Die voorkoms van wit armoede in Oudtshoorn tussen 1914 en 1937

Stander, Okert Petrus Jakobus (2017-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Oudtshoorn is considered to be the capital of the Little Karoo and is positioned in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The climate varies from extremely high temperature (42 degrees C) during summer to very low temperature (-2 C) in the winter. The fertile earth next to the rivers, the accessibility of water and good pastures were some of the reasons for the town’s founding in 1863, and the establishment of the ostrich feather industry in 1869 have advantaged the community economically. The sudden economic advancement, mainly sparked by the ostrich feather industry, has left much of the white labour force on the farms redundant. The abrupt global rejection of ostrich feathers in woman’s fashion and the accompanying resistance to commerce in wild animals that require butchery, had caused the collapse of the ostrich feather industry in 1914. The economic folding, the isolation of the town and district, unprecedented natural disasters such as draughts, the destructive effect of certain thunder storms, as well as diseases and the Great Depression, were some of the main causes of impoverishment. The remoteness of the community, amongst other factors, had caused a diminishing of the population of the district’s educational level to such an extent that many of them were unable to meet the survival demands of the time. This had caused the emergence of poverty. The study of the socio- economic state of the community between 1914 and 1937 had brought to light significant disparities between landownership and land loss, great wealth alongside abject poverty, and a class difference between rich and poor. The focus of this study is to highlight the phenomenon of white poverty between 1914 and 1937. The establishment of the church and educational system after the town’s founding had played a significant role in the lives of the poor whites and is pointed out in this study. The church had functioned to them not only as a spiritual refuge, but also as a source of survival. It had answered to the poor whites’ needs in a controlled and structured way. With the waning financial means of the church after 1914 and the growing number of poor whites in the congregation, the Dutch Reformed Church was necessitated, in collaboration with the state government, to solve the problem. Church and state had also realised that education and training could play an important role to alleviate and negate poverty. The Union Government had extended its help by two means, namely the direct financial help that was administered mainly on a local level and the implementing of long term projects that have promoted job creation. Many of these government projects, which included the gathering of water in the Kammanassiedam in 1920, had still yielded a positive impact on the community after 1937. The phenomenon of white poverty in Oudtshoorn was a given. Before the inauguration of the study in 1914, poverty in Oudtshoorn was in a slumbering phase. With the collapse of the ostrich feather industry at the beginning of 1914, poverty had drastically increased and affected the economy of the community drastically. The emergence of white poverty in the community of Oudtshoorn had transformed the social welfare conditions of the town’s inhabitants dramatically until 1937 when poverty had finally begun to decrease.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Oudtshoorn word beskou as die hoofstad van die Klein Karoo en is geleё in die Wes-Kaap Provinsie van Suid-Afrika. Die klimaat varieer van uiterste hoё temperature (42 grade C) in die somer tot baie lae temperature (-2 grade C) in die winter. Die vrugbare grond langs die rivierlope, beskikbaarheid van water en goeie weiveld was onder andere die redes tot dorpstigting in 1863 en die vestiging van die volstruisveerbedryf in 1869 het die gemeenskap ekonomies ontwikkel. Die skielike ekonomiese vooruitgang wat hoofsaaklik deur die volstruisveerbedryf beїnvloed is, het baie van die wit werksmag op die plase oorbodig gelaat en tot verarming bygedra. Die skielike wêreldwye wegbeweeg vanaf volstruisvere in vrouemodes en daarmee saam die verset teen die koop van produkte van wilde diere wat geslag moes word, het veroorsaak dat die volstruisveerbedryf in 1914 ineengestort het. Die ekonomiese ineenstorting, geїsoleerdheid van die dorp en distrik, ongekende natuurrampe soos droogtes, die verwoestende uitwerking van sommige donderstorms, asook siektes en die depressie, was van die hoofoorsake van verarming. Die afgesonderdheid van die gemeenskap het onder andere veroorsaak dat die distrik bevolk was met ʼn groep mense van wie die onderwyspeil so laag was dat baie van hulle nie in staat was om enige verskil aan die lewenseise van die tyd te maak nie. Dit het tot die bevordering van armoede gelei. Met die studie oor die sosio-maatskaplike toestande in die gemeenskap tussen 1914 en 1937 het opmerklike dispariteite tussen grondbesit en grondloosheid, groot rykdom naas geweldige armoede en ʼn klasse-onderskeid tussen ryk en arm aan die lig gekom. Die fokus van die studie is om die voorkoms van wit armoede tussen 1914 en 1937 te ondersoek. Die vestiging van die kerk en die onderwys na dorpstigting het in die dorp en distrik het ʼn baie belangrike rol in die lewe van die armblanke gespeel en dit word in hierdie studie uitgewys. Die kerk was vir die armblanke nie net ʼn geestelike vesting nie, maar ook ʼn bron van hulp tot oorlewing. Die kerk het op ʼn gekontroleerde en gestruktureerde wyse die armblankes se materiёle nood aangespreek. Met die kwynende finansiёle middele van die kerk na 1914 en die groeiende aantal armblankes in die gemeente was die NG Kerk genoodsaak om, in samewerking met die staat, die probleem te probeer oplos. Kerk en staat het ook besef dat onderwys en opleiding ʼn belangrike bydraende rol sou kon speel om armoede te help oplos. Die Unieregering het sy hulp op twee maniere uitgerol, naamlik direkte finansiёle hulpverlening wat hoofsaaklik op plaaslike vlak geadministreer is. Die staat het langtermyn projekte wat werkskepping aangehelp het, geїmplementeer. Baie van dié staatsprojekte, waaronder die opgaar van water in die Kammanassiedam in 1920, het lank na 1937 steeds ʼn positiewe uitwerking op die gemeenskap gehad. Die voorkoms van wit armoede in Oudtshoorn was ʼn gegewe. Voor die aanvang van die studietema (dws voor 1914) was armoede in Oudtshoorn in ʼn sluimerende fase. Met die ineenstorting van die volstruisveerbedryf aan die begin van 1914 het armoede drasties toegeneem en die ekonomie van die gemeenskap nadelig beїnvloed. Die voorkoms van wit armoede in die gemeenskap van Oudtshoorn het die sosio-maatskaplike lewe van die inwoners van die dorp en omliggende distrik tot en met 1937 ingrypend verander. Na 1937 het die voorkoms van armoede begin afneem.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102763
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