Synopsis:  In this special feature Scott describes the severe measure taken to uphold absolute segregation of black and white people in apartheid in South Africa, and he outlines how this oppression and dehumanization of the black native population is directly correlated to the aim of white supremacy at any cost by the National Party under its leader Malan. He also outlines how the complicated political divisions  between  the Dutch and the English play a role in elections, while the real consequences of "the race question" for the 10,000,000 disallowed the vote, are sidelined.  


Fascist Philosophy Inspires Dr. Malan

Here is the third of a series of four special analytical articles by Jack Scott on the South African elections on Wednesday and its background of racial strife. 

South Africa's Dr. Daniel Malan

Almost sure to be returned as Prime Minister of South Africa in Wednesday's elections is Dr. Daniel Malan, leader of the Nationalist Party which is waging fight to keep huge coloured population "in its place" by policy of rigid segregation. 

Vancouver Sun,  April 14, 1953

CAPETOWN,  South Africa –In the final campaign barrages before South Africa goes to the polls Wednesday one single sentence by J. G. N. Strauss, leader of the United Party, seemed to me to wrap up the whole story of this loneliest nation. 

Strauss gazed out over the faces of an audience here and departed from his prepared speech to ask a chilling question: "Do you really think there is any happiness in South Africa today?" 

For the briefest of moments the audience was stunned by the jarring impact of a note of realism in what has been a campaign of meaningless oratory. 

Each day I am here convinces me more that South Africa–this place of sunny, powder-blue skies and incredible green landscapes–is a nation with a deeply troubled conscience. 

In the three weeks I've been in the country I've met hundreds of people in all walks of life and of all the complicated shades in the spectrum of South African society. Inevitably, if you're Canadian or American, the whites ask eagerly for your impression of their land. 

"It is," you honestly say, "a beautiful country." 

Fascist Echoes In Policies

They brush aside the platitude impatiently.

"What about the way we're handling our race problems?" 

And if you reply frankly you must be prepared for a torrent of apology or justification or, occasionally, abuse. 

They say that Dr. Daniel Malan, the ancient, purse-mouthed demagogue of the Nationalist Party and almost sure to return tomorrow as Prime Minister, is leading the country more and more into a fascist state of white "master race" supremacy. 

But he's not leading an entirely unwilling public, for in South Africa today the great majority of men and women are caught in a web of intolerance. 

The middle class housewife who can afford two native servants and a handyman chauffeur to drive her 1950 Plymouth, the small businessman who can employ reliable conscientious labor at a dime an hour, the wife of the well-to-do industrialist who brushes by barefoot half-starved black children to enter a shop selling exclusive Paris and Swiss gowns–each of them pays the price of a conscience. 

You hear the apologizes on all sides from decent people. 

This so typically from a young Johannesburg matron who prides herself on being "liberal": It's all deplorable. But what can a person do? Personally, I try to be nice to every native I meet. But then one can't go too far. They will take advantage of you, you know, if you treat them as equals." 

There are many here who try nobly to pretend that the problem doesn't exist, in the hope, perhaps, that it will go away, and some who are able to carry through the pretense of being completely unaware of 10,000,000 pairs of brown eyes looking thoughtfully at their good food and their shiny cards and their sturdy children. 

Country One Big Prison Camp

There are others who look eagerly for a reminder that they are, in fact a superior being by the grace of God. 

In a book called "Color and Culture in South Africa" by Sheila Patterson, there's this involved, but penetrating insight into such minds: "Most South African whites prefer their non-European employees to be inefficient, stupid, lazy and pettily dishonest, according to the concept of inherent inferiority, than to show energy, intelligence, ambition and responsibility which are the prerogatives of the European and therefore a threat to his privileged status if shown by others." 

Until you've been to South Africa personally you could not believe this or know what it means to see ten out of every twelve persons suppressed so ruthlessly that the country seems to be one vast prison camp. 

The very life of a black man is valueless. Two days ago, when I was in Johannesburg, the city was lashed by an electric storm more fierce than any in my memory. On the following day the Johannesburg Star devoted a half-column to the death of a white motorcyclist killed by lighting. At the end of the story was this single, tragic line: "A Native was also killed." 

When I asked a newspaperman about this he replied: "If a white man's dog had been killed it would have got precedence." 

