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Chapter Six— Socio-Political Conflicts: "Native Policy"
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Chapter Six—
Socio-Political Conflicts: "Native Policy"

We must now examine "Native policy," i.e., the theory and means advocated and implemented by the successive White governments to rule over the Africans and perpetuate European supremacy. From the following analysis, the essential agreement of all major European parties on the colour issue will become clear. In fact, the term "Native policy" is too restrictive for we shall also examine government policies towards the Coloureds and the Indians. The more inclusive term "race policy" is, therefore, more appropriate, although the numerical importance of the Africans has given them a choice place in the successive programmes of repression.

The following basic aims and principles of "race policy" have been shared by all South African governments since Union:

1. The maintenance of paternalistic White domination.

2. Racial segregation and discrimination, wherever there was any threat of equality or competition between Whites and non-Whites.

3. The perpetual subjugation of non-Europeans, and particularly Africans, as a politically powerless and economically exploitable group.

The Nationalist policy of apartheid is only the last phase in a long process of continuous strengthening of the system of White oppression. Apartheid differs from the race policy of ear-


lier governments mostly in that its ideology is more explicit, its rationalization more elaborate, and its implementation more thorough and systematic. Before describing the implementation of race policy previous to and since the Nationalist regime, it is important to understand the philosophy which underlines that policy. The model of race relations which all South African governments have tried to maintain is one of old-style colonial paternalism. South African Whites have looked at themselves, like other settler minorities, as a superior group endowed with greater intelligence, initiative, and inventiveness. They have considered their language, religion, technology, and culture in general as unquestionably better than those of the "primitive savages" whom they conquered. Conversely, they have looked down on the Africans as backward, immature, stupid, irresponsible, uninhibited grown-up children incapable of managing their own affairs. As carriers of a "higher civilization," the Whites cast themselves into the role of the stern but just master who has to look after the welfare of his childish and backward servants.

The "White-man's-burden" attitude is a useful rationalization of European domination, because the benevolent aspect of paternalism appears to reconcile despotism with justice. The fact that this benevolent aspect was rarely implemented in practice is irrelevant here. The ideology of paternalism allows the White group to believe in all sincerity that its domination is not only just, but beneficial to the people it oppresses and exploits. Paternalism has transformed the reality of the "Black man's burden" into the myth of the "White man's burden." The master-servant relationship is considered by the majority of Whites as the ideal and only conceivable relationship between Europeans and non-Europeans, and the successive governments have basically aimed at extending and preserving that model at the national level.

In South Africa, European ethnocentrism was combined with White racialism. Not only did the Whites consider themselves culturally superior, but also endowed with greater innate capacities than the Africans. Thus, the differences between Whites and


Blacks were assumed to be permanent and immutable, or at best changeable only over extremely long periods of time.

Racial segregation and discrimination are at once logical developments from the policy of paternalism, and indices of its failure. The purpose of segregation is not to prevent contact between Whites and non-Whites. South African Whites do not object to prolonged and intimate contact with non-Europeans, so long as the latter are in a servile capacity. Segregation aims clearly at preventing egalitarian contact between the "races." Domestic servants, for example, may accompany their White masters in a number of areas, such as beaches, that are reserved "for Europeans only." Racial separation has grown increasingly rigid over the years, as more and more non-Whites have risen in socio-economic status to a position where they could associate on equal terms with the Whites. Similarly, discrimination based on colour, whether legal or customary, is an attempt to prevent competition on the basis of merit between White and Black, and constitutes an avowal that the Whites need the protection of an artificial colour-bar in order to maintain their dominant position. Racial segregation and discrimination have been rationalized by the various governments as the best means to prevent racial conflict. In fact, they are attempts to perpetuate racial inequality, in a situation where the paternalistic master-servant relationship has ceased to be the only form of contact between the racial groups.[1]

Because of his intellectual and political stature, we may take Jan Smuts as the mouthpiece of pre-Nationalist White thinking on the "race problem" without opening ourselves to the criticism of selecting statements from rabid, pathological racists. Smuts, who rightly traces his intellectual ancestry back to Rhodes, calls his brand of paternalism "trusteeship." He writes: "Cecil Rhodes used repeatedly to say that the proper relation between Whites and Blacks in this country was the relation between guardian


and ward. This is the basis of trusteeship."[2] Smuts never questioned the principle of European domination: "We are for the leadership of the European race in South Africa, and no one will dispute it, and no one will endanger it except ourselves if we do not do our duty."[3] In 1945 Smuts said in Parliament: "There are certain things about which all South Africans are agreed, all parties and all sections, except those who are quite mad. The first is that it is a fixed policy to maintain white supremacy in South Africa."[4] While Smuts was intelligent enough to realize that his endeavours to enforce segregation had had "disappointing results" and were doomed to failure,[5] he was nevertheless a fervent segregationist: "Generally our Natives, for good and sufficient reasons which I quite approve of, have been put apart in the urban areas, they have been segregated and given their own locations or townships to live in."[6]

On the role of the White trustee towards his Black wards, Smuts' thinking shows a curious and revealing contradiction. On the one hand, he emphasizes the benevolent as opposed to the dominatory aspect of paternalism and logically concludes from his assumption of White cultural superiority that "the lot, the advancement, the upliftment of the backward peoples is the sacred trust of civilization."[7] Not only are these pronouncements incompatible with Smuts' repressive measures when he was in office, but he even contradicts himself verbally when he states elsewhere: "In this lecture I have emphasized the importance of preserving native institutions, of keeping intact as far as possible the native system of organization and social discipline."[8] In other


words, while the "backward Natives" must be "uplifted," it also serves the purposes of White supremacy to keep the Africans as they are.

In his eulogistic biography of his father, Smuts' son quotes the former Prime Minister's views on the "Native problem":

This type [i.e., the African] has some wonderful characteristics. It has largely remained a child type, with a child psychology and outlook. A child-like human cannot be a bad human. . . . Perhaps, as a direct result of this temperament the African is the only happy human I have come across. No other race is so easily satisfied, so good-tempered, so carefree. . . . The African easily forgets past troubles and does not anticipate future troubles. This happy-go-lucky disposition is a great asset, but it also has its drawbacks. There is no inward incentive to improvement, there is no persistent effort in construction, and there is complete absorption in the present, its joys and sorrows. . . . No indigenous religion has been evolved, no literature, no art. . . . They can stand any amount of physical hardships and sufferings. . . . [Racial] separation is imperative, not only in the interests of a native culture, and to prevent the native traditions and institutions from being swamped by the more powerful organization of the Whites, but also for other important purposes, such as public health, racial purity and public good order. The mixing up of two such alien elements as white and black leads to unhappy social results—racial miscegenation, moral deterioration of both, racial antipathy and clashes, and to many other forms of social evil. . . . It is however, evident that the proper place of the educated minority of the natives is with the rest of their people, of whom they are the natural leaders, and from where they should not in any way be dissociated. Far more difficult questions arise in the industrial plane. It is not practicable to separate black and white in industry.[9]

A final quotation from Smuts' son gives a picture of the statesman's attitude towards Africans:

It was the little piccanins, however, he preferred, with their


shiny, shaven heads and big, dark eyes, and with their wide, white flashing smile. Their behaviour suggested to him the elemental wild animal of nature of which he was so fond. Their eyes, in fact, held a doe-like look which strengthened this feeling. These wild, colourful people, he was fond of photographing with his cine whenever he had the opportunity.[10]

Smuts represents, in its most sophisticated form, the typical, "moderate," pre-apartheid brand of White South African paternalism. Similar statements could be quoted from many other prominent people. Only recently a tiny minority of White intellectuals has emancipated itself from this paternalistic ideology. In the past and even today, dedicated and sincere Whites have been or are with few exceptions benevolent paternalists who implicitly equate the terms "civilized" and "White." This statement applies to practically all White missionaries, humanitarians, reformers, and "Cape liberals."

