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WHAT WE WOULD LIKE WHITE PEOPLE TO KNOW

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					tifioation with his environment. If man is to regain his n a t u r a l spiritual dignity and t h e outlook of tolerance which this implies, it is his spiritual values which m u s t be restored. Leadership of high quality is needed to guide society back to the security of living by the moral and spiritual values which have been t h e mainstay of society throughout the ages. T h i s leadership must come from youth and from the Church. I do not refer only to t h e Christian Church. The time h a s come when t h e Church must stop supporting the Establishment on principle when there is conflict between the laws of God and the laws of the s t a t e . T h e Church is jealous of its a u t h o r i t y and demands o u r respect. But so often when we t u r n to the Church for leadership we a r e refused on the grounds t h a t the m a t t e r

concerns politics, or economics, o r business. The Church cannot divorce itself from politics, because people cannot be divorced from politics and the Church should concern itself more directly with people, with their frustrations, t h e i r misery, their difficulties, t h e i r joys and sorrows and above all with injustices perpetrated on men by men. I t is not enough to pass pious resolutions which a r e never acted upon. Action is needed not sanctimonious disapproval. The state of the world and the needs of its people a r e so grave and t h e demand for radical thought and reform of such pressing urgency, t h a t if the established Church denies its leadership and concern now, i t will find t h a t , although Christianity will survive, much of t h a t which t h e Church holds valuable will be lost.

WHAT WE WOULD LIKE WHITE PEOPLE TO KNOW
— The Author of this talk prefers to remain anonymous — A F T K K A L I F E T I M E of l i v i n g i n t h i s c o u n t r y * w h i c h I m u s t e m p h a s i s e b e l o n g * to all of its 17 o r 1 8 m i l l i o n people — I t h i n k I w o u l d l i k e to speak as o n e classified as C o l o u r e d on w h a t wc would l i k e t h e W h i t e people of S o u t h Africa to k n o w . I realise t h a t a p a r t from the blind unthinking prejudice t h a t drives some of them to a n almost unbearable hatred of everything t h a t is not White, t h e r e a r e individuals and groups in the White section who a r e sincerely seeking a solibtion to the many problems t h a t face the country. I number my audience t h i s evening amongst those t h a t a r e honest and sincere in their efforts and who a r e able to recognise sheer prejudice when they see i t a n d to t r e a t it as such. I think your invitation to me is sufficient evidence, not only of your interest in discovering how and w h a t Coloured people a r e thinking, b u t also of a sincere desire to assist them in t r y i n g to solve their difficulties and to relieve a n d release some of t h e s t r a i n s and tensions. And, believe you me, Coloured people today a r e certainly living in a period of problems, shame a n d tension. The first t h o u g h t t h a t occurs to me is t h a t throughout my life I have always heard White people speaking of o u r Colour problem and I wonder if t h e boot is not on the w r o n g foot. I wonder whether it is the people of Colour, such as the Africans, the Indians and the Coloured people who present the problem. Are we s u r e it isn't a " W h i t e problem'* r a t h e r t h a n a "Coloured problem". After all isn't i t the White man, with all the political power restricted to himself, with his racial attitudes and Colour prejudice, with his arrogance and greed to have t h e best for himself, with his puffed up a i r of superiority — isn't he t h e real problem in t h i s country? Doesn't the present position of South Africa in the eyes of the world prove beyond all doubt t h a t t h e rest of the world at a n y r a t e r e g a r d s the White man and his ways as the real problem? I a m suggesting this line of thinking because I think quite honestly t h a t if the average White person were less inclined to t u r n his critical gaze on Coloured people and spend a little more time examining himself, we might all come a little nearer to peace a n d happiness in South Africa. I, for example, am a perfectly harmless and gentle old woman who h a s no horrible odour or smell. But who is i t t h a t says I must stand in a t r a i n from Claremont to Wynberg because all the Coloured seats a r e occupied although there are not two White passengers in the adjoining railway c a r r i a g e ? It's the White man of course and I seem to think he is more of a problem t h a n 1 am. But one finds in South Africa White people are always happy to boast of their Christian, Western civilisation and culture a n d t a k e g r e a t pride in their heritage but i t is quite remarkable how they confuse colour and culture. Everybody who is not White somehow or another represents a different culture and is a t h r e a t to t h e continuation of this Christian, Western civilisation.