This suppression extends to every aspect of life. In South Africa a black man never plays on a soccer pitch with a white man or fights in the ring with a white man. When the visiting Australian cricket team arrived here with three star Maori players the dark-skinned Maoris were denied even the right to sit on the sidelines. (South Africa still talks proudly of its victory.). 

Buildup of Fear Creates Terror

Where the two colours must meet there's a nightmare confusion in keeping them from touching. In Johannesburg, the central post office is out-of-bounds to natives, but here in the vast marble post office of Cape Town the black is mingled with the white. From one corner of the great hall I counted 48 signs saying "Blanke" or "New Blanke" at various wickets. 

Again, when I wished to visit the infamous "District Six" of Cape Town, where the Coloreds are quartered, I arranged for a Colored guide and interpreter and said I'd pick him up in a taxi. He explained that it just wasn't done and that we'd better make our separate ways to the area. (In Johannesburg, a city close to the million-mark, I did not once see a black-skinned man walking with a white-skinned man). 

The South African Airways, in whose ancient spymaster I flew from Johannesburg to this spectacular and outwardly charming city, have a circular with instructions concerning head-covers on the seats of planes. 

Covers on seats used by non-Europeans are to be marked with a red tag, must be changed immediately and must be laundered with a "special hygienic process and dry-cleaning." This for assurance to the white air traveller that the back of his head will not react where a black man's head had rested. 

Out of this grows a fear that can be felt like a solid thing. 

It is a real fear and a manufactured fear, as for example, the Nationalists' subtle references to the Mau Mau attacks in Kenya and the implication that It Could Happen Here. (Some letter-writers to the papers have also accused Nationalist canvassers of saying, "A vote for the United Party means that a kaffir (black) will be able to marry your daughter," oldest and most vicious of the fear techniques). 

Afraid to Walk Alone at Night

Here and in Johannesburg people are afraid to walk the streets at night for fear of attack by natives. A young man taking his young lady on a date sees her safely inside the door. 

One business told me in all seriousness, "I've never got used to the lump my revolver takes under the pillow." 

The English-language newspapers, most of which are financial controlled from Johannesburg's Corner House, headquarters of the great gold mines, speak often of "the native crime wave." 

The statistics look appalling until you break them down. Then you being to wonder darkly how much of this is simply a scare campaign to keep race relations unbalanced and so to continue the status quo of cheap labor, rich profits. 

In 1951, the last year in which the figures are available, there were more than a million South Africans convicted of some crime, and 87 percent of them were "non-Europeans." But the vast majority of the infractions were the result of the "Apartheid" laws–breaking pass laws, curfew regulations, liquor laws and similar minor offences against unreasonable edicts. 

Of the 70,000-odd serious crime convictions 59,000 were non-Europeans, making up six percent of the non-European population. The balance were Europeans, or four percent of the white population. 

How many of the natives' crimes could be traced to enforced poverty might be found in some other revealing statistics which show that non-Europeans, who make up 80 percent of South Africa's population, receive only 26 percent of the national income. 

There's a case to be made, too for those natives imprisoned for pass and curfew violations who are "educated" to crime in South Africa's crowded jails. 

Conflict Springs to Full Life

Real or manufactured, out of this fear, in the classic pattern, grows hate and that has been revealed starkly in this election campaign. 

Most veteran observers have been startled at the comparative serenity of the pre-election days, but there's a quality of suppressed violence about them that would never be found in a country more well-adjusted. In this case it is white against white. 

You can't conveniently lump all Afrikaans-speaking whites with Dr. Malan or all English speaking white with the Strauss side. In fact nothing is quite as simple as it first looks in the tortured world of South African politics. There are, in fact, some whites here who, if the volcano ever erupted, would join with the natives, although all the "rebels" have been under wraps through this campaign. 

But in broad terms there's deep distrust between the Afrikaans, who still smart over the defeat a half century ago of their fathers and grandfathers in the Boer War, and of the whites of British descent. Many times when people here speak of the "race problem" they are not thinking of black versus white, but of English versus Dutch. 

I saw this conflict nakedly at one of the final meetings of Miss Jackie de Villiers, the United Party candidate for the constituency of Vasco. Miss de Villiers has been getting a rough ride from the Nationalists–or "the Nats" as they're called–and I wanted to see this first hand. 

