Marshall Rufura Ndlela
MIGRATION is an ongoing and perpetual movement of people from one geographic point to another due to various push and pull factors. In the old days, Africans were nomadic people by nature, their movement was a result of a combination of several factors ranging from wars, drought, natural disasters, marriage, spirituality and changes of climate. Colonisation played a crucial role in Africa, resulting in creation of boundaries and pegging.
The Berlin Conference divided Africa to several tiny states as a way of avoiding conflicts on disputed colonised micro states. The term used for the illegal sharing and pegging of land by the colonial forces was “scramble for Africa”. Indeed, it was divide and conquer. The process of colonisation saw a mass inflow of Europeans from their countries to Africa. The push factors were the abundance of minerals, fertile lands, flora and fauna, availability of abundant animal protein, good weather and climate and a cheap source of labour.
The migration was indeed uncontrolled, disruptive and changed African sociology. Colonial forces created minority or satellite governments using military juntas to coerce Africans to obey, follow and abide by the then order of the day.
Cultural distortions, slave migration, African rights abuse and in-migration of foreign diseases to Africa was the order of the day in Southern African countries.
As many African countries moved towards majority black rule, the new African leaders followed suit the same governance structure of their successors. This further led to forced migrations due to economic hardships and application of the capitalist economic principles that are now viewed as a diplomatic slavery. Difference in factor endowments also contributed to the uneven economic balance sheet of the micro states, leading to migration of those from poor countries to richer countries. Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia and Swaziland were British protectorates and states. The unceremonious migration of Europeans to the above-mentioned countries brought what is now arguably known as Western civilisation, Britainisation and Westernisation. Most Europeans flocked to the Southern part of Africa, scrambling for resources, opportunities etc.
The Berlin Conference became the tool used to peg and create micro states in Africa based on geography, language and colonial forces. The Union of South Africa was created as a state country with several micro countries or homelands. The apartheid policy of the Union of South Africa created 10 Bantu States or homelands for the purpose of concentrating the members of designated ethnic groups. By definition, a Bantu state was a micro state set aside for black inhabitants of the Union of South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia). The designated micro states were ethically and geographically designed.
The migration of the black natives of the Union of South Africa was fully controlled and allowed strictly for work, and education purposes. A migration paper/passport called a dom pass was used as a legitimate document that enables or allows the migration of the black natives to the Union of South Africa. Several black Africans started migrating to the Union of South Africa back from the 1960s. They were employed in mines, construction and general work. Native South Africans, with the support of labour unions and political forces such as ANC, PAC and Black Movement Consciousness started protesting and revolting against minority rule. The apartheid government of South Africa went on full force, crushing an uprising, protest or mass gatherings. All these uprisings destabilised the economy of South Africa.
Most South Africans extended their propensity to employ other African black natives at the expense of the South African population. In the eyes of labourers, South Africa was a matured and attractive labour market regardless of the political turmoil. South Africa became a destination of most of the Sadc labourers and therefore a hub of the southern African labour market.
Year 1994 became the freedom year as black South Africans won the general elections, leading to the formation of an inclusive government, constitutional reforms, reconciliation commissions and black economic empowerment programmes. The constitutional democracy of South Africa cultivated a fertile environment for economic growth and progressive economic developments, therefore pulling labour migration into South Africa
Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, an extended plot/property of Cecil John Rhodes’s company called British South African Company. Cecil John Rhodes invaded Zimbabwe which was then known as Matopos or South Zambezia. Rhodes named the country Rhodesia in 1895. Rhodes arrived in South Zambezia with his squad of Britons and black Ciskei natives (Amaphondo) who were working in trains, assisting with cooking, security and any general work. In 1951, the Britons combined Nyasaland (present Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to form a unified mother country to be known as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland with Salisbury as the Capital City. Southern Rhodesia was the economic hub of the three forced micro states. There was a massive migration of the natives of both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to Southern Rhodesia.
In 1960, the black African leaders formed a pact to fight for the liberation and separation of the three states. Southern Rhodesia was represented by the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Northern Rhodesia by the late Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Nyasaland by the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. The three giant leaders derived their inspiration from the ANC of South Africa. Nyasaland was to be called Malawi with Dr Banda as its first black president. The political forces of black natives of Rhodesia continued with the struggle for independence and self-determination. It is with sadness to note that the MCP of Dr Banda decided to nicodemously have secret treaties with the Apartheid and Rhodesian minority rulers and declined to offer any support to Dr Nkomo’s Zimbabwean ANC (Zapu) and Dr Kaunda’s Zambian ANC (UNIP).
In 1964 Zambia gained independence, and Dr Kaunda was inaugurated as the first black President of the Republic of Zambia. Dr Kaunda kept his revolutionary promises of supporting all black African parties to fight for majority rule, independence and self-determination. Zambia was the hosting country of liberation parties of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. President Mnangagwa, former President Mugabe, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, Dr Nkomo and other well-known political leaders got sanctuary in Zambia with the political protection of Dr Kaunda. The Zambian economy paid the highest price for hosting and supporting the revolutionaries of Sadc.
However, the political forces of the past were defeated but not destroyed. They are still playing a passive and dangerous role to push colonial agendas and attempt to destabilise the peace that is prevailing in these countries. The divide and rule tactics, black to black violence and regime change agendas are the tools being used to destroy Africa at large.
The defeated forces are manifesting in the form of opposition political parties in the name of Frelimo, MDC/CCC of Zimbabwe, IFP of South Africa, Unita of Angola, MMD of Zambia, and MCP of Malawi. The unification and pact of the Front line states or southern African countries in general is being compromised and threatened by these ghosts of the minority apartheid forces masquerading as democratic forces. The free movement of the natives, business and trade and of all these parties is being reduced to the colonial frameworks with the artificial borders as military boundaries.
Marshall Ndlela is a Zimbabwean based in South Africa. He is a holder of a Master’s Degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chichester, England. He can be contacted on [email protected]