The White Man's Task
Before the country had time to settle down under Union, South Africa was fighting in the Great War. After the conquest of both German South-West and East Africa, General Smuts proceeded to London to join the Empire War Cabinet and to render brilliant services to the Allies. One of his most notable-and prophetic-speeches on African problems was delivered at a dinner given in his honour under the chair-manship of Lord Selborne at the Savoy Hotel on May 22, 1917. In it he gives some bf the guiding principles of our native policy.
GENERAL SMUTS said I am deeply grateful to you for the reception you have given me here to-night. I am thankful to you, Lord Selborne, for what you have said, even for the Platonic myth you have given us and for the conversation with the mythical lady.Your words to-night carry me back to that period in our history when 1 was serving under you and was a fellow-labourer with you and what will probably remain the greatest creative epoch in the history of South Africa. . . . The various South African societies, together with the Imperial Institute, have combined in order to do me this honour, and I am very glad to have you all together on this occasion. I know that there are
many here to-night who have, at one time or another, differed from me. Sometimes the diflerences have been very acute, but to-night all these differences have been swallowed up and forgotten in the great constructive tasks in which we are all engaged. It is a matter of great gratification to me to think that after all, notwithstanding all those differences in the past, you can say to-night to me: "You have not done so badly after all."
This function, of all the various functions I have so far attended, appeals most to me, because it is really not in honour of me, but in honour of that far-away, dear land, which most of us have served and with which most of us have been associated in the past. To-night we are really met together here as members of the South African family ;some born into it, some married into it, some old servants who have grown grey in her hard service and who have given the best years of their lives to that service-here we can all sit together, forgetting Europe, forgetting the storms raging outside, and our minds can travel back to the sun-filled spaces of Southern Africa, to its amazing history, and its immense tasks. A great historian has said: " On those whom the gods love they lavish infinite joys and infinite sorrows.51) On that principle surely South Africa must be a special favourite of the gods. She has known joys and sorrows ; she has known the deepest abasement and she has known the highest exaltation.
The history of South Africa is in many respects one of the true and great romances in modern history. One of the most wonderful episodes in that romance you will probably have the opportunity soon to see in a cinematograph film which will be produced here in London called " Winning a Continent," in which scenes from the great Boer Trek into the interior are represented. I hope you will all see it.
When I look around to-night and I see all who are sitting here at this table, I feel, and you all feel, that we are lifted out of the world of commonplace into a strange world. We feel that whatever the past has been, whatever mistakes we have made-and we have all made mistakes-whatever services we have been able to render to our South
Africa, a kind Providence has intervened and has woven all those mistakes and all those services into a strange and wonderful texture which we call the history of South Africa and of which we are very proud. When we look at that wonderful history we are all cheered and encouraged to move forward in the hope that as our task has not been too difficult for us in the past it may not prove entirely beyond us in the
There are very grave questions before South Africa, and these questions will probably increase in magnitude after this war. Now the Ten Plagues are being poured over Europe in this war, and they will be followed by the Exodus in due course. You will see very large numbers of people, after this war, sick of the Old World and looking to the young countries for a new home where they may find peace. I am sure that many of you will find in our large country, our wide spaces, just that repose for body and soul that you desire. We look forward to great times, to great developments in South Africa, and it will be the task of our Governments in South Africa to make the best use of the unique opportunities for a forward move that will be presented by the times that will follow the war.
But in South Africa we always feel that there is something more. With us it is never a question of merely material progress and of prosperity, although we are always very eager to have those good things too ; we always feel that under our peculiar historical and racial conditions there are very large political problems in the background which always press for solution. And that is what gives profound interest to life in South Africa. We have made very great progress in recent years. If you
remember that it was within seven years of the Boer War that we had all the British Colonies of South Africa united in one great Union you will see how great and rapid that progress has been. But although we have achieved political union, our aim has always been far greater we have aimed not only at political union, but also at national unity and when you have to deal with very hard-headed races, such as our people in South Africa, both English and Dutch, you can well understand that it
takes more than seven years to bring about that consummation. We have grave difficulties in this respect. We have different racial strains, different political tendencies.