The meeting was in a Cape Town middle class suburb called Elsie's River and took place in a small hall with the name "Vryetydsaal" ("Free-time Hall). At 8:15 when the meeting began it was solidly packed with every seat taken and people standing choked in the aisles and at the rear. 

Insults Too Bad For Male Ears

A woman organizer of the United Party who had agreed to translate the Afrikaans speeches for me explained the facts of life before the meeting began. 

In the front rows she pointed out a number of housewives, supporters of Miss de Villiers, each of them self-consciously knitting. They would use the long knitting needles in the most unfeminine way if "the Nats" made trouble. 

At the exit and at other strategic points were husky members of the Torch Commandos, the more or less progressive veterans' group which is supporting Struass. 

Behind all these, around the back of the room, were "the Nats," many of them big square-jawed, bull-necked men with shaved heads. Later, when I walked among them at the back of the hall, I could smell the heavy scent of South African brandy and many were arrogantly roisterously drunk. 

The organizer pointed out several men and women who had broke up Miss de Villiers' meetings before. One heavy-set woman she identified as "Lil." 

"You'll see her with her veins positivity throwing themselves out of her throat," she said, which I did. 

When Miss de Villiers appeared, a plain little woman of perhaps 40 without make-up wearing a green cotton suit and high-heeled platform pumps, the men and women at the back of the hall began hoarsely calling insults. The woman organizer flushed and said she could not translate them to a man. 

The nationalists kept the meeting in a constant uproar and Miss de Villiers, trembling with nervousness at the microphone, could barely be heard. 

There was something frightening about this. It was not merely the heckling of one party opposing another, but an expression of brutality and hate. It required an effort to remind yourself that the real conflict in this country involves black and white. 

Malan Silent on Future Life 

When United Party pamphlets were handed out–pamphlets as barren of promise for the native as the literature of the Nationalists–the men at the rear tore them viciously and flung them at the knitting women who sat in the seats ahead. 

I could not help but think that these were people who had teethed so well on hatred for the black man that it now embraced all of humanity. 

The focal point for this hatred, the spider in the heart of the web, is the dumpy, heavy joweled, cold-eyed figure of Dr. Daniel Francois Malan, doctor of Divinity. 

In an effort to solve this enigmatic role–is he cause or effect in South Africa's great swing to fascism?–I'd tried repeatedly to arrange an interview with Malan and, along with the representative of the London Times, had been turned down abruptly each time. 

The story goes among newspapermen here that Malan has given the brush to all outside correspondents since he was interviewed by an English journalist who asked him if he thought there was a heaven after death. Malan replied affirmatively. The Englishman then asked if there would be a segregated area Up There for the "nie blanke." Dr. Malan's answer, if any, is unknown. 

He is on the record, however here on earth, as interpreting the Bible to mean that the native is born to be "a hewer of wood and a drawer of water." 

Dr. Malan is extravagantly hated or extravagantly adored. 

A government official here whom I encountered in trying to arrange an interview spoke of his "scholarship" and his "absolute honesty" and even his worst enemies admit that he is a brilliant, emotional orator, eloquent in either Afrikaans or English. 

'Apartheid' Hits Basic Formula

One of Johannesburg's outstanding editors–if an editor can be said to be outstanding on a paper which perverts the election news as both the Africans and English papers do–said three things which seems to come closest to expressing the extreme anti-Malan point of view. 

"He is a self-destroyer whose instinct and singleness of purpose lead him on until everything is gone," he said. And again, "He is not a leader in the ordinary sense of the word, he's a High Priest." And again, "He's an unbending, Calvanistic son of a b. . . who follows his conscience like a man in a wagon follows a horse." 

It takes no reading between the lines, going back through the files of Malan's speeches, to know where the horse will take him if he is returned to power by Wednesday's results. 

He is fanatically convinced that the only hope for the survival of the European is to keep the black and white separated by his "apartheid" formula. He believes uncompromisingly in the destiny of the Afrikaans–speaking South African and no one here doubts that he will break away from the "Empire ties" he has hated for a lifetime.

The followers of this doctor of divinity, themselves, usually believe that there must be a day of reckoning ahead and that "apartheid" is only a means of containing the threat. 

The followers of Strauss, too, are largely convinced that someday the black man will demand his rights, but they hold to the theory that a more moderate policy will delay the inevitable revolution. 

Tomorrow's results will decide which path is to be taken, but the destination is pretty obviously the same, meanwhile there is little happiness in South Africa. 

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