ANATOMY OF APARTHEID IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
FOUR ESSAYS BY FRANZ J.T. LEE
New York, N. Y. 10003
The Alexander Defense Committee was formed in February, 1965, to help eleven opponents of apartheid in South Africa, headed by Dr. Neville Alexander. Arrested in July, 1963, they were convicted under the „sabotage“ law even though the prosecution made no attempt to prove them guilty of any acts of violence or sabotage. As the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid reported (Dec. 10, 1964): „The prosecution case consisted largely of evidence that the accused had felt the Coloured people had to stand up for their rights and that armed struggle to liberate the non-whites should be contemplated. Evidence was led that they attempted to persuade various persons to their point of view and formed cells.“
On such evidence the Alexander eleven were given prison sentences ranging from five to ten years. In March, 1965, the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein rejected their appeal. All eleven are now in prison-the men incarcerated in the notorious Robben Island concentration camp.
Since the exhaustion of legal recourse in South African courts the ADC has continued to publicize the facts in the case and has contributed to the support of the prisoners’ destitute families.
The ADC is also giving financial assistance in other casesfor legal defense where that is still possible and for the support of families left destitute by the imprisonment of their breadwinners.
Among those whose families are being aided are Mr. Leo Sihali, a prominent member of the Cape African Teachers Association imprisoned on Robben Island; Mr. Louis Mtshizana, a lawyer who after defending hundreds of political defendants is himself now imprisoned on Robben Island; Mr. P. Gcabashe, 61, a former teacher imprisoned in Pondoland, and Mr. Moloyi, a peasant leader in Zululand, arrested in the spring of 1965 and still jailed on unspecified charges.
In 1965 the ADC brought Mr. I. B. Tabata, exiled President of the Unity Movement of South Africa, to the United States for a lecture tour. Mr. Tabata was able to give American audiences from coast-to-coast details about the Alexander and other cases as well as a first hand description of the situation in South Africa.
At present (1966) the ADC is sponsoring the speaking tour of Mr. Franz J. T. Lee, author of this pamphlet.
Franz J. T. Lee was born in 1938 of poor Coloured parents in the Cape Province, not far from the Transkei „peasant reserve.“ The extreme poverty of his family-three of his five brothers and sisters died before they were one year old-forced him as a young boy to go to work on white-owned farms and factories.
While working he attended Anglican and Roman Catholic mission schools, and he completed the requirements for university entrance by taking correspondence courses. In 1959, he moved to Capetown where he became active in the liberation movement. During the witch-hunt following the Sharpeville, Nyanga, and Langa incidents in 1960, Mr. Lee was fired as a „security risk“ and black-listed. For the next two years, he was unable to get a job of any sort.
In 1961, he joined the newly-formed African People’s Democratic Union of Southern Africa, a political party committed to a program of full democratic rights for all citizens and radical land reform. During this period, he met Dr. Neville Alexander and the ten other young men and women who were later sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to ten years for their opposition to apartheid.
In 1962, Mr. Lee received a scholarship to study philosophy and political science at the University of Tübingen in West Germany. His departure from South Africa in October of that year probably saved him from sharing the fate of the Alexander Eleven.
In Germany, he organized the Alexander Defense Committee and became its executive secretary. This committee raised the bulk of the funds for the legal defense of the Alexander Eleven and carried on an intensive publicity campaign.
In 1965, Mr. Lee became European Representative of the African People’s Democratic Union of Southern Africa. He is now writing his doctoral dissertation, The Influence of European and American Social and Political Theories in South Africa, at the University of Frankfurt. While continuing his studies, Mr. Lee has written and lectured extensively on South African affairs. He is currently touring the U. S. on behalf of the Alexander Defense Committee here.
From the publicity, one could conclude that in the West no struggle of an oppressed people receives so much sympathy as the non-white liberation movement in the Republic of South Africa.
The American press, for example, is surprisingly unanimous in its condemnation of the barbaric „apartheid“ policy of the Afrikaander (Boer) nationalists.
And yet the sympathy is nowhere so insincere as in this case. The press persistently conceals the consequences that would result from abolishment of the apartheid system.
The racial discrimination policy is intended to secure more than the political predominance of the white „Herrenvolk“-the supporters and members of Verwoerd’s Nationalist Party.
It is the indispensable basis for the slave system of the white farmers and the phenomenal profits of mining of English and other foreign-controlled industries.
Only when this is understood does the question of liberating the non-white population in the police states of Malan, Strijdom and Verwoerd come into proper focus.
The liberation of the Africans in South Africa is impossible without liquidating the present economic system. Those who oppose apartheid without acknowledging the need for a radical transformation of the South African society commit a serious error unless their sympathy is feigned.
It is perfectly clear that South African capitalism depends on the exploitation and oppression of the toiling masses.
If we leave aside the white proletariat, which has been bought off by the Afrikaanders to support them in the elections, by wages second only to those of the United States, the secret of this capitalist system is revealed by a difference in skin color.
Of the blacks (Africans), forming the overwhelming majority of the South African population, nearly 75 per cent live outside the cities.
Official figures for October, 1964, were 11,915,000 Africans, 1,703,000 Coloureds, 520,000 Asians and 3,335,000 whites in South Africa.
Of these again, 3,000,000 work practically under slave conditions on the white farms; while the rest, 5,250,000, must struggle to keep body and soul together in the so-called Reserves - and future „Bantustans“ (the present „independent“ Transkei being the first) - which comprise only 13.7 per cent of the total land area of South Africa.
According to the Land Act, 1913, and its Amendment, 1945, „no African is allowed to possess, buy, or sell land anywhere in South Africa“ (Art. 25, Sec. 6 ). The Africans can only stay on-and cultivate-land in the reserves.
Thus 20 per cent of the population-mainly Boer farmersown 86.3 per cent of the land.
Still more accurately expressed: the total area of South Africa is 472,359 square miles; whites own 416,130 square miles, the remainder - some 56,000 square miles - comprise the „Bantu homelands“.
Even among the white farmers the land is not equally distributed, since 63 per cent possess 12 per cent of the total land area; 27 per cent possess 32 per cent; and 10 per cent possess 56 per cent.
As the Africans in the reserves have no modern agricultural implements, their economic status grows worse year by year. The primitive methods of their forefathers were economically supportable when the Africans still had the whole of South Africa to themselves.
As a result of the ten „Wars of Dispossession“ - so-called Kaffir or Xhosa Wars (in South African and even international history books), ranging from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century - the Africans were forced into the „Native Reserves“ of South Africa and the three „British Protectorates“ which, climatically and economically, are far from the best areas.
Thus pastoral farming and animal-drawn ploughs became uncompetitive. On top of this, heavy taxation was imposed on the Africans; the poll tax, for example, is raised whenever the demand for cheap labor increases. Other taxes are the „Union Tax“ and the „Bantu Authorities Tax“.
It was not only the ravenous expansionist drive of the whites that led to expulsion of the native peoples from their ancestral lands.
A system was developed to force them to accept low-paid jobs outside their “labor concentration camps“ - the reserves (the Transkei, Zululand, Zeerust and Sekhukhuniland being the largest).
Dispossession transformed independent African farmers into „squatters“ - having no legal title to land originally belonging to them - tenants and migratory laborers on white farms; and drove others through hunger, poverty and heavy taxes to the industrial towns and mines in search of work.
The „Border Industries Project“ of today intends shifting the Afrikaander industries nearer to the reserves, but the capitalist exploiting system and its compulsions remain fundamentally unchanged.
