Alternative History
Republic of South Africa
Republiek van Suid-Afrika
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday
Preceded by 1961-1988 Succeeded by
Union of South Africa Dominion of South Africa,
Republic of the Cape,
Azanian League
Orange Free State
Flag Coat of Arms
Oranje, Blanje, Blou Coat of Arms
Location of South Africa
The auccessors of South Africa
Anthem "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika"
Capital Cape Town (Legislative)
Pretoria (Executive)
Bloemfontein (Judicial)
Pietermaritzburg (Archival)
Largest city Johannesburg
  others Ndebele, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Swazi, Tshivenda, Xhosa, Xitsonga, Zulu
Government Unitary parliamentary republic
  Legislature Parliament
State President Marais Viljoen
Prime Minister P. W. Botha
Currency Union Rand (R)

South Africa is a former country that was once one of the most diverse nations on the planet. Today, the area is divided among numerous small states, unions and alliances. The New Union of South Africa (NUSA), a loose confederation, has come the closest to re-establishing a South African Union between nations, while the African Economic Community, initially led by the Dominion of South Africa, has largely replaced it.



South Africa's origins as a political entity date to the Dutch colonization of the mid-17th century. Early South Africa was concentrated around the Cape of Good Hope. The colony fell to Great Britain at the turn of the 19th century. This was the start of a turbulent time owing to the wars between the Zulu empire and its neighbors (the Mfecane) and a mass migration of the Boers - Afrikaners, or Dutch settlers - to the interior (the Great Trek).

The Boer settlements consolidated into two nations, Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Beginning in the 1880s, Britain's attempts to seize both territories led to the two Boer Wars. In 1910, a victorious Britain ordered the foundation of the Union of South Africa, a federal country and dominion of the British Empire. It was to be ruled by the White population, both British and Afrikaner. Afrikaner leader Louis Botha was elected the first prime minister.

During the First World War, South African forces under War Minister Jan Smuts attacked the German colony of South West Africa as part of the British war effort. In 1931 the Union became a fully sovereign nation within the Empire under the Act of Westminster. In 1939 Smuts, now Prime Minister, took South Africa into World War II, for the most part supporting other British Empire forces through training and in combat in the Mediterranean theatre.

At the start of the Union, the British protectorates of Bechuanaland, Basutoland, and Swaziland were considered potential future members of the federation. In the meantime, they were governed by local kings and chiefs under the supervision of the High Commissioner for Southern Africa, based in Pretoria. But over the next few years, as Afrikaner nationalist sentiment grew and British public opinion turned against South Africa's White ruling class, Britain decided against changing their status. All three achieved independence in the 1960s but remained closely tied to South Africa via a customs union.

The period after World War II is seen as the beginning of the end of the Union. In 1948, Smuts' South African Party was defeated by the Afrikaner National Party. Dr. Francois Malan, the new Prime Minister, was fully committed to the cause of Afrikaner Nationalism. Under Malan and his successors, South Africa enacted its system of Apartheid - "Apartness." The laws aimed at the total division between the races in South Africa, with the White minority clearly having the power. In 1960 South Africa voted to leave the British Commonwealth in a referendum of White voters.

Under apartheid, the entire Black population lost its South African citizenship and was considered to belong to the bantustans, nominally self-governing ethnic homelands. They were far too small to house this very large population, but Blacks were allowed to live, work, and travel outside the homelands only with the right paperwork; this was used as a means of totalitarian control. The bantustans were considered to be on the path toward complete independence, and indeed some were declared independent nations starting in the 1970s. In reality they were ruled by corrupt governments beholden to the national authorities. During this time, South Africa continued to administer South West Africa and instituted apartheid there as well.

Resistance to apartheid came from a number of quarters. Largest and best known was the African National Congress (ANC), a party dating to the dawn of the Union of South Africa and founded on the nonviolent ideals of Mohandas Gandhi. It was led by Nelson Mandela, in 1983 in prison in Cape Town. More militant groups also existed, such as the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) and the Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO). In South West Africa, the fight for liberation was led by SWAPO, which wanted the territory to become an independent republic called Namibia. Since 1966, SWAPO had been mostly based in Angola and had been fighting a guerrilla war against South African forces, called the Border War.


While not directly attacked, climate changes and other environmental damage from Doomsday had a harmful effect on South Africa. The collapse of global trade had an effect more immediate and disastrous, sending the economy into free-fall and causing famine conditions by 1984 in some places. Conditions were especially bad in the already-impoverished rural Black homelands. Townships outside the major cities became flooded with hungry people.

