Here's a new map for the RDNA-verse! This one, though focuses on Southern Africa, the other major "Reactionary" power in the setting that, like the Australians and Levant, reflect the dark flip-side of the "Free Nations." The DeviantArt version can be found here
It's technically a very distant descendant of this Southern Africa: RDNA-verse
map from 2011. That said, it's not only been heavily retconned (as hinted in other entries), but also significantly expanded upon that corner of the globe. More than just giving a more detailed look into the nature of Reactionarism (as that setting's sort-of equivalent to fascism and other hard-authoritarian regimes), I also used the opportunity to try and present the country as a dysfunctional yet more perverse take on it, without going overboard into "Domination of the Draka
" territory. All the while, showing how certain historical circumstances and something dramatic like the Terror can drive whole societies into adopting such regimes.
Just to be on the safe side, this is a work of fiction. This is not a political or ideological screed. The politically incorrect details in the map and text are deliberately in-universe. In addition, depiction is not endorsement, nor do I condone apartheid and such.
At any rate, hope you enjoy. Ons sal offer wat jy vra; Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe.
----Southern Africa: General Introduction
The Union of Southern Africa, referred to among locals as Suid-Afrika
, has gained a reputation as the "Rotting Heart of Reactionarism." Despite its isolationism and substantial propaganda, it is known with certainty that all isn't well in this nominally Free Nation spanning over one million square miles in size. Yet as the prime benefactor behind the so-called "League of Neutral Defiance," it would be foolish to underestimate or dismiss it as a dictatorial madhouse. There's much to unravel in this peculiar yet notorious country, however distasteful it may be to visitors' eyes.
The country remains under the grip of the Volksfront
("People's Front"), espousing the "Afrikaner-Mosleyite" strain of Reactionarism since 1927 and with B.J. Hertzog as the current Union President. In addition to the five Provinces comprising Southern Africa proper, there are six "Special Homelands" designated for major Black groups such as the Xhosa, Zulu and Owambo. Although the constitution (which has been modified ever since independence in 1924) has provisions for political parties, the regime dominates the Parlement
("Parliament") in Bloemfontein and all institutions of government, with the Nasionale Eenheidsparty
("National Unity Party") largely seen as controlled opposition meant to provide further legitimacy. That pervasive nature could be found almost everywhere, from vidscreen propaganda to regimented social norms and a stratified hierarchy extholling how, as all races know their place in the world, each must do their share to stand against the "degenerates" and the Collectivist foe.
The Afrikaners themselves only make up about 2/5ths of the 68.1 Million people known to inhabit Southern Africa, even after generations of deliberate nativist policies and the assimilation of those descended from Anglos and Germanic Europeans. Combined with the "Honourary Afrikaners" (which notably include heavily integrated Blacks like the Tswana), however, they form the dominant culture. As the "pure" exemplars of true civilization (more so the core Afrikaner), they have significant privileges and rights, but also the responsiblity of defending the lands of their forefathers from all enemies. Short of the Volksfront itself, nothing embodies this more than the Volkstaat Weermeg
or V.W. ("National Defense Forces"), which fights almost constantly, even to the point of partaking in adventurism well beyond its borders, to protect their independent, rugged way of life. Though in more recent decades it has been forced to welcome women and those outside the Volk, its professionalism and sense of superiority reflect the regime they serve. Those classified as "Coloureds," in contrast, are treated as an underclass practically separate from the rest of society (the severity varying depending on ethnic group and profession), with the nominally autonomous "Special Homelands" seen as glorified detainment camps with which to let the more "rebellious" Blacks be. The worst among the lot, perhaps, would be the broadly defined "Non-Citizens," of which little is known for certain but are believed to have standards of living that are sub-human.