From the ideological point of view, the advent of apartheid meant the triumph of the stern frontier paternalism of the Boer Republics over the more benevolent and sophisticated paternalism of the Cape. In every essential respect, however, the race policies of the Afrikaner Nationalists represent a logical evolution from, rather than a rupture with, the traditional White South African Weltanschauung . As conditions of rapid urban, industrial, and social change increasingly endangered White supremacy and the paternalistic model of White-Black relations, White governments grew more and more repressive. They failed to adjust to changing conditions, and they clung to the old preindustrial, colonial pattern.

The term "apartheid" (literally "separation") is an Afrikaans neologism first coined in 1929. It only entered into common usage in 1948, however, when it became an election slogan and, after


the Nationalist victory, the official designation of government policy. Since then, an abundant literature has developed around apartheid.[11] As presented by its intellectual apologists, notably by the members of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs (SABRA), the argument in favour of apartheid runs as follows: We, Afrikaners and White South Africans in general, have no homeland other than South Africa. The country is ours, and we have no desire or intention to leave it. We have just as much right to be here as the "Bantu," and we have arrived in South Africa at about the same time as they. We want to preserve our superior "White civilization" and maintain our racial identity, but we are surrounded by an overwhelming majority of non-Whites who threaten to swamp us culturally and racially.

Integration, the argument continues, is unthinkable, because, no matter how slow and gradual, it must end in black domination, miscegenation, and swamping of "White civilization." Any White South African in his right mind can only look at these prospects with horror and disgust. Therefore, the only salvation of the White race in South Africa is through apartheid. The races must be physically segregated from one another to avoid conflict and competition. Each racial group must have its own areas where it must develop along its own lines and according to its own traditional way of life. The Bantu must remain Bantu, and not try to become "imitation Europeans." For a long time to come, the "Bantu homelands" (i.e., the old Native Reserves) must remain under the control of Whites, because the Bantu are still unable to govern themselves, but eventually these areas may become independent. In the "White" part of the country (i.e.,


about 87 per cent of South Africa), the Whites must retain complete control, and the non-Whites can only be tolerated there as a migrant labour force for the Whites. Small areas with limited local self-government must be allocated to the Indians and the Coloureds along the same lines as the "Bantu homelands."

The phrase "ideal apartheid" has been used by a number of people, but it is somewhat misleading in that it has two widely different meanings. Government officials often oppose "ideal" to "practical" apartheid; by the former they mean total geographical segregation by race, a goal which they deem desirable but unrealistic in the near future. As used by non-Nationalists, "ideal apartheid" means the "positive" or "benevolent" aspects of the doctrine, as contrasted to the repressive ones. The following statement by M. D. C. De Wet Nel, the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, expresses this second meaning of "ideal" apartheid:

The Government's policy is actuated by a sincere desire to establish conditions which would make possible the ideal of harmonious co-existence of all the groups. It is the well-considered conviction of the Government that any form of racial intermingling and integration is the breeding ground for inter-racial jealousy, strife and ultimately hatred.[12]

The extent to which the "positive" aspect of apartheid is translated into actual practice is open to interpretation. There is no question that the government looks upon subservient Africans with benevolence, and that paternalism is an important aspect of apartheid, as we shall presently see. At the same time, other statements by prominent Nationalists also indicate that White domination is the government's uppermost consideration, and that "idealistic" statements have a propaganda function.

The proponents of "positive" apartheid claim that "parallel development" will eliminate White domination, and establish an equitable geographical partition, but Strydom, the second post-


war Nationalist Prime Minister, stated categorically: "Our policy is that the Europeans must stand their ground and must remain boss in South Africa."[13] Verwoerd now speaks of "independent Bantustans," but in 1951 he said in Parliament: "Now a Senator wants to know whether the series of self-governing Native areas would be sovereign. The answer is obvious. . . . It stands to reason that White South Africa must remain their guardian. . . . We cannot mean that we intend by that to cut large slices out of South Africa and turn them into independent States."[14] Some observers have seen a sign of "liberalization" of apartheid in the Bantustan policy, but Verwoerd himself has convincingly refuted this theory when, on January 25, 1963, he reasserted: "We want to make South Africa White. . . . Keeping it White can only mean one thing, namely White domination, not leadership, not guidance, but control, supremacy."[15]

In 1959 Eiselen, the Secretary for Bantu Administration and Development, declared: "The utmost degree of autonomy which the Union Parliament is likely to be prepared to concede to these areas [the Bantu homelands] will stop short of actual surrender of sovereignty by the European trustee. There is, therefore, no prospect of a federal system with eventual equality among members. . . . The maintenance of White political supremacy of the country as a whole is a sine qua non for racial peace and economic prosperity in South Africa."[16]

Apartheid supposedly aims at getting rid of the racial hierarchy by granting equal opportunities to each racial group in its own area, but Schoeman stated as Minister of Labour: " . . . pick and shovel work is the natural work of the Native . . . the Native has a special aptitude for repetitive work."[17] He further defined

"Native Reserves" of South Africa.


apartheid as meaning " . . . that Non-Europeans will never have the same political rights as Europeans; that there will never be social equality; and that the Europeans will always be baas in South Africa." A Nationalist candidate in the 1948 elections made his party's view concerning Indians equally clear: "The dregs of India came here half a century ago to work on the sugar plantations. . . . The coolie is not an inmate of this country, but a usurper and exploiter. Millions of people have recently been shifted in Europe to solve racial problems. Why can we not shift 250,000 coolies?"[18]

Segregation is, of course, the cornerstone of apartheid. In theory, apartheid aims at complete geographical separation whereby each racial group will develop "along its own lines," but Malan recognized as early as 1950 that this was impossible: "if one could attain total territorial apartheid, if it were practicable, everybody would admit that it would be an ideal state of affairs. . . . It is not practicable and it does not pay any party to endeavour to achieve the impossible."[19] Verwoerd defines apartheid even more explicitly: "Apartheid is a process of continually increasing separation in all spheres of living, and this takes place even when there is no territorial separation."[20] In other words, when physical segregation is impossible then racial discrimination must step in to maintain White supremacy. In the "European" areas, the non-Whites must remain helots at the service of the master race.

It is useful at this point to refine somewhat the analysis of segregation as practiced or advocated by the Nationalists. Depending on the actual physical distance between racial groups, one may speak of "micro-segregation," "meso-segregation," and "macro-segregation." The blueprint calls for maximization of segregation, but government policy is prepared to accept a lesser degree of physical separation when it is expedient. In the direct


work situation, i.e., in factories, farms, shops and the like, micro-segregation is acceptable to the Nationalists. In practical terms, this means that White and non-White workers associate on the job, but use separate dressing rooms, toilets, dining halls, elevators, waiting rooms, post-office counters, etc.

As soon as these non-Whites who work with Europeans leave the immediate job situation, the blueprint calls for meso-segregation . They board completely segregated means of transport to go to widely separated residential areas where they have virtually no contact with Whites, except for policemen, and "location" superintendents, but where they are within commuting distance of the White world for work purposes. Increasingly, the government attempts to suppress micro-segregation off the job, as, for example, in the case of domestic servants living on the premises of their employers (albeit in special servants' quarters). Apartheid calls for meso-segregation off the job, as this is the greatest physical distance compatible with any sort of economic activity at all. Meso-segregation is, of course, costly and wasteful in terms of transport costs, man-hours, fatigue, and frustration, but yet economically feasible, as the last fifteen years have shown. As the voteless non-White masses have had to bear the main cost of this meso-segregation, the Whites have only voiced minor protest at the inconvenience of not having servants live on the premises.

Finally, for those Africans not actually in the employment of Whites, apartheid calls for macro-segregation, i.e., round-the-clock separation in totally distinct regions, namely the Native Reserves, now in the process of restyling under the name of Bantustans. Macro-segregation thus becomes synonymous with the government's notion of total territorial partition, accompanied, of course, by White political paramountcy, even in the African areas. The three degrees of segregation can thus be considered as a scale wherein, according to Nationalist ideology, the greater degree is preferable to the lesser ones, unless prac-


tical economic contingencies make the introduction of a lesser degree of physical distance imperative.

