Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Secret Power of Afrikaners of South Africa

The Afrikaner Broederbond (or simply ‘Die Broederbond’), is a fraternal and initiatory organization dedicated to the promotion of the interests of Afrikaners. Roughly translated from Afrikaans, the group's official name, "Afrikaner Broederbond", is "secret league of Afrikaner brothers" or "Afrikaner brotherhood". It had a youth wing called the Ruiterwag.

It was Freemasonic only as far as its badge which is similar to a Masonic-type triangle pierced by a cord to symbolize brotherhood. Members identified themselves with hand signs and black dress was worn at meetings.

The organization was active during the rise to power of the Afrikaner nationalists and during the apartheid years most government ministers and many influential Afrikaner churchmen, academics, professionals, military officers and policemen were members of this very successful and tightly-knit secret fraternity.

The Broederbond was created in 1918 by a group of 37 town-based Afrikaner professionals and businessmen. It was founded primarily to combat the growing dominance of English language and culture following the defeat of the two Boer republics and the formation of the Union of South Africa under British rule. 

On the night of April 17, 1918 a meeting of the National Party (which had been formed in 1914 by Afrikaner nationalists), addressed by the party's Cape leader, Dr D F Malan, who had left the church for politics, was broken up by an Anglo mob. The National Club building in Johannesburg was vandalised, fittings and furniture were smashed up and set alight in the street. In the mayhem, members of the audience were beaten up.

This had a marked effect on three young Afrikaners, Henning J Klopper (a railway official who joined the service in 1911 and the Nationalist party in 1912), H W van der Merwe, and Danie H C du Plessis (who became the secretary). Still in their late teens, the three met on a koppie in Kensington, Johannesburg the following day and pledged themselves to form an organisation to defend the Afrikaner and return him to his rightful place in South Africa.

Under the guidance of Reverend Jozua F Naude (a Dutch Reformed Church minister, father of an Afrikaner cleric and anti-apartheid activist, Beyers Naude), they held a meeting with a few others at the home of D H C du Plessis in Malvern on the evening of June 5 1918. This meeting marked the beginning of the Broederbond. The name of the organization that they began with only eighteen members was Jong Suid-Afrika (Young South Africa).

On August 26 1921, at a meeting in the old Carlton Hotel, 37 members decided to transform the Jong Suid-Afrika into a secret fraternity to formally become the Afrikaner Broederbond. This decision to become secret came about after several members claimed that they were persecuted because of their open association with the Broederbond.

Rigorous set of rules guarding its secrecy was laid down, so that no outsider knew who its members were, its plans, or even its successes and failures. Candidates were chosen for membership by sponsorship, internal election and invitation only. Potential recruits were screened for up to two years before being nominated. Sponsors were to declare that the recruit believes in “the never-ending existence of the Afrikaner nation”. Membership was restricted to Protestant Afrikaner men who were aged at least 25, who must belong to one of the three Dutch Reformed Churches, not be Freemasons, and have a clean character and firm principles.

As a Fraternal order, it provided companionship, sociability, employment service, study loans for members’ children and donations to families of deceased members.

The members swear to a solemn vow to never divulge the organization’s secrets during their lifetime, even to their wives. The secrecy was a “cardinal principle” and was strictly maintained (Charles Bloomberg, Christian-Nationalism and the Rise of the Afrikaner Broederbond, in South Africa, 1918-48. London. Macmillian Press Ltd, 1990.)

Should the secrecy be broken, the penalty was expulsion and social segregation. Public statements were rarely given and elaborate security measures were taken. These measures included concealment of proceeding, operations, names of members, and the whereabouts of the administration headquarters. When meetings took place, they were usually held quietly in members’ homes. The host was encouraged to arrange for their wives and families to be out for the evening. African servants were considered a security risk and given the night off as well (Harrison, D. The White Tribe of Africa. Berkeley. University of California Press, 1981).

Broederbond offices were not listed in the phone book. Circulars caution members on the rules governing privacy: Do not let your wives overhear discussions with fellow brothers; avoid parking too many cars conspicuously near the site of a monthly meeting. Members may admit that they belong to the Broederbond but were not allowed to disclose that someone else does.

Klopper (who became the first chairman) and his associates made the railways their chief recruiting ground in the Broederbond's formative years. Du Plessis went on to become the General Manager of the railways while van der Merwe became one of the first Afrikaners to go into business (Harrison, 1981). Klopper spent thirty-two years with the railway and then went on to become a Nationalist himself and, through this, the Speaker of the House of Assembly. Over the next decade or so the power of the Broederbond grew quietly and its members slowly infiltrated the South African political scene.

