South Africa Faces Dangerous Riots
Rioters and looters have killed at least 72 people in South Africa as violence continues across the country following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma. Sporadic violence first broke out on July 8 in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal but has since spread across the country. Shocking videos show hundreds of people swarming through shopping districts, looting store shelves, and setting buildings on fire. One video clip shared on social media even caught Durban Metro Police loading up a squad van with items they seemingly looted from a local store during the chaos.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called this violence some of the worst South Africa has suffered since 1994, the year the government ended institutionalized racial segregation. Officials are warning that risk areas could run out of basic food supplies if looting continues. The government has deployed 2,500 soldiers to support the police, but so far, they have failed to stop the riots.
The current rioting started after Jacob Zuma was arrested for defying a court order to appear at an inquiry investigating corruption during his tenure in office. The government claims Zuma embezzled billions of dollars from state coffers, but he denies these charges and compares his struggle against the Ramaphosa administration to the struggle against apartheid.
Many South Africans want to believe Zuma, given the state of the economy. South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to a record high of 32.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021, and then President Ramaphosa made matters worse last month by closing schools, restaurants, gyms and other businesses to stem a surge in covid-19 cases. This means more than 20 million South Africans are without work and unable to provide for their families. Many of these people are lining up behind radical politicians and agitating for revolution.
Four days before his arrest, Zuma held a rally near his home in KwaZulu-Natal. His supporters laughed at his jokes, sang songs praising his struggle against white minority rule, and carried signs with slogans such as, “We demand our land that was stolen 573 years back.”
During his presidency, Zuma was an outspoken advocate for changing South Africa’s constitution to allow the seizure of white-owned land without compensation so the government could redistribute it to landless blacks. But under the leadership of Ramaphosa, Zuma’s political party has taken a more cautious approach to land reform. Ramaphosa supports amending the constitution to allow the government to seize land without compensation, but he does not want to ruin the economy by immediately seizing land from its current owners. This puts him at loggerheads with the more radical wing of the African National Congress, as well as with the neo-Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters.
It is hard to overestimate what an explosive issue land ownership is in South Africa. When the nation ended institutionalized racial segregation in 1994, white farmers owned 85 percent of South Africa’s privately held farmland. Over the next 27 years, the government purchased and redistributed more than 5 million acres of farmland. Meanwhile, black South Africans purchased more than 12 million acres on the open market. Yet the government estimates that white South Africans still own 72 percent of the nation’s farmland. So many blacks want to kick off a Bolshevik-style revolution where they rise up and take the land from those who legally own it. They see Zuma as a freedom fighter against the more moderate Ramaphosa administration and are enraged that he has been arrested.
South Africa could now be entering the second phase of a two-phase revolution.
In 2011, British historian Stephen Ellis published a paper proving that former South African President Nelson Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party. He also contended that Mandela’s affiliation with the Communist Party shaped the African National Congress (anc) in ways that endure to this day. He noted how the anc claims to be in the first stage of a two-phase revolution. This line of reasoning, which is rooted in Soviet thinking, postulates that South Africa must pass through a stage of “bourgeois democracy” before becoming a truly Communist state.
Ohio Communist Party usa leader Rick Nagin noted that it was the South African Communist Party that convinced Mandela to resist those “who demanded immediate nationalization of the mines and other industries and other measures of retribution contained in the South African Freedom Charter.” Mandela’s comrades knew that the world would not accept such drastic moves at that time, so they advocated a staged revolution. First South Africa would “cooperate” with capitalism so the anc and the Communist Party could gain power. Then the final socialist revolution could occur later, when the world was less likely to intervene.
The fact that South Africa is now facing its worst political violence since the end of apartheid shows that the Rainbow Nation now stands on the brink of revolution and war.
Land ownership is a complicated issue in South Africa, but politicians like Zuma are using misinformation for political gain. When Zuma’s supporters demand land that was stolen 573 years ago, they must be referencing the establishment of the first Portuguese trading posts set up in West Africa in 1448. But since the summer crops grown by Bantu tribes do not grow on the southern tip of Africa, much of South Africa was scarcely populated at the time. It was not until 1652 that Dutch settlers started growing winter wheat in the region, but this colony did not come into contact with Zuma’s people for another 180 years. In the 1830s, Shaka Zulu expanded his empire to the borders of the Cape Colony by slaughtering millions of people from indigenous communities: Soshangane, Zwangendaba, Ndebele, Hlubi, Ngwane, Mfengu and Xhosa. The Dutch tried to negotiate peace with Shaka’s successor, but the new king ordered his men to club the peace emissaries to death. This ignited decades of war that did not end until the British Empire conquered the Zulu in 1879.
The only people in the history of South Africa guilty of attempted genocide are the Zulu. Yet today, Zuma conveniently accuses the Dutch and British of taking land from people that his own Zulu ancestors slaughtered. He covers up this grisly history in a bid to convince the black tribes of South Africa to band together against those of European descent. This strategy threatens to unleash violence in South Africa on a scale not witnessed since the worst days of the Anglo-Zulu War.
The late Herbert W. Armstrong explained in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy that the Anglo-Saxon peoples who settled the United States and the United Kingdom are the descendants of ancient Israel. The British, Dutch and French peoples who settled in South Africa are also descended from Israel. This means that the Bible’s end-time prophecies concerning Israel are directed at its modern descendants (principally the United States, Britain and the modern Middle Eastern nation of Israel, as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and other nations).
A sobering prophecy in Ezekiel describes a time of violence and race war soon to afflict these nations. “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses …” (Ezekiel 7:23-24).
The word “heathen” used in this passage is not necessarily an insult. It comes from the Hebrew word gowy and merely means non-Israelite. But the “worst of the heathen” refers to the type of non-Israelites who pledge to kill men, women and children. This prophecy says that so many bloody crimes will occur that they will be like links in a chain—one after another. It describes the seizure of people’s homes and conflict between Israelites and non-Israelites: race war.
This passage should not be misinterpreted as a call to arms. This time of violence is coming because of the abominations, or sins, of the people (verses 1-3). The Israelite people have a 4,000-year history with God, yet they have turned away from God’s laws and embraced wrong ideologies like communism. Therefore, God says, “I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord” (verse 27).
God’s great desire is to teach all races and nationalities the way to peace, and He has a plan to ensure that every person of every race has a vine and fig tree to sit under (Micah 4:4). If mankind would repent and obey God’s commandments, we would not have to experience such horrific crimes. But the human heart is too proud to admit that it does not know the way to peace, happiness and stability. Therefore, all who do not repent before the coming Great Tribulation will have to be humbled the hard way. God can only teach those of a poor and contrite spirit, those who tremble at His word.
To learn more about how the prophecies of Ezekiel are part of God’s master plan leading to the wonderful Kingdom of God, read Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet, by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.