Paternalism is also a prominent feature of apartheid applied to Africans, as a glance at government-sponsored publications, such as Bantu and the Bantu Education Journal, quickly reveals. High-ranking White officials of the Department of Bantu Administration and Development, for example, are described as "fathers of the Bantu."[21] African chiefs pledge their undying servility and gratitude to their Great White Fathers, and the latter condescendingly receive tribal honours, assure their "children" of their sympathy, and dispense government favours.[22]

In connection with White control over the "Bantu homelands," the words "trustee" and "guardian" appeared in quotations earlier. The Minister of Native Affairs expressed the same idea in 1948 when speaking about the field of labour: "The Nationalist Party is opposed to the organization of Natives into trade unions, and advocates a system whereby the State, as guardians, will take care of their interests."[23] In 1959 Verwoerd said: "We are giving the Bantu as our wards every opportunity in their areas to move along a road of development by which they can progress in accordance with their ability."[24] Malan best summed up this paternalistic attitude: "I regard the Bantu not as strangers and not as a menace to the white people, but as our children for whose welfare we are responsible, and as an asset to the country."[25]

In recent years even the apologists of apartheid are becoming sensitive to accusations of racialism directed at them, and deny that Afrikaner Nationalists adhere to a doctrine of White superiority. Such denials are, however, contradicted not only by the


practice of apartheid, but also by the very pronouncements of its apologists. For example, Professor L. J. Du Plessis states: "We wish to separate ourselves from the Bantu not because we regard them as being inferior, but because they . . . threaten to overwhelm us by the numerical superiority, and are culturally different and less developed than we are ."[26] A publication sponsored by the South African State Information Office speaks of culture contacts in the following terms: " . . . cultural transference mainly proceeded from the higher European to the lower Bantu culture ."[27] The same brochure later declares: "The Bantu require careful and sympathetic handling and guidance. . . . The repeal of such laws specially affecting the Bantu could only result in chaos through placing races at different stages of development on the same level  . . . as the Bantu become sufficiently advanced to manage their own affairs in their own area, the administration of such affairs should be gradually transferred to them."[28] Rhoodie and Venter complain that opponents of apartheid misleadingly "try to create the impression that the Afrikaner regards the Bantu as an inferior being," and emphatically assert that "this attitude . . . is most decidedly not a premise of apartheid to-day";[29] yet earlier they defended the rise of apartheid among Afrikaners in terms that deserve being quoted at some length, because they illustrate the inextricable confusion of cultural and racial factors that dominates the thinking even of Nationalist academics:

The three foundation stones of apartheid are Western culture, Christian morality and a specific racial identity. In the case of the Afrikaner there is a powerful connecting link between these three elements. His own particular bio-genetic character is, for example, associated with a particular sociocultural way-of-life and to give up either through amalgamation with a more primitive culture or race must necessarily


result in the destruction of the other. To the Afrikaner cultural assimilation is synonymous with racial assimilation—there can be no laissez-faire middle path. He believes that his socio-cultural and racial identity is something which must be entrenched—thence his comprehensive apartheid programme. The first entrenchment concerns the daily contact between White and Black. Practices such as miscegenation and mixed residential areas are regarded as dangerous in the extreme and must therefore be eliminated by means of racial separation.

Sustained cultural assimilation generally results in social and eventually biological assimilation. It is for this reason that apartheid is not limited only to the prohibition of miscegenation, but also regulates cultural and social contacts in such a way that the above-mentioned chain reaction cannot be set in motion.[30]

In a 1954 reply to a letter by an American clergyman, the former Prime Minister D. F. Malan emphasized both his belief in White superiority and his confusion of colour and culture:

The deep-rooted colour consciousness of the White South Africans . . . arises from the fundamental difference between the two groups, White and Black. The difference in colour is merely the physical manifestation of the contrast between two irreconcilable ways of life, between barbarism and civilization, between heathenism and Christianity, and finally between overwhelming numerical odds on the one hand and insignificant numbers on the other. Such it was in the early beginnings and such it largely remains. The racial differences are as pronounced to-day as they were 300 years ago. Small wonder that the instinct of self-preservation is so inherent in the White South African. He has retained his identity all these years. He is not willing to surrender it now.[31]

In one important respect, the Nationalist brand of paternalism is different from that of Smuts and other more "moderate" racialists. The Nationalists have resolved the contradiction between


the "civilizing" mission of the Whites and the idealization of "Native institutions." For the Nationalists, paternalism has been used to try to impede Westernization and "retribalize" Africans. "White civilization" is, of course, superior to the "primitive" tribal culture, but it does not follow that the Whites must try to "uplift the Bantu" to their own level. On the contrary, the "Bantu way of life" must be preserved and revived, because it is best adapted to the primitive mentality of the Bantu. Addressing a group of Africans, Malan said: "What you want is a rehabilitation of your own national life, not competition and intermixture and equality with the white man in his particular part of the country."[32] In 1959 the Minister of Bantu Education said in the Assembly: " . . . it is the basic principle of Bantu education in general that our aim is to keep the Bantu child a Bantu child. The Bantu must be so educated that they do not want to become imitators of the Whites, but that they will want to remain essentially Bantu."[33] Recently, De Wet Nel developed the same theme of the evils of Westernization for the "Bantu":

Not only is the culture of the Whites slavishly imitated, without any consideration of its merits or demerits, but the Bantu is exposed to evils of a different kind, evils which were formerly unknown to him. He becomes acquainted with crime and confusion and subjected to ethical, moral and spiritual decay.

Since these phenomena are alien to the traditional Bantu way of life, he tends to degenerate, and if the process continues unabated it can result in a rootless, urbanised and semi-Westernised Bantu society that is a danger to itself.[34]

It would be out of place here to refute the racist assumptions on which apartheid is based, or to take a stand on the ethical merits of that policy, or to discuss its practicability. Suffice it to say that the "ideal" form of apartheid as equitable partition is


a convenient rationalization, which, accepted at face value, allows well-meaning paternalists to call themselves Nationalists, and serves as the ineffective basis of international apologetics, but that the government has never seriously envisaged its implementation. The implementation of "ideal" apartheid would entail the political and economic disruption of the entire country. "Practical" apartheid, on the other hand is simply a more systematic and internally consistent policy of White oppression. We shall now describe in its broad lines the practical application of colour policy from 1910 to the present.[35]

The segregation of rural Africans in Native Reserves was already an accomplished fact long before the time of Union. The establishment of the Native Reserves system goes back, as we saw, to the work of Theophilus Shepstone in the 1840's in Natal, and to the "Native policy" of the Boer Republics. That system was consolidated and expanded under the Native Land Act of 1913. In urban areas the diamond and gold mines led the way in racial segregation and discrimination by establishing special compounds for their African workers. The Mines and Works Act of 1911 was the first piece of legislation making for a compulsory colour-bar in employment. This Act excluded non-Europeans from skilled jobs in the extractive industries. Residential segregation of Africans in cities, which had hitherto been enforced by the mines and by municipal regulations, was made uniform by the passage of the Native Urban Areas Act of 1923. By the time Hertzog came to power in 1924, the basic pattern of racial discrimination in employment and of physical separation of Africans in urban and rural areas had thus been legislatively established.

Hertzog's rule from 1924 to 1939 was characterized by inten-


sified racialism, and it foreshadowed the post-1948 apartheid programme. As a result of pressure from the White trade unions, and of the White labour revolt on the Rand in 1922, the Mines and Works Act was amended and made more stringent in 1926. Non-Whites were subjected to further disabilities in the field of labour through the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1924, amended in 1937, the Native Service Contract Act of 1932, and the Masters and Servants Amendment Act of 1926. These acts denied the right to strike to Africans, and made a breach of contract on the part of servants a criminal offence. In 1927 the Immorality Act prohibited extramarital sexual intercourse between Europeans and Africans. Residential segregation of Africans was further entrenched by the Native Urban Areas Amendment Act of 1930, and the Native Trust and Land Act of 1936. The Native Administration Act of 1928 prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages to Africans (except for "Kaffir beer"); and the Arms and Ammuniton Act of 1937 practically restricted the ownership of firearms to Europeans.