We have people in South Africa who prefer isolation, who prefer to stand aside from the great currents that are carrying South Africa to her new and greater destiny. These are not merely Dutch, many of them are English. We have English fellow-citizens who will always remain English, to whom even the sunshine and the wide spaces of South Africa are not sufficient to bring about the great transformation of soul. We look forward patiently in such cases to the next generation. We have also a
large section of my own people, the Dutch people in South Africa, who think that the best policy is for them to stand aside and to remain in isolation. They think that in that way they will be better able to preserve their language, their traditions, and their national type, and that they will in that way not be swallowed up and be
submerged by the new currents. They point to the precedent of Canada, where French-Canadians are also standing aside from the general current of Canadian life and national development for the same reasons. Now, you know, that
is the issue which is being fought out now in South Africa., and has been fought out in recent years more acutely than ever before.
The policy General Botha and his associates have stood for is that we must have national unity in South Africa as the one true basis of future stability and strength-and that national unity is entirely consistent with the preservation of our language, our traditions, our cultural interests, and all that is dear to us in our past. The view we have taken is this, that the different elements in our white populations ought really to be used to build up a stronger and more powerful nation
than would have been possible if we had consisted of purely one particular strain. All great Imperial peoples really are a mixture of various stocks. Your own history is one of the completest proofs of that doctrine, and it is only in recent years that this remarkable doctrine of the pure race has come into vogue, and largely in Germany. The man who has preached the doctrine most eloquently is a Germanised
Englishman, Houston Chamberlain. The doctrine is to the effect that the governing races of the world are pure races, and that they simply debase themselves and become degenerate if mixed with alien blood. They must remain pure, and in so far as they do so they will play a great part in the world. It is more than hinted at that the German race must guide the world because it is one of these pure races. What arrant nonsense!
We do not pretend in South Africa to listen to these siren voices. We want to create a blend out of the various nationalities and to create a new South African nation out of our allied racial stock, and if we succeed in doing that we shall achieve a new nationality embracing and harmonising our various traits and blending them all into a richer national type than could otherwise have been achieved. The ideal of national unity means a continuous effort towards better relations,towards mutual respect and forbearance, towards co-operation, and that breadth of view and character which will be the most potent instrument for dealing with our other problems. Although in South Africa our national progress is marked by the ox-waggon and not by the train or
aeroplane, I am sure in the end we shall achieve success and a new nationhood.
And this is all the more important because in South Africa we are not merely a white man's country. Our problem of white racial unity is being solved in the midst of the black environment in South Africa. Whether we shall succeed in solving that other larger question of the black man's future depends on many factors on which no one could feel very much assurance at present. We know that on the African Continent at various times there have been attempts at civilisation. We read of a great
Saracen civilisation in Central Africa, and of the University of Timbuctoo, to which students came from other parts of the world. Rhodesia also shows signs of former civilisation.
Where are those civilisations now? They have all disappeared and barbarism once more rules over the land and makes the thoughtful man nervous about the white man's future in Southern Africa. There are many people in South Africa-and not very foolish people either who do not feel certain that our white experiment will be a permanent success, or that we shall ever succeed in making a white man's land of Southern Africa ;
but, at any rate, we mean to press on with the experiment. It has now been in progress for some two hundred and fifty years, as you know, and perhaps the way we have set about it may be the right way. Former civilisations in Africa have existed mostly for the purpose of exploiting the native populations, and in that way, and probably also through inter-mixture of blood, carried in them the seeds of decay.
