Hannes Wessels,

As a delegate at the recently held Cop 28 climate conference in Dubai, Ndileka Mandela, Nelson’s granddaughter, grabbed headlines when she denounced Britain and the Royal family, for its imperial past and demanded they pay reparations.

“If there can be an acknowledgement of what was done to countries to colonise because we are still suffering a great deal from colonisation, in as far as our culture as Black people is concerned,” she said. Asked if she would want to see reparations from the royal family, she replied: “Yes, I would. That’s where healing begins.” With a grovelling King Charles in attendance, pleading for forgiveness for all manner of real or imagined sins, Ms. Mandela may well get what she wants. In the event compensation is paid, one can only hope she acts more honestly than the organisers of the Black Lives Matter movement who trousered most of the contributions. And will any of the proceeds reach the  Khoi San peoples, who were wiped out by Ms Mandela’s Bantu forebears in their genocidal migration southwards from the Congo Basin.

But what always gets my attention with this all too familiar refrain about the ‘evils’ of colonialism is reference to the inevitable ‘suffering’ caused by this event as if all the colonists did during their tenure in Africa was to be beastly to ‘the natives.’

In the context of South Africa where Ms Mandela resides, that ‘suffering’ included the construction of roads and railways, harbours, hospitals, schools, universities, towns, cities and the introduction of a grid providing cheap and abundant electricity that powered the country’s economy into the First World of developed nations and brought light to virtually every dwelling in the union. Arguing this was all about entrenching white privilege at the expense of poor Black people is simply not true; every single person, regardless of race or ethnicity, benefitted in some shape or form from what transpired during that period.

I’m not sure if she, or any of that multitude of like-minded ‘victims’ repeating this fatuous demand give it any thought, but if they did, they might well ask themselves how did this all happen? Would the Khoi San, who were present at the Cape when the first Europeans came ashore, have gone on to build the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station? And if it had not been for the colonisers and their successors, would the Bantu settlers of southern Africa have multiplied exponentially thanks to modern Western medicine, or benefited from the multitude of technical advances, virtually all of which were introduced to the world by people associated with the dreaded ‘colonisers’.

What is also conveniently ignored or forgotten by Ms Mandela and the millions of moaners like her, is that these developments only transpired through incurring massive expenditure and the deployment of human capital, most of which originated in Europe.

While some funding was provided by the private sector, the bulk of it was sourced from the nation’s fiscus and that was filled, in the main, through the hard-working endeavours of millions of mainly white South Africans, most of whom were associated in some way with the ‘colonial’ exercise.

These people were generally happy to contribute to the exchequer because they could see the revenues were being put to effective use, the economy was growing, and the quality of life of all was improving. They thought that the infrastructural development they were helping to finance, would be there for the benefit of their progeny and successor generations. I know that in Rhodesia, the country where I grew up, a similar mindset prevailed. Few people dodged taxes because they were confident they were investing in a brighter future for everyone. And in Mozambique, a country very dear to me, the colonisers toiled resolutely over centuries to try and build a Portugal in Africa that would boast the style and sophistication of the homeland.

There are scores of similar examples that one could mention, the length and breadth of the continent; from Algeria to Angola, the Congo to Kenya; details vary, but in every instance, colonial powers invested significantly in trying to build and improve infrastructure; and in every instance that infrastructure has been recklessly destroyed. The question is, are the people who conducted this senseless destruction unaccountable; are reparations not payable to those who invested so heavily; it would appear that is a stupid question.

A recent example of how one-sided and racist the reparations debate has become is provided in Zimbabwe following the violent seizure of over 4,000 farms from white farmers beginning at the turn of the century. Most of them had acquired their land with the consent of the government of Zimbabwe, all were law-abiding citizens contributing to the national wealth and the biggest employers in the private sector, but because they were White, they were summarily stripped of everything they owned and, in many cases, rendered destitute. Their pleas to the world for some sort of compensation to rectify the injustice visited upon them, elicited no response and even less sympathy.

Maybe the saga of the Zimbabwe farmers and the callous response to their plight explains the indifferent world-wide reaction to the catastrophic, post-colonial damage done, mentioned above.

