Outside the Stadium

The anguished state of World Cup host South Africa.
From the July 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

More money has been spent preparing for the games than for any other sports event in Africa’s history. Over $2.5 billion built stadiums, accommodations, base camps, training facilities, security networks, media hubs, tourist centers, manicured parks, bus lines, light rail grids and a host of other supporting infrastructure.

Money can buy a lot. But it can hide a lot too—at least temporarily.

When World Cup 2010 play begins, hundreds of millions of people will tune in from around the world to watch the games. But what will they see?

Like China during the 2008 Olympics, the picture presented to those viewing from thousands of miles away will be very different than the reality in the townships. The South African government will work very hard to present a sanitized, meticulously managed image to the world.

You will hear of a nation that, following the end of apartheid, has purged racial discrimination and segregation. South Africa, you will be told, is a nation that has overthrown the yoke of colonialism to emerge as a bastion of economic freedom for blacks, whites, Indians, Asians and all mixes. Inequalities have been removed and wealth is being redistributed to those whose land was stolen hundreds of years ago.

Since the end of apartheid, South Africa’s leaders claim to have put the country on the road to both equality and prosperity. And for South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (anc), the World Cup is a chance to make sure the world believes that.

Yet, despite the hype around the games, not all is well in South Africa. The view on the street—the places the politically correct international cameras will not go—reveals a nation rife with poverty, disease and violent crime.

But above all, hidden South Africa is a nation bubbling over with racial tension—and some say secret genocide.

The “Mfecane”

The beginnings of South Africa’s simmering tension extend back more than 200 years, to a time when the nation was first being conquered—but not by white people.

Historians refer to this period in African history as the Mfecane. It is a word deeply associated with one of the most feared personalities in African history, if not the world. It still sends chills down the spines of those who understand its connotation. It is a Zulu expression that means “the crushing” and “the scattering.”

And unfortunately, once World Cup soccer is over, it is a word that may soon be back in South Africa.

The time of “the crushing”—or “the slaughter”—was one of the bloodiest in African history. Southern Africa was engulfed in tribal war. From south of what is now Lesotho and Durban on the eastern coast of South Africa, all the way up into Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the land was being systematically depopulated.

Shaka Zulu, the Zulu king, was sweeping away all who opposed him. He introduced new weapons and new methods of warfare, including terror and scorched earth destruction, which induced mass starvation. Rival tribes either submitted or were massacred. When a clan was overrun, the young men would be conscripted into the army, the young women taken for the harems, and the rest either slaughtered or sold as slaves.

In just four years, Shaka conquered an area larger than France. At the height of his power, Shaka could field over 50,000 trained warriors, many of whom could run 40 miles before fighting a battle. Over 100,000 warriors from related tribes also answered his call.

The ferocity of Shaka’s expansion set mass migrations in place as other tribes fled. This sparked even more warfare and conflict, which only weakened those who sought to oppose him.

An estimated 2 million Africans died from Shaka’s crushing and scattering. Then, what Shaka started, years of drought and food shortages finished.

It was into this atmosphere of panic, migration and depopulation that the Dutch and French Voortrekkers arrived.

“Kill the Wizards!”

One hundred and fifty years before, in 1652, the first Dutch settled in the Cape Town region. But by 1806, Britain had permanently seized the colony to keep it from falling to Napoleon. Unhappy with British rule, the Dutch and French farmers, known as Boers, began migrating east and north—right into the aftermath of the Zulu annihilation.

The Boers found something else during their migration: some of the most fertile agricultural land in the world. Because of the Zulus, much of it was unpopulated. To many of the religiously devout Boers, it was as if God had just bequeathed to them the richest agricultural inheritance possible. For a society of farmers technically under the British Empire’s authority, the vast open range and farmland seemed like the greatest of blessings.

In fact, it was an even greater blessing than they imagined. Decades later, the land was found to contain the richest gold, platinum, chromium and diamond deposits in the world. By the end of World War ii, South Africa was 100 percent self-sufficient. The land not only supplied the nation’s every need, but it also provided vast food and technology exports for other African nations.

The Zulus, however, saw the arrival of the Boers as a challenge to their dominance.

By 1832, after skirmishes with other tribes, the Boers came face to face with the Zulu kingdom. Three years earlier, Shaka Zulu—after committing terrible atrocities against his own people (like murdering 7,000 people who were thought not to be grief-stricken enough when his mother died, and executing all women who became pregnant during the year of mourning)—was murdered by two of his brothers, one of whom then took the throne.