The social and judicial position of the African farm laborer is inconceivably bad. Working 60 hours and more a week, he often earns scarcely enough to clothe and feed himself in meager fashion. He is legally subjugated to a system that parallels, if it does not surpass, slavery in brutality.
The 1932 South African Law on Contract Labor, for example, provides that an African, living on the farm of his master, cannot leave unless he can produce an identification document signed by his employer.
He cannot take a new job unless he can produce a document, signed by his previous employer, stating that in the coming time he has no duties to perform and is thus discharged from work.
The law further provides that a labor service contract applies automatically to the African’s children between the ages of 10 and 18, without their approval. They are subject to punishment, including „flogging“.
The pass laws are chiefly designed to channel cheap labor to the mines, farms and industries. The pass, which is compulsory for all African men and women, town and country dwellers, from the age of 15, contains the following:
Name and address of the holder; the address of the Office of the Labor Bureau, Efflux and Influx control; and the registration of the pass-holder. Ever- time the pass-holder loses his job he has to go to this office. If he or she does not find a job within 21 days then the holder must leave the area.
Signature and address of the employer and the date of starting work. The employer must sign the pass once a month. He must also indicate the date of discharge after which a discharged worker can be arrested, even on his way to the Labor Bureau, and sentenced to a fine of $28.00 or two months’ imprisonment-which means working gratis for the Boer farmers.
This concerns the Union Tax. Every year a married man must pay 56.30, an unmarried one, S4.90.
The Bantu Authorities Tax. The African chiefs charge certain taxes at will and are authorized by the government to punish those who refuse to pay them.
Special permit to be allowed out after 8 p.m. In general, no African is allowed to be out or on the streets after 8 p. m. in white South Africa.
From the above it becomes quite clear that the pass system is designed to control and enslave the African. The result is that not only the Africans in the reserves but also the farm workers, if they succeed in getting away from their masters, swarm into the towns and mines for employment-exactly in accordance with government plans.
That the mass migration of cheap black labor to the industrial areas was not merely the result of the operation of laws of the labor market was confirmed at a government conference as early as 1897.
To keep the wage level desirably low, an essential for high profits, it was explained that „a constant and abundant supply of native workers is necessary“.
Appropriate laws, high taxation of the peasants, and an ingenious recruiting system assure a constant flow of cheap African labor from the labor reservoirs.
For Africans - not for whites - it is a criminal offense if they do not pay their taxes. Above the age of 18 years each African male must pay a minimum tax of $4.90.
The whites only pay tax when their income is $840.00 or more per annum.
In addition to the already mentioned taxes, an African has to pay local tax, tribal levies, levies to various Bantu authorities, a Bantu Education tax, grazing, dipping and ploughing fees.
In 1957 statistics showed that an African contribution of nearly $140,000,000 per annum in indirect taxation enters the government coffers-this amount is again used to develop and apply the various apartheid schemes and paying government quislings enormous wages.
The poor people are taxed to further their own misery and oppression - one of the most heinous crimes of the Herrenvolk government!
Since 1936, some 400,000 blacks - a quarter of them virtually imported from the territories under Portuguese ultracolonialism - have been employed alongside 40,000 whites in the gold mines.
These Africans are hired as unskilled laborers-being paid today nearly a similar wage as in the 19th century at the beginning of industrialism and mining in South Africa.
Better positions at higher wages are forbidden by law. This is intended to preserve for whites, even as wage workers, their privileged position in society.
The Job Reservation Act (Clause 77 of the Industrial Conciliation Act, 1924 - now newly amended in Determination No. 13 of May 9, 1963), reserves specific jobs in various industries exclusively for whites. The worst-paid jobs - the hard, dirty work - are left for the Africans.
Mr. J. N. le Roux, South African Minister of Agriculture, expressed the official view as follows:
„We should not give the Natives an academic education. If we do this, we shall be burdened with a number of academically trained Europeans and non-Europeans, and who is going to do the manual labor in the country?... I am in thorough agreement with the view... that to a great extent he (the Native) must be the laborer in this country.“ (Hansard, Volume 11, 1945).
The African, being a constant migrant worker, contracted as a rule for nine to 18 months at a stretch, is refused normal status by the white government as „laborer“ or „employee“. He is thus officially discriminated as a „tribal native“ (see Article 36 of the law of 1937 ).
The African lives virtually with one foot in his place of employment and the other in his reserve. In this way it is difficult for Africans to organise trade unions or to become experts in a specific field.
Moreover, their whole family life is destroyed- another atrocity of the Herrenvolk!
And then one should remember that non-whites (chiefly Africans) constitute 99 per cent of the unskilled workers in industry, 66 per cent of the semi-skilled, and 17 per cent of the skilled workers. The main branches of the South African economy - mining, industry and agriculture - are dependent on African labor.
The abyss between the wages of the white and black workers has widened over the years, as the following table from the minim; industry shows: (Average annual cash earnings in mining, at constant prices).
Today a white mineworker earns 16 times more than his black „colleague“. Yet mining profits exceeded $392 million in 1962.
On most white farms an African earns nearly one-twentieth of that which a white worker earns. I witnessed African farm laborers earning on the average $5.60 to $8.40 per month in 1962 in the border towns of the Transkei.
Accommodations for the black masses, streaming into the towns and industrial areas, are unspeakable.
The recruited Africans are separated according to tribe and race. The migrant male workers live far from the white „suburbs“ in jail-like barracks and locations.
Normally the women - the „Kaffermeide“, „Aias“, or Kaffernennies“ (kaffir-maids) - who work in the kitchens and houses of the „Baas“ (overlord), „Nonna“, or „Missus“, live in a single room in the backyards of the white settlements.
There are numerous examples in South African historytoday still-of poor African girls returning home to the reserves, expecting a „Coloured“ baby from some white „manager“, „bank director“ or „secretary“ of some Minister - facts that normally never reach the press (which is nothing unusual in our bourgeois society) - but all signs of how strong the „colour bar“ of the Afrikaander nationalist is!
From these African townships-situated miles from the central industrial areas-the workers are transported daily to their jobs by means of buses, at fares they can scarcely pay. The big bus strike of Alexandra-township in the fifties proved that raising the fares by one penny meant for the Africans sinking below the bread line.
The living standards, in any case low enough, have worsened lately-in spite of the government „showpiece“ African settlements all over South Africa for tourists and foreign imperialist visitors who return and tell their countrymen: „Nowhere do the colored people have it so fine as in South Africa!“
A commission established in 1954 „to raise the living standard of the Native“, proved that in the machine industry around Johannesburg the weekly wages of the African worker from 1950 to 1954 remained unchanged and that cost-of-living increments rose from $1.68 to only $2.16 a month.
In the building and commercial industries it was not much better-today on the average the situation is similar!
At the same time, between 1950 and 1954, however, the price of mealiemeal - the staple food of the African, on which millions live for the greater part of their life - went up by 63 per cent, and meat 58 per cent.
It should also be noted that in 1950 the average family income of the African wage earner equalled 72 per cent of the „minimum level necessary for existence“, as calculated by social scientists in South Africa.
By 1954 this figure had sunk to 63 per cent- and according to Ronald Segal (in „The Agony of Apartheid“) in 1960 this figure sunk below 50 per cent in Johannesburg.
Mrs. Joy de Gruchy, a social scientist of South Africa’s Institute for Racial Relations, cited the following hard and bitter facts in her analyses:
„The income of each African family of five persons in Johannesburg is on the average 20 per cent under the minimum for a normal existence: 50 to 75 per cent of all the African families in Johannesburg earn less than the amount which the bread line requires. Millions of Africans suffer from hunger, while they are forced to save for schooling of their children, for medical and burial services, and even for insurance. Even when the wife works, an African family in Johannesburg has an average family income of L19 10 ($54.60) sterling per month.” (Translated from a German news agency report in the Weser Kurier, April 6, 1960).
