Slavery, apartheid and morality

5 thoughts on “Slavery, apartheid and morality”

  1. Some great points here, and much to think about in a world still in such depths of injustice and turmoil. I have friends who lived for more than eight years in Ghana and was often spoken to about the slave castle built by the British, but not the one visible down the coast built by the Ashanti. There is a compound in Togo where the walls to this day are pink with the blood of African slaves. It was built by a local chief.The reality is that we live in a world in which most of us see our security in financial terms, and turn a blind eye to exploitation so that we can “stay ahead.” A very brave man once asked and answered the question, “Who is my neighbour.” He is still worth listening too.
    Great blog, i really enjoy the material and the subject matter. Thanks sincerely, Andy.

    1. Thanks, Andy. I do appreciate comments like this from readers – I’m pleased you enjoy reading the blog. There’s a remarkably perceptive account of the Parable of the Good Samaritan on Wikipedia – at -I’m not a believer myself, but my mum was, and I remember as a child this story really making an impression on me. I wonder how many other socialists and anti-apartheid campaigners were set on their road by this?

  2. Makes interesting reading, since I won’t be seeing the TV programmes. Yes we have moved on from apartheid, all South Africans have human rights now. But the poor desperate and hungry are, many of them, still living in shacks with casual employment. The fat cats are on the gravy train. How to move on from, that’s all very well in theory – to the better life for all Mbeki promised us??
    Diana of EE

  3. As so often when reading your blog, I’ve ended up with tears in my eyes – I was at Aberystwyth University from 1968 to 1971 and remember running onto the pitch with others to help stop a rugby game between the Aber team and a South African (student ?) team – I was very naive and ignorant then and hardly knew why I was doing it but it felt very important and was the start of many years of anti-apartheid involvement. I live in Poland now so not much chance of seeing the documentaries which you write about – thank you for writing about them and other topics so vividly. It makes me feel as if I am participating in many fantastic conversations, if only as a listener!

    1. Thanks, Diana and Ewa both, for your responses. Despite the idealism of the the Mandela-era ANC leadership, South Africa has not been immune to the forces of economic liberalism and globalisation. As an article in today’s Guardian ( puts it:
      “South Africa is an agglomeration of land, minerals, technologies and labour that are traded on global markets, and South Africans are only partially in control of the terms on which they enter this trade. They are thus in charge of their own destiny only in a heavily qualified sense. When English drinkers decide South African wines are no longer “cheap at the price”, for instance, South Africa must either exploit its grape-pickers even more or retrench many of them. When China starts producing T-shirts at half the price South Africans do, the country watches helplessly as an industry shrivels and dies.”

      But, Ewa, I like to think that the small actions like those we both took part in (let alone the braver and more significant ones of South Africans themselves) can make a difference and ultimately bring change.

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