WI White South Africa grants full independence to all twenty Bantustans 1980 - 1990

How is it not racist for white supremacists to self segregate from blacks by creating independent black states so that the whites can live in majority white states? Sounds pretty racist to me. SA prime minister Verwoerd actually envisaged granting the Bantustans ultimate independence, mainly because he was racist and believed the races should be separate, but he was assassinated and later PMs didn't follow thru because they preferred the cheap labour.
Yeah exactly this! It would be a form of self-segregation. Btw didn't know of Verwoerd in fact I approached this more or less blind but interesting a similar idea was being thought of.

I meant that a SA government treating black people like "equals" would require the SA government not to be run by white supremacists.
"Equals" was probably a bad choice of word but this plan to work there would be at least some sort of mutual understanding between South Africa and newly independent countries.
 
I'm not sure if it would make this new SA majority white, would it? You have millions of Africans living in Johannesburg and the like. I would say it could easily survive into the 2000's but not much longer, as it would be heavily sanctioned and no one would trade with it because it basically endorses racism.
I agree with you I don't see it last past the 2000s either. An apartheid state even with this set up is still an anachronism. On the other hand, however, the South Africa that the Whites inherit in the 2000s would still (likely) have them in power, likely with a White President and so on.

The ANC would collapse as most of its supporters would now be in different states. SA would probably crack down on it further, telling them "you could have just emigrated to the former Bantustans where u could have been be free, but u chose to reject this offer and attack us". Anti-apartheid leaders would probably be deported/exiled to the new states, from where they would launch attacks on south Africa, much like Mugabe used Mozambique as a launch pad to attack Rhodesia. The situation would probably be like Northern Ireland during the troubles but on steroids.
Yeah I did think of this scenario but South Africa could stipulate that all new territories will agree to cooperate with it regarding 'anti-State activities' and so on and this would be a pre-condition of independence.

The international reaction would be almost completely negative, I doubt the west or soviet bloc would recognize the new countries, maybe small African states would.
But what if these countries actually start trying to gain legitimacy and international recognition of their own accord, would they still be ignored?

Great reply, btw! 👍
 
Yeah exactly this! It would be a form of self-segregation. Btw didn't know of Verwoerd in fact I approached this more or less blind but interesting a similar idea was being thought of.


"Equals" was probably a bad choice of word but this plan to work there would be at least some sort of mutual understanding between South Africa and newly independent countries.

None of those “independent nations” would actually be independent and every country in the world would know it.
 
Such a move would be more accepted during the 1950s or 1960s . In otl South Africa did grant independence to a few of its Bantustans .but by the time it did, international opinion was against such a move.
 
I agree with you I don't see it last past the 2000s either. An apartheid state even with this set up is still an anachronism. On the other hand, however, the South Africa that the Whites inherit in the 2000s would still (likely) have them in power, likely with a White President and so on.


Yeah I did think of this scenario but South Africa could stipulate that all new territories will agree to cooperate with it regarding 'anti-State activities' and so on and this would be a pre-condition of independence.


But what if these countries actually start trying to gain legitimacy and international recognition of their own accord, would they still be ignored?

Great reply, btw! 👍

“You have to agree to be our puppet states and toe our line when it comes to killing oppressed blacks who are resisting their oppression or we won’t give you your fake independence so you can supply us with cheap labor while we destroy your people’s human rights.”

I’m sure people would jump at the chance to accept such a “great offer”.
 
Isn’t this what South Africa did in ”The Footprint of Mussolini“ by Soiaro? Iirc, they swiftly turned into hellholes with little in the way of food or water, and were ruled by various degrees of awful, awful leaders (including one who decided to institute Prima Noctis)?
 
Yeah exactly this! It would be a form of self-segregation. Btw didn't know of Verwoerd in fact I approached this more or less blind but interesting a similar idea was being thought of.
Yes Hendrik Verwoerd was the mastermind behind the Bantustan project, and he basically wanted exactly what you proposed in your original post.
But what if these countries actually start trying to gain legitimacy and international recognition of their own accord, would they still be ignored?
I would guess they would be recognized after the fall of apartheid in white SA, unless they decide to reintegrate themselves which I doubt they would. Some of them would probably federate too like Ciskei and Transkei.
 