Another German newspaper, Die Welt, published the following on January 5, 1960: „Every third non-white child in South Africa dies because of undernourishment before it is one year old. Many of the remaining ones perish before they are four years old.“ (Translated from the German version.)
In a Penguin Special - „Sanctions Against South Africa“ - Oliver Tambo, the Deputy President-General of the African National Congress of South Africa, writes: „Apartheid keeps African labour cheap. It has to in the interests of the ‘people’ (the 3,335,000 whites). Cheap labour keeps Africans underfed. In the urban areas four out of every five families are starving. The rate is higher in the country areas. The result is that the African population is exposed to the ravages of diseases easily traceable to poverty. The average life expectancy of an African is 37 to 42 years. For whites it is 67 to 72 years, a difference of 30 years!
„In breathless praise of the Government’s ‘showpiece’ hospital, Baragwanath, the Director of Information of the South African Embassy in London declares: ‘Every hour of the day and night a baby is born in the maternity ward.’ But out of every 100 African babies born, 57 die before they reach their fifth birthday. The rate for whites is 5 per cent. The mass destruction of innocent babies is the work of apartheid.“ (Penguin Special, Edited by Ronald Segal, May, 1964, page 23.)
Nobel Prize winner Albert John Luthuli, in his book „Let My People Go“, states: „Whites in South Africa rank fourth in the world’s standard of living when 60 per cent of the Africans live below the bread line. Mostoftherestare just above it.“ (Fontana paperback edition, page 182).
In spite of the relatively progressive industrialisation of the country, there are no trade unions worthy of the name among the African workers.
A law passed in 1937 defined trade unions as „unions of employees“. Since African workers are denied the status of „employees“, no legal basis exists for the formation of recognised trade unions.
Only unregistered - mostly white-controlled - African workers’ unions exist. The African worker is forbidden by law to strike (see Law of 1953, No. 48, Article 18), hence these unions are useless in practice.
The enormous profits made at the expense of the exploited Africans are indicated by the following examples:
(1) From 1870 till the end of 1934, the South African diamond mining industry on an invested capital of $100 million paid out more than $400 million in net dividends. In 1961 British investors in the mining industries altogether got $52.9 million as net dividends.
(2) The gold mining industry-including the successful and unsuccessful companies-paid between 1886 and 1932 on an invested capital of $100 million more than $1,275 million to its stockholders as net dividends.
(3) After sixty years of exploitation, in 1945 the net dividend figure paid out reached $2,395 million! (Figures from Decision in Africa, W. A. Hunton, New York, 1960. )
(4) Further, the dividend payments of the Orange Free State goldmining companies rose from $4.2 million in 1955 to $46.8 million in 1959. (Figures from Africa-The Roots of Revolt, J. Woddis, New York, 1962, p. 228. )
(5) It has been calculated that American investments in South African mining companies brought a 30% net return on investment in 1964.
Clearly such gross and brutal exploitation can be maintained, in the long run, only if the oppressed population accept prevailing conditions as unchangeable or due to „God’s Will“ and if they are blocked from political recourse.
The Afrikaander ruling class believe that they have found this magic formula in apartheid.
Under this policy, a „white“ parliament, representing 3,335,000 whites is supposed to rule 11,915,000 Africans, 1,703,000 Coloureds, and 520,000 Asians.
With the present socio-economic conditions suffered by the Africans as an example of Herrenvolk’s strategy, the Coloureds, Indians, Malays and Chinese can presage their own future situation. The present house arrests, detention and tortures have proved this already.
The oppressive laws of recent years-the Sabotage Act of 1962, the Bantu General Law Amendment Act of 1963, and the Bantu Law Amendment Act and „180-Day No Trial Law“ of 1964 have worsened the situation and introduced a „reign of terror”.
Yet political power is still firm in the hands of Afrikanerdom only a successful uprising of workers and peasants can dethrone Verwoerd-Vorster-Muller, the „triumvirate“ of the white Republic.
The Dutch Reformed Church is the Afrikaanders, prayer for the success of the „chosen people“; the Broederbond is the underground organisation to keep everything strategically controlled; the Afrikaander universities and other institutions of „ChristianNational Education“ are the dedicated suppliers of Afrikaander nationalism; and the „Reddingsdaad“ is aimed at destroying the economic power of the English-speaking group.
All these organisations conspire to ensure that political power is based on social and economic control.
The white proletariat and the Boer farmers form the base of apartheid - they decide the destiny of South Africa today. In fact, they represent less than 40 per cent of the electorate and only a little more than 1,500,000 whites - out of a total population of over 17,000,000 today!
Yet the English-speaking community still controls 99 per cent of mining capital, 94 per cent of industrial capital, 88 per cent of finance capital and 75 per cent of commercial capital.
SEVEN FINANCE HOUSES CONTROL OVER 1,000 COMPANIES, HAVING A CAPITAL EXCEEDING $2,800 MILLION.
Foreign capital constitutes a large part of the investments in South Africa. These investments affect the attitude of the West toward the apartheid policy.
Up to 1946 over $3,750 million had been invested in mining and government loans. By 1953 this figure had passed $5,150 million.
IN OTHER WORDS, AFTER WORLD WAR II OVER $1,400 MILLION WAS INVESTED IN SOUTH AFRICA BY CAPITALISTS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES- CHIEFLY ENGLAND, AMERICA, WEST GERMANY AND FRANCE.
At the end of 1964, direct American investments in South Africa amounted to $467 million. Of this, $192 million was invested in manufacturing and $68 million in mining. Net earnings on invested capital of U. S. direct investments were $87 million for all industries, $41 million for manufacturing, and $20 million for mining. The rate of return on the average 1964 level of investment was 19.8% for all industries, 23.8% for manufacturing, and 30.6% for mining.
These figures make clear why the Department of Commerce’s encouragement in 1955 of American businessmen to invest in South African concerns was completely superfluous. By 1955, the $50 million direct investment of 1943 had increased five times, and by 1965, it had increased over eight times.
At the end of 1964, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the World Bank had loans totaling more than $125 trillion outstanding to South African firms.
Thus, in the last ten years, U.S. investments have increased tremendously. No wonder that U. S. officials-like Senator Hickenlooper in 1953 after a trip through South Africa-have considered South Africa a „reliable friend“.
Lately in the United Nations’ resolutions and those of other „special committees“, concerning diplomatic and trade relations, or sanctions and the banning of arms to South Africa, one can clearly see how England, America and France, together with some other capitalist countries, show their true colors-tinted with African blood-more and more!
The South African Military budget increased by $67.2 million in 1962, reaching $168 million.
Another $56 million were added in 1963. Between 1960-61 and 1963-64 the defense expenditure was quadrupled to $291.2 million.
By December, 1964, the Herrenvolk had 104,000 men for the army ready for action at any emergency, as compared to 9,000 in 1960.
A Citizen Force and Commandos - consisting partially of white youths (male and female) over the age of 18 years, 15,000 armed white police, co-ordinated with the army, and a Police Reserve, whose target is 50,000 - partly of Coloureds and Indians, but not, of course, Africansare ready to assist should any national revolt break out.
Further, researches into poison gas, tear gas, chemical bacteriological weaponry, rockets and nuclear weapons are madeassisted especially by German scientists who have forgotten - or helped in - the gas chambers of Nazi Germany!
