'We are all settlers in SA'
August 18 2007 at 03:37pm
By Lynnette Johns, IOL
All South Africans are settlers, regardless of their skin colour, and their DNA carries the proof.
So says Dr Wilmot James, head of the African Genome Project, a distinguished academic, sociologist and, more recently, honorary professor of human genetics at the University of Cape Town.
And he says South Africans will soon have a public genetic database which will show how the country became populated over thousands of years.
The African Genome project is supported by local genealogy website Ancestry24.com
James aims to trace the origins of South Africans "no matter what their language, ethnic origins, or skin colour".
"No one group can lay claim to South Africa. Everyone is a settler, and we will show how people came here in waves of migration."
Next month he and his colleague, associate professor Himla Soodyall, will do mass genetic testing of Capetonians.
Soodyall is the principal medical scientist at the National Health Laboratory Service and is an associate professor in the Division of Human Genetics at the University of the Witwatersrand.
James says he expects about 300 people will come for free testing on September 9. The test simply involves swabbing the inside of a person's cheek.
"Normally it costs R1 000 a time but this is a public exercise in science and a journey through the history of South Africa," said James.
The results will be out early in 2008. The data will be used to map how people migrated here more than 100 000 years ago. They will do similar testing in Johannesburg.
The Africa Genome project aims to fill a gap in the current DNA databases available worldwide and establish the diversity of ancestry in the South African population.
The testing will offer another view of SA history since written history only goes back 400 years. It will also further confirm archaeological and palaeontological evidence.
"We do not understand our history well enough and the truth has been modified in many stories," says James.
"South Africa is not the site of human origins. The Sterkfontein caves have evidence of pre-modern humans, but modern man comes from East Africa where there is evidence of significant human presence dating back at least 100 000."
The Khoi/San moved from East Africa and, up until 2 000 years ago, people living in southern Africa were brown.
Africa's black people are originally from the Niger/ Congo region.
James says genetic testing will confirm the theory that there is a population in South Africa whose ancestors were from Niger/Congo.
Even though the test itself is easy, it is the lab work from where all the exciting details will come to light.
Looking at what is known as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which comes from mothers, and Y chromosome DNA which comes from fathers, scientists are able to reconstruct the hereditary lineage of individuals and their families as far back as 100 000 years.
The limitation of this approach is that those ancestors who did not pass on their genes by having surviving children are excluded from the studies.
"Still, we are able to enrich beyond measure our understanding of who we are and where it is we come from," said James.
"Some DNA mitochondria do not combine, they develop mutations which creep in and these are seen as fingerprints. They can be traced to where geographic concentrations of the same mutations occur."
James's own test results have revealed that he has Indian, Spanish, German and English forebears.
His mother's one line is Southern Pakistan/Northern Indian and German. Her father was a Hartel and James still has a title deed handed down from generation to generation for a piece of land along the Liesbeek River granted to German infantryman Wilhelm George Hartel by Cape Governor Simon van der Stel.
It is from Hartel that James inherited Factor V Leiden, a mutation in his genes which has resulted in him having a clotting disorder, making him susceptible to deep vein thrombosis.
His ancestors on his father's side are English; no surprise there, considering his surname. But he emphasises that ultimately everyone's ancestors were Africans, who migrated into Europe tens of thousands of years ago.
His next project will be to concentrate on groups like Italians, Muslims and Jews.
"Italian prisoners of war worked on many of the Cape farms and they had families here. Eventually the project would like to reunite those Italian descendants with their families in Italy. The same for those of Javanese descent.
"In fact, there are all types of settlers in South Africa, with successive waves of immigrants. The ultimate question for us to find an answer to is: what is an African?"
» » » » [IOL]
White settlers never stole any land from Africans
11 July, 2011 12:45
Herman Griessel, Cape Town, Sunday Times
Black Africans never owned any land. Any form of formal ownership is a Western concept. You cannot take something from somebody WHO NEVER HAD IT. In fact, what is it that white people, specifically white men, are supposed to "give back" to black people?
Black Africans NEVER owned any land. Any form of formal ownership is a Western concept. The 'black' tribes of the mid 19th century haphazardly SETTLED in an ad hoc manner - effectively governed by tribal savagery, in other words, the most savage ruled the land (a bit like Hillbrow today). They simply ran away until they could not run anymore - not having ANY grasp of the concept of a horizon or for that matter any measure of finite land mass - eg the boundaries - that is the fundamental concept of ownership.