If they go through with this we should probably also show Lesotho and Swaziland in the map, as they would likely get some territory. The Swazi king claimed the land KaNgwane was on and the Afrikaners were willing to give him both it and enough land from the Zulu area to have a seacoast. Partially to act as a big buffer zone and with Mozambique. I read before it didn’t go through because the Swazi didn’t want to be a dumping ground if a bunch of other people were sent there, but the short article on Wikipedia suggests it was the local Bantustan demanding autonomy, and not accepting the agreement of it being followed by joining Swaziland. I suppose we should remember how dictatorial those kingdoms could be. And remain. By the way, we thinking there is some sort of defense, transportation, or monetary union or agreement between all the states? Road and ports will be important and I imagine everyone arming themselves or criminals and insurgents trying to take control would be... messy. They might also need some agreements for extradition of criminals running across borders. Ahh, and I believe someone mentioned everyone just getting their original homelands back. That might be difficult, due to how the Zulu and their conquests meant a lot of areas were depopulated and populations moved around, either due to tribes running from the Zulu, being forced to live in Natal, or so forth. I really do need to find some good books to get better details. How do we see the rest of South Africa being set up? They lost a province or two, and still have half a Mandate. They try going unitary, federal, or split up into more units in a new federation? Ahh, and KwaZulu May have too much land on the first map. It has the only Indian majority areas, as well as some white ones.
 
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If they go through with this we should probably also show Lesotho and Swaziland in the map, as they would likely get some territory. The Swazi king claimed the land KaNgwane was on and the Afrikaners were willing to give him both it and enough land from the Zulu area to have a seacoast. Partially to act as a big buffer zone and with Mozambique. I read before it didn’t go through because the Swazi didn’t want to be a dumping ground if a bunch of other people were sent there, but the short article on Wikipedia suggests it was the local Bantustan demanding autonomy, and not accepting the agreement of it being followed by joining Swaziland. I suppose we should remember how dictatorial those kingdoms could be. And remain. By the way, we thinking there is some sort of defense, transportation, or monetary union or agreement between all the states? Road and ports will be important and I imagine everyone arming themselves or criminals and insurgents trying to take control would be... messy. They might also need some agreements for extradition of criminals running across borders. Ahh, and I believe someone mentioned everyone just getting their original homelands back. That might be difficult, due to how the Zulu and their conquests meant a lot of areas were depopulated and populations moved around, either due to tribes running from the Zulu, being forced to live in Natal, or so forth. I really do need to find some good books to get better details. How do we see the rest of South Africa being set up? They lost a province or two, and still have half a Mandate. They try going unitary, federal, or split up into more units in a new federation? Ahh, and KwaZulu May have too much land on the first map. It has the only Indian majority areas, as well as some white ones.
Great info there and the points raised 👍
 
Yes Hendrik Verwoerd was the mastermind behind the Bantustan project, and he basically wanted exactly what you proposed in your original post.

I would guess they would be recognized after the fall of apartheid in white SA, unless they decide to reintegrate themselves which I doubt they would. Some of them would probably federate too like Ciskei and Transkei.
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I find it also fascinating what kind of South Africa would we see post-Apartheid. I envision it would follow the path of Australia, extremely wealthy and quite cosmopolitan but a White ruling elite (left wing and right) that would probably be difficult to dislodge.
 
What would be the effect on Apartheid South Africa, could it potentially last much longer up until the 2000s?
Very unlikely, the system is inherently unstable. Either you have the majority of the population crammed into the Bantustans, with limited lands, minerals, jobs,

Or, you still have a majority black South Africa outside the Bantustans
Would the independence of these new territories alter/impede the Black Rights movement in Southern Africa
Not much. Four Bantustans (the TVBC* states) had the status you describe in the 80s, all you suggest is widening this to other Bantustans. It did not impede the ANC, PAC or civil opposition one bit.

* Transkei, Venda, Bophuthatswana, Ciskei
Hendrik Verwoerd was the mastermind behind the Bantustan project, and he basically wanted exactly what you proposed in your original post
This is basically the main point. This was Grand apartheid design.

