Synopsis: Scott writes about how the suppression of 10,000,000 black and coloured South Africans is a hidden mine in the field of apartheid, wait to explode. 

Our Town 

Hidden Mine

Vancouver Sun, April 23rd, 1953

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa.– I flew back here from Capetown this afternoon, a climb of more than 6000 feet from the level of the sea and with the first winter's snow flecking the high peaks of the Hollands-Tottentots Mountains, and I unpacked my bags and sat for a few minutes by the open window of my hotel room and watched an African native coming down the street on his bicycle. 

He was a heavy man, black as night. He was pedalling his ancient bike proudly. At the intersection directly below me I saw a small English car (a Consul) pass the cyclist and then swing sharply across his path to enter a side street. 

The front wheel of the bicycle brushed against the rear fender of the car. The black man fought the handle-bars, struggling to keep from falling. Then, righting himself, he raised his right hand, clenched in a heavy fist. I heard him shouting curses after the retreating car. 

For me, it was a strange and somehow historic moment. It was the first time in South Africa that I had seen a single black man expressing himself without constraint. 

Tomorrow I intend to write about one remarkable man who is risking everything in his life to stop-–or, if that is too late, to slow– white South Africa in its steady decline into chaos. First I want to put into perspective the strange and frighting mood of what, for want of a better name, may be called the "anti-whites."

Those of you who were in northwest Europe during the days immediately after the war will remember the feeling of crossing an open field which might, or might not, have been mined. It is the same here. 

In this month I've interviewed dozens of Natives, Colored, Asiatics, Indians. Talking to them singly, man to man, you find bitterness and anger, sometimes dulled by the tedium of living with it every day for a lifetime, sometimes so suppressed that it is psychopathic and dangerous. 

It is a fire that never flames in the open. 

The great heat of indignation is nourished in each black man's heart and brain and rarely communicated to the white man except as a conspiracy. 

What contains this? 

For the moment it is contained by fear and by a hunger for even a third-class security. 

The black man, curiously enough, looks to the whites for leadership in guiding him out of oppression. So far there has not been a man of sufficient strength to give that leadership. 

The black man, however deep his anger, is reluctant to follow anyone but a leader with a reasonable chance for success. Security is a precious thing to him, even the precarious kind he knows, and while it might seem that he would be risking little or nothing in revolt he clings wildly to what he has. 

The classic case of such failure is the case of Group Captain "Sailor" Malan and his "Torch Commandos." 

All Africa and, in fact, the outside world was uplifted by Malan's graduation day from an authentic war-time hero to what turned out to be a spurious peace-time hero.  His Commandos set fire to the imagination. Ten million dark-skinned slaves to white rule under the name of "apartheid" took heart. 

It was a hoax that is still not understood in the world outside Africa. The best-informed of American and British correspondents here for the election were stunned to find that the "hero" who flashed so vividly across the front pages was just another willing tool of white supremacy. 

All Africa now knows that "Sailor" Malan and his veterans were a diversionary offshoot of the United Party, financed and organized as an "English" weapon against the Afrikaans-speaking government in power–and knows, too, that when that government accused the Commandos of wanting "race equality" the Commandos and their colourful leader swiftly and inelegantly backed down (Colored ex-servicemen were banned, for example from its celebration of El Alamein Day). Today they go meekly along, well to the rear of the parade, in the steady march to disaster. 

But the mines are still there in the tall grass, and one single man–perhaps the king of man I will be writing about tomorrow–will be enough to cause the biggest explosion African has ever known

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