A Nation Torn by Strife

Almost one century ago a war was fought in our United States of America which is being repeated today in the “Awakening Continent.”  The war is not exactly the same, but it is a working out of the principles which were inherent in the struggle of 1861, the United States Civil War.  Two main questions were being fought about in the U.S. Civil War.  Should the South be permitted to secede from the Union was question number one and question number two involved a determination concerning the status of the colored race in our nation.

A situation has suddenly become immanent in the Dark Continent which has ranked front page of most of the leading newspapers and news periodicals of our nation.  The black race is in an uproar as South Africa is torn by the Fury of Strife.  This tragic situation has been three centuries in the making and it has finally broken out in all its fury.

Just recently Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd who heads the South African government was shot and wounded by a South African fanatic.  This coupled with all of the other violence and slaying has created a situation which is under consideration in the United Nations and is being considered by all the state departments of allied nations.

The tide of African supremacy and nationalism has been rising for a long time and it is not knocking at the very gates of the Union of South Africa.  This was one area which seemed to be impregnable against the demands of African nationalists and was a veritable citadel of white supremacy; but the die was cast.

Three hundred years of build-up have led to a bitter dilemma for the Afrikaners.  The Afrikaners are the rulers of the Union of South Africa.  They are the 1.8 million whites who dominate the blacks, which outnumber those 5 ½ to 1.  These Afrikaners are descendants of the persecuted Dutch and French Huguenot settlers, which speak their own version of Dutch, called Afrikaans and are characterized by Life magazine as the most “parochial white people anywhere.”

These Afrikaners govern a bush and tableland chunk of geography, which is about the size of Germany, France, and Italy combined.  It is the area that produces 43% of the world’s gold – about half as much as the gold produced by the U.S. and Russia together.  Its population is interestingly composed of the following groups: 1.8 million Afrikaners; 9.7 million native blacks; a half million Indians; 1.4 million Coloreds, who are a mixture of Malay, African, and white; and 1.2 million English speaking Europeans.  This conglomerate makes up the 14.6 million inhabitants occupying the political area known as South Africa.

The Afrikaner minority has run South Africa politically for the past decade through the Nationalist party and a secret organization known as the Broederbon, which is anti-freemason, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, and anti-native.  They have fostered the familiar policy of apartheid (meaning apartness or segregation) all through the 1950’s.

In 1620 the British planted the Union Jack in Capetown but they did not stay.  Thirty-two years later the Dutch founded the first permanent settlement.  Jan van Riebeeck intended this settlement to be a victualing post for ships of the Dutch East India Co.  Slowly the colony grew and in 1685 the Dutch settlers were joined by about 200 French Huguenots who had fled from France because of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by the French king.  This edict had guaranteed their Protestant rights but with its revocation all their rights and privileges as Protestants in predominantly Roman Catholic country were terminated.  After a short period of occupation by the British immigrants began to come in larger numbers to the Cape in the 1820’s and in 1843 the Natal was annexed by the British.

The British and Dutch did not get along well together.  There were differences in language, temperament and religion.  The Dutch were “Reformed” and the British were Anglican.  Already in 1833 Great Britain abolished slavery in her Empire (some 40 years before the abolition of this practice in the U.S.) and the slave-holding Dutch Boers were enraged and began the great Trek into the hitherto unexplored hinterlands farther north.  At the same time a great southward migrations of the black Mantu tribes from the equatorial areas of Central Africa was just beginning.  The Afrikaner defends his privileged position in South Africa on the ground that his ancestors were there first.

In spite of much difficulty the persistent Boers or Voortrekkers arrived and won the territory after a bitter battle with the Zulus in 1838.  Some of the trekkers dropped out farther south and settled what was later called the Orange Free State while others pressed forward into the area which was called Transvaal.

These Boers had definite ideas of how to deal with the African native and the trek had somewhat cut them off from Europe’s 19th century liberal “enlightenment,” hence their attitude toward the negro was much the same as had been their fathers when they left the Continent.

Seldom before has an African country been so torn by strife and confusion.  Prime Minister Verwoerd and conservative government will have to make some definite reversals or modifications in their policy of apartheid.  England has made definite commitments to her colonies in Western Africa.  Ghana is independent and Nigeria shall soon have its independence.  France has had difficulty with its North African colonies and has of necessity adopted appeasement policies.  South Africa too shall ultimately have to appease the colored race because these South African Bantus have definitely hears of the commitments made in other parts of Africa even though these Bantus may have only the foggiest notions concerning the location of such areas as Ghana and Nigeria.

It is difficult to make a judgment concerning all this strife and uprising.  We certainly have tendencies to sympathize with the native African who wants to be enfranchised and wishes to have all the twentieth century rights that the African white man enjoys.  The United Nations has voted unanimously against the white African policy of apartness.

We white of Dutch descent should certainly examine our own thinking in this matter.  What is our attitude toward the colored race?  Do we look at them scornfully and consider that it was they who were cursed when Canaan was cursed and that therefore they deserve to be in subjection?  A careful study of Genesis 9 and 10 might be very enlightening in this whole matter.