They are busy building an Afrikaander „Third Reich”!
Between 1962 and 1965 Britain supplied South Africa with 5252 million of military equipment. This was definitely not for international defense!
In 1962, Imperial Chemical Industries contributed a capital investment of $28 million plus its considerable technical assistance and knowledge, to build armament factories in South Africa.
The United States supplied aircraft and other important weapons. France furnished Mirage jet fighters and air-to-ground missiles.
La Carbone, a French armament concern, is setting up a firm in South Africa.
Belgium granted Verwoerd license rights to manufacture the FN automatic rifle, which is standard equipment for NATO troops!
Switzerland authorised the delivery of anti-aircraft guns, pistols, and ammunition to South Africa.
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are all either currently manufacturing automobile engines in South Africa, or have announced plans to do so. And an engine is an engine, be it for a car or tank.
Thus most of the suppliers of arms and ammunition to South Africa have already secured their businesses right inside the country and can now proclaim aloud about banning arms to South Africa.
South Africa’s current military spending is greater than the combined military budgets of the politically independent African states.
Further, South Africa has 16 Mirage III Mach. 2.0 strike aircraft - and hopes to get some more soon; about 24 Buccaneer Mk. II Mach. 1.2 naval strike craft; 32 American Sabres and 50 British-built Vampire subsonic jet fighters; 8 Shackleton long-range bombers and 6 Canberra subsonic light jet bombers (B 12 variants).
Only the UAR can compete with this air force with about 350 warplanes, including 50 MIG 21s (Mach. 2.0) In the African navies, the UAR leads: 8,000 sailors man 6 frigates, 8 destroyers, 8 corvettes and 9 submarines.
South Africa comes second with 3,000 men who maintain 8 frigates and 2 destroyers.
Further, the very effective poisonous gases- used by the Nazis-soman, sarin and tabun are manufactured in large quantities for future use in South Africa.
Foreign investments from the various countries of the „Free World“ contribute not only objectively but subjectively to maintaining and strengthening this regime of terror and fanaticism in the Republic of South Africa.
On the one hand they stabilise the South African industry, and on the other, new businesses are drawn into practising the same racial policies, even if reluctantly, since they have to obey the galaxy of fascist laws.
The United States and the other Western powers are thus directly responsible for the maintenance of apartheid. If they would and could act in consideration of the democratic aspirations of the black, yellow and other colored people, they could guarantee the reasonable economic interests of the West and ensure peace in South Africa. If however, as seems all too likely, they persist in their support of apartheid, the liberation of South Africa will devolve upon the non-whites alone, with incalculable economic and political consequences for the West.
Behind the refusal to allow an African to enter the same public bus, train or taxi, the same park, zoological or botanical barden, or the same concert, theater or church as a white in South Africa, lies a complex system of colonialism, racial discrimination, economic exploitation and oppression.
This system, called baasskap, ‘separate development,’ or apartheid, robs the African of his land and produce; it forces him to live in poverty, misery and disease; it denies him modern education, intellectual, philosophic and technical training; it herds him into slums, ghettos, concentration camps, overcrowed reserves and Bantustans; it cuts him off from every form of real democratic expression, freedom of speech, press and mobility. The most effective instrument used to achieve these ends is enslavement of the nonwhite mind.
The present educational system in South Africa has its roots in the Bantu Education plan of Dr. H. F. Verwoerd. It was instituted following the election of the Boer Nationalist Party to power in 1948 under Dr. D. F. Malan. At that time, Verwoerd was Minister for Native Affairs, by far the most important governmental department, and the policy of Bantu Education was Verwoerd’s solution to the... „native question.“
In essence, Bantu Education is nothing more than an artificial resuscitation of outmoded tribalism. Here is how Verwoerd described it in a speech in parliament in 1953: „There is no place for (the native) in the European community,“ Verwoerd explained, „above the level of certain forms of labor... Until now he has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his own community and misled him by showing him the green pastures of European society in which he was not allowed to graze.“
In picturing the blacks as animals grazing in fields, Verwoerd is only using the accepted language of the master race. In „Bantu Education, Policy for the Immediate Future“ (1954), Verwoerd wrote: „(Bantu) education should stand with both feet in the reserves and have its roots in the spirit and being of Bantu society... Their education should not clash with Government policy... If the native in South Africa today... is being taught to expect that he will live his adult life under a policy of equal rights, he is making a big mistake.“
J. G. Strijdom, who succeeded Malan as prime minister, described baasskap as follows: „Our policy is that the Europeans must stand their ground and must remain Baas (overlord) in South Africa. If we reject the Herrenvolk (master race) idea and the principle that the white man can remain Baas, if the franchise is to be extended to the non-Europeans, and if the non-Europeans are given representation and the vote and the non-Europeans are developed on the same basis as the Europeans, how can the Europeans remain Baas? Our view is that in every sphere the European must retain the right to rule the country and to keep it white man’s country.“ (Quoted from African Nationalism by N. Sithole, 1961.)
C. R. Swart, who is presently the president of South Africa, stressed the importance of retribalization in the 1953 parliamentary debate, following Verwoerd: „Hon. members have mentioned that the Department of Native Affairs adopts the policy that natives should not be detribalized but should be educated in their own manner and should learn to be good natives as tribal natives, and should not be imitators of the white man.“ Swart added, „This is the policy which we favor and in my opinion it is the only sound policy.“
The Bantu Education Act was passed in 1953, and it began a process designed to reduce 12 million Africans to a state of primitive tribalism which will ensure that they are rightless, voteless and ignorant. It is controlled by the Native Affairs Department, which aspires to direct the thinking, acting, happiness and future development of each and every black. The department controls the supply of cheap African labor - the very backbone of the immensely profitable South African economy - to the farms.
It collects the income, hut, poll and labor taxes from the Africans; and it enforces the various racial laws, especially the most-hated pass laws, which in 1960 led to the massacres at Sharpeville, Langa and Nyanga where 72 unarmed peaceful demonstrators were massacred by machine-gun fire and 200 others were seriously wounded.
For other nonwhite sections of the population-the two million Coloureds, 500,000 Indians, 50,000 Malays and 5,000 Chinese-similar departments have been formed or are in the process of being formed. In the last analysis, every nonwhite must be robbed of modern education and forced to join the „Commonwealth of Poverty“ in South Africa.
The pressure on Verwoerd to hasten the black population through the mills of Bantu Education has increased in recent years rather than decreased. This is because a large portion of South Africa’s labor comes from other African states, mainly from the former British protectorates, the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique, and Malawi. Each year literally hundreds of thousands of black men are imported from these countries to be pressed into South African industries.
However, the revolts which are presently rising in many of these neighboring states clearly threaten to cut off this supply of cheap labor - and this fear is haunting Verwoerd and his ministers. And not only this, but the fact is the South African masses themselves are becoming more and more organized in their resistance to the regime of apartheid.
The Sabotage and 90-Day Laws, and Proclamation 400 in the reserves, have become absolute necessities. These allow any policeman to arrest any nonwhite and hold him for an indefinite period of time without warrant and without a trial. The South African jails are filled with thousands of political prisoners.
Briefly, I want to show the following:
(1) that at the primary, as well as the university level of education, Bantu Education is a fraud, in spite of the boasts and propaganda of the racist government;
(2) that compared to white education, Bantu Education has nothing to do with modern education at all-it is designed to retribalize the African, to form him as a potential cheap laborer, to enslave his mind, and to kill every sign or spark of revolutionary fire in him; and,
(3) that Bantu Education has already caused considerable harm to African youth in the last decade.