The world was happily persuaded the displaced farmers were simply racist supremacists enriching themselves at the expense of a downtrodden Black majority and so their demise was deserved. The Boer farmers of post-uhuru South Africa have been murdered and tortured in their thousands; but the ‘democratic’ nations of the world have uttered no words of condemnation. Influential politicians openly call for their killing but the international community is happy to accept the sons of Apartheid are only receiving just retribution for the sins of their fathers.  The same applies to the legions of colonists; the popular view that they all came to Africa to do little more than rape and pillage has prevailed and so their well-intentioned endeavours aimed at improving the territories they were posted to are cynically ignored.

16 thoughts on “Reparations: Who Owes Who?”
  1. A great article thank you Hannes & completely true. The same applies in Australia. It’s a constant guilt trip being white in Australia with continual demands from the indigenous (often actually fake indigenous who are as white as me), for compensation, reparations, freebies & handouts. This rubbish is over running the West.

  2. The Brit majority, now completely “captured” by the woke virus and totally confused, really do believe all this simplistic rubbish thrown at them, don’t see that the more they grovel the more and wilder are the kicks the third world ex-colonies aim at them?

    What in fact they should be doing is to, every night, go down on their knees and thank the Anglo Saxon world for hauling them out of tribal feudalism and into the modern world.

    And the selective memories, those particularly of their many bouts of genocidal behaviour…… driving the Basuto to hide away in a corner of the Drakensburg, the Zulu Mfecane that ethnically cleansed Southern Africa and gave rise to the Matabele nation? No apology called for from the Zulus, rather they had a province, an airport and a few other things named after them? And the murder rate in SA, probably not far off 100 per day or as many murdered here by 3 Jan as the Brits will do in an entire year!

    Before you curse the anc curse the feeble minded – and heavily manipulated – Western wokes as they hasten the downfall of the West.

  3. Excellent article Hannes. The politically correct Brits may well comply, but who are Ms. Mandela and her cohorts going to demand compensation from because the current government is so incompetent and corrupt that they have succeeded destroying what the
    “Imperialists” had managed to achieve ?

  4. They are always looking for freebies and constantly complain about the ‘suffering’ they had to endure BUT do they ever express gratitude for the infrastructure, the hospitals, the roads, the facilities they have access to, that was brought to all people there?? If not for those benefits, I’d hate to think how they’d be living today.

    1. The sub Saharan Bantu originated in Cameroon and followed elephant tracks into southern Africa over many generations. They were still north of the Limpopo when the Dutch arrived at the Cape in 1595. The Bantu wiped out the San Bushmen (who ranged as far north as Tanzania) on their migration South.

    2. I agree.

      The facilities and road ways will mysteriously maintain their own soundness.

      Thank you.

  5. Looks like the Mandela’s are broke after destroying South Africa and need King Chuckie to bail them out…..

    By the way there is a bit more to Zuid Afrikan History than “saint” Nelson Mandela and “apartheid” yawn yawn🥱😴😴😴zzzzz,
    Azis, Poms, Yanks etc haven’t got a clue about South Africa….
    I worked at the docks in Cape Town for a few months in 1976 but never realised my mother’s ancestors came through there in the 1600-1700s. Amazing history…..

    Did you know? Cape Town (and therefore South Africa) has a long, complex, and contested history that predates the much-quoted date of 1652. Khoi and San people lived around the Cape, open and free, for centuries already.

    In the 1400s it was the Portuguese who established shipping routes for trade to the East. One can write many posts about their attempts to trade or collect refreshments here, but it ended in a devastating battle with the Khoi people, in which Captain Almeida and 64 men died. Consequently, European ships mostly avoided the Cape for the next 150 years.

    When Britian and the Netherlands began to dominate the shipping routes in the 1600s, their need for a halfway stop increased. For a long time, they used Robben Island for this purpose. Passing ship crews hunted seals and literally herded penguins onto their boats. They also collected penguin eggs. But the Dutch eventually introduced Dassies to the island which overgrazed the landscape completely, wiping out the ecology in many ways. In 1601, an English ship captain left convicts with sheep on the island. Their mission: fatten the sheep for passing ships. In 1607 a Dutch ship dropped sheep again.