We have started by creating a new white base in South Africa and to-day we are in a position to move forward towards the North and the civilisation of the African Continent. Our problem is a very difficult one, however; quite unique in its way. In the United States there is a similar problem of black and white with the negro population. But there you have had an overwhelming white population with a smaller negro element in the midst of it. In South Africa the situation is reversed. There you have an overwhelming black population with a small white population which has got a footing there and which has been trying to make that footing secure for more than two centuries.
You will therefore understand that a problem like that is not only uncertain in its ultimate prospects, but is most difficult in the manner that it should be dealt with. Much experience has been gained, and there are indications that we have come to some certain results. You remember how some Christian missionaries, who went to South Africa in the first half of the Nineteenth Century in their full belief in human
brotherhood, proceeded to marry native wives to prove the faith that was in them. We have gained sufficient experience since then to smile at that point of view. With us there are certain axioms now in regard to the relations of white and black; and the principal one is " no intermixture of blood between the two colours." It is probably true that earlier civilisations have largely failed because that principle was
never recognised, civilising races being rapidly submerged in the quicksands of the African blood. It has now become an accepted axiom in our dealings with the natives that it is dishonourable to mix white and black blood.
We have settled another axiom, and that is that in all our dealings with the natives we must build our practice on what 1 believe Lord Cromer has called the granite bedrock of the Christian moral code. Honesty, fair-play, justice, and the ordinary Christian virtues must be the basis of all our relations with the natives. We don't always practise them. We don't always practise that exalted doctrine, but the vast bulk of the white population in South Africa believe sincerely in that doctrine as
correct and true ; they are convinced that they must stick to the fundamental Christian morality if they want to do their duty to the natives and make a success of their great country. Of course, this doctrine applies to other countries besides South Africa.
If you ask me what is wrong with Europe-although no wise man would express an opinion on such a great matter-1 should say the moral basis in Europe, the bedrock of the Christian moral code, has become undermined and can no longer support all that superstructure of economic and industrial prosperity which the last century has built up on it,and the vast whole is now sagging. The same argument applies much more to the natives of Africa. Natives have the simplest minds,understand only the simplest ideas or ideals, and are almost animal like in the simplicity of their minds and ways. If we want to make a success of our native policy in South Africa we shall have to proceed on the simplest moral lines and on that basis of the Christian moral code.
I think we are all agreed on those two points on what I have called the
racial and moral axioms.
I wish we had made more progress and also discovered some political axiom and knowledge how to deal politically with our immense native problem. But although in this regard nothing can be taken as axiomatic, we have gained a great deal of experience in our history, and there is now shaping in South Africa a policy which is becoming expressed in our institutions which may have very far-reaching effects in the future civilisation of the African Continent. We have realised that political
ideas which apply to our white civilisation largely do not apply to the administration of native affairs. To apply the same institutions on an equal basis to white and black alike does not lead to the best results, and so a practice has grown up in South Africa of creating parallel institutions-giving the natives their own separate institutions on parallel lines with institutions for whites. It may be that on those parallel lines we may yet be able to solve a problem which may otherwise
More than twenty years ago, as many of you remember, an experiment in native self-government was begun by Cecil Rhodes in the old Cape Colony which gave local institutions to the natives in Glen Grey reserve. That principle has been extended over a large part of the old Transkeian territories, and so successful has it been that when we came to framing the Act of Union an appendix was added about the future administration of the Protectorates when they should become incorporated into the
Union. This appendix was largely the work of our chairman, Lord Selborne. He fought with extraordinary tenacity for that appendix, and I am not sure, although I did not see the importance of the matter in those days, whether in the distant future the South Africa Act will not be remembered as much for its appendix as for its principal contents.