The idea of separate education in South Africa was not new in 1953. Since 1910, there had been a loose form of discrimination in the schools. The syllabuses, text-books, libraries, and examinations, however, were the same for the various sections of the population. The teaching media had been mainly English and Afrikaans, and to some extent, in the reserves, Xhosa also a language spoken by nearly half of the African population.
The United Party, which represents the interests of British and other foreign capitalists in South Africa, then had a somewhat more liberal policy than it does today. While in power, it did not see the danger coming. It did not realize that the modern industrialized African „noble savage“ was beginning to deslave his mind, to grasp and grapple with his social, political and economic fetters. Only after World War II, when Dr. Verwoerd returned from his studies in Nazi Germany, and when his own Nationalist Party was in power, could Bantu Education be initiated. After Hitler, Verwoerd believed: „If you want to control a people you must get hold of their education.“
At the beginning of the ‘50s, the South African educational system was roughly comparable to the American: The first two years were also known as the kindergarten period, being standard A and B respectively, and together called the „sub-standards.“ The next five years at school were the primary level, Standards I, II, III, IV, and V.
However, even in those days only about one in every 200 African students actually completed Standard V. The rest were material par excellence for the mines. They could just about read a few simple sentences, count to 1000, sign their names, and understand the main orders of their white masters.
The next three years comprised secondary education: Standards VI to VIII. Only at this level did students get certificates of the Department of Education, Arts and Science, which werethe same for all sections of the population. Very few pupils reached this tenth year of education.
The following two years allowed a pupil to take either the matriculation course, giving him a certificate for study in a university, or Standards IX and X, which provided him with the National Senior Certificate. This did not admit him to a university, but to other vocational schools or government service. After 12 years of education an African student could study for a Bachelor’s degree at any one of the „open“ (multi-racial) universities.
Primary and secondary education were compulsory for the white youth but not for the nonwhite. On average, the state paid $180 per year for the education of a white pupil, and about one tenth of that for the education of a nonwhite. Due to poverty and the inability to pay school fees, or to buy clothes and books, the vast majority of African children could not
That was in the 1950s: of the 200,000 children of an African population of about 11 million who actually attended primary classes in 1950, only 968 reached the fifth grade, and only 362 the level of matriculation.
At that time, nevertheless, the teachers were respected and loved by the pupils and their parents. The schools had five-hour sessions each day, and English was the widely accepted teaching medium. Many Africans joined the teaching profession, and there was one teacher for two or three classes, who gave lessons in all subjects and knew the interests and weaknesses of his students. These teachers belonged to the liberation movements of the time.
Today, all of them are dead, under house arrest, in jail under the Anti-Communist, Sabotage or 90-Day Acts, in Robben Island concentration camp-or fired, jobless, possibly active in the underground, or have fled from the country. Dummy teachers, indoctrinated, government-friendly Quislings, have taken their places. They have nothing in common with the deepest aspirations of the masses; quite obviously, they are hated by the pupils and their parents.
After 1953, the situation had changed: The teacher in the reserves was no longer a servant of the Department of Education. He is by and large controlled by a „tribal authority“ - a black chief of his „Bantu Community.“ This chief sees to the local management of the schools. His inability to master the ABCs does not disqualify him. He can simply put a cross on an official document, the contents of which he does not understand, so long as it is countersigned by one of the teachers he appointed.
The chiefs are being used to oppress and exploit their own kith and kin. This is the process of retribalization.
In the primary and secondary schools, an inordinate time is given to religious instruction-the „opium“ most fitted to keeping the slave docile, contented with his lot, meek and humble. The longest teaching time is given to manual training- and there is plenty of practice. The pupil has to learn how to use a broom, pick or shovel scientifically, for these are the instruments he will use the greater part of his adult life.
Special text-books are used for the African pupil, written in a pseudo-African language called a „vernacular.“ At present, six such languages are being developed in the offices of the Native Affairs Department. No longer is language the product of a people, brought into existence over decades and decades, but it is being manufactured by civil servants. English and Afrikaans are more and more being eradicated from the school curriculum - and it hardly need be said that an African with a Bantu Education Matriculation Certificate in Xhosa, for example, would be hard put to study at a white university in Cape Town or to pursue his studies in a foreign country.
Furthermore, all international scientific text-books are forbidden in these schools. About 20,000 international books, some of classical „Western Culture,“ are banned in South Africa, not to speak of the literature of scientific socialism. It is a criminal offense to read these: the public libraries have come under the axe of apartheid.
While the number of pupils in the first five classes has increased ten times in the last decade, the number of schools and the number of teachers has remained about the same. Pupils now only attend school for two-and-a-half hours daily.
In 1962, for example the 3.3 million whites had 2,600 primary, secondary and high schools, including 34 special schools for „abnormal“ children. There were 718,620 pupils in attendance of which 48,000 attended 222 private schools. In 1964, the 12 million blacks had only 7,000 schools, although to call them schools, of course, is an exaggeration, since they consist mainly of big dark halls, tents and old shaky buildings-anything that is, with a roof over it.
Of these, only 169 were state schools, while the rest were partially subsidized by the state. About 28,000 teachers, of whom 500 were white, had to attend to 1.5 million pupils. Each class had approximately 60 students.
What was the result? The figures speak for themselves, and they were published by-the English press: The Johannesburg Rand Daily Mail reported April 10, 1965, that 0.1 per cent of the pupils who started schools in the sub-standards reached matriculation level. Another Transvaal newspaper, the Sunday Times, gave an even lower figure May 23, 1965: 0.06 per cent. That means that out of 10,000 pupils who started the Bantu Education program in the kindergarten class of 1953, only 6 reached the matriculation class of 1965.
How many of those then passed the examination allowing them to enter college? Figures for that year are not available, but the following table, based on data published in the Johannesburg Star, February 26, 1962, allows us to make an educated guess:
Per cent of successful African matriculation candidates who took the examination
From these figures it is evident that:
(1) the highest examination pass-rates were achieved in the years immediately after the Bantu Education Act was passed in 1953, before its venemous influence had been felt throughout the school system;
(2) following the institution of the Bantu Education program, there was a noticeable decline in pass-rates, holding more and more Africans away from university education; and,
(3) since 1953 half of the candidates who took the examinations failed, and in 1959 and 1960, at the time of Sharpeville, less than one-fifth passed.
Clearly, a student does not pass the matriculation examination according to intellectual capability or merit. He passes according to perentages fixed by the Native Affairs Department - and only if he is chosen by the Department.
The Separate University Education Act of 1960 made it impossible for nonwhites to attend the open universities anymore, that is, the universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand and Durban. Five extra „tribal universities,“ or as the students call them, „bush colleges,“ were founded. What happened in these institutions of higher learning can be seen from these facts about one of them, Fort Hare:
In 1959, the faculty of this university consisted of 38 teachers, 11 of whom were Africans, including two nonwhite professors. Many of them were progressive persons, interested in furthering the aspirations of the African youth. With the change-over in 1960, most non-white teachers were fired or forced to resign.
The student population of Fort Hare declined from 374 in 1954 to 274 in 1964. From an average of 60 BA awards, the graduating class dropped to 13 per year. There were 24 white professors, mainly Boers, and only one African professor. There were 37 white lecturers and 10 Africans. The top pay for a nonwhite professor was lower than the average salary of a white senior lecturer.
In the May 23, 1965, article cited earlier, L. F. Wood, a United Party representative in parliament, gave further statistics on South African university education. Out of a population of 3.4 million whites, he noted that 33,526 attended universities. Out of the population of 12 million Africans - 946 attended tribal universities: one per cent of the white population and .0008 per cent of the African.