The Boers offered a peace treaty to new King Dingane. In return for cattle, and for punishing another rival nation for defying the Zulus, the Boers were given permission to settle the largely depopulated areas of central and south Natal in eastern South Africa. Upon receiving payment and signing the treaty giving the Boers the land, the Zulu king threw a magnificent party for the 70 Dutch leaders who had come to his kraal. The Dutch leaders were asked to not bring any weapons.

Then, during the farewell dance by a unit of Zulu warriors, King Dingane leaped to his feet and called for silence. He then uttered three words that changed the course of history. He began shouting, “Bambani laba Bathakathi!”—“Kill the wizards! Kill the wizards!”

The warriors jumped onto the shocked Boers, quickly overpowering and dragging them up a hill, where they clubbed and hacked them to death—one after the other so that the awaiting victims were forced to watch. The Zulu king then dispatched his army to attack the approaching unsuspecting settler wagons. Over 500 men, women and children were speared to death that night.

Thus, with the words “Kill the wizards!” a war began that would claim the lives of thousands.

A Broken Vow

The climax of the Zulu-Boer war came in 1838 at the Battle of Blood River. The Boers knew they would face vastly superior numbers. They knew they were marching into death. Their leaders, Pretorius and Cilliers, induced them to enter into a covenant with God.

The army of 470 men knelt in prayer and asked God to deliver the Zulu army into their hands. Should they be victorious, the Boers pledged that they and their descendants would annually dedicate the day to God’s glory and to thanksgiving, just as a Sabbath is spent, forever. As one of the Boer commandos later recounted, this would ensure that “the honor of His name shall thereby be glorified, and the glory and honor of the victory shall be given Him.”

On Dec. 16, 1838, those 470 Afrikaner farmer-soldiers circled their wagons and from morning to noon, fought for their lives against more than 10,000 Zulus—and triumphed. It was one of the greatest victories against overwhelming odds in military history.

Theories abound as to why the Boers gained such an astounding victory that day. Some say the Zulus attacked in waves instead of all at once. Some say there was confusion after two Zulu princes were killed. Others note that just when the Boer walls were about to be breached, the Zulus mysteriously retreated and regrouped.

But the one thing that none of the theories explain is how it was possible that during that morning of fierce fighting that left more than 3,000 Zulu warriors dead and countless thousands more wounded, not a single Boer perished. Not one! Further emphasizing the magnitude of the victory is the fact that 40 years later, a similar-size Zulu army wiped out a professional British army of 1,200—delivering Great Britain’s worst defeat by the hands of a native force.

Thus, following the miracle at Blood River, the Boer national celebration, later known as the Day of the Covenant, was adopted. And it was kept for 156 years.

In 1994, that all changed. The Republic of South Africa ceased memorializing the Day of the Vow and instead replaced it with a new holiday.

The promise was broken.

1994 was a turning point for South Africa in other ways as well. It marked the end of apartheid, at which the world erupted in cheers. After years of sanctions and international condemnation, the white population of South Africa peacefully turned over rule of the country to the black and mixed-race majority. Nelson Mandela and the anc took responsibility for the nation.

Sixteen years later, the world is about to come together to focus on South Africa once again. But will it look deep enough to find the truth? Has South Africa really entered the new age of justice and reconciliation that the rainbow revolution was supposed to bring? Or is it reverting to the law of the Serengeti—meaning there is no law?

Violence Multiplies

On April 3, Eugene Terre’Blanche, the former leader of the political militia movement that violently opposed the end of apartheid, was brutally hacked to death. His chopped remains were found scattered across his bed. The murder weapons—machete and wooden club—were left next to the bloody remains. According to reports, one of the accused said that Terre’Blanche had verbally abused him for years, and when Terre’Blanche refused to pay him his wages (reported to be about $41), he just couldn’t take it anymore.

According to most press reports, the murder was just a wage dispute gone wrong. But the manner in which he was mutilated suggested otherwise.

Terre’Blanche’s death came at a particularly embarrassing time for South Africa, for two reasons.