This appendix laid down that the native territories in South Africa should be governed apart from the Parliamentary institutions of the Union and on different
lines which would achieve the principle of native self-government. Subsequently Commissions have been appointed in South Africa to inquire into native questions, and more and more the trend of opinion has hardened in the same direction. We have felt more and more that if we are to solve our native question it is useless to try to govern black and white in the same system, to subject them to the same institutions
of government and legislation. They are different not only in colour but in minds and in political capacity, and their political institutions should be different, while always proceeding on the basis of self-government. One very important Commission had, I believe, Sir Godfrey Lagden as chairman, and as a result of that and other
Commissions we have now legislation before the Parliament of the Union in which an attempt is made to put into shape these ideas I am talking of, and to create all over South Africa, wherever there are any considerable native communities, independent self-governing institutions for them.
Instead of mixing up black and white in the old haphazard way, which instead of lifting up the black degraded the white, we are now trying to lay down a policy of keeping them apart as much as possible in our institutions. In land ownership, settlement and forms of government we are trying to keep them apart, and in that way laying down in outline a general policy which it may take a hundred years to work
out, but which in the end may be the solution of our native problem. Thus in South Africa you will have in the long -run large areas cultivated by blacks and governed by blacks, where they will look after themselves in all their forms of living and development, while in the rest of the country you will have your white communities, which will govern themselves separately according to the accepted European
principles. The natives will, of course, be free to go and to work in the white areas, but as far as possible the administration of white and black areas will be separated, and such that each will be satisfied and developed according to its own proper lines. This is the attempt which we are making now in South Africa to solve the juxtaposition of white and black in the same country, and although theprinciples underlying our legislation could not be considered in any way axiomatic, I am sure that we are groping towards the right lines, which may in the end tend to be
the solution of the most difficult problem confronting us.
As I have already said, we have started in previous times to civilise Africa from the North. All these attempts at civilisation from the North have failed. We now try to proceed from the other end-from South Africa. We have built up a stable white community in the south of the Continent and given them a training for two hundred years, and they have learned the ways of Africa, which are not the ways of other parts of the world. And now we are ready to go forward, and, as you know, in the last few decades enormous progress has already been made in this expansion towards the North. All our people in South Africa, English as well as Dutch, have taken part in this great movement towards the North, which is proceeding ever farther, and the time is coming when it will be almost a misnomer to speak of South " Africa, because the northern limits of our civilisation will have gone so far that it will be almost impossible to use the word South " any more except in reminder of our original starting-point.
Great developments have taken place not only in Southern Africa, but in Central Africa in our day. You will remember that only fifty or sixty years ago Central Africa was a place for the explorer and discoverer, a land of mystery, of pigmies and other wonders of which we read in the books of Stanley and others. In a couple of decades Central Africa has marched right into the centre of world politics, and to-night in this great assembly we are not only interested in Southern Africa, but also those other enormous territories further north., which our troops from
South Africa and other parts of the Empire have conquered and occupied. What the future of that country will be no one knows.
I must say that my experience in East Africa has opened my eyes to many very serious dangers that threaten the future, not only of Southern Africa, but also of Europe. We have seen, what we have never known before, what enormously valuable military material lay in the Black Continent. You are aware of the great German scheme which existed before the war, and which no doubt is still in the background of many minds in Germany, of creating a great Central African Empire which would embrace not only the Cameroons and East Africa, but also the Portuguese Colonies and the Congo-an extensive area which would have a very large population and would not only be one of the most valuable tropical parts of the world, but in which it would be possible
to train one of the most powerful black armies of the world.
We were not aware of the great military value of the natives until this war. This war has been an eye-opener in many new directions. It will be a serious question for the statesmen of the Empire and Europe whether they are going to allow a state of affairs like that to be possible, and to become a menace not only to Africa, but perhaps to Europe itself. I hope that one of the results of this war will be some arrangement or
convention among the nations interested in Central Africa by which the military training of natives in that area will be prevented, as we have prevented it in South Africa. It can well be foreseen that armies may yet be trained there, which under proper leading might prove a danger to civilisation itself. I hope that will be borne in mind when the day for the settlement in Africa comes up for consideration.
