Benefits of Colonialism

Following the events I discussed here, an unending storm of colonialist condemnation has continued in the media, in articles, speeches and letters.  In response to this tweet:


a typical response was this:


Astonishingly infantile, from an educated leader of a major political party, it completely grabs the bull by the udder. Helen Zille was pointing out that colonialism brought some benefits. She made no mention of that making it a justifiable system. However, streams of eminent commentators have continued in the same vein, claiming this to have been what she meant, and that the underlying attitude was (that overworked buzzword) Racist.

There seem to be another class of attackers who are relics from the Boer War and who still wail about the conditions in prisoner-of-war camps of that era. Yet more, who equate colonialism with apartheid. Again, these undeniably deplorable aspects have nothing to do with the statement.

Some commentators do fringe on the subject of benefits, and in trying to make a case that there were none at all go into a lot of completely irrelevant early African history. Irrelevant, because whatever high stages development in Africa may have reached in the past or in other parts, it wasnt applicable when the colonialists and colonists reached South African shores. What existed were impermanent villages with groups essentially still living as iron age agriculturists and herdsmen, and prone to violent inter-tribal warfare.

All ignore that the history of Africa, like that of the rest of the world, has been characterised by the emergence and decline of colonies or empires. This is a recurring historical fact, and together with the obvious negative aspects most empires have tended to introduce some lasting improvements.

The European colonists brought with them to South Africa concepts like the wheel, written language and mathematics, sophisticated art and music, improved farming methods, medicines, weaving, superior building skills the list could go on and on. The point is that, although access to the benefits of such things to all races may have been held back or disdained for some time, they thus became available to all in the long term.

A mature outlook, while deploring the ills of the period, would be to take these ills in historical perspective and to laud those colonialists who provided a positive impact and to appreciate and propagate their permanent legacies. As did most who had been part of the Roman Empire, for example.

It is ironical, and indicative of blinkers or tunnel vision, that many of those condemning colonialism outright are still quite ready to celebrate kings of the past like Shaka, who may have been a brilliant tactician but was also an empire-builder, a bloodthirsty tyrant, and mentally unstable.



© March 2017 Colonialist

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
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18 Responses to Benefits of Colonialism

  1. The writer VS Naipaul said that for every year since the British left India, it has gone back ten years…I sometimes think ( racist that I am) that that could be true of many places that were ‘ruled’ by the British… Zimbabwe springs to mind…my sister lived there for many years, and was matron of Harare hospital where many patients were beaten up white farmers or broken people with aids…. I think you are all very brave coping with the situation in what is your homeland….


    • colonialist says:

      And Helen Zille is still facing disciplinary action for daring to suggest that there was anything whatsoever of benefit that came out of colonialism.
      A visit to the then Rhodesia convinced me that our apartheid system was completely wrong and that blacks were easily capable of competing on equal terms with whites. (They were given far more latitude and opportunities than those in SA.)
      Alas, during the Zimbabwe era Mugabe and his ilk have done their darnedest to disprove this idea by totally trashing the strong economy they took over — just as Zuma and cronies are now doing in South Africa.


  2. Why don’t they get rid of all remnants of the colonialists oppression. Knock down all the buildings tear up all the roads, blast all the sewage systems, throw off their suits and ties, go right back to nature,
    Get rid of every vestige of colonialism it is bad.
    hey! wait a minute…………………………….


  3. life could be hard,
    politics are difficult to discuss when you believe in your own freedom,
    we guard our freedom of creativity, sometimes, drift away from politics


  4. Rip says:

    Would they but listen to President Paul Kruger: ‘Take from the past all that is beautiful and build on that the future.’


  5. calmgrove says:

    I think I’ve commentes before on the difficulties of nuanced discussion when words like ‘colonialism’, ‘racism’ and ‘apartheid’ are merely red rags to the bull. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater: it’s reminiscent of the meaningless slogan ‘two legs bad, four legs good’ that Orwell satirised.


  6. newsferret says:

    Welcome to the club of “racists”. I had to face it on Facebook yesterday and today I am sure in the blinkered eyes of the libtards I am the biggest racist in Cape Town. I only in reference to something that happened over the past weekend said that I can not recall anything like that ever happened during the colonial era. Just a little thought it took the Afrikaner, and I am one, more than 50 years before 90% of us can today in an unbiassed manner without emotion discuss the Anglo-Boer War. Unfortunately radicals and milleniums still need another century before they may be able to discuss colonialism without emotion, but objectively.


    • colonialist says:

      Present indications suggest that it may take double that timeframe. The ability to look at both sides of any question requires a maturity which shows no signs of emerging.


  7. 68ghia says:

    I read some of the stories, see some of the rubbish being tweeted and twatted – am l the only one wishing they would just get on with it?
    Kill us all or live with us all – pick one!
    This constant, dragging, subtle war is beginning to wear me down.


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