Even from this brief presentation, it should be apparent that Bantu Education is a direct product and important component of apartheid. It is intended to retribalize the African, to enslave his mind, to suppress every form of democratic organization, and thereby to establish a permanent force of cheap black labor. In its 13-year-long existence Bantu Education has clearly worsened the situation of the African.
But will it work in the long run? Will it accomplish the dreams of its white supremacist fathers? That is another question.
An educational system that is successful must be acceptable to those for whom it is designed. It must be seen by the African people themselves as beneficial for them, and not dictated to them against their better interest. In fact, an educational system should be the product of the people themselves, embodying their aspirations and needs. It has to be in accordance and in keeping with the general social, economic, political and cultural trends of the time, towards a better world, a more hopeful, peaceful, happier and freer future for all mankind...
These ingredients are the quintessence of education. They are totally absent from the Bantu Education plan of the South African Herrenvolk. Not a single section of the nonwhite population had a say in its formation; none accept it, none see it as beneficial; it does not express their real wishes and aspirations; it is an absurd anachronism.
From one end of the country to the other, Bantu Education must be bolstered up with police force, with machine-guns, with an army and with a galaxy of oppressive racial laws. The whole concept of apartheid is an outrage to human intelligence, dignity and worth.
Seven years ago, Isaac B. Tabata, one of the greatest opponents of Bantu Education, wrote the following sentence: „It is our belief that the people of South Africa, both white and nonwhite, will one day jerk themselves out of their complacent smugness and prostration, wake up to their responsibilities and seek to wipe out from the book of history this chapter of degradation, misery and moral destitution.“ (Education for Barbarism.)
This day has come nearer than ever, but the South African oppressed and exploited need the help and support, spiritual and material, of all human beings who are against oppression, who want the „damned of this earth“ to become free, who see the „Formed Society“ and the „Great Society“ as dangers for humanity as a whole.
Since the end of the second world war the former colonial countries have seized their chance to win their national independence between the fronts of the cold war. Now in the ‘60s, the wave of black emancipation is also threatening the inheritance of Cecil John Rhodes, in the south of the „Dark Continent“, which until today remains the bastion of white supremacy, a fossil of the colonial epoch:
Eight per cent of the world’s population live in Africa, yet all the national economies of this part of the globe together account for only two per cent of world production.
Under the pressure of myopic unilateral economic interests the European industrial countries developed the natural potential of these colonies only one-sidedly: Africa served and still serves as a supplier of raw materials and an inexhaustible source of cheap labor.
The average wages of African laborers and workers are still among the lowest on earth. Hannah Arendt explains this as follows:
„The foreign investments and imperialistic protected capital demanded nothing else than its high profit rates in a specific field and showed no tendency to extend this to other fields, thus bringing a rational industrial production into force... Whenever rational labour and production policies came into conflict with race considerations, the latter won, no matter how high the price was“.
The process of colonisation results in the absolute retrogressive deterioration and pauperisation of the inhabitants of the colonial world.
In 1953 Harold Wilson, the present British Prime Minister, in his book The War on World Poverty, formulated this tendency as follows:
„For the vast majority of mankind the most urgent problem is not war, or communism... It is hunger... This hunger is... the cause of the poverty, squalor and misery...“
Some time ago statistics of the United Nations showed that two-thirds of humanity suffer permanent malnutrition; recently the FAO reported that it is hopelessly losing the battle against world hunger. The establishment of an economy which frees the fast growing population from hunger-this is the social aim of all political independence movements.
In the Republic of South Africa and in Rhodesia a special situation can be noticed. The political independence of these areas from the metropolitan industrial countries does not at the same time mean the emancipation of the Colored peoples living there, in fact it is the attempt of the white minority of settlers to prolong the colonial status quo by hook or by crook and to intensify the oppression of the native peoples.
Because of relatively good climatic conditions and comparatively easy exploitable rich mineral resources in these countries, large groups of whites (chiefly of Dutch and British origin) have settled there, and regard Africa as their home, but just cannot grasp why they must suddenly give up their privileged position as a master race, a chosen people, and trustees over the millions of black children.
Their answer, that is, their practical reply to the demands of the black opposition, the advice of the old colonial powers, or the appeals of the United Nations, is a step-up of police suppression, jailing or deportation of the non-white leaders, the extension of the military apparatus, the systematic juridical codification of the policy of „Baasskap“, lately known as apartheid, at present more politely formulated as „separate development“, in short: racial discrimination and ruthless economic exploitation of the toiling masses. In Rhodesia this policy is also known as „partnership“ or „multi-racialism“.
Now what is Baasskap by definition?
J. G. Strijdom, the second Prime Minister of South Africa, after the Nationalist Party won the elections in 1948, and one of the creators of this concept, stated in 1953:
„If we reject the Herrenvolk idea and... if the franchise is to be extended to the non-Europeans... and the non-Europeans are developed on the same basis as the Europeans, how can the European remain Baas (master)?“
In the same year the successor to Strijdom, the present Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, more accurately formulated this policy as follows:
„There is no place for him (the African) in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour... Until now he has been... misled... by showing him the green pastures of European society in which he was not allowed to graze“.
This way of thinking is the product of a three-century cohabitation of whites and non-whites in a slave-owning society. The military and technical superiority of the white immigrants and the ethnocentric interpretation of Christianity amalgamated themselves into the „chosen people“ mission of the „Herrenvolk“, into the anti-democratic ideology of Christian Nationalism, which recognised its parallel in German National Socialism, and after the second world war, found its political practice in organised outlawry, culminating in the massacres of Sharpeville and Langa.
Hannah Arendt says:
„The exorbitant and horrid facts of the Boers’ history and their metamorphosis from a nation into a white race caste, only became known in Europe in the 1930s, when the conscious racial policy of the Boers, and its extraordinary sympathy with Nazi Germany, being so evidently in contrast with other British dominions, was proclaimed.“
In an inexorable dialectic, apartheid becomes more favorable to the white minority in southern Africa as an ideology and practical policy, as the inner and outer pressure increases. In other words, as the African revolutionary wave nears its flood tide, and as the major members of the United Nations (USA, Britain and France) fear the loss of their investments. and profits in southern Africa.
The declaration of unilateral independence of Smith’s Rhodesian Front signals the impingement of apartheid upon Rhodesia.
The present Rhodesia, together with other British colonial territories, was originally a private concern of Cecil Rhodes.
On the ground that „large tracts of valuable country ruled by savage native chiefs in the interior of Africa“ might be annexed by other imperialist countries, Rhodes acquired, in 1887, the exclusive right to exploit minerals in this area. The British Crown granted him a royal charter in 1889, and until 1923 his private chartered company - the British South Africa Company - legally administered Rhodesia.
In this late annexation of the territory by Britain lies the root of the socio-politico-economic problems of Rhodesia, leading to the present crisis. Seven years after the annexation by Britain, in 1930, the Land Apportionment Act juridically fixed the colonial land robbery.
This „Magna Carta of the Europeans“ gave 52,000 whites 52 per cent of the total land, and 1.1 million non-whites 48 per cent. The then senior official of the Native Affairs Department, giving testimony before the Carter Commission, which laid the foundation of this Act, stated:
„We are in this country because we represent a higher civili zation, because we are better men. It is our only excuse for having taken the land“.
Three years ago the land was insignificantly redivided. At present 233,000 whites have 41 million acres of land, and 3.69 million Africans only about 44 million acres of land. While a European immigrant is granted a minimum of 750 acres, an African on the average only has 22 acres.