You will have further questions in regard to the territorial settlement of Central Africa which will follow the war. We are now, after the conquest of the German Colonies, in the happy position of having a through land route from Egypt to the Cape. We are in the secure position of having no danger on the Atlantic seaboard or on the Indian seaboard to our very essential sea communications as an Empire. What will happen to these communications after the settlement will depend on that
settlement itself, but I hope it will be borne in mind that East Africa
gives us not only this through land communication from one end of the Continent to the other, but that East Africa also ensures to us the safety. of the sea route round the Cape and the sea route through the Red Sea to the East. It is a matter of gratification to us South Africans here to-night that South African troops have taken
such a large and leading share in securing these extremely valuable results. I sincerely hope that, whatever settlement is come to, these larger considerations which I have referred to will be borne in mind.
We shall always have a difficult question not only in Central but in Southern Africa. Unlike other British Dominions, our future as a white civilisation is not assured for the reasons which I have given. Many thoughtful people are in doubt about our future, and in any case no cheap and easy victory will be scored in South Africa.
We know we have tremendous problems to contend with. We know we have tremendous tasks before us, and in dealing with these problems and in trying to fulfil these tasks one generation of South Africans after another will brace its nerves and strengthen its intellect and broaden its mind and character. Although these difficulties may seem to us, and indeed are, grave perils to our future, I trust that in the long run these difficulties may prove a blessing in disguise and may prove to have afforded the training school for a large-minded, broadminded, magnanimous race, capable not only of welding together different racial elements into a new and richer national type, but capable of dealing as no other white race in history has ever dealt with the question of the relations between black and white. . ...BACK
This is the issue of the contact of colours and civilisations, which seems destined to become a dominant issue of the twentieth century. In Asia a similar question of the contact of colours and cultures is rapidly coming to question the front, and history tells us what these impacts of Asia and Europe on each other have meant in the past. These impacts it was which, renewed at various epochs, set the peoples of Europe going, and launched them on that career which has led to their domination of the world.
The influence of Europe to day on Asia seems to be having a somewhat similar rousing effect on a colossal scale. Under the stimulus of Western ideas, Asia is being stirred and shaken from one end to the other. The rise of Japan, the awakening of India, China, the Near East, and the Malayan islands of the Pacific seem to herald another of the great movements or upheavals of history. It will depend very much on the wisdom and far-sighted policies of the European peoples, and on the growth and the success of the League of Nations in its pacific world policy, whether this awakening of the East will be for the good or the ill of the human race as a whole.
We are concerned to-day with these racial reactions in so far as they affect Europe and Africa-a smaller question, but still a very large human question, fraught with immense possibilities for the future of our civilisation as well as that of Africa. What is wanted in Africa to-day is a wise, far-sighted native policy. If we could evolve and pursue a policy which will promote the cause of civilisation in Africa without injustice to the African, without injury to what is typical and specific in the African we shall render a great service to the cause of humanity. For there is much that is good in the African and which ought to be preserved and developed. The negro and the negroid Bantu form a distinct human type which the world would be poorer without.
Here in this vast continent, with its wide geographical variety and its great climatic differences, this unique human type has been fixing itself for thousands of years. It is even possible, so some anthropologists hold, that this was the original mother-type of the human race and that Africa holds the cradle of mankind. But whether this is so or not, at any rate here we have the vast result of time, which we should conserve and develop with the same high respect which we feel towards all great natural facts. This type has some wonderful characteristics. It has largely remained a child type, with a child psychology and outlook. A child-like human cannot be a bad human, for are we not in spiritual matters bidden to be like unto little children ? Perhaps as a direct result of this temperament the African is the only happy human 1 have come across. No other race is so easily satisfied, so good tempered, so care-free. If this had not been the case, it could scarcely have survived the intolerable evils which have weighed on it like a nightmare through the ages. A race which could survive the immemorial practice of the witch doctor and the slave trader., and preserve its inherent simplicity and sweetness of disposition, must have some very fine moral qualities. The African easily forgets past troubles and does not anticipate future troubles. This happy-go-lucky disposition isa great asset, but it has also its drawbacks.