Who "disadvantaged" the 'black' people of the interior in Southern Africa before the (supposed) belligerent 'white' settlers moved inland in the mid 19th century..? As certainly, what the 'settlers' found was not a hugely advanced infrastructure, deep mines, airports, vast libraries of written works, grandiose institutions of learning, etc. No, as little as 170 years ago they found masses of black people (indigenous to the Southern tip of Africa, The San) living on the fringes of the stone age. Beings in skins, wielding sticks, living primitive dwellings, dragging and carrying things around, who had not even invented the wheel yet.
Insert by Herman Griessel:- The San were the indigenous people of Southern Africa, if there needs to be any Land Reform it should be with the San, the rest of the Black African tribes as well as the White are and were all immigrants to Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, and from other parts of the world and Northern Africa.
The linguistic core of the Bantu family of languages, a branch of the Niger-Congo language family, was located in the region of modern Cameroon and Eastern Nigeria. From this core, expansion began about three thousand years ago, with one stream going more or less east into East Africa, and other streams going south along the African coast of Gabon, Democratic Congo and Angola, or inland along the many south to north flowing rivers of the Congo River system. The expansion eventually reached South Africa probably as recently as 300 A.D
Ethiopia - a country that was NEVER colonised. Today one of the most desolate places on the planet - who "disadvantaged" the people of Ethiopia..?
Put Zimbabwe and Germany next to each other and please explain the differences. In 1945 Germany was (for all intents and purposes) flattened to the ground and torn in half. Fifteen years later, West Germany was described as an "Economic Wonder". Around the same time as the end of Apartheid, Germany was re-unified. It yanked the (unified) Germany back four centuries in time.
Yet, in (around) fifteen years (for the second time in a few decades) it built an 'economic wonder' - today, fast becoming a global leader in almost every aspect. Reminder: a lineage very strongly associated with... WHITE AFRIKAANS SPEAKING people...
Insert by Herman Griessel:- I am a third generation White South African semi retired Farmer, my Grandfather arrived in the Cape in 1895, having originated from Southern Bavaria Germany, and took part in the second Boer War (1899 – 1902), against the English off course. I disinvested in Agricultural Land in South Africa in 1994, 16 farms employing ± 2, 000 Black African people, I could see what was coming, and here it now is. Google my name Herman Griessel, and read my story of farming on the borders of Southern Africa from 1975 and onwards.
On the 'flip side' - Zimbabwe - was handed one of the wealthiest countries in the WORLD (eg a currency that was worth more than the USA Dollar, etc) - what is it today..? Competing with Ethiopia to be the most desolate hell-hole on the planet..? Please explain...
Quote from Ian Johnston an ex Rhodesian, has published a book “Thru Thick ‘n’ Thin, a must read, and who happens to be my neighbour:- Remember '' We won the land from the mosquitoes and the tsetse flies''
And what he is implying here is that the White African Rhodesians, through the technology of the day, won back large tracts of land that was riddled with tsetse fly and Malaria, where before the Black African could not settle or graze their cattle, nothing was ever taken from them, in retrospect their very lives were enhanced and improved to the extreme in comparison.
The below insert from just the other day March 2011, this is what Zimbabwe has come to, and no one lifts a finger.
Hundreds of Bodies Removed From Zimbabwe Mass Grave:
By Tariro Madzongwe
HARARE, Mar 25, 2011 (IPS) - The identity of as many as a thousand decomposing bodies in an abandoned mine in Mount Darwin, 100 kilometres north of Harare, may never be known. "War veterans" associated with the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party are removing them with no regard for preserving evidence.
You cannot take something from somebody WHO NEVER HAD IT..! In fact, what is it that white people, specifically white men, is supposed to "give back" to black people..? Can someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE explain to me what it is that white men took from blacks?
Money, Capital and the pivotal mechanisms of the wealth that allows you to breathe, eat, have children, live a rather healthy productive and fulfilling life, but also allowed the cognitive development that leads to metropolitan development and infrastructure as we see it today - it is ALL of Western origins. In fact, the key advancements in modern finance and economics were made by the... ....DUTCH. Why do you think it is called 'Wall Street'..? It was initially 'Wal Straat' - yes my dear, the Dutch took their cognitive substance there as well... The same Dutch that were the most direct descendants of the people that landed at the Cape in 1652 - in fact, the modern 'WEALTH system' was originated by the Dutch and it funded the explorations around the tip of Africa.
Mmmm... I just hate the implicit assumption that 'whites' stole from 'blacks'...
Author: J. Theron - Brisbane Australia – July 2011
Insert from London Times: "South Africa is the only country in the world where affirmative action is in the favour of the majority who has complete political control. The fact that the political majority requires affirmative action to protect them against a 9% minority group is testament to a complete failure on their part to build their own wealth making structures, such that their only solution is to take it from others."
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