How American Banks Supported Apartheid In South Africa

How American Banks Supported Apartheid In South Africa

The period of the Apartheid movement was a dreadful and brutal time in the history of South Africa. It was a time when the ethno- nationalist Afrikaner National Party was believed to have dominated the country with authoritarian white supremacy, which, as we all know, can never be a happy or good time.

We all know that, as a black nation, one of the most horrific things that could happen to that country would be to be dominated by whites.

During the Apartheid period, there was a clear racial hierarchy that was quite clear and strong in South Africa, which placed blacks at the bottom and tagged them as inferiors, while whites, who were seen as superiors, were placed at the top. Despite the fact that apartheid began in 1948, this racial hierarchy, as well as subsequent segregation and oppression, existed prior to that time.

Today, however, history tells us that the Apartheid movement was not only caused by the whites, but it was supported and funded by American banks, and today we will be looking at how they did it. Let’ s have a look at the Apartheid

Period In South Africa

It was recorded that during the height of colonial repression in South Africa under apartheid’ s racialist policies, the leaders of the so- called ” free world” did not just tolerate the dreadful situation, but actively supported the dreadful situation. This was believed to have been accomplished through foreign direct investment as well as loans given by American institutions.

The political and financial positions taken by the American elites were based on economic interests— the unquenchable quest for mega- profits— rather than concern for the political situation. The American banking system continued to provide money to South Africa, which was largely used for defense purposes. And this was tied to the subjugation of black people and their use as a cheap labor source.

How It All Began

According to the news gathered, it was believed that in 1976, American banks had financed at least $777 million for the white minority dictatorship to keep it afloat. These banks include: New York Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Morgan Guaranty Trust, Manufacturers Hanover, Orion, Bank of America, First National City, Chemical Bank, New York Trust Company, Irving Trust Company, Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Company, and First National Bank were among the financial institutions involved (Chicago).

The authors of Arslan Humbaraci and Nicole Muchnik’ s book ” Portugal’ s African Wars: Angola, Guinea Bissao, and Mozambique” allegedly took their time to illustrate why Western financial investments were willing to back the South African white minority administration.

They claimed that the goal was to take advantage of the low- cost labor for a quick profit, while the writers emphasized that the rates of return on American investments are among the highest in the world.

The Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, William E. Schaufele, Jr. , had similar sentiments when he made a statement in 1976, saying, ” I know that our fundamental long- term interests in Africa are- and will be- economic. “

He went on to say that we must not let current political concerns in South Africa distort our understanding of the situation. This was the prevailing viewpoint among the global north’ s elites, who were unconcerned about the political situation in South Africa, as well as the rest of Southern Africa.

The Opposition To The Bank’ s Loan

There were records of several organizations within South Africa’ s black liberation movements, as well as their left- leaning allies in the United States, which were highly opposed to the bank loans given to the South African government at the time.

Even though they claimed that the money was used specifically to help the white minority administration continue in power for a long time, it did little to halt the flow of foreign aid. This money aided the apartheid system led by John Vorster at a time when South Africa was pushed for substantial reform from within.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was some vindication, both on the side of South Africa and private American banks, in the effort to save South Africa’ s economy from its rising, imbalanced trade deficit— the South African trade deficit.

At the time, American banks secretly favored the continuation of apartheid since they benefited greatly from such a racialist regime. Apartheid offered a lucrative source of low- cost African labor. Because of its immense natural riches, South Africa was essential to the West, and the West worked to keep the apartheid state in place.

Because oil routes passed through it, South Africa was strategically important to the United States. As a result, despite the poor political climate at the time, it was unavoidable that American capital would be significantly invested in the South African economy. Opposing apartheid was the equivalent of undermining the West’ s economic interests in South Africa.

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