There is no inward incentive to improvement, there is no persistent effort in construction, and there is complete absorption in the present,its joys and sorrows. Wine, women, and song in their African forms remain the great consolations of life. No indigenous religion has been evolved, no literature, no art since the magnificent promise of the cave-men and the South African petroglyphist, no architecture since
Zimbabwe (if that is African). Enough for the Africans the simple joys of village life, the dance, the tom-tom, the continual excitement of forms of fighting which cause little bloodshed. They can stand any amount of physical hardship and suffering, but when deprived of these simple enjoyments, they droop, sicken and die. Travellers tell how for weeks the slaves would move impassively in captive gangs ; but when they
passed a village and heard the pleasant noises of children, the song and the dance, they would suddenly collapse and die, as if of a broken heart. These children of nature have not the inner toughness and persistence of the European, nor those social and moral incentives to progress which have built up European civilisation in a 1comparatively short period. But they have a temperament which suits mother Africa, and which brings out the simple joys of life and deadens its pain, such as no other race possesses.
It is clear that a race so unique, and so different in its mentality and. its cultures from those of Europe, requires a policy very unlike that which would suit Europeans. Nothing could be worse for Africa than the application of a policy, the object or tendency of which would be to destroy the basis of this African type, to de-Africanize the African and turn him either into a beast of the field or into a pseudo-European. And yet in the past we have tried both alternatives in our dealings with the
Africans. First we look upon the African as essentially inferior or sub-human, as having no soul, and as being only fit to be a slave. As a slave he became an article of commerce, and the greatest article of export from this continent for centuries. But the horrors of this trade became such that the modern conscience finally revolted
and stamped out African slavery peacefully in the British Empire, but in America with the convulsions of civil war and a million dead.
Then we changed to the opposite extreme. The African now became a man and a brother. Religion and politics combined to shape this new African policy. The principles of the French Revolution which had emancipated Europe were applied to Africa; liberty, equality, and fraternity could turn bad Africans into good Europeans. The political system of the natives was ruthlessly destroyed in order to incorporate them as equals into the white system. The African was good as a potential European; his social and political culture was bad, barbarous, and only deserving to be stamped out root and branch.
In some of the British possessions in Africa the native just emerging from barbarism was accepted as an equal citizen with full political rights along with the whites. But his native institutions were ruthlessly proscribed and destroyed. The principle of equal rights was applied in its crudest form, and while it gave the native a semblance of equality with whites, which was little good to him, it destroyed the basis of his African system which was his highest good. These are the two extreme native policies which have prevailed in the past, and the second has been only less harmful than the first. If Africa has to be redeemed, if Africa has to make her own contribution to the world, if Africa is to take her rightful place among the continents, we shall have to proceed on different lines and evolve a policy which will not force her institutions into an alien European mould, but which preserve her unity with her own past, conserve what is precious in her past, and build her future
progress and civilisation on specifically African foundations. That should be the new policy, and such a policy would be in line with the traditions of the British Empire. As I said on an occasion which has become historic: the British Empire does not stand for assimilation of its peoples into a common type, it does not stand for standardisation, but for the fullest, freest development of its peoples along their own specific lines. This principle applies not only to its European, but its Asiatic and its African constituents.It is a significant fact that this new orientation of African policy had its origin in South Africa, and that its author was Cecil Rhodes in his celebrated Glen Grey Act. Rhodes' African policy embodied two main ideas : white settlement to supply the steel framework and the stimulus for an enduring civilisation, and indigenous native institutions to express the specifically African character of the natives in their future development and civilisation. African policies should arise in Africa, with the living problems. And it is, therefore, significant that the lines on which the new Africa is being shaped are mainly of African origin.