The government's response favoured the White population and White-owned businesses; this served to radicalise large portions of the Black population as the situation continued to worsen. More militant parties, namely the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania and the Azanian People's Organization, quickly gained ground. Standoffs with government forces grew violent. Rioting spread in early 1985, and opposition groups began to set up liberated zones outside government control, first in kwaZulu and then in some of the townships. In South West Africa, SWAPO forces crossed over from Angola and took control of northern Namibia. A nationwide declaration of martial law failed to stem the tide; the regime's grip was slipping.

South Africa's Opposition in Parliament, composed largely of White leaders opposed to apartheid, attempted to salvage the situation. They issued the Durban declaration, putting themselves forward as an alternative government that could reunite the country and begin the process of ending apartheid. But the group was on shaky ground; few in the country had much appetite for compromise or moderation. The Opposition government was unsafe in Durban, caught between the SADF and rebelling forces of KwaZulu. So it fled to Port Elizabeth. There they found an ally in Andrew, the exiled heir to the British throne. The Opposition named him their head of state, hoping to hearken back to pre-apartheid South Africa.

The country continued to fragment. In 1986 the national government was forced out of Pretoria and fled to Cape Town; insurgent groups soon had control of the entire Transvaal except for a small holdout around Piet Retief near the Swazi border, which would become the republic of Heiligdom. The Cape too soon began to slip away, and in 1987 the National Party made an agreement to share power with a Coloured movement, the Volkskongres under Peter Marais. The Orange Free State, still under White rule, refused to recognize this government, going its separate way from that point. The Port Elizabeth government also gave up on reuniting the country, renaming itself the Dominion of South Africa and concentrating on securing its own local area. And in 1988, the Cape Town government also renamed itself the Republic of the Cape. South Africa had thoroughly disintegrated.

Unification efforts[]

The Azanian League[]

Azanian Locator

The Azanian League

The first effort to unify the fragments of South Africa began in January 1989. The revolutionary parties that had taken control of Transvaal province had fallen to fighting among themselves, but the retrenchment of apartheid in the Orange Free State demonstrated the need for unity. Led by Desmond Tutu and other mediators, the three leading parties - ANC, APO, and PACA - agreed to partition the former province and unite their defensive efforts. They created three separate republics that in 1990 came together to form the Azanian League. They were joined by Bopedi, one of South Africa's traditional kingdoms that had also secured independence. Leaders of the Azanian League hoped to draw members outside the Transvaal, and indeed the kingdom of Swaziland became a member later in the 90s. But the other major Black states of southern Africa - the former bantustans of KwaZulu and KwaXhosa and the already-independent nations of Botswana and Lesotho - remained unaffiliated.

The New Union[]

Nusa-historical (83dd)

Territorial evolution of the NUSA before 2014

The next major effort at reunification came in the early 2000s among the White- and Coloured-led states of the west. These were the Republic of the Cape, successor to the South African government after it had relocated to Cape Town; South West Africa, a White-ruled holdout surrounded by Namibian territory; and Waterboersland and Volkstaat, two tiny breakaway republics founded respectively by Griqua people and by Afrikaner refugees from the Transvaal. In 2004, long-running talks between them succeeded in creating the New Union of South Africa, uniting the nations into one political entity on the international stage. It was a promising step toward restoring South Africa as a nation.

However, the Cape itself was now in a state of crisis. The White-led army had risen up against the Coloured-led government in 2003, and by 2004 the republic was engulfed in civil war. Marais was killed in a bomb attack late that year, after which there was little hope that the Cape could restore itself as a unified state. As Cape Town was now re-emerging as a crucial hub for international trade, this caught the attention of the world.

In 2006, a joint force of Australia-New Zealand and the South American nations occupied Cape Town to restore order there. A local provisional government simply called the RZA was set up but was only able to secure a small region around the city with the support of a small international garrison. Still, the mission was the first multinational peacekeeping mission to occur since Doomsday. Most of the rest of the Cape's territory was partitioned among its neighbors. The RZA did not show interest in re-joining the New Union of South Africa. Despite this series of setbacks, the New Union continued to attract new members.

The Orange Free State had worked closely with the New Union since its formation but remained wary of joining largely due to issues surrounding race. The Free State continued to enforce apartheid, while the Union nations, despite being White- or Coloured-led, had abolished it or at least softened their racial policies in the years after the collapse, because of demands of survival and peaceful relations with neighbors. Cooperation with the union allowed the OFS to end its isolation, begin to import more goods and especially medicines from abroad, and look to restart its own local medical research; yet it continued to face a significant lack of skill and resources.

KwaZulu and Lesotho joined the NUSA not long after the fall of the Cape. These nations had populations that were both much denser than the founding members and predominantly Black. The new members gave the Union a much larger base of population and resources. They also changed its character, raising hope that it could truly become an organisation for all of South Africa. This created pressure on the original members to further reform or abolish those racial restrictions that still remained.