As regards the franchise, the Hertzog regime steadily reduced the importance of the non-European vote in the Cape. The Women Enfranchisement Act of 1930 extended voting rights to White women only, and thereby reduced by half the relative weight of the non-White vote; the Franchise Laws Amendment Act of 1931 waived the property, income, and education qualifications for White voters but not for non-Whites; finally, the Native Representation Act of 1936 eliminated Africans from the common electoral roll in the Cape, and instituted a system whereby qualified Africans, on a separate voting list, elected three White representatives in Parliament. This act, together with its companion piece, the Native Trust and Land Act, was considered by Hertzog as the permanent solution to the "Native problem."

In one important respect, however, the Hertzog colour policies differed from present-day apartheid. The legislation mentioned above affected almost exclusively the Africans, and left the Coloureds almost untouched. Although Hertzog was opposed to


miscegenation, he saw in the Coloured group a "natural ally" of the Whites against the "Black menace," and favoured a policy of economic, cultural, and political assimilation for the Coloureds. For obvious demographic reasons, this "softer" line towards the Coloureds still appeals to the more intelligent "moderate" Nationalists today.

Far from marking a more liberal turn in racial policies, the second Smuts regime (1939–1948) further perfected Hertzog's colour policies. Indeed, Smuts was directly associated with them as the second most prominent member of the Hertzog cabinet from 1933 to 1939. As Prime Minister he continued to entrench "White leadership." The Native Urban Areas Consolidation Act of 1945 systematized further the provisions of the Native Urban Areas Act of 1923 and 1930. The Apprenticeship Act of 1944 further secured skilled manual jobs for the Europeans. Smuts' great contribution to the edifice of White supremacy, however, was his anti-Indian legislation. The Indians had already been subject to countless discriminatory measures, such as the Transvaal Law of 1885 (which confined them to small urban ghettos), exorbitant taxation in Natal, and complete exclusion from the Orange Free State. The Trading and Occupation of Land Restriction Act of 1943 (better known as the "Pegging Act"), and the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act of 1946 (the "Ghetto Act"), prevented Indians from acquiring any new real estate property. These acts were passed largely as the result of White agitation against "Asiatic invasion" in certain "White" residential areas of Durban during the war years. The "Ghetto Act" also granted Indians a nominal separate representation by Whites in Parliament. The conditions of this representation were such a parody of democracy that the Indians boycotted the scheme, and never elected any White M.P. to the Union Parliament.

When the Nationalists won the 1948 election, they only had to extend and systematize an already imposing structure. The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 forbids any marriage


between a White and a non-White. The Immorality Act of 1927 was made more and more stringent in its 1950 and 1957 amendments to the point where "immoral or indecent acts" between a White and a non-White of opposite sexes are punishable with whipping and up to seven years of prison. The process of disfranchisement of the non-Whites was pursued to its logical conclusion. After a five-year constitutional fight, starting with the Separate Representation of Voters Act of 1951 and the High Court of Parliament Act of 1952, the Cape Coloureds were finally eliminated from the common roll in 1956. In 1960 the last token representation of Africans by White M.P.'s was abolished.

A number of laws extended the scope of compulsory physical separation between the four main racial groups. The most important of them is the Group Areas Act of 1950, amended in 1952, 1955, and 1957, which provides for the establishment of segregated residential areas for each "race," and for the mass removal and expropriation of members of the "wrong" skin colour in any given area. This act affects mostly the Coloureds and the Indians, as the Africans were already rigidly segregated when the Nationalists came to power. The main consequence, if not object, of this law is to threaten the livelihood of the Indian merchant community. In theory, the Group Areas Act also applies to Europeans, but, in practice, its implementation results in the mass expropriation and uprooting of non-Whites. In a 1960 court case brought up by a group of Indian plaintiffs against the government, the Minister of the Interior openly admitted that "it could be reasonably inferred from the many provisions of the Group Areas Act that it permits a substantial measure of partial and unequal treatment between the races." The principle of separate and unequal treatment is also explicitly entrenched in the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953. This law was passed after non-Whites won a court case on the plea that the facilities reserved for them were not equal to those available for Whites. While the court ruled in favour of the "separate but equal" principle, the 1953 Act circumvented the court decision


by specifying that segregated amenities could also be unequal.[36]

The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 provides the blue print for the Nationalist "new deal" in "Native Administration." In theory, the government envisages the creation of "independent Bantustans" in the old Native Reserves, but, in practice, Bantu Authorities are a more efficacious version of the old system of appointed chiefs and advisory bodies, with somewhat increased local autonomy. The Native Building Workers Act of 1951 and the Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act of 1953 put the African workers under further occupational handicaps. The Native Administration Amendment Act of 1956 and the Natives (Urban Areas) Amendment Act of the same year extend arbitrary powers of imprisonment and exile over Africans. So as to prevent the passing of Coloureds for Whites, the Population Registration Act of 1950, amended in 1956, provides for the issue of racial identity cards. Special White boards are to decide on the "race" of marginal persons who wish to contest their classification.

In the field of education, the Nationalists passed two important laws. The euphemistically named Extension of University Education Act of 1959 forbids all non-Europeans to attend the English-speaking universities, and provides for the creation of separate "university-colleges," not only for each of the four racial groups, but even for each of three main African linguistic groups. The universities of Cape Town, the Witwatersrand, and Natal were the only educational institutions of higher learning where both Whites and non-Whites could enroll (except for the University of South Africa, a correspondence school); this act thus makes for complete racial segregation at all levels of education.[37]


Previous to the Bantu Education Act of 1953, most African primary and secondary schools were controlled by various Protestant and Catholic missionary groups. This act removes African education from mission control, and vests it completely in the hands of the central government. The latter has full powers to appoint and dismiss teachers, and controls the curriculum which avowedly intends to prevent the Westernization of Africans and to "keep the Bantu child a Bantu child." Mother-tongue instruction in Bantu languages is emphasized at the detriment of European tongues; manual labour is stressed to prepare the child for his subservient role in South African society; and Whites may use African schoolchildren for farm labour.[38]

The most eloquent statement about the aims of "Bantu Education" has been made by H. F. Verwoerd in his capacity as Minister of Native Affairs:

I believe that racial relations will be improved when Bantu Education is handled in the manner proposed by us. Racial relations cannot improve if the result of Native Education is the creation of a frustrated people who as a result of the education they receive, have expectations in life which circumstances in South Africa do not allow to be fulfilled . . . when it creates people who are trained in professions not open to them. . . . Good racial relations cannot exist when the education is given under the supervision of people who . . . believe in a policy of equality.[39]

Finally, a number of laws give the government wide powers of perquisition, confiscation of property, banning of organizations, exile, extradition, arrest, and detention without trial. The most important of them are the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950, amended in 1954, the Criminal Law Amendment Act of


1952, the Public Safety Act of 1953, the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956 and the Unlawful Organizations Act of 1960. These acts, which followed waves of non-White protest, forbid practically any form of opposition, by peaceful means or otherwise, and enable the government to repress the non-White liberatory movements. Communism is made illegal and is defined as "any doctrine or scheme which aims at bringing about any political, industrial, social or economic change within the Union by the promotion of disturbance or disorder, by unlawful acts or omissions or the threat of such acts or omissions."[40]

Two recent laws overshadow all previous ones, however. The first, the 1962 General Law Amendment Act, popularly known as the "Sabotage Act," further extends the already wide limits of arbitrary government powers. It provides for a minimum sentence of five years of prison and a maximum sentence of death for "sabotage," and places the burden of proof on the accused. The concept of "sabotage" includes any attempt to promote disturbance, to disrupt any industry, to hamper the maintenance of law and order, to encourage any social or economic change, and to promote hostility between different sections of the population. Illegal possession of explosives or illegal entry into any building is considered sufficient evidence of an intention to carry out acts of sabotage. The act also extends previous government powers to ban newspapers, organizations, and gatherings, and to imprison any person for any length of time without due process of law, and without having to declare a state of emergency.