The Black Sash,

August

196S

8

Die Swart

Serp,

Augustus

19S8

But is t h i s really true? Allowing for t h e onforced poverty and social conditions of many of the Coloured people, w h a t really is the difference between t h e c u l t u r a l pattern and those of the White people? As a m a t t e r of fact, in spite of their handicaps many Coloured people a r e far better representatives t h a n many White people of the very civilisation and culture which the White people claim as their own. In their wqy of life, in their scale and sense of values and in their outlook they are more Christian and more Western t h a n a good many of the White people who pretend to be such staunch s u p p o r t e r s of that Civilisation, I do not say t h i s in any spirit of idle boastfulness — i t hardly needs proof, we have so much evidence of it in this country. But let me j u s t t u r n your thoughts to this for a moment.

the White voters. Well, you know w h a t h a s hap*pened and is happening. I don't want to waste time recounting w h a t h a s been done to them. B u t I w a n t to say this. There is a world of difference between refusing people rights and depriving them, taking away from them t h e rights they have always enjoyed. It's like the difference between a man born blind and the man who goes blind half way through a fruitful life. T h e one has never known the joys of sight, the other suffers all the frustrations of losing a world he h a s known so well. There are those White people who, while they m i g h t or might not admit t h a t the Coloured people a r e Losing a g r e a t deal, are quick to remind us of what we a r e getting in r e t u r n . They speak of positive apartheid and they point to the new schools being built in the Townships; the money being spent on sub-economic houses. B u t i t is important in these things to remember t h a t strangely enough, all the things they point to a r e purely material things. They say w h a t they do for us but they forget w h a t they do to us. The answer lies in this t h a t despite all the things done for them, there is amongst the people today a n intense and pervasive frustration, disillusion and disappointment. The reason is simple enough. Alternative accommodation is no substitute for compulsory removal from places in which our Great-Grandfathers were born. And it is on t h i s note t h a t I would like to end. T h a t we should think of human beings in h u m a n t e r m s and no m a t t e r what their colour i t is their humanity which is most important. The dignity and s p i r i t of human beings. There can be no compensation in a n y material way. They are transgressions of the laws of God and I would like you to know, finally, t h a t we see these actions a n d deeds in t h a t way.

THEY SAY WHAT THEY DO FOR US BUT THEY FORGET WHAT THEY DO TO US
Everyone knows t h a t for some time now large numbers of Coloured people have been emigrating to countries like England and Canada. H a s it ever struck you t h a t they a r e able, without any difficulty, to fit into these advanced, westernised countries and to find places for themselves and their children without the need of any cultural adaptation. How could t h i s have been possible if t h e i r colour really made all the difference we believe i t makes in this country? It is a well known fact t h a t people find and make their own social level. T h i s happens in all countries, in all p a r t s of the world. And I venture to suggest t h a t South Africa would be no exception if we had less interference from this Government, and if pecple were allowed more to live their own lives as they wished and not as others compelled them to live. This compulsion and complete segregation of peoples causes a g r e a t deal of bitterness and hatred — perhaps far more t h a n we often realise. And t h a t b r i n g s me to the crux of the m a t t e r as far as the Coir oured people a r e concerned. In the past they have always enjoyed and exercised certain very definite rights and these they have lost o r arc losing. Their sons and d a u g h t e r s went to the University of Cape Town. Now thoy are herded to what we call a Bush College a t Belleville, Many of them worked hard and according to their means and s t a n d a r d of living, lived where they pleased. Now they a r e forced into Group Areas, In days gone by they were patrons of the Thursday and Sunday evening concerts in the City Hall and sat where they pleased. Now they a r e on the other side of the barrier. For a 100 y e a r s they voted along with
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STATUS QUOTES:
T h e professor who said at t h e graduation cere*mony of the University of the Western C a p e : — "You Coloured people must not i n t e r m a r r y with the Bantu. They suffer from schizophrenia . . ." T h e South African man who said " W e must watch out for Nelson D. Rockefeller — he is so rich now he has become a communist, he wants to make America into a welfare state . . ." The Group A r e a s Profiteer who said " I don't know why you make such a fuss, the coloureds like living with r a t s — in fact they miss them when they get moved to new a r e a s . . ." The woman who said "you should see the Transkei when i t is green — it is so pretty." (So is a billiard table — both equally unproductive.)
)

The Black

Sash,

August

J9(ix

Die Swart

Serpf

Augustus

196S


				
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