First, it was the latest in a long string of high-profile, racially motivated attacks against white farmers in South Africa. Just two weeks earlier, Nigel Ralfe was milking his cows on his farm when four men marched into the yard asking to buy milk. When he replied that he had none to sell, they shot him twice and pistol-whipped him. They then dragged him to his house, where his wife was bathing their three grandchildren. When his wife opened the door, they shot her three times point blank.

As the gang ripped apart the house, the bewildered children emerged from the bathroom to find their grandmother dying on her bed. The four men—after stealing an old pistol, a pair of binoculars and a phone—simply walked away.

More white farmers were murdered in South Africa during just 2009 than have been killed in Zimbabwe since Robert Mugabe came to power. Since the end of apartheid, over 3,000 white farmers have been murdered, according to the bbc. South Africa’s News24, on the other hand, says “only” 1,600 farmers have been killed in approximately 10,000 farm attacks since 1991. Even if that figure were true, it would still make farming in South Africa one of the most dangerous professions in the world. White farmers are more than twice as likely to be killed as police officers, and far more likely to be killed than miners.

Since 1994, the South African murder rate has risen from 5,100 to an astounding 43,000 per year. An average of 50 people are murdered every single day.

The rape and aids statistics are even more disheartening. According to the Medical Research Council, the latest survey of 1,738 households found that more than one in four South African men admitted to raping at least one woman in their lifetime. Forty-six percent of responders said they were between the ages of 15 and 19 when they committed their first rape.

Gang rape, or jackrolling as it is now called, is terrorizing the townships. It is a youth-cult initiation for thousands of armed gang members. Group rapes are seen as a form of bonding between the often feral, fatherless youth.

The newest estimates indicate that a shocking half million women each year are raped in South Africa, although the government says only 55,000 are officially reported. One quarter of all South African women can expect to be raped at least once in their lifetime, says human rights group Actionaid.

South Africa now also has the largest number of recorded child rapes in the world. Adriana Stuijtto, writing for the Digital Journal, says this is often due to a pervasive belief within South Africa—perpetuated by traditional witch doctors—that raping a virgin child cleanses a man of hiv/aids.

Close to 5.5 million South Africans reportedly now have hiv/aids. That is 12 percent of the population, making South Africa home to the world’s greatest concentration of the disease.

Statistics like these stand in stark contrast to South Africa’s chosen World Cup advertising motto: “It’s Time. Celebrate Africa’s Humanity.” The slogan was selected because, according to South Africa’s leaders, Africa’s “biggest asset by far is the warmth, friendliness, humility and humanity of its people.”

Kill the Boer

The second reason to note the timing of Terre’Blanche’s killing was that it came only a few days after Julius Malema—the radical and popular leader of the anc’s Youth League—whipped university students into a frenzy by repeatedly chanting “Kill the Boer, kill the Boer” in a song at a rally.

Though “Boer” is literally translated “farmer,” it is used to refer to white farmers.

The rest of the song includes the phrases “The cowards are scared,” “These dogs are raping,” and “Shoot, shoot … shoot the Boer.” At this rally, Malema also said that “whites are giving us problems at home. We are going to shoot them with ak47s.”

Remember: Malema is a member of the current ruling South African government.

South Africa’s white population is afraid. And they should be. The days of “Kill the wizards” appear to be returning.

Instead of censoring Malema for his hate speech, Jacob Zuma’s anc went to court to challenge an earlier court judgment that declared the lyrics unconstitutional and unlawful.

Imagine if any politician in America publicly sang songs calling African Americans dogs and cowards who robbed society, saying that they should be killed—and then shrugged off criticism by saying the lyrics were just part of America’s heritage and didn’t really mean anything.

Imagine if the president of the United States agreed. And he regularly stirred supporters by dancing and singing a song titled “Bring Me My Machine Gun.” And what if the president was acting like this at a time when black Americans across the country were being hunted down and murdered because of their race?

There would be an uproar—and rightly so. Human rights activists would be up in arms and the United Nations would condemn America for using hate speech to incite racial violence. There would be lawsuits, international arrest warrants, and very likely assassination attempts. America would be the pariah of the world.

These are the very words and sentiments espoused by President Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema, South Africa’s two most powerful politicians. And both are blatant and open about it. Meanwhile, the nation’s white farmers are being murdered at appalling rates.

Yet the world, and the UN—that supposed bastion of anti-discrimination—say little or nothing. Why? Because South Africa is supposed to be the poster nation for anti-racism and reconciliation. After all, the world came together in unity to oust the ruling white government in South Africa. So it is a bit embarrassing to find out that the oppressed have become the oppressors. In this politically correct world, racism only works one way.

