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    The fall and rise of the Afrikaner in the South African economy
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University Printers, 2002) Sadie, J. L.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The economic decline of the Afrikaner arose from a centrifugal process in which the market, as centre and facilitator of economic modemisation, could not fulfill its function properly. The process commenced soon after the release from duty in 1657 of VOC officials at the Cape, to eam a living as Freeburghers in the private sector, and would extend for almost two centuries. The 'push' factor was represented by the monopolistic trade policy of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie which restricted the commercial activities of the Freeburghers. The 'pull' factor consisted of the wide open spaces, representative of the abundant factor of production and natural resources, which, in the absence of capital and technology, could be combined with labour without making heavy demands on the fifth factor of production, entrepreneurship. The progressive use of this abundant factor in extensive stock-farming operations induced a movement of the production process ever further away from the market as the White population increased. A generation of Trekboers came into being who lost touch with the developing Westem world of the time. This was not at all a breeding-ground for the generation of entrepreneurship, the source and origin of economic development. That their wealth consisted of livestock, and capital formation required augmentations of their herds, imparted a high degree of vulnerability and fragility to the frontier economy. It was subject to the onslaughts of stock diseases, adverse weather conditions, plagues, human and animal predators and devastating wars. The destruction of more than 60% of this wealth in the two northem republics (Zuid- Afrikaansche Republiek and Oranje Vrystaat) during the Anglo-Boer War spelled a nadir in the economic fortunes of the Afrikaner. In addition, the market value of the language was destroyed by Milner's policy of anglicisation. Perforce, a new trek of centripetal nature commenced, Le. from the rural to the urban areas, where English speakers were in control of the economy. Those who participated in the centrifugal process were by no means prepared for the skill requirements of the urban economy and had to endure, moreover, the aversion of British employers and British oriented trade unions. As a result they had to accept, for the most part, unskilled jobs, which did not prevent additions to the ranks of the paupers. An awareness of the arrearage of Afrikaners in the non-agricultural sectors of the South African economy, which arose among the leaders of the community, prompted remedial action. While a number of commercial enterprises had already been established by Afrikaners before 1939, the clarion call for large-scale engagement in such economic operations emanated from the 1939 Ekonomiese Volkskongres, where the battle-cry of "a people rescue itself" echoed as an imperative. The ensuing six decades saw a regular increase in the contribution of the Afrikaners in the creation of the national product through the establishment of enterprises in the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. Moreover, their arrearage in respect of per capita personal income, compared to that of the English-speaking Whites, shrank signijicantly, while their personal income in the aggregate, at the end of the twentieth century, exceeded that of the latter. The economic renaissance of the Afrikaner is attributable in the main to the initiatives of a relatively small number of innovating individuals who fulfilled the function of the entrepreneur, and the generation of human capital by means of education and training, which, at least at the beginning, demanded great financial sacrifices by their poor parents. The most significant contribution of the National Party govemment of 1948-1994 was the enforcement of the principle of bilingualism, which established the market value of Afrikaans, and its promotion of economic growth and development. Inasmuch as the Afrikaans language is sum and substance of "the Afrikaner" in the exclusive sense used in this monograph, the question arises whether their contribution to the South African economy will, in days to come, continue to be distinguishable.