On May 1, 1963, an even more draconian General Law Amendment Act was passed, once more with the support of the United Party. The act provides for repeated detention of persons for ninety days at a time, for questioning; refusal to allow anybody, including legal counsel, to see detained persons; total prohibition on the courts to interfere with this form of detention; indefinite imprisonment without trial for persons having com-


pleted ordinary gaol sentences; powers to hold letters, telegrams, and parcels sent by post; death penalty, applicable also to juveniles, for receiving training in the use of violence outside South Africa, or for achieving the objects of a banned organization; and fifteen years of prison for entering a "protected" area without consent. In defending his party's support of this act a United Party M.P. said: "We have no choice. Long ago we fought to prevent trouble developing. When it did develop, we could not refuse the government powers to cope with it."[41] The act has appropriately been nicknamed the "No Trial" Act.

The above survey of legislation is by no means exhaustive. Only the most important acts have been mentioned. Even a complete list of racial laws would not give a comprehensive picture of the mechanisms of White domination, and of the sources of interracial conflicts. The government, and the White group which it represents, resort to at least five other major forms of discrimination besides legislation. These extra- or para-legal types of racial discrimination contribute even more to tension than legislation as such, and must therefore be mentioned at some length.

The first of them consists of the innumerable police and municipal regulations, ministerial orders, and government gazette proclamations which regiment almost every aspect of the lives of non-Europeans. These regulations and orders are based on legislation, of course, but the scope for arbitrary action in laws governing "non-European affairs" is so wide that the various branches of the executive practically constitute autonomous legislative bodies responsible only to the Prime Minister. By far the most important of these regulations is the vast and intricate system of "pass laws" and "influx control." The pass laws constitute the cornerstone of government control over the African masses, and are the most detested aspect of discrimination. More than any other set of measures, they harass the daily life of


Africans. Pass laws go back to the nineteenth century, and have grown over the years to reach their present scope under the Nationalists.

Under the system of pass regulations, any adult male African must carry at all times a "reference book" containing his employment history, as well as a number of documents such as tax receipts and various sorts of permits. In short, an adult African may not reside anywhere without permission, may not move outside his allotted place of residence without approval of the authorities, is subject to a curfew at night, may not live in any "White" area without being gainfully employed, may not own land in freehold (aside from some insignificant exceptions), and may be expelled from his residence and deported to any place, when the administration deems his presence to be "undesirable" or "redundant." In a number of cases, persons have literally no right to live anywhere in their own country, and are susceptible to be arrested for illicit residence no matter where they are.

The objects of the pass laws are to restrict African migration to the cities, to prevent the rise of a stable African urban middle class, and to keep the masses under the continuous control of the police. In all these objectives, the pass regulations have only met with limited success. Urban migration continues at a fast rate in spite of all influx control measures, the African middle class and intelligentsia are steadily growing, and the population is harassed and frustrated, rather than controlled, by the police. The main effects of the pass laws have been to disrupt countless African families, by separating for long periods the wage earner from his dependents; to promote violence, anger, prostitution, and juvenile delinquency; and to waste labour potential by maintaining the mass of the workers in the position of an unskilled, floating proletariat.

The second form of discrimination falling outside the strict scope of legislation is partial and unequal treatment of non-Whites in the courts. It remains true that, up until recently, the


South African judiciary has shown a greater measure of equity than other branches of the government, and has imposed an effective brake on the dictatorial tendencies of the executive. Nevertheless, judges, who are all Whites, share for the most part the prejudices of their group. Not only have they been forced to implement discriminatory laws, but, even where the law makes no racial distinction, the private prejudices of judges have introduced a strong factor of partiality. Whites committing offences against non-Whites are almost invariably punished much more lightly than in the reverse case, and a dual standard of justice is evident in many cases.

Another curious way in which the dual standard operates is in the more lenient punishment of Africans committing crimes against Africans, than of Whites against Whites. This seeming bias in favour of Africans does, in fact, mean that law-abiding Africans have no adequate protection against criminals. In most cases where non-Whites have been victims, the police does not investigate the crime with nearly the same zeal as when a White is involved. If a case of African against African comes to court, which is more the exception than the rule, many judges tend to regard the offence as less serious than similar offences of a White against a White, because of the lower status of the victim, and because they often assume that violence is "natural" among Africans, and, hence, involves less responsibility.

A few examples among many will illustrate the dual standard of South African "justice." Awarding £ 16 damages to an African who had been shot and seriously wounded by a European, a South African judge declared: "I am of the opinion that in awarding damages for pain and suffering one must take into account the standing of the person injured. . . . For example I would award a larger sum for damages in the case of injury to a European woman than I would to a Native male. Similarly in the present case, if it had been a European of some standing I would have awarded greater damages than I now propose to


do."[42] Another judge justified his decision in a rape case involving an African woman in the following words: "We know generally that Natives do not consider rape as seriously as Europeans do."[43] A White murderer who had beaten an African to death was found guilty of culpable homicide and fined £10 or one month in gaol.[44] Police Sergeant Arlow, who had previously been convicted for brutally beating prisoners, was sentenced to three years of prison for torturing to death an African, and was freed for good behaviour after serving fifteen months of his term.[45] A White who had shot and wounded an African guitar player in the face because he had "an aversion for Native singing and music," was fined £10.[46] On the other hand, ten African members of a mob who were found guilty of lynching nine policemen in Cato Manor, Durban, were condemned to death, even though the share of individual responsibility for the death of any of the victims was impossible to ascertain in most cases.[47]

A third type of extralegal discrimination consists in the various forms of economic exploitation to which non-Whites, and particularly Africans, are subject. Contrary to the general belief that the Whites carry the financial burden for non-European facilities, the official government policy is that each racial group must pay its own way. In fact, the position is reversed, and one may speak of a "Black man's burden." Through artificially low wages resulting from "job reservation," the repression of non-White trade unions, restrictions on labour mobility, and other measures, the non-White worker subsidizes White industry, and contributes heavily to the high living standards of the Europeans. In addition, Africans must pay a number of


special taxes, such as the yearly capitation tax, school, hospital and tribal levies, and municipal taxes on "Kaffir beer," to which other groups are not subject. Proportionally to their income, the Africans are much more heavily taxed than the Whites. According to a press statement released by the Minister of Native Affairs in 1956, the amount spent by the government on services for Africans is about the same as that contributed by that group in taxation.[48]

The fourth source of racial tension and extralegal control of the non-Whites by the government comes from the intimidatory role of the police and army. In the last few years the police and Defence Force are being reorganized and reinforced, in part to crush any internal disorders. Since 1960 the size of the Permanent Defence Force has increased from 9,019 to 15,288 men, exclusive of some 10,000 army reservists on active duty at any given time. Purchases of modern weapons, including airplanes, from Britain, France, Belgium, and Italy have sharply risen. The government intends to spend about £700,000,000 in military equipment over the next ten years.[49] By 1960 there were, in addition to the Defence Force, 175 Rifle Commandos in existence with a total strength of 80,000 men. These reserve Commando units are described in the following terms:

An annual quota of ammunition is issued to encourage rifle shooting practice. Additional ammunition and rifles are sold to Commando members at reduced prices. The standard of marksmanship is one of the highest in the world. The main function of this organization, during a conflict will be internal security duties.[50]


The internal role of the military establishment was also stressed in 1961 by J. J. Fouche, the Minister of Defence:

Because our armed forces have to be prepared to combat internal subversion as well as outside aggression, the best weapons have to be supplied for this purpose.[51]

As of early 1963, in addition to the Commando units, the South African security forces included some 25,000 well-equiped soldiers, and 28,385 members of the police. The military budget nearly trebled between 1961 and 1964 (from £40,000,000 to £104,000,000), making it the largest of any African state.[52] (Nigeria, for example, with over three times the population of South Africa, had an army of 8,000 men in 1963, and an annual military budget of about £10,000,000.) Also of interest is the meteoric development of a South African arms industry in anticipation of an international arms embargo. In 1961 approximately £180,000 were spent to develop weapon production; in 1962 the figure had increased tenfold, and by 1963 fortyfold. The 1964 appropriation for that purpose is nearly £12,000,000.[53]