Rival blocs[]

In subsequent years the NUSA made overtures to the new Black-ruled states of the former Transvaal, united as the Azanian League. However, the two remained far apart and reunification was never a real possibility. The Dominion of South Africa too remained outside it. The Union itself had partly begun as an anti-Dominion effort by the Cape. In the aftermath of the Cape Civil War, the Dominion pursued highly aggressive policies both in former Cape territory and in kwaXhosa; this served to keep the NUSA states united against it. In 2009, the Dominion proposed the “African Economic Community” in an effort to unite the economies of all the states in the region. Initially only kwaXhosa joined, under coercion, but the RZA also considered membership.

In early 2012, talks began about implementing a common currency for the NUSA member states: the Union Rand. At first, it would be used alongside the local currencies that the member nations had adopted in the postwar years, and eventually it would replace them.

From NUSA to AEC[]

KwaZulu's overwhelmingly large population made it by now the unquestioned leader of the Union. The smaller White and Coloured-led founding members began to feel sidelined in the organisation that they had created. Volkstaat was the first to distance itself from NUSA, becoming an observer member of the African Economic Community in 2014. It was followed by Waterboersland and South West Africa. It was clear the New Union was fated for dissolution and on 26 September 2014, a decade after its establishment, the New Union ceased to be. Volkstaat joined the AEC as a full member a month later.

As a result, the AEC grew in prominence, soon counting among its members Botswana and all of the founding members of the NUSA. Using much of the same regulations and laws as the former European Economic Community, a nominal customs union was established between all member states sharing a border. However, the economic realities in the region have meant there has not been a great movement of people in the region - at most specialists from the Dominion have taken residence in Waterboersland and Volkstaat to aid agricultural and small industrial efforts.

The meteoric growth of Cape Town, especially after achieving independence as the Republic of Good Hope, has given it an outsized economic role within the AEC, causing concerns not unlike those that had torn apart the NUSA. This has been especially controversial within the Dominion of South Africa, which had set up the AEC assuming that it would be and remain the dominant member. Nevertheless the community has held together so far, eased along by a less aggressive foreign policy by the Dominion since the mid-2010s.

Successor States[]

The area which was former South Africa has broken down into multiple successor states. Two rival economic blocks once competed in the region, but with the dissolution of the New Union of South Africa, the African Economic Community is the main economic bloc present.

The New Union of South Africa was formed from many of the remnant states in the area to better their prospects of economic development and survival. At its peak, it had five members in union and a united currency. It made moves to form a united military command to look out for its united interests, and made some progress on the front. It was, however, hindered by the lack of a border between the western and eastern states present within the union.

NUSA ceased to exist as an entity following its dissolution on 26 September 2014. Differing political outlooks and significant differences in demographics meant the nations' efforts for integration were being viewed as somewhat unfavourably by member nations. Following its dissolution, the western nations of NUSA all proceeded to join the AEC, and the nations of KwaZulu and Lesotho have also been caught in the economic orbit of the sole economic bloc in the region.

The African Economic Community was formed after the creation of the New Union of South Africa, when the Dominion had felt that the states in the area had united against it. It originally consisted of four members, but since 2014 has grown to encompass seven nations within the region. These nations, apart from Botswana due to location constraints, are in a customs union, sharing economic policies. The aim is to unite all of the economies of the region into one to allow for easier and smoother trading.

Flag Name of state Capital Bloc or alliance Notes
DD1983 Dominion Flag Civil Dominion of South Africa Port Elizabeth AEC
KwaXhosa KwaXhosa Bisho AEC
DD1983 RZA Flag Civil Good Hope Cape Town AEC
Flag of Botswana Botswana Francistown AEC
DD1983 SWA Flag Civil South West Africa Walvis Bay AEC, formerly NUSA
Afrikaner Vryheidsvlag Volkstaat Springbok AEC, formerly NUSA
83DD-ProposedWaterboerslandFlag Waterboersland Griqua Town (Griekwastad) AEC, formerly NUSA
KwaZulu flag 1985 KwaZulu Ulundi NUSA (former)
Flag of Lesotho (1966) Lesotho Maseru NUSA (former)
Republicofcapeflag Republic of the Cape Cape Town (Kaapstad) NUSA (former) defunct 2006
DD1983 RZA Flag Civil  RZA Cape Town AEC (former) defunct 2013
African National Congress Flag South African Republic Pretoria Azanian League
83DD-PACAFlag Azanian People's Republic Middelburg Azanian League
83DD-AZAPOFlag Azanian Republic Soweto Azanian League
DD1983 Bopedi Flag Civil Bopedi Sekhukhune (Jane Furse) Azanian League
Flag of Swaziland Eswatini
Mbabane Azanian League
Flag of the Orange Free State Orange Free State Bloemfontein
Flag of Transvaal Heiligdom Piet Retief Annexed to OFS 2015

See also[]