung tendenziell beiseite, die er nicht zuletzt in Debatten mit Mbeki ausfocht.  Mbeki – wie Bundy schreibt – “was profoundly aware of just how great were the challenges brought to South Africa in the final decade of his long life” (S. 8), zumal er in der gesellschaftspolitischen Wende der 1990er-Jahre nur einen ersten Schritt sah, die von einer ökonomischen gefolgt werden müsse, doch: “With the election of the ANC in 1994, ‘two stages theory’ relegated working-class interests to an indefinite future, a second socialist stage postponed sine die. There was an inescapable dilemma for orthodox Communists in this outcome; and Mbeki was impaled on it.” (S. 155)

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Die gesamte Artikelserie “The Transkei Tragedy” von Govan Mbeki (4 Teile von Sept. 1956 bis April 1957, Quelle: DISA – Digital Innovation South Africa):
1: Govan Mbeki: The Transkei Tragedy. A study in the Bantu Authorities Act (Part 1). in: Liberation, Sept. 1956.
2: Govan Mbeki: The Transkei Tragedy. A study in the Bantu Authorities Act (Part 2). in: Liberation, Nov. 1956.
3: Govan Mbeki: The Transkei Tragedy. A study in the Bantu Authorities Act (Part 3). in: Liberation, Feb. 1957.
4: Govan Mbeki: The Transkei Tragedy. A study in the Bantu Authorities Act (Part 4). in: Liberation, April. 1957.

Weitere Texte rund um Govan Mbeki auf der ANC-Website.
Und: Exzerpt: Colin Bundy: Govan Mbeki (JK)

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