While the nation may not be as powerful as it once was, it's by no means a backwater. As a founding member of the
League of Neutral Defiance and still formally seen as a leading power among the Reactionaries (however much the Australians had usurped the title), its present notoriety remains as strong as it was in its heyday. Through its arms manufacturing industry, led by the government-backed Krygstuig Korporasie
("Armaments Corporation"), it is known to have shipped weapons even beyond Africa, with the "Bolivaristas" of Colombia, "National-Reactionaries" of Ireland and the "Alnahdists" of the Levant being among their common clients. Although the days when it could topple warlords and prop up protectorates of its own are gone, one can still find V.W. advisors and soldiers in action, often against the Internationale or its proxies. Coupled with rumors of possessing atomics of its own, it is little surprise that much of the Free World, whether it's the American Federation, Gran Patagonia or New Austria, would prefer to use more diplomatic means than blind hostility. Yet even with the opening of borders for visitors, much remains clouded as to what would happen next.
Despite economic and social troubles, which include alleged sabotage of several factories, the Volksfront's efforts to foster self-reliance have nonetheless been successful. Whether it's the picturesque Drakensberg range, the lush green landscape around Kaapstad and Bloemfontein, or the plains of Tswanaland Province, its vast land provides ample room for agriculture, mining and more advanced industry. The Afrikaners themselves, as well as those not of the Volk, have also done much to make their land as productive as it could be, even as the regime claims ever more properties simply to help bolster a stagnating system. Still, the results have proven resilient in the face of hardship, echoing to the stubborn and spirited nature of their ancestors. Whether that would hold true, with or without the regime, remains to be seen.
Basic History of Southern Africa
The lands at the southern tip of Africa are said to have been sparsely inhabited for generations, particularly by the ancestors of the San people. It was only after Jan van Riebeeck, a navigator for the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie
or Dutch East India Company, set up a way-station in 1652 for ships bound for the Orient. This small outpost became known as Kaapstad and soon grew in prominence, especially as company employees, indentured laborers and their families were encouraged to settle there. These were followed over the next century by both European pioneers mainly from the Dutch homeland (also including a number of French Protestants and German exiles), with the growing number of vrijburgers
("Free Citizens") expanding out into the surrounding countryside and even beyond V.O.C. reach. It's during this time, as farms and homesteads began emerging where there had been none, that the settlers came to be known as Boers
("Farmers"), with their children increasingly seeing themselves as natives to the land rather than a distant continent. It's also during the period that contact was made with Xhosa tribesmen and other Black Bantu groups migrating from the north, the hostile results of which would linger long after. Good or ill, the seeds of an Afrikaner consciousness as a culture and nation had been planted.
When the United Kingdom seized control of the Cape from the ailing V.O.C. in 1796 (one consequence of the Franco-British War of 1793-1800), the next chapter of the land's history had unwittingly been set into motion. In addition to formally abolishing slavery and discouraging indentured servitude, the British at first implemented similar policies used in their Canadian colonies. The locals were given relative autonomy and favorable rights such as the retention of the Dutch language, albeit a dialect which was already evolving into Afrikaans. Increasingly stringent taxation, however, combined with Anglo-centric settlements such as Port Natal, Fort York (Strandbaai) and Georgetown (Andriestad), started causing frictions. These contributed to Boers expanding even further inland, trains of Ossewa
("Ox-wagons") becoming more common by the 1820s. Then, in 1829, a group led by Lang Hans van Rensburg and Johannes Tregardt became the first of the so-called Voortrekkers
("Pathfinders"), setting off for greener pastures past the Orange River. More pioneers (by then calling themselves Afrikaners) undertook their own "Treks" in the decades that followed that went even further beyond, with the frontier town of Bloemfontein, after skirmishes with Bantu raiders, proclaimed the capital of the Orange Free State (future Province of Oranje-Vrystaat) in 1840.