Two million Africans live in the reserves, one million work on the white farms, and the rest form an urban proletariat on the periphery of the bigger cities like Salisbury and Bulawayo.
A view of the economy: the most important sector is mining. in which mainly British and American capital is invested. Gold, asbestos, coal, chrome and iron are mainly exploited. Because of the unilateral development, industrial products of all sorts have to be imported in exchange for agricultural and mining products.
Material for railway construction, engines, oil and various automobiles are imported. Of course, not forgetting arms and ammunition.
Similarly, as in South Africa, Smith’s Rhodesian Front (the equivalent of Verwoerd’s Nationalist Party) came into power a few years ago due to revolutionary pressure and the demands of the white minorities for a government „to settle the native question once and for all“.
This change had immediate „positive“ results: in South Africa and in Rhodesia the immigrants increased; further, in Rhodesia mining production increased by 12.5 per cent in 1964, as compared with 1963; the production in the first eight months of 1965 exceeded that of 1964 by 21 per cent; the export net gain was $98 million in 1964.
The one-sidedly-developed economy achieves its high profits only because of the extremely low wages paid to the African workers. To stabilise this system the government has cast its net of apartheid over the whole social life. Freedom to live, study, work or move where they like has been severely restricted for Africans by a complicated system of passes-thus the free fluctuation of productive forces is abolished.
Practically all public places and institutions have separate entrances for whites and non-whites, in buses, in trains, in post offices; yes, in nearly all walks of life the Africans and the infinitesimal minority of Coloureds and Malays are racially discriminated against.
In the centre of the Wilson-Smith negotiations stood the refusal of the Rhodesian Government to accept the very modest plea to grant the African majority more political rights-at least a third of the legislature. And that any questions of independence should be decided by a plebiscite of the whole nation on the basis of „one man, one vote“.
These moderate demands were far too much for Herrenvolkism. In 1962 the non-whites acquired 15 of the 65 seats in the legislature; due to a complicated roll system the Africans remained a permanent minority, allowing the whites always to obtain the two-thirds majority necessary for decisive legislation and to change the constitution.
In fact, the representation of the non-whites merely served the purpose of window-dressing; in practice, the whole non-white population had no say in the political and economic life of Rhodesia.
Isaac B. Tabata, the president of the All-African Convention, the Unity Movement and the African People’s Democratic Union of Southern Africa, made the following statement in the United States on the Rhodesian question:
„The present situation is due entirely to the fact that it is not Rhodesia which is at issue. What is at issue is the whole of southern Africa... Rhodesia is both a buffer State between South Africa and the independent States in the north, and at the same time a front line of defense for South Africa which means that it is a front line of defense for all those vested interests of American, British, German and French finance... Rhodesia is part and parcel of a whole plan which embraces the Congo, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa“.
As far as trade sanctions and an economic boycott of Rhodesia and South Africa are concerned, it should be remembered that Smith and Verwoerd own very little in southern Africa. What industry exists there is mainly the property of British, American and French financiers. They have nearly $5,600 million invested in this area; they gain 27 per cent profit per year on investments, the highest in the world; over 95 per cent of their capital is invested in mining and industry.
Thus to ask them to boycott these countries is, in effect, asking them to boycott and blockade their own property!
„Reason has fled the scene,“ Wilson stated after the independence declaration. In fact, „reason“ has never played a major role in southern Africa. But if it remains as irrational as at present we may soon be faced with one of the greatest catastrophes on the African continent. Smith has the backing of an army of scarcely 2,000 white soldiers, and a comparatively small police force, but Verwoerd has a well-trained army of over 150,000, thanks to the service of ex-Hitler officers, French OAS generals, and others who fled to this haven after the world war.
South West Africa, which today is dominated by the Republic of South Africa as a mandated territory and regarded by it as a „fifth province“, covers about 318,000 square miles, an area considerably larger than that of France. Its 1960 population of 573,000 consisted of 477,000 Africans, 73,000 whites, and 23,000 Coloured, the latter including the „Rehoboth Basters“ of mixed African-German descent.
Administratively, the territory is divided into the southern and central „Police Zone“, which corresponds to the area annexed by Germany in 1890, and the northern „Tribal Area“, bordering on Angola. In the Police Zone there live 170,000 Africans, and the entire white and Coloured populations, while 307,000 Africans live in the „Tribal Zone.“ The broad, desert, coastal strip, running from Walvis Bay to the Orange River and known as the „Diamond Area“, is uninhabited.
South West Africa was occupied by Germany in 1884, and, after World War I, it was mandated to the Union of South Africa under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The terms of the Mandate obliged South Africa to promote and safeguard „to the utmost the material and moral well-being and the social progress of the inhabitants of the territory.“
After the League of Nations was dissolved and the United Nations established, South Africa claimed that the Mandate was no longer valid and that South Africa was entitled to annex the territory outright-in spite of rulings of the United Nations and of the International Court of Justice to the contrary. On November 4, 1960, the governments of Liberia and Ethiopia filed suit with the International Court of Justice against the Verwoerd regime for violating these decisions.
The Pretoria regime, probably aware that, in the end, it would find the World Court on its side, ignored these protests and proceeded to establish a secret air base at Swakopmund, training camps at Windhoek and the Ondangua Air Strip, and other military bases at Walvis Bay, on the Caprivi Strip and elsewhere throughout the territory. It thus prepared for any military emergency of an internal or external nature.
The post-war history of political organization in South West Africa begins with tribal chiefs dominating the scene. Their activities ranged from conferring with officials of the South African government to petitioning the United Nations. The Hereros, who suffered most under German imperialism, and who were almost stamped out during the colonial wars at the beginning of this century, were the most vocal group. They demanded trusteeship status for South West Africa, return of their lands, and better social and education facilities.
In 1959, the Ovamboland Peoples Organization (OPO) and the South West African National Union (SWAN U) were formed. Based on a general demand for national unity and popular mobilization, they effectively organized a boycott of government municipal beerhalls, movie houses, dancehalls, and buses in Windhoek. The white racist Pretoria regime retaliated with violence. On December 10, 1959, South African police and soldiers were flown to Windhoek to smash the boycott. Twelve African patriots were killed, and more than 50 others were seriously wounded. This is an excellent example of an „advanced nation’s sacred trust of civilization“, of the way in which South Africa promotes and safeguards to its utmost the „material and moral well-being and the social progress“ of the Africans.
At the beginning of 1964, South West Africa had three organizations which, while open to members of all races, were predominantly African: the South West Africa United National Independence Organization (SWANUNIO), the SWANU, and the South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO, formerly OPO) Due mainly to the influence of the South African National Liberation Front, founded by Dr. Neville Alexander and Dr. Kenneth Abrahams, the latter two groups formed a united front, the South West African National Liberation Front (SWANLIF). The main objective of SWANLIF is to forge a broad anti-South Africa united front, a fighting alliance of all democratic and socialist-oriented organizations of the people.
Early in 1964, another organization, the Caprivi African National Union (CANU) was formed, and in September, the National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO), under the chairmanship of Mburumba Kerina, came into existence. Two officials of CAN U, including its president, were arrested by the government in 1964.
All these organizations have been formed in protest against the apartheid practices in South West Africa. The Africans have no right to vote, no share in the economy of the country, and no representatives in any organ of state. Racial discrimination and apartheid laws have been imposed. The Africans have been robbed of their land and mineral wealth. In order to retribalize and enslave the minds of the non-whites, and -thus make them easier to exploit, „Bantu education“ has been extended to South West Africa.