When I call Rhodes the original author of the new policy I do not mean that it was his sole, individual inspiration. During the most fruitful and successful period of his public life he was associated with Jan Hofmeyr, who was one of the wisest, most experienced, and far sighted men whom South Africa has ever produced. In evolving his
native policy Rhodes collaborated closely and continuously with Hofmeyr ; and the policy in the form it took in the celebrated Glen Grey Act was therefore the joint product of Rhodes and Hofmeyr, of English and Dutch speaking South Africans. The new orientation therefore rests on a very broad basis of African experience.
Prior to the Glen Grey legislation it had been the practice in South Africa, as it had been the practice in all European occupied territory in Africa, to rule the natives direct through Government officials direct rule, as it has been called. Even where natives were left undisturbed in the possession of their tribal lands, the native organs of self government were broken down and government rule was constituted in their place. The native chiefs were either deposed and deprived of authority, or where use was made of them they were incorporated into the official system and appointed as officers of the Government, from whom they derived all their authority and in whose name that authority was exercised. The principal innovation of Rhodes in his new legislation was, so far as possible, to introduce indirect white rule, and to make the natives manage their local tribal affairs. A system of native councils was inaugurated for the smaller areas, from which again delegates met to form a larger general council under the chairmanship of the resident magistrate of the area. Powers of taxation, of administration, and of recommending legislation to the Government were conferred on these councils. His second innovation was to make it possible for natives in their tribal areas to become possessed of their own separate plots of agricultural land, instead of the traditional communal holding and working of land which is the universal native system throughout Africa. Under the native system the tribe, not the individual, owns the lands, and from time to time the chief and his advisers assign to each head of a family the plot which he may cultivate for himself.
This plot can be and is usually changed, so that there is no fixity of tenure, and in consequence no incentive to improve the land and to do the best with it or get the most out of it. For this communal social system of land tenure Rhodes substituted individual tenure, under certain reservations and with certain safeguards, designed in the interest of the native holders themselves. A third feature of his system was a labour tax of ten shillings per annum, imposed on all native heads of families who did not go out to work beyond their district for three months in the year. The object of this tax was obvious. The whites wanted labourers, and the natives were supposed to require some inducement to go and work instead of sitting on their holdings and
seeing their women work. Both in the interests of the whites and the natives, therefore, this special tax was imposed as an economic experiment. The tax, however, was unpopular with the natives from the start, and soon appeared to be an unnecessary irritation. The native men went to work quite readily or sent their young men to work for the whites. Before many years this special tax was repealed, and in later
years a similar tax in the Transvaal met with the same fate. The native, although a slow worker, is not lazy, and does not require any special inducement to play his part in the economic development of the country. His main incentive is the rising scale of his needs in food and clothing, both for himself and for his often large family of children. In addition, he is handicapped in South Africa by want of sufficient land for his requirements, and by the non economic character of native farming on the whole. With his rise in the scale of civilisation his needs rapidly develop, and he soon finds it necessary to supplement the scanty proceeds of his
farming with the ready cash which he can earn in white employment. His economic lot, therefore, inevitably becomes more difficult, and forms a sufficient incentive to go out and work without any special means taken to force him to do so. The universal experience in Africa is that, although it takes some time at the beginning for the native to enter white employment, his rapidly growing economic needs in a white environment, and with a rising scale of living, soon make him take his full share of the burden without any necessity to resort to special measures. The young European communities who in other parts of the African continent are struggling with this labour question as their principal trouble, and who may feel tempted to resort to the unsuccessful experiments which we have tried and discarded in South Africa, may take heart from our experience in South Africa of the native as a continuously improving worker. Dismissing therefore the question of labour tax, we come to consider the other features of Rhodes' Act, their general bearing on African native policy.