    Then, in 1613, the British kidnapped a Khoi person, Coree, from the Cape mainland and took him to England. He returned a year later to act as a Khoi interpreter and trade agent, but by 1620 Dutch shipmen killed him when he refused to barter cattle with them. Before that, in 1616, Britian had also dropped 10 convicts on the Cape mainland, led by John Crosse, a convicted highway man. However, they soon fled to Robben Island to escape the Khoi.

    In 1631, British ship captain John Hall, took another Khoi man, Autshumato (who became known as Herry the Strandloper), to Java in the East Indies. Herry returned to Robben Island where he and 20 other men acted as agents for passing British and Dutch ships.
    Then in 1638 passing Dutch ships attempted to plant coconuts on Robben Island. I guess these tropical trees never survived in the harsh, stormy Cape weather!

    Bottom line: the history of the Cape is not like you were told. There is much more to it. Competition to control the shipping routes were fierce, and the local people of the Cape got drawn into the ongoing battle.

    Join us on a LocalPlaces – IkapaPlaces tour and learn more about the complex layers of history, through riveting storytelling!

    LocalPlaces – IkapaPlaces & JoburgPlaces
    Learn with us. Fundani nathi.

    1. Another amazing resource is this Dutch website. Click on the “Voyages” button and check out all the Voyages between Holland and Batavia via the Cape. The VOC first started stopping off at the Cape in 1606. I wrote to their head office in Holland and they sent me copies of my Spangenberg and Coetzer ancestors enlistment papers from 1709….the Dutch were avid record keepers!!!!

      “The Dutch East India Company’s shipping between the Netherlands and Asia 1595-1795” https://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/das/index_html_en

  6. Well written Hannes,so true in every way,many if not all the detractors are Net takers they do nothing to improve life anywhere,keep up the great writing!

  7. Also completely lost in all this: When whites arrived to settle some small parts of Africa, much of the continent was uninhabited, or at best very thinly populated. As of 1900, a rough census of Africa’s population estimated that there were no more than about 10 million black natives. What’s today’s estimate (however inflated it may be, because foreign aid is paid by the head), 1.2 billion?? If the object was to keep the black man down, you’re doin’ it wrong.

    I recall this from a journalist who a few decades back was traveling through west Africa (then in one of the small nations near Ivory Coast, but I forget which specifically). He asked his native guide: “Your country is prosperous, reasonably modern, and well-managed. The country right next door is an impoverished disaster in every respect. Why so different??” His guide responded bluntly: “We were colonized. They were not.”

    Add up all the infrastructure, industry, and welfare, and the balance sheet will tilt the other direction. In the U.S., we have already paid some 15 trillion dollars in ‘reparations’ in the form of welfare to our black population. Who owes whom indeed??

  8. Maybe Ms. Mandela is correct, she should be compensated – Charles and his ilk are plundering the rest of the world with their scams (think Covid and climate change), so they’re not short of a bob or two, and there wouldn’t be nearly as many of Ms. Mandela’s people if the civilized world hadn’t stopped them from killing each other, cured their illnesses and fed them.
    The problem arose when we failed to educated them sufficiently so that the majority could understand how our technology and systems work, and to impress upon them the need for a certain set of morals.
    It wasn’t for lack of trying, but the old adage “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” comes to mind, so indeed we are guilty of leaving millions of colonised people who seem to have no other option than to steal and plunder or hold out the begging bowl.

  9. This needs to be nipped in the bud. Should UK blink, this will open the flood gates. And what would be a reasonable value for pain and suffering to unreasonable people?

  10. Oh, my goodness, if Ndileka Mandela gets away with asking for reparation for ‘their imperial past’ – then ques what – hundred and thousands of us normal folk can ask reparation for the incarceration and many deaths, of our forebearers in the concentration camps during the Boer War!!! Just saying!!

  11. Great article Hannes. Yes indeed, will compensation filter down to the San?
    Only yesterday did the gardener take his baby to the clinic. They took his money and told him to bring the child back in January.
    The child is still in pain…I guess the clinic authorities are having a good Christmas. How can people treat their own like that is beyond my comprehension?

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