The merciless oppression of South Africa, backed chiefly by England, the United States, the Federal Republic or Germany, France, and Japan, has no respect for color of differences between tribes. It has thus driven the exploited people together for mutual protection. The blinders of jealously, opportunism, careerism, racialism, tribalism and bureaucracy-all consequences of the imperialist divide-and-rule policy, imposed by every administration from the German „scramble for Africa“ on-are rapidly falling from the eyes of the various political groups. The dominant mood and overriding social motive is for unity against Verwoerdian fascism. The unite front emerges as a unity from below.
In March, 1964, the Odendaal Commission, which had been instructed to study the possibilities of „developing“ South West Africa, handed in its report. Along with various economic proposals, it recommended the formation of 10 „Bantustans“ in the territory. The non-white population protested against the institution of these pseudo-independent African states, which would remain under the jurisdiction of the central white South African government. The Bantustan plan, due to protests from within, from politically independent African states, and from the U.N., was dropped for the time being.
But the Bantustans were by no means pivotal in the report; its essence lies rather in its recommendations on the economic „development“ of South West Africa. These were contained in a „White Paper“ which Verwoerd had parliament enact into law at the end of April, 1964.
When Verwoerd speaks, we hear the voice of Boer capital in South Africa. It is the laws governing the movement of South African capital in general and the expansion of Boer capital in particular which dictated the nature and direction of the recommendations of the Odendaal Report and of the provisions of the White Paper.
The Odendaal Report proposed that $218.4 million be spent in South West Africa over the first five years. These expenditures were to be distributed as follows (in millions of dollars):
Hydro-electric power on the Kunene River
New roads linking S.W.A. and Angola
New arterial roads within S.W.A.
Land to be bought from white farmers for Bantustans
$56 million had already been allocated for the project in the 1964 budget, and the South African parliament immediately voted an additional $154 million.
Every cent will be used to buildup the economic infra-structure of the region; not a penny will go to aid the thousands of Africans who are living far below the bread line.
It is further of interest to note that, of the estimated $132 million dollars to be spent on development projects, more than half will be used for the further development of the white area. In the past by far the greater proportion of the territory’s total expenditure has been in this area.
Thus, in 1962-63, of the $6.86 million authorized for administration buildings, only $420,000 was spent in the native and Baster areas. And even this sum was not used for the benefit of the African masses. Rather, it financed, among other projects, a stone crusher on the Kunene River, a new police station in Ovamboland, and new houses and offices for white government officials in Rehoboth. The total expenditures of the South African Native Trust Fund for demolition, construction and maintenance of buildings in the African areas of the whole of South West Africa amounted to $6,280 in 1962-63 and $12,138 in 1963-64.
Further, of the $1.07 million authorized for school construction in 1962-63, only $140,000 were spent on African schools and $19,600 on a Coloured school. Public health construction shows the same pattern: $2.38 million were spents for whites, $840,000 for non-whites. And there were 73,000 whites and 500,000 non-whites in South West Africa!
These are just a few examples to show the discrimination and injustice of apartheid in South West Africa, to illustrate that the Pretoria regime wants to „develop“ South West Africa for its own profit. That is, it wants to promote and safeguard „to the utmost the material and moral well-being and social progress“ of a certain section - the white, „master race“ section“ - of the inhabitants of the territory.“ And yet, although the International Court of Justice and the United Nations know these facts - the above statistics were taken from a United Nations publication - the Court, on July 18, 1966, ruled in favor of South Africa. This decision was obscured with legal technicalities. But what the decision would be was already crystal clear in 1960, as it of necessity follows certain laws of capitalist society, in which South Africa plays an ever more important role.
Let us analyze the labor and manpower problem in South West Africa. There is an increasing shortage of professional, technical, and administrative personnel, including architects, engineers, draftsmen, and mechanics, as well as staff to expand health and educational facilities. In 1965 an unprecedented number of vacancy notices was published in the territorial press. Supplementary personnel were imported from South Africa, and an acute housing shortage resulted. In the end, the South African government had to authorize the employment of non-whites as skilled workers on state construction projects. Here the government had to break its own laws, as these positions were legally reserved for whites. This is one example of how socio-economic factors accompanying industrialization are undermining the very basis of apartheid.
As in South Africa itself, non-whites form the bulk of the labor force in the white area of South West Africa. Non-whites constitute 86% of the labor force in agriculture, 89% in mining, 47% in industry, 59% in construction, 65% in the electrical trades, and 66% in the social services. Since, just as in South Africa, mining and agriculture are the main sectors of the economy, the non-white toiling masses carry the entire economy on their shoulders. And they are the main force that will radically change this economy for the benefit of the whole population...
The driving force behind the nefarious schemes of South Africa to convert South West Africa into a „fifth province“, lies in the economic boom in the „motherland“ itself. In 1961, as a result of the Sharpeville massacre, the signs of the approaching colonial revolution, and indications that the masses had abandoned all hope of gaining racial equality by peaceful means, there was a massive flight of capital from South Africa. The flight was stopped mainly by aid from the United States, whose investments in South Africa amounted to some $442 million by the end of 1962. Since that time, South Africa has experienced unprecedented conditions of prosperity.
Of the more than $4,222 million of foreign capital invested in South Africa, some $2,500 million is British, $800 million is West European, and $464 million is American. In 1964, the ratio of net profit to net worth of U.S. controlled firms in South Africa was 27%, and the return on „raw“ investment was 13%, while the world average of the latter was 7.7% . Dividends continue to be the highest in Africa, if not in the world.
Overseas investors, headed by those in Britain, the U.S., West Germany, and France, have a stake in virtually every strategic sector of the South African economy. It is thus clear why these countries have to support apartheid, and shy Dr. Verwoerd can regard the verdict of the World Court as a „major victory“ in spite of the fact that the American member voted „side by side with the Russians against us.“
But the boom has brought with it the serious danger of inflation. There are huge amounts of available capital but a shortage of skilled labor, because in most branches of industry skilled jobs are reserved by law for whites.
South West Africa provides a convenient market for the export of this surplus capital; and investment there does not entail the disastrous consequences of a flight of capital abroad. The provisions of the Odendaal Report and the White Paper act as a laxative for the South African economic constipation. Already there is a minor speculative buying wave in the stocks of South West African sea-diamond concerns.
Verwoerd has very successfully planned his strategy to mislead his overseas opponents, particularly those in the United Nations. The Bantustan issue is a „red herring“. Verwoerd can just as viciously and mercilessly oppress and exploit the South West African non-whites without Bantustans as with them; and non-whites are already effectively segregated from whites anyway. Further, now that he has won his „major victory“ at the World Court, he can probably carry through his „Bantustan Project“ in South West Africa in peace.
In spite of the negative role played thus far by the United Nations in colonial questions-the Congo, Vietnam and Rhodesia are instructive examples-it offers a useful platform on which to expose the evil and violent schemes of the South African regime. and it can be used to isolate South Africa internationally. But these measures are only valuable as a prelude to a full-scale assault by the South West African people themselves on the bastions of this regime, which claims to protect and preserve „the Christian, Western, European civilization“ at the foot of the Dark Continent.
There is no precedent to suggest that the South African revolution can be imported from anywhere, just as there is no example of a ruling class having stepped down from its throne in peace because it grasped the historical necessity to do so. The South African revolution will be the work of the millionmembered toiling masses of South Africa and South West Africa, struggling for equality, justice, human dignity, freedom and peace, in solidarity with the same struggle on a global scale. (End)