While the stage of large-scale terrorism has not yet been reached, the police is deliberately used as an instrument of intimidation and harassment of the African population. Under the cover of enforcing the pass and liquor regulations, the police constantly raids African locations at night, and carries out systematic house searches and mass arrests. In 1957, 1,021,190 Africans were convicted of crimes; in 1958 the number had reached 1,122,081. About 60 per cent of these cases covered violations of the pass and liquor regulations to which only Africans are


subject.[54] On the basis of official crime statistics, I would conservatively estimate that one African adult man out of three is arrested and convicted of an offence each year. Over the years few urban African men have escaped imprisonment for purely technical offences against discriminatory laws. The police arrests an average of 3000 Africans a day . In addition to these "routine" arrests, mass waves of political arrests are becoming increasingly frequent. To mention a few instances, over 2000 African women were incarcerated in Johannesburg alone between October 21 and October 28, 1958, during an anti-pass campaign; in May, 1960, during the post-Sharpeville emergency, the Minister of Justice admitted that 1907 political prisoners were detained without trial under the provisions of the Public Safety Act, and that another 18,011 persons had been arrested under other laws and regulations. More recently, during the year 1962, a total of 5293 persons were detained on alleged security crimes.[55]

These police raids are almost invariably accompanied, at best, by gross discourtesy and manhandling, and frequently by beating, shooting, theft, and destruction of property. Constant patrols with armoured cars and vans circulate in the African areas. Low-flying aircraft are used to spot any concentrations of people, and, at night, some "locations" are swept by powerful projectors. During times of "emergency," police raids are further intensified. Objects such as walking sticks, umbrellas, bicycle chains, kitchen knives, screwdrivers, hammers, and sickles, are confiscated as "weapons" without giving receipts. Conditions in non-White prisons have been well documented. Overcrowding with up to 120 inmates in one cell, lack of adequate sanitary facilities, and unhygienic diet lead to epidem-


ics among African prisoners.[56] During the 1960 emergency, for example, a score of African infants carried by women prisoners are alleged to have died of dysentery in gaol. Vexation, humiliation, assault, torture, and murder of prisoners are common occurrences.[57] The testimony of Michael Scott, an Anglican priest, is also revealing:

The cells of the Non-European section of the gaol were so crowded that at night the floor space was entirely covered with the forms of prisoners lying alternatively head to foot with room only for a pail of drinking water and a latrine bucket. . . . Many of the warders took an obscene delight in the searches that were made at each parade for tobacco or anything else that could be concealed on the person. The Non-European prisoners were made to strip naked in view of all of us and perform the most grotesque antics so that the warder could satisfy himself that nothing was concealed between the legs or toes or anywhere else on the prisoner's body. Worst of all were the days when corporal punishment was inflicted. . . . Those due for this barbaric treatment were made to undress and stand naked besides their heap of clothes in the yard. . . . The warders who were to inflict the punishment would pass the time of waiting by practicing their strokes in view of the waiting prisoners, with a cane about four feet in length. Then one by one the prisoners would enter the shed to be tied to a triangular frame and undergo their sentence. Sometimes there were screams, sometimes there were not; but always when the victim emerged from the shed, he would be hardly able to stand.[58]

The use of firearms by the police is a common method to disperse crowds. Until recently, when the police became better trained to curb open displays of violence, tear gas, blank cartridges, fire hoses, and the like were seldom used against African


gatherings. Baton charges are one of the milder techniques resorted to by the police. The Sharpeville shooting on March 21, 1960, was only the bloodiest in recent years, but there have been many other similar incidents on a smaller scale.[59] During the 1952 passive resistance campaign, for example, the police killed 32 Africans and wounded at least 159 in four shooting incidents within less than a month.[60] At Sharpeville the police shot indiscriminately with automatic weapons into an unarmed African crowd of peaceful demonstrators including women and children. Sixty-seven persons were killed and 186 wounded, according to official figures. Of the victims, 155 were shot from the back while fleeing.[61] Between March 21 and April 9, 1960, official sources admitted killing 83 non-White civilians and injuring 365.[62]

The South African police is not only brutal, but corruption is common in its ranks. The police "protects," and takes a "cut" from almost every illicit activity (notably until 1962, the liquor traffic) in the African areas. On the other hand, it offers law-abiding non-White citizens almost no protection against thugs and racketeers operating in the "locations." Under these conditions, it is no wonder that the Africans regard the police purely as an instrument of White oppression, and as a public enemy. Imprisonment is so frequent that it has lost any stigma, and has even acquired an aura of manly accomplishment. The distinction between real common-law crimes and purely technical offences has become blurred.

In short, in a country where the law-making and law-enforcing process has become a major means of political oppression, it is difficult for Africans to dissociate authority from its


abuse, or "law and order" from the status quo . Denying any legitimacy to the state, the average African has basically the same negative attitude to law and law-enforcement as the psychopath or the criminal. Where civil disobedience against unjust laws, and, more recently, acts of sabotage have the aura of heroism, common-law crimes such as theft and murder become redefined as permissible when their victims are Whites. In fact, the political underground becomes infiltrated with common thugs, and there results a growing demoralization and anomie in the society at large, not unlike what took place in the European countries under German military occupation during the Second World War. The average African can, of course, distinguish a tso-tsi (young criminal) from a political organizer, but many have lost any respect for law as such, and regard breach of law as a courageous and honourable activity. Perfectly "respectable" Africans, such as mission-educated university students, openly brag about their terms in gaol, their ability to deceive the police, their cleverness at faking documents, and the frequency with which they break laws. Some would not even hesitate, for example, to receive or buy goods which they know to have been stolen from White-owned stores.

The fifth and last type of extralegal discrimination would deserve a book by itself, and we can only deal with it very cursorily here. It concerns the private behaviour and attitudes of Whites towards non-Whites, or, in other words, the day-to-day race relations.[63] White colour prejudice is, of course, at the root of the racial conflict in South Africa. Legislation and the whole state apparatus reflect accurately the attitudes of the dominant White group. At the same time, however, official segregation and discrimination reinforce the already existing prejudices, and make for further increases in private discrimination.


Private and public racialisms are thus the two mutually reinforcing elements in a vicious circle of ever deepening racial conflict.

As Smuts rightly remarked, practically all White South Africans, "except those who are quite mad," share the firm conviction of belonging to a Herrenvolk . Although the White stereotypes of the various non-European groups are quite different, and although private White attitudes and behaviour range from benevolent paternalism to virulent hatred, all Whites, except for a few liberal and leftist intellectuals, believe themselves to be an innately superior group, born to dominate the non-Europeans. This superiority complex leads to countless forms of private discrimination which greatly contribute to racial tension. At the most superficial level of etiquette, the Whites insist on the maintenance of master-servant relations. Non-Europeans are expected to show subservience and self-deprecation, and to extend to the Whites the titles of "Sir," "Madam," "Master," or "baas ."[64] The Europeans, as a rule, refuse to extend the use of titles and other forms of elementary courtesy to non-Whites, and call the latter by first names (real or fictitious), or by the terms "boy" and "girl." Some even use racial epithets such as "Kaffir," "Hotnot" and "coolie."[65]

In its extreme form, White racialism expresses itself through institutionalized brutality in the police and prison system. But quite a number of civilian White farmers and hooligans beat and maltreat non-Europeans and go mostly unpunished. In rural areas, the use of the sjambok[66] and other forms of physical abuse were current practices until recently, and have not yet disappeared. The common belief that lynching does not exist in South Africa is a myth. Aside from many legalized police lynchings, a number of non-Whites have been murdered by


Whites under conditions that can only be described as lynchings.[67] Such behaviour occasionally finds support on the floor of Parliament. A Nationalist M. P. declared in the House of Assembly in 1946: "If Mr. Hofmeyr ever succeeds in bringing Indians and coloured persons into the House as members of Parliament, I should be given a machine gun, and they will be brought down as fast as they come in."[68] The most that can be said concerning lynching in South Africa is that the phenomenon has not become as institutionalized as in the southern United States.