But to answer in detail:
What would be the international reaction? Would any country at all recognize the new territories
None recognised the TVBC states, so why would any recognise the other 16?
grant full independence to all Bantustans in other words treated them no different to any other independent African nation
Except that the apartheid govt controls their foreign policy, interferes in their security policy etc as you suggest, and as happened with the TVBC
these would no longer be Bantustans but sovereign nations who'd probably be reliant on South Africa
So not sovereign
Boputhatswanaland to become a province of Botswana
Didn't happen OTL, why would it happen in this scenario?

Because Botswana was opposed to apartheid and opposed to Bantustans and supported the liberation of one whole South Africa, not a country split into racial and ethnic homelands. Same as other African countries did.
Individual tribes would now have sovereign nations which would at least be much better than what they had before
Why would it be better?
a) You can stay where you are as long as you don't agitate against the State
b) You are free to move to any newly formed country you desire and be treated as a migrant worker in South Africa*
So you can stay in the apartheid state, or you can move to a distant poor "state" created for people of your ethnicity only.

This is still literally apartheid
ANC would collapse as most of its supporters would now be in different states
Didn't happen OTL with the TVBC, wouldn't happen with the other 16.

Why? Because the ANC (and PAC) and their supporters didnt accept Bantustans, "sovereign" or not, as something different from the rest of South Africa. The reintegration that happened in 1994 is what the majority wanted.
With the latter at least Black people now have 20 countries run by them there they call the shots and zero White South African influence
Not zero influence, not by your own account with all the controls and agreements. And not what happened in OTL with TVBC.

Also, an individual black South African was allocated a Bantustan. He couldn't decide to become a citizen of Ciskei if he was a Zulu. Even if he lived in Ciskei.
two Tswana Bantustans would join Botswana.
Didnt happen OTL. Wouldn't happen

👍
I find it also fascinating what kind of South Africa would we see post-Apartheid. I envision it would follow the path of Australia, extremely wealthy and quite cosmopolitan but a White ruling elite (left wing and right) that would probably be difficult to dislodge.
The thing is you still have a super-majority black country. Even if most blak workers in the remaining apartheid state are "migrant", they outnumber the whites. And you have all the people living in the 20 states, squeezed out of the best land, into overcrowding and poverty
 
Isn’t this what South Africa did in ”The Footprint of Mussolini“ by Soiaro? Iirc, they swiftly turned into hellholes with little in the way of food or water, and were ruled by various degrees of awful, awful leaders (including one who decided to institute Prima Noctis)?
That's basically what they did:
Since the 2001 intervention from the SADF in Transkei to deal with yet another MK revivalist group – typically religious mystics promising to lead Blacks to victory over the SADF – the South African playbook for the Bantustans is typically to simply give diamonds, money and advanced weapons to crime leaders in the Bantustans to let them take over the country. The crime leaders are surprisingly effective (from South Africa’s point of view) since they have no interest in doing anything to offend their patrons and simply enact their psychopathic wants on the public at large. These have included one temporary leader of the Transkei literally ordering his guards to abduct any person off the street to see him get eaten by a lion since he had ‘never seen a man get killed by a lion before’. Another in Venda made Prima Noctus the official law of the country after he had seen it in a movie from the main villain and thought it was a brilliant idea. Not only did he legalise it, he mandated it – saying men could not have sex with their wives until they had been raped by him first – for the entire country. He was killed on the seventh woman, who held poison in her mouth and kissed him, breathing it down his throat and killing both of them. The dictator’s entourage quietly dropped the policy. Politics and violent crime in the Bantustans are inseparable, with the Bantustan governments being run more in line with gangs in urban turf wars than national governments. Some have literally become leaders by shooting their predecessors in broad daylight in the throne room if the President/King/Emperor/Prophet/Führer (yes all of these names have been used by at least one Bantustan leader since 1989) was sufficiently unpopular. From 2008-2018, not counting Rehoboth, Nambaland and Zululand, the average length of time a government lasted in a Bantustan was two years before some kind of violent upheaval. This may sound horrifying, until you realise the average was under one year in the 90s. The crime leaders are brilliant at keeping things relatively quiet while also ensuring the Bantustan is worse off than when they began, and are thus South Africa’s favourite people to do business with, especially since they are so astonishingly corrupt that they would often sell off UN aid for more diamond money from South Africa.
The SA government's position is that allowing the bantustans any form of democratic government will lead to them electing a leader who doesn't think the bantustans should be open-air concentration camps for blacks, and so the government should just prop up military dictators, no matter how crazy they are, so long as they oppress their people more than the SA government.
 