One of the first organized functions that the Broederbond held was a concert, and musical evenings became a regular part of their program. Lectures, dinner parties, picnics, as well as starting a library with subscriptions for members, were organized. (The Afrikaner Broederbond, Anthropology 381, Chad Daniels, Ohio, University-Zanesville).

One of the first 18 young Broeders, Lourens Erasmus Botha van Niekerk, pondered in a newspaper interview in 1964: “It was in the year of the great 'flu when 18 of us got together one night in the old Irene church hall in Plein Street, and decided to form an Afrikaner society. There were 11 railway men, six policemen and one outsider. The driving force behind the establishment of the society was Henning Klopper.

"We formed the Broederbond as a kind of counterpart to societies and clubs which, in those days, were exclusively English-speaking. Those were hard days for the Afrikaner. Everything was English and Afrikaans-speaking people found it hard to make out. We decided the Broederbond would be for Afrikaners only – any Afrikaner - and that it would be a sort of cultural society. We started raising funds to build up a library and we invited prominent Afrikaners to give lectures.” - (Oelofse report, p 8).

Their aim was to work for Afrikaner upliftment, mainly in four ways:
  1. promote Afrikaner nationalism and to attempt to take control of the South African government from the British/English Jews;
  2. maintain and promote Afrikaner education and culture;
  3. by helping the poor and winning over the workers to Afrikaner nationalism; and
  4. by promoting Afrikaner business and farming interests.
Afrikanerhood or Afrikaner nationalism did not arise in 1918 at the formation of the Afrikanerbond. For example, the Afrikaans press was established mainly as a reaction to the British and Jewish Establishment in South Africa. The first newspaper to propagate the interests of Afrikaners and the Dutch, De Zuid-Afrikaan, was started in 1830 by Christoffel Joseph Brand, a lawyer who was unpopular with the British colonial authorities.

The most important event to change this and to stimulate the growth of Afrikaner nationalism was the British annexation of the South African Republic (Transvaal) in 1877 by Theophilus Shepstone. From 1820, the Dutch and the British were in constant conflict over land, minerals, culture and language, and government power after the Netherlands had ceded its South African territory to the British.

Afrikaners are inhabitants of South Africa of Dutch or French Huguenot descent who first settled South Africa in 1652 and took over government power from the British whites in 1948. While they spoke a dialect of the Dutch language, they were bound together by a form of (John) Calvinist Christianity.

The Broederbond was a highly influential club dedicated to promoting the social and economic interests of Afrikaners. Out of these giant companies were created as direct competitors of those that were of English/Jewish origin or ownership:
  • ABSA (banking, an amalgamation of Allied Building Society, TrustBank, United Building Society and Volkskas Bank),
  • Sanlam and Liberty Life (insurance),
  • Sasol and Engen (fuel),
  • Nasionale Pers (media, publishing and language rights),
  • Rembrandt (tobacco),
  • Stellenbosch University (academy),
  • Billiton (mining and base metals and conglomerate).
The holding company for the life insurance company, Sanlam (Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Lewens Assuransie Maatskappij Beperk), the short-term insurance company, Santam (Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Trust en Assuransie Maatskappij), was founded in 1917 by:
  1. Charlie G. Fichardt, a Bloemfontein businessman and MP for Ladybrand (Chairman);
  2. Willie A. Hofmeyr, an attorney;
  3. Charlie R. Louw, an a attorney;
  4. Pieter A. Malan, an attorney;
  5. Fred H. Dormehl, a former insurance man;
  6. Antoon F. Benning, a prospector and master builder and
  7. Alfred McDowell, a Scottish banker and insurance accountant
  8. Hofmeyr, Dormehl and Malan were also founders of Nasionale Pers.
Sanlam (which controlled Gencor) was run by National Party founder W.A. Hofmeyr until his death in 1953. A long list of NP leaders and ministers served on the Sanlam board and the many companies it controlled — including Gencor (Billiton's parent company).

Wim de Villiers, Sanlam vice-chair and Gencor chairperson, was a key member of the Cape NP establishment and mentor of apartheid's brutal second-last president, P.W. Botha.

It was more than symbolic that in 1977 famed Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko met his death at the hands of police torturers in room 619 on the sixth floor of the Sanlam Building in Port Elizabeth.