But when the racial tension eventually explodes—and explode it will—who will be blamed?

And will the world come together again, this time to stop the killing? Not likely.

South Africa’s Hope

The biblical book of Ezekiel contains many end-time prophecies that apply to the modern nations of Israel. South Africa is among those nations.

Ezekiel 7:23-27 perfectly describe South Africa today: “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 ….” The Bible prophesies that so many bloody, violent crimes will occur that they will be like links in a chain—one right after another. This passage even talks about people’s homes being taken away (the anc is following Zimbabwe’s lead by seizing white-owned farms and giving them to blacks) and conflict between nationalities.

Conditions will get so bad in South Africa that eventually, in desperation, people will begin searching for their forgotten God. They will cry out for Him to save them. But God says it will be futile because He is purposefully sending the punishment. (For more proof that this passage applies to South Africa, request a free copy of our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

But there is hope for South Africa, and the whole world. Verse 27 also says that God is sending the punishment so that “they shall know that I am the Lord.”

God does not want people to suffer. He loves all races and nationalities. He wants people to be truly happy. But true peace and happiness can only come from obeying His laws and commandments. God wants the people of South Africa and the rest of the world to obey Him. If they would, blessings of peace and prosperity would result. A basic theme of the Bible is that obedience brings blessings and disobedience produces curses.

In fact, it was the obedience of one man that led to the multitude of blessings that South Africa once fully enjoyed.

South Africa’s considerable national blessings were the direct result of promises God made to the patriarch Abraham and his descendants. Among those promises was this: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:17-18).

Those divine promises extended through Abraham’s grandson Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel) and to Jacob’s grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh and their descendants: “… he [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19). Beginning in the early 1800s, Manasseh quickly rose to become the greatest single nation on Earth, and Ephraim the greatest empire (company of nations) the world has ever seen.

Ephraim once comprised a mighty commonwealth and empire of nations upon which the sun never set. Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were the areas of prime settlement and governance of Ephraim. In South Africa’s case, it was settled not only by Ephraim, but also other Israelitish stock, such as Zebulun and Issachar (the Dutch), and Reuben (the French Huguenots). The United States became the inheritance of Manasseh. (This history also is proven in The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

For the descendants of Abraham to continue receiving God’s blessings, however, they had to follow the laws and principles outlined in the Bible. Because of their disobedience, God has now withdrawn those blessings from all those nations—including South Africa—and replaced them with curses.

God gets very specific in describing the curses to befall Abraham’s progeny because of their refusal to obey God: People will build homes, only to have them taken away. Diseases and plagues will run rampant. The fruit of the land will be eaten up by foreign people. “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. … [H]e shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44). You can read about the curses prophesied to befall South Africa in Deuteronomy 28.

Deuteronomy 28:33 even specifically prophesies a time of crushing.

Mfecane is coming to South Africa again.

So great will be the fall of South Africa and its sister Israelitish nations that God says they will become a scene of great astonishment around the world!

But remember, there is a purpose and great hope in the punishment, too.

In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong stated, “The prophecies do not stop with revealing the unprecedented multiplied intensity of punishment already beginning to descend upon America and Britain. The prophecies record also the result of that intensified punishment. The result will be a corrected people. The result will be an eye-opening realization of what we have done to ourselves. The supreme punishment will teach us, at last, our lesson! The punishment will break our spirit of rebellion! It will lift us up from the cesspool of rottenness and evil into which we have sunk. It will teach us the way to glorious peace, prosperity, abundant well-being!”

And therein also is the hope for South Africa and all people the world over.

God is correcting the nations of Israel so that, upon the soon return of Jesus Christ to this Earth, there will be humbled people willing to submit to His rule—a people that can be used to usher in a new way of life and prosperity to this whole Earth.

But even though times of trouble are upon the nations of Israel today, God promises protection to certain individuals. As Mr. Armstrong declared, “[U]nderstand this: Although the nations as a whole are to be put through this unprecedented punishment, yet those individuals who yield to accept God’s correction without the punishment shall be protected from it! No one need suffer this intense tribulation!” (ibid.).

God will protect, and prosper, all those who obey Him, even as South Africans brace for the Great Tribulation—an unhappy prelude to the great joy-filled Millennium beyond.