The nations would never be able to function, even with the best will in the world. They would be totally dependent on SA for everything anyway. You'd never even get the idea off the ground.
 
Seems to me like you're just recreating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a much broader scale.

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The problem with giving Bantustans other than TBVC independence is as others have already stated, they are far too small and fragmented to function as sovereign, self-governing states. Even the 4 TBVC states barely functioned, Bothutatswana was a string of disconnected enclaves without coherence while the intended land for the Xhosa homeland was split into two separate states. The Bantustans without independence were sometimes no larger than a small town and its hinterland. Bantustans must be increased in size and consolidated into as few enclaves as possible for them to be viable, and for other countries to even consider recognizing their independence.

The primary issue is domestic white opposition. Verwoerd or his successors face a greater threat from apartheid hardliners if they attempt to expand the Bantustans, which at some point necessitates expropriation of white land. But implying the SA government can weather challenges from hardliners, at least some of the Bantustans can be expanded to form at least semi-viable states similar to current day Eswatini and Lesotho. Speaking of the two, the two could be coaxed into accepting the transfer of some Sotho and Swazi inhabited lands, using the non-independent QwaQwa and KaNgwane respectively. There was an attempt to negotiate such a deal with Swaziland but it went nowhere. Otherwise, Transkei and Ciskei can be unified and expanded in size (with East London remaining as a South African coastal exclave). Bothutatswana can be connected into a single congruent territory, though giving up sovereignty over valuable rare minerals in the region again requires a lot of political will. Lebowa and Venda can be marginally increased in size but would remain small and in the former case encircled by South Africa. The South-West Africa Bantustans were created via recommendations of the Fox Odendaal Commission and do not have nearly as much of the border gore the South Africa proper Bantustans have. Nonetheless they are still small in size and it would be wiser to merge some of them together, while also making the tiny Tswanaland into an exclave of Bothutatswana.

KwaZulu is the hardest to deal with. It is the most fragmented Bantustan, and located in Natal province which makes enlarging it political poison. If the various pockets of KwaZulu were connected to each other that would cut off Durban and the Natal coast from the rest of South Africa. Therefore its more probably that the maximum extent of an enlarged KwaZulu would consist of two separate exclaves divided along the middle by the road from Durban to Transvaal.

With all said and done SA can declare the independence of KwaZulu, Xhosaland (Ciskei + Transkei), Bothutatswana, Lebowa, Venda, Ovamboland, Caprivi (East Caprivi + Kavangoland), and perhaps one or two other South-West African Bantustans, in addition to the land transfers to Swaziland and Lesotho.
What is the end result? Well, millions of Blacks still end up living in the Townships adjacent to South African cities, as foreign workers. Most countries are still unlikely to recognise these states for decades. South Africa can exploit the fact that these are officially foreign nationals and not its citizens but it will still be forced to gradually dismantle apartheid in the face of international pressure and embargoes. South-West Africa, without the majority of its (black) population, would be majority white by a slim margin and might be annexed in a referendum to become South Africa's 5th province. If South Africa ends apartheid without re-annexing these enlarged Bantustans it can MAYBE have a white plurality population, just enough to continue being in charge of South Africa. But if it wants to keep it that way it will need to strictly control immigration and even that might not be enough.
 
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and then what would the white overlords do for labour?
Again, SA would still be massively reliant on foreign workers. It would be a similar situation to the Arab Gulf states where a very large percentage of the population (if not the majority) are non-citizens, temporary workers primarily from South Asia. Still, giving up large amounts of land to Bantustans and being over-reliant on foreign labour would force South Africa to either diversify its economy or reabsorb the Bantustans.
 
Again, SA would still be massively reliant on foreign workers. It would be a similar situation to the Arab Gulf states where a very large percentage of the population (if not the majority) are non-citizens, temporary workers primarily from South Asia.
Except that for apartheid SA, the "foreign" workers would be local, not immigrant, and in the eyes of most of the world, they would be South African.

The overall effect would not be hugely different to before bantustan "independence": South Africa would be a majority black country, where blacks would be denied social, economic and political rights. Just they'd be called foreigners as well
 
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