While London tried to offer royal charters, for a time the authorities were content with letting the Voortrekkers do as they will. By the 1870s, however, the so-called Great Game across the continent was already underway. At that point, several settlements and semi-nomadic pastures had emerged, with some under British control while others were beginning to become as organized as Bloemfontein. This "patchwork" arrangement could not last forever. Calls for bringing all Afrikaners (from Kaapstad to the distant outposts of Pietersburg and Windhoek) under one banner intensified, while the discovery of diamonds deep inland both attracted enterprising Anglos and stirred greater tensions with the Zulu and Xhosa. A delegation led by Johannes Brand and Piet Joubert, however, accepted the Crown's sovereignty over all Boer communities in 1882 in exchange for autonomy, recognition of land rights and economic integration. While this was initially unpopular and did little to stem distrust against the British Empire, it prevented what would have been a costly war. This also helped pave the way for the successive consolidation of the various colonial and formerly independent territories under the Cape Colony, whose House of Assembly (predecessor of the Volksraad
) was increasingly dominated by nationalists. It wasn't until the Orange Free State and British Southwest Africa finally joined in 1894 that Southern Africa was finally unified into a single body, with the 1905 Dominion Act formally granting it self-rule. The prospect of greatness, on their own terms, seemed closer than ever.
The Terror, however, would have lasting repercussions on the burgeoning country's future. As early as 1920, the local Governor-General and other loyalists found themselves sidelined, especially with order breaking down beyond the Dominion's borders. As many of the territories under the control of the European powers collapsed into a hodgepodge of myriad warlords, renegade garrisons and rival colonial remnants, many felt that they could neither rely on distant London or their nominal allegiance to the Crown. There was also growing sentiment that the nascent Collectivists had been able to sow much chaos due to the decadence and corruption of the Old World, as well as fears that their creed would soon turn Blacks against the Afrikaners. Various political groups emerged in quick succession that tapped into those issues, and despite ideological differences were united in pushing for Southern Africa to secede outright from the Empire. Thus, with widespread support, Parliament formally proclaimed the country's independence in 1924. Almost immediately, the new authorities not only mobilized the Southern African Defense Force (later christened the V.W.) seized control of every British military asset left within its sovereign territory (including a number of Royal Navy vessels), but also assumed control over the Betchuanaland Protectorate.
It was also around that same period, among many refugees escaping a Continent seemingly lost to the Collectivists, that a disgraced baron turned firebrand named Oswald Mosley arrived in Kaapstad, seeking exile for his views. Finding many sympathetic voices, he went on to spend the next few years in the country. In which time, he played a key role in unifying similar political parties under the United Afrikaner Front (soon forming the core of the Volksfront) and its leader, Johannes Gerhardus Hertzog. By 1927, the movement had grown powerful enough to inspire rallies across Southern Africa, silence most opposition parties and intimidate the still-volatile government in Bloemfontein to grant it power, sparking what's since called the Afrikaner Dawn. Ideological disputes between Hertzog and Mosley, however, soon led the latter to leave alongside other sympathizers for Australia, especially over who actually constituted the Volk
and Western civilization. Still, the new regime (espousing what would be later called the Afrikaner-Mosleyite branch of Reactionarism) held firm, and wasted little time in reshaping the country.
By 1930, the borders were closed off from all outside migration, even from those who weren't deemed "degenerate." Afrikaans was given greater prestige as a national language alongside an increasingly "localized" form of English, with those of Boer descent given more power in government and society. Their perceived vulnerability both within and without, however, led Hertzog to the conclusion that survival necessitated more drastic action. Thus a long-term nativist policy known as Toekomshoop
("Future's Hope") was conceived in 1933, with the goal of making Afrikaners the predominant racial and cultural power in their corner of the world. Meanwhile, alongside its Australian counterpart, the Volksfront laid down the foundations of the League of Neutral Defiance at the Treaty of Windhoek in 1938, forged as a means to represent their respective ideologies as an alternative to both Collectivism and those still clinging to the "decadence" that brought down the Pre-Terror world.