Most Europeans avoid any contact with non-Whites which does not conform to the stereotyped master-servant pattern. The maintenance of the master-servant relationship is the raison d'être of segregation, as we have already seen. Few Whites object to interracial contact, no matter how intimate, so long as the non-Whites "stay in their place." Where there is no legal provision for segregation, the "customary" colour-bar sets in to prevent egalitarian contact. Where such contact is unavoidable, the Whites expect and receive preferential treatment, such as being served first in shops. In other words, the potentially equal relationship of co-customer is made unequal by racial discrimination.

In general, "customary" discrimination and segregation (which the Whites often term "voluntary") have preceded and exceeded, by far, legal apartheid. Such has been the case for interracial marriage and commensality; discrimination in salaries; the occupational colour-bar; service in shops; and segregation in churches, sports, private clubs, and many other places.[69] The presence of the "customary" colour-bar has led many English-speaking Whites to criticize apartheid laws as "unnecessary." Indeed, for most practical purposes, many of the apartheid laws


simply rigidified the status quo , and were intended to eliminate a few aberrant exceptions to customary apartheid, or to prevent organized campaigns by multiracial organizations from breaking down "voluntary" segregation. Even today, when the scope of apartheid legislation has become very wide indeed, the private colour-bar extends much further yet, and seems to anticipate future laws, as it has in the past. The pressure of White public opinion makes almost impossible all forms of egalitarian interracial contact, even those which are still legal (such as private gatherings), and subjects the White "delinquent" to severe ostracism. At the same time, the existence of apartheid laws provides the prejudiced Whites who claim to oppose the racial policy of the government with a convenient excuse for private discrimination.

The combined forces of White public opinion and the law thus constantly reward and reinforce colour prejudice, and punish non-discrimination to the point of making it practically impossible. The few liberal Whites are not only compelled to comply with apartheid laws if they want to stay out of gaol; they are also viewed as "quite mad," or, worse, traitors to their "race," if they transgress the colour mores of the White group. Many non-Europeans also regard the behaviour of White liberals as suspicious because it is unusual, and question the motives of such Europeans. At the same time, because his behaviour is not allowed to be consistent with his principles, the liberal White suffers under a constant burden of guilt.

In one respect, some observers might argue, government policy towards Africans has shown some signs of "liberalization."[70] The Bantustan policy, as formulated in the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959, represents the degree of "positive" apartheid that the government is prepared to offer Africans. Verwoerd's plan consists of consolidating the existing


scattered Native Reserves into eight more or less compact areas that are to become the "homelands" of the respective African ethnic groups. The total area of the Bantustans will be substantially the same as the old Native Reserves, i.e., some 13 per cent of the country. With provisions for economic development, including urbanization and industrialization of the "border areas" between the Bantustans and the "White" areas, the government hopes that an increasing proportion of the Africans will be settled in these "homelands," and, conversely, that the "White" areas will gradually rid themselves of "transient" Africans. This grand design for territorial apartheid was already developed in its broad lines a decade ago. Its practicability in sheer economic terms, quite apart from moral and political considerations, has been questioned by every non-Nationalist economist. It is hardly conceivable that areas incapable of providing for the sheer survival of some four million people could ever support three or four times that population, barring, of course, staggering capital investments in non-economic ventures. But we are more concerned here with the political implications of the Bantustans than with their economic feasibility.

Since 1961 two seemingly "liberal" developments have taken place in Verwoerd's Bantustan policy. In clear contradiction to earlier statements by himself and by other Nationalist politicians, Verwoerd has used the word "independence" in connection with the Bantustans. Second, in the blueprint now being implemented in the Transkei (the first of the Bantustans), greater powers are ostensibly given to Africans. What do these "new" developments imply in practice? My argument is that the word "independent" is devoid of meaning in this context, and that the new Bantustan scheme represents a cautious substitution of a Lugardian type of indirect rule for the old system of direct rule. The Transkei and the other African areas are not intended by the government to become sovereign states, but rather to remain South African "protectorates" under the control


of Pretoria, and without any representation in the central government.

To speak of "eventual independence" without any suggestion of a timetable as Verwoerd does, is clearly devoid of meaning in the Africa of the 1960's. Furthermore, recent statements by Verwoerd[71] and by the Minister for Bantu Administration and Development, M. D. C. De Wet Nel, confirm our hypothesis, and eloquently refute the theory that apartheid is in the process of liberalization. In Febuary, 1963 De Wet Nel denied once more any intention to make the "Bantu homelands" sovereign: "The Republic of South Africa, of which the Transkei and also the other Bantu homelands form an integral part, under international law form a sovereign unitary state."[72]

If these statements are not accepted as compelling evidence of the government's intentions, then actual implementation of Transkeian "self-government" should dispel any doubts. The scheme was first devised and then implemented while the Pondo peasantry in the Transkei was in open revolt against the government. Starting in 1960 the Transkei has been subjected to emergency regulations, and militarily occupied, and meetings of more than ten Africans have had to be approved by the Bantu Affairs Commissioner. Such were the conditions under which the November, 1963 elections took place. Numerous uprisings, armed clashes with the police, political assassinations of government-appointed chiefs, burning of huts, killing of cattle, and other acts of terrorism and sabotage against the authorities have taken place. To suppose that the South African government contemplates relinquishing control over a major centre of revolt from which underground activities could easily spread to the rest of the country would be an insult to Verwoerd's intelligence. Furthermore, the Bantustan programme, in full conformity with the principles of apartheid, excludes the possibility of a federal


union of equal units represented in a central parliament, and reserves for the South African government all control over foreign affairs, defence, internal security, immigration, customs, transport, post and telegraphs, and currency.

While the new Transkei constitution extends the scope of local autonomy, "self-government" is firmly vested, not in popularly elected representation, but in government-appointed and revokable chiefs. The Transkeian Legislative Assembly consists of 109 members, of whom only 45 are elected. Thus, the present "self-governing" Transkei has as prime minister Chief Kaiser Matanzima, an avowed supporter of "separate development," who received only about one-fourth of the popular vote in the November 1963 elections, but who commands a secure majority of the Assembly.[73] His main opponent, Victor Poto, although himself a chief, leads the Democratic Party, which has a multiracial platform and opposes apartheid. Even though Poto received a clear popular mandate in November, 1963, his party is reduced to impotence in the Assembly, as he only controls 33 of the 45 elective seats, and 16 of the 64 appointed chiefs. In May, 1964, the Assembly chairman, N. J. Busakwe, a Poto supporter, was deposed by the majority of appointed members, thereby reducing the opponents of apartheid to even more complete impotence.[74]

Not content with this degree of control, and in the event the chiefs themselves would become unpliable, Pretoria reserves itself a blanket veto right on all legislation passed by the Transkeian Assembly; jurisdiction over serious court cases involving


such crimes as treason, murder, sabotage, rape, theft, and witchcraft; the collection and allocation of taxes; and the supply and control of technical personnel and advisors. Furthermore, the Transkeian Assembly is not empowered to amend the constitution under which it operates.

In some respects, the new Transkeian Assembly is even less democratic than the old Transkei General Council or Bunga , most members of which were elected, even though their functions were purely advisory. Nevertheless, to much of the United Party White opposition, and to some Afrikaner Nationalists, Verwoerd's concept of Bantustans looks dangerously "liberal." Ironically, then, Verwoerd is now being outflanked on the right within his own party and by the English United Party opposition which, for political purposes, pretends to accept Verwoerd's "independence" promise at face value.[75]

Obviously, the Bantustan policy does not in any way meet non-White demands. This is true, not because the government "concessions" do not go nearly far enough to placate African Nationalists; but, rather, because the Bantustan policy, far from meeting African demands part of the way, does in fact run counter to them in two basic respects. In the first place, African nationalism is adamantly opposed to any extension of the powers of traditional chiefs, and favours democratic government with universal adult suffrage. Secondly, most politically conscious Africans are against any territorial partition along ethnic lines,


and will not settle for anything less than control over the entire country.[76]

Yet the extreme rightist opposition is possibly correct in seeing in the Bantustans an opening of Pandora's box for White domination. In as explosive a situation as that of South Africa, any slight change might be interpreted, however wrongly, as a weakening of the government's grip, and could easily precipitate much more drastic change. Some traditional chiefs, e.g., Victor Poto, the leader of the opposition in the Transkeian Assembly, have already shown signs of pressing for more autonomy, and oppose apartheid. Some of them might gain support among conservative peasants by appealing to ethnic particularism, or simply by showing opposition to the government and belatedly staging a "revolt of the puppets." If, on the other hand, chiefs continue to play a subservient role, peasant unrest is likely to increase; it would then be exploited to the utmost by militant African nationalism, and would probably be led and organized by terrorist organizations.

