5. THE COLONIAL PERIOD: SOUTH AFRICAN RULE RULE
5.2 SOUTH WEST AFRICA BECOMES A LEAGUE OF NATIONS MANDATE: 1919-1945
|1919||Between 1919 and 1948 the
"German-SA Union cleavage" influences the party-political
"whites-only" landscape in the territory.
Throughout the 1920s there exists a chronic labour shortage in SWA. Since the early 1920s there is also an increasing pressure on land resources and a decline of food production in Ovamboland.
In the years to come the SA authorities create eight "native reserves" for the fragmented landless and cattleless Ovaherero: Aminuis, Epukiro, Waterberg East, Otjituuo, Otjohorongo, Ovitoto, Fürstenwalde, Otjimbingwe (together with the Dama) and Tses (together with the Dama and Nama). The overcrowded native reserves at Otjihaenena (Okatumba) and Omburo established during the German period (1905), are later to be closed. The first step in creating these reserves is to appoint spokesmen for the Ovaherero, such as Hosea Kutako.
Similarly, "native reserves" are created for the fragmented Nama. The Germans allow only the Berseba Orlam (|Hai-|khauan) and the Bondelswarts to live in reserves under their respective chiefs (including the Rehoboth Gebiet). Subsequently the rights of the Nama in Soromas, Franzfontein and Zesfontein are recognised, while other Nama are accommodated in the Neuhof, Tses, Gibeon (Kranzplatz, Rietmond and Witbooisvlei) and Warmbad reserves. In all these reserves, headmen (elected by their people) are appointed and "Reserve Boards" are instituted. The Berseba Orlam strongly oppose the "native reserves" policy. SA consequently deposes later (1938) their local headman and appoints two new headmen who are supportive of SAs interests.Between 1921 and 1923 the |Hai-|khauan Chief of Berseba, Christian Goliath, is forced to sell roughly one third of the |Hai-|khauan territory to the east of the railway line between Mariental and Keetmanshoop to get rid of burdening debt.
The Dama community retains its reserve in Okombahe under a local headman. Further Dama reserves are established at Neuhof, Tses, Franzfontein, Gibeon (Kranzplatz), in a portion of Otjimbingwe and at Augeigas west of Windhoek.
Johannes Christians son, Jakobus Christian ((Taoseb #Naoxamab), now Chief of the Bondelswarts (!Gami-#nun), who had sought refuge across the Oranje River in British territory after 1906, returns to his community without the permission of the SA authorities. He is additionally in possession of firearms. Jakobus Christian is convicted but given a suspended sentence. He is allowed to stay in his community but SA does not recognise him as chief (before Jakobus return Wilhelm Christian Jnr. (|Gariseb Khami !Nansemab), brother of Johannes, was for a short while Chief of the Bondelswarts, probably during 1918/19). The South Africans install Hendrik Sneeuwe as new Bondelswart Chief. This treatment, compounded by the levying of a dog tax (Proclamation No. 16 of 1921) and a fee for cattle-branding irons (Proclamation No. 36 of 1921), leads to the so-called "Bondelswarts Affair of 1922". There are, however, indications towards the end of 1916 that the Bondelswarts are planning a rebellion (the local leader Adam Pienaar and the exiled Jakobus Christian are involved).
The existence of a large landless population, however, poses problems of control for the SA Administration. The new land policy is therefore an attempt to steer a course between the two apparently contradictory demands of establishing reserves (in order to facilitate control, reverse "black" urbanisation and standardise administrative procedures) and ensuring an adequate supply of "black" labour.
|30.01.||After the mandate system is adopted, the Allied Powers establish mandatory powers over the territory.|
|05.02.||The Basters of Rehoboth request the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa to place them under direct British protection, like Basutoland. This request is not granted. Samuel Beukes is the first indigene to petition the League of Nations for independence for the Rehoboth Basters. The South Africans nickname Beukes "Koos Petisie". When the United Nations replace the League of Nations in 1945, Beukes continues his petitions. He sets a precedent for the later petitions of Hosea Kutako.|
|08.06.||New disputes between Vita Tom and Ovahimba Chief Muhona Katiti result in Charles Mannings new visit to the Kaokoveld. At this time Vita lives no longer in Otjiyandjasemo but in Ongongo at the Hoarusib River.|
|28.06.||Weimar Germany is forced by the Treaty of Versailles to renounce all its rights over its former colonies in favour of the Allied Powers (Article 119). SA is assigned mandatory power over SWA as a Class C Mandate (Articles 2 and 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations). Jan Christian Smuts later claims that the "C Mandate pertaining to South West Africa is ... annexation in all but name". In contrast to this US President Thomas Woodrow Wilson states (17.05.): "The whole theory of mandates is not the theory of permanent subordination. It is the theory of development, of putting upon the mandatory the duty of assisting in the development of the country under mandate, in order that it may be brought to a capacity for self-government ...".|
|05.07.||After Manning had also visited Muhona and the Ovatjimba leader Kasupi, he meets Vita at Kaoko Otavi. Manning accepts that among the Kaokoland communities Vita is the strongest leader.|
|14.09.||The German-built station building at Keetmanshoop is destroyed by fire, but is rebuilt in 1927/28.|
|17.09.||The South African Senator Theo L Schreiner states before the South African Senate in Cape Town that, merely because Germany had defeated the Ovaherero and taken their land, this did not mean that the South Africans need to do the same: "... therefore do not let us think that because the German nation destroyed 70 000 of these Hereros, that it is right that we should take the land which was really theirs and give it out in farms to white people". On the 25.11. Schreiner receives a reply from Administrator Gorges: "Seeing that the whole Hereroland was confiscated by the Germans and cut up into farms and is now settled by Europeans it would be an impossible project ... to place them back on their tribal lands."|
|Sept./October||The Germans voice their grievances when the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa visits the territory.|
|01.10.||Of the total German population in the territory, 6 374 (3 718 officials and members of the military and police, 1 223 "undesirables" and 1 433 who have requested repatriation) are deported back to Germany and approximately 6 700 are allowed to stay.|
|13.10.||A public meeting is held in
Windhoek under the auspices of Boer and German community leaders (H de Jager, Andries de
Wet (ex- Burenfreikorps), Gustav Eugen Ludwig von Kühne and Rolf Hartig) with the
objective of strengthening ties between the "white" groups in the territory. The
result is the formation of the Zuid West Vereniging on a non-political basis.
A bilingual newspaper (German and Dutch), Die Voortrekker, is launched.
|31.10.||Ernest Oppenheimer acquires the remaining diamond mines in the vicinity of Lüderitz for the Anglo-American Company and amalgamates them as Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM). The rights to the sperrgebiet (restricted territory) are acquired as well. Only the Kolmanskop Diamond Mines Ltd. remains independent. Further in the north, the diamond fields at Meob and Conception Bay are revived when in 1920 F Knacke founds the Great Namaqua Diamonds (Pty) Ltd., which takes over the rights of the old Diamantenfelder Verwertungsgesellschaft.|
|21.11.||Ferdinand Stich re-launches the Swakopmunder Zeitung.|