The decades after would see greater incentives for encouraging "proper" births, efforts to spread Reactionary ideals in nearby states, and myriad ambitious projects (including the establishment of the Krygskorp
in 1948) to bolster Southern Africa's stability and self-sufficiency. They also bore witness to the founding of the Special Homelands and the growing stigmatization of many Blacks, Orientals and mixed-race "Coloureds" (ultimately lumped together into the latter). Most found themselves little better than the indentured servants of the old V.O.C and some were even being deemed "Non-Citizens" outright, even as certain others were elevated for their support for the regime. Various uprisings were known to have occured, as well as intermittent skirmishes not only with warlords (replaced altogether by Collectivist militias towards the 1950s), but also with Brazilian forces in neighboring Angola. Even as Southern Africa grew powerful, it seemed nigh constantly on a razor's edge.
Following the ascension of Albertus van Rensburg as Union President in 1958, a direct descendant of one the first Voortrekkers
, additional reforms were pushed to meet the growing challenges faced by the nation. The Toekomshoop
was refined such that Anglos and Europeans of Germanic lineage could be counted as Afrikaner, provided they adapt almost wholesale into the culture. Certain "compliant" Black groups in the 1960s (notably the San and Tswana), called Swart Boeres
("Black Boers") due to the successes of earlier social projects, were also given the same chance, which in turn led to Tswanaland being welcomed as a proper Province in 1965. Combined with gradual, if somewhat token, concessions towards non-Afrikaners, these helped in further stablizing and bolstering the country's standing, at least for a time. Mounting social and economic tensions, combined with a seemingly stagnant mindset and a growing trend towards near complete isolationism (especially as the Internationale's grip over its African "ColMems" strengthenen) meant that by the end of the 20th Century, it had largely withdrawn from the outside world. Yet Southern Africa refused, and refuses still, to stay silent.
Whatever the country's fortunes may be, it can be certain that its people will not go gentle into the night.
- "The World Almanac of Nations." American Federation. 2023 Edition.
For added trivia, some of the placenames are nods to the history of certain real South African cities. Strandbaai (and its old British name of Fort York), for instance, is based on Port Elizabeth
, while Port Natal is the old colonial name of Durban
's earlier settlement is also an allusion to its past before its actual "founding" in real life.
The early history of Southern Africa mirrors that of the real South Africa, though it's heavily implied that the Xhosa Wars
left deeper wounds even compared to reality.
The Volksfront's symbol, befitting its Reactionary nature, is derived from the Ossewabrandwag
, an anti-British and pro-Nazi German organization that existed from 1939 to 1952. While the flag itself is largely inspired by both the historic Orange Free State
and Transvaal Republic
The Volksfront itself, and Afrikaner-Mosleyite Reactionarism, is an amalgamation of Apartheid South Africa (especially the Ossewabrandwag and more radical elements of the then-ruling National Party
) and North Korea's Juche
, among others. While Oswald Mosley himself might seem like an unlikely figure to pop up in this alternate TL (though as among the founders of Reactionarism rather than British Fascism as in real life), he wasn't the only one to bear that name
. His background as a disgraced baron is also based on his background as part of the nobility.
The Voortrekker pioneers mentioned, such as van Rensburg and Tregardt, as well as the Voortrekkers themselves are based on their actual counterparts and the real Great Trek
of the 19th Century. Though unlike our timeline, van Rensburg's group actually survived rather than perished at the hands of the Zulu.
Johannes Gerhardus Hertzog and his descendant are inspired by both James Barry Munnik Hertzog
(Boer general-turned-Prime Minister) and his son, Johannes Albertus Munnik Hertzog
(a notorious figure during the Apartheid years and later founder of the "Reconstituted National Party").
is a sly nod to the actual Armscor of South Africa
(the name derived from the Afrikaner though in the TL, it still oversees the production (and distribution) of weapons. Coincidentally, the rumors of nuclear arms are also a reference to how the actual country also had its own nukes
, albeit ones that were voluntarily dismantled by the 1990s.
Southern Africa's clashes with Brazilian Angola harken to the South African Border War
from 1966 to 1990, in which the SADF also intervened in the concurrent Angolan Civil War.
Many of the placenames outside Southern Africa are either old colonial names (such as Sá da Bandeira) or French and Spanish transliterations (Punta Negra for Pointe-Noire).