Another possibility is that the government's policy of creating uniracial Bantustans might backfire and be seized upon by African leaders to adopt an ideology of Black racialism. This could have a wide demagogic appeal, and would be relatively safe, as it could be done without ostensibly opposing apartheid. Interestingly, Poto, in his opposition to Matanzima, is adopting what outwardly looks like a pro-White stand, and Matanzima, in his support of the Bantustan concept, could easily adopt a position similar to that of the Pan-African Congress.

There is one important element of novelty in the Transkeian scheme which may prove difficult for the government to control. Nearly 900,000 Africans have been allowed to cast a ballot, and to form political parties represented in a legislative body. The extremely circumscribed scope given to the expression of African


political aspirations may not be as important as the catharsis involved in political action.

Let us summarize the policies of the successive South African governments towards the three main non-White groups, and, by the same token, the White attitudes which these policies have reflected. The traditional White policy and attitude towards Africans have been paternalistic. Africans are considered a backward, simple, childish people who must be ruled by their White guardians, and whose place in South African society is that of servants and manual labourers. So far as possible, the "good old tribal way of life" must be maintained because it is well adapted to the "primitive Native mentality," and because the "raw tribal Kaffir" knows his place and respects his White baas . Where the Whites need Black labour, the Africans must be segregated from, and prevented from competing with, the Whites. The urban Africans must be kept as a migrant proletariat, to prevent their taking root in the "European" part of the country. All Africans, whether urban or rural, must remain perpetually a rootless, powerless, unorganized helotry without any civic rights in South Africa. A White-controlled form of local self-government under government-appointed chiefs must be maintained and developed in the "Bantu homelands."

The rise of political consciousness among Africans, resulting from urbanization, industrialization, education, and outside influences, has led to a change in White attitudes and politics. Besides the stereotype of the childish, happy, irresponsible, subservient, stupid, tribal African, there arose the spectre of the threatening urban African who no longer respects his White master, and has the audacity of demanding certain rights. All available means of repression must be used to crush this "detribalized scum." The rise of the politically conscious African led to a hardening of anti-Black prejudices away from the old, benevolently paternalistic model, towards a virulently competitive form of racial hatred. Simultaneously, government policy became more and more oppressive and dictatorial. This is not to


deny that the ideology of apartheid does have a benevolent dimension within the master-servant framework. However, as the urban and industrial structure of modern South Africa rendered increasingly hopeless any attempts to impose an obsolete model of race relations based on nineteenth-century, rural conditions, and as the growing militancy of African nationalism could not be counteracted, the government increasingly resorted to the totalitarian measures.

The traditional White attitude towards Coloureds has also been paternalistic. The stereotyped Coloured, as viewed by the Whites, is a gay, musical, careless, irresponsible, humourous drunkard. As he has White "blood," he is considered superior to, and more intelligent than, the African. Before 1948 the Coloureds were treated as a bastardly offshoot of the Herrenvolk , deserving of sympathy. Previous governments, including the Hertzog Nationalists, always kept alive the Coloureds' hope of political and economic assimilation to the Whites, while opposing miscegenation; and the status of the Coloureds was markedly superior to that of the Africans and the Indians. Until 1948 the Coloureds were treated as Lumpenweisse . With the advent of apartheid, however, every prospect of assimilation to the Whites has evaporated, and the position of the Coloureds has steadily deteriorated. The Coloureds are segregated and treated as one of the three non-White groups, without any direct participation in the country's government.

With the creation of a Department of Coloured Affairs, there emerges a "new deal" towards that group. "Separate development" is to proceed as vigorously for the Coloureds as for the other racial groups, and, with the introduction of the Coloured Persons Representative Council Bill, a set of special "self-governing" institutions are going to be created. A Coloured Legislative Council of thirty elected and sixteen nominated members is to come into being, with limited powers in such matters as local government, education, community welfare, and pensions. Election is to take place every five years by universal suffrage of all


Coloureds over twenty-one.[77] This form of "self-government" is to replace the vestigial Coloured representation in Parliament. Thus, the Coloured policy parallels the "new deal" for Africans, except for the lack of any sizeable "Coloured homelands." The Coloureds can look forward to many little ghettos instead of a few large Bantustans, or, to use our earlier distinction, to a system of meso -segregation, as opposed to the "ideal" of macro -segregation for Africans.

South African Indians have been the object of the most virulent form of racialism. Like Jews in other countries, with whom they have often been compared, Indians are in the position of scapegoats. Most Whites view Indians as dishonest, sly competitors whose intelligence, greed, and high birth rate make all the more dangerous. While official policy statements concerning Africans and Coloureds have generally had the appearance of benevolence, and while these two groups have always been granted a place, albeit an inferior one, in South Africa, all governments have deliberately tried to rid the country of its Indian population, by means of exorbitant taxation,[78] "repatriation" schemes, and, now, expropriation under the Group Areas Act.

A Nationalist Party programme states: "The Party holds the view that Indians are a foreign and outlandish element which is unassimilable. They can never become part of the country and must therefore be treated as an immigrant community."[79] Before the Nationalists, Smuts and the United Party also accurately reflected the attitudes of the English-speaking Whites in being virulently anti-Indian. After the failure of all attempts to "repatriate" Indians who have been settled in South Africa for a century, the government in 1961 "recognized the existence" of the Asian community. This declaration will allow Indians to "develop


along their own lines" as voteless subjects in their own "group areas."

This point of view was expressed by W. A. Maree, the Minister of Indian Affairs, in a 1962 policy statement: "The government has realized that the Indians are a permanent part of the population of this country . . . the task of my Department is in the first place to guide the Indian people toward development so that they can have control over their own affairs to an ever-increasing extent."[80] A National Indian Council of twenty-one appointed members first met in March, 1964. Its functions are purely advisory. Thus, the Indian version of "self-government" does not even include the fiction of elective representation, as in the case of the Coloured and Africans. Apartheid for Indians involves maximum discrimination under meso -segregation.

Government policy towards the Coloureds and the Indians explodes whatever rationalizations the Nationalists have devised to defend apartheid. Apartheid, we are told, aims at the development of distinct ethnic groups, conscious of their cultural identity and eager to retain it. This development is to take the political form of ethnic nationalism, in that each of these ethnic groups is to constitute a "self-governing" nation-state, a "Bantustan." Verwoerd's "new deal" for the Africans has some superficial similarities with the above principles, and these have led some analysts to interpret apartheid as a move away from White domination and towards the political recognition of ethnic pluralism.

In my estimation, the Nationalist policy towards the Indians and Coloureds utterly refutes this interpretation. The Coloureds, as we have seen, are not an ethnic group in any sense of the word. If ethnicity were the criterion for separate development, then the "Coloureds" would become identified with either Afrikaans- or English-speaking South Africans. As to the Indians, apart from the fact that many of them are strongly Anglicized,


they belong to five main traditional language groups, and to two main religions. In the case of both Indians and Coloureds, the criterion of group definition is obviously not ethnicity, but whatever nebulous concept the dominant group has of "race." The fiction of apartheid as envisaging territorial partition between ethnic groups is also exploded by the government's Coloured and Indian policy. The "national homelands" of these two groups have even less reality than in the case of the impoverished Native Reserves; they consist of hundreds of little ghettos termed "group areas." Any interpretation of apartheid other than that of a system of oppression and segregation based on race clearly conflicts with objective evidence.


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