The history of Sanlam is, indeed, inextricably interlinked with that of the National Party. It was established in 1918 by the same individuals who founded the National Party in the Cape. Volkskas was founded by the Afrikaner Broederbond in 1934, and as the Broederbond's official history, published in 1979, admitted all its directors were until that year at least appointed by the Bond (Dan O'Meara, 1983, Volkskapitalisme: Class, capital and ideology in the development of Afrikaner Nationalism 1934-1948, Cambridge, Cambridge University Pressp 102).

Sanlam's assets were valued at R30 million each in 1948. By 1981 Sanlam's own declared total assets stood at R 3,1 billion, while companies over which it exercised effective control had assets worth R 19,3 billion. The top leadership of Sanlam, Volkskas and Rembrandt were key players in both the National Party and the Afrikaner Broederbond. They were the close confidantes and advisers of political leaders of the apartheid state.

In 1986, Gencor's executive chairperson, Derek Keys, moved directly into the apartheid government as minister of economic coordination, trade and industry. Following South Africa's historic first finance minister. He then pleading ill health and resigned in 1994. Keys subsequently served a term as chief executive of Billiton. - International News, Green Left Weekly issue #445 25 April 2001.

Gencor (formerly General Mining Union Corporation Ltd) was created in 1964 by Anglo American's sale of mines after pressure from the government of Hendrik Verwoerd, the 'architect of apartheid', to give politically dominant, though economically marginalised, Afrikaners more of the economy.

Gencor, together with Anglo, dominated South African mining in the 1970s and 1980s. It later spun off assets to create the world's No. 4 gold producer and No. 2 platinum miner. In 1994, it bought Billiton from Royal Dutch Shell Group and moved it to London in 1997, paving the way for a similar move by Anglo.

Gencor created Sappi, the world's largest glossy paper producer, Engen, Africa's top fuel retailer, and Impala Platinum Holdings, and helped form gold miner Gold Fields, it bought Billiton, named after an Indonesian island, for $1.22 billion to help it expand away from South Africa by giving it assets in another 15 countries.

The idea of volkskapitalisme — people’s capitalism took root. Afrikaners were urged to buy from Afrikaner shops and invest their savings in Afrikaner firms. Volkskongres in 1939, Professor L J du Plessis outline the plan for volkskapitalisme: democratic election in 1994, the African National Congress-led government reappointed Keys as The roots of poverty lay not in capitalism as such but in the fact that Afrikaners had been systematically excluded from the fruits capitalism. What was needed was not the abolition of capitalism but that it is captured for the volk.'

The aim of volkskapitalisme was to help Afrikaner start small businesses as well as to organise large-scale investment.

The Voortrekkers were separate from the Scout movement; the Noodhulpliga from the St John's Ambulance, South African Bureau of Racial Affairs (SABRA) from the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), the English Chambers of Commerce and Industry are paralleled by the Afrikaner Handelsinstituut.

At least sixty members of the Broederbond stood as Nationalist Party candidates in the 1948 elections, amongst them the leader himself, Dr D.F. Malan, Dr N. Diederichs (later Minister of Finance), Dr Donges (who was elected to be State President as from 31 May 1967), Albert Hertzog, son of General Hertzog (later Minister of Posts and Telegraphs and of Health), Dr E G Jansen (later Governor-General), Prof. A.I. Malan, H.J. Klopper and W.C. du Plessis.

Every South African Prime Minister and most major political leaders during the apartheid era has been a member of the Broederbond i.e. from the time of the election victory of the National Party in 1948 until the end of apartheid in 1994.

The Broederbond made a major policy shift in 1993 as apartheid was in its death throes, deciding it was time for its secrecy to end and for them to promote Afrikaner culture openly. It formally changed its named to the Afrikanerbond but remains ‘closed’ i.e. not everyone can be a member.

The newly branded Afrikanerbond's official website states that its present aims are to:
  1. mobilize the best talent and leadership available in the Afrikaans-speaking community;
  2. be of service to Afrikaners (and cynically to all South Africans); and
  3. help protect and in general promote the interests of the Afrikaans community.
Its long-time affiliation with the National Party of South Africa ended and the Afrikanerbond's official political stance is that it "does not participate in party politics and does not align itself with any political party." Its official language continues to be Afrikaans.

There is seemingly openness about the organization in the new South Africa as a voluntary organisation and a legal entity as referred to in Section 31(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. It has become a 'cultural' organization of Afrikaners and it confirms its existence.

1 comment:

truthlife2014AFRICA said...

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