His provision of individual agricultural holdings has been a great success, and has been a principal means of native advance where it has been adopted in the Union. The native system of land socialism is not only primitive but most wasteful in its working. Why should the native farmer improve and render productive what belongs to the community, and may be taken away from him by the community? The result is that these communal farms rapidly deteriorate and become exhausted, and have to be abandoned after a few years' use. Then the farm lands shift to another area of the tribal domain where the same process of uneconomic exhaustion is repeated. And in the course of years this shiffing cultivation works havoc with the natural resources
of the domain; the soil is progressively exhausted; the forests and trees disappear ; the natural vegetable covering is destroyed ; soil erosion sets in the rainfall is lessened, and what water does fall flows off in torrents and conditions arise ; and the tribal lands become a barren waste. This sad phenomenon can be seen in one degree or another all over the African continent. Not only in South Africa, but in many other parts of the continent a native area or reserve can be recognised at a distance by the obvious general deterioration of the natural vegetation and the soil. But for the enormous natural resources and recuperative power of the continent, most of Africa would by now be a howling wilderness, because of the wasteful rural economy of its population. Unless the carrying capacity of the land is to be gravely impaired in the future, steps will have to be taken everywhere to preserve the forests and the soil, and to teach the native better methods of agriculture.'
Practical agricultural education must indeed become one of the principal subjects of native education. But nothing will have a more far reaching effect than a general system of individual agricultural holdings under proper safeguards. The economic incentive to use properly, and to improve, what is one's own, is more powerful than any other factor of progress. In a world tending more and more towards general socialism, the vague phrase of " native socialism " may sound attractive, but its practical effects in Africa are everywhere devastating, and it has significantly maintained on that continent the most backward conditions to be found anywhere.
The main object of the Glen Grey legislation was, however, to, give the native his own institutions for his self development and self government. It marks definitely the abandonment of the older policy of direct rule, according to which the white man's system and culture had to be imposed on the native, and native institutions had to be scrapped as barbarous. The new policy is to foster an indigenous native culture or system of cultures, and to cease to force the African into alien European moulds. As a practical policy of native government it has worked most successfully. Gradually the system of native councils and native self government through their own tribal chiefs and elected councils has been extended from one native area to another in the Cape Province, until to day about two thirds of the Cape natives, or roughly over a million, fall under this system and manage their own local affairs according to their own ideas under the supervision of the European magistrates.
They impose a small capitation tax of ten shillings per annum for their own local requirements; they look after their own roads and the dipping of their cattle against disease ; they teach improved agricultural methods through their own native officers ; they amend their customary native law, advise the Government in regard to proposed laws in their areas, and in many other ways they look after their own local interests, find useful expression for their political energies, and get an invaluable training in disinterested public service. A sense of pride in their institutions and their own administration is rapidly developing, and, along with valuable experience in administration and public affairs, they are also acquiring a due sense of responsibility
where mistakes are made they feel satisfied that they have only themselves to blame. After the new system had worked successfully and with ever increasing efficiency for twenty five years, I thought the time ripe in 1920 to extend it to the whole of the Union, and in that year an Act was passed which gave increased powers to the councils and authorised the Government to introduce them over the whole Union, wherever the advance of the natives might justify the step. A Native Affairs Commission was at the same time appointed to advise the natives and the Government in regard to the establishment of new Councils, as well as in reference to all legislation affecting the natives. And it is confidently expected that before many years have passed the greater portion of the native population of South Africa will be in charge of their own local affairs, under general white supervision ; and in this way they will get an outlet for their political and administrative energies participation in a wider sphere of public life.
and ambitions which will give them the necessary training for eventual
The new departure is most far reaching and has come none too soon. Already the African system is disintegrating everywhere over the whole African continent. Many factors have combined to produce this situation. Missionaries share the blame with governments; the fight against the native social ideas has been no less destructive than the deposition of native chiefs and the institution of European organs of government. Unfortunately the earlier efforts of missionary enterprise were made without any reference to, or knowledge of, the peculiar native psychology, or the light which anthropology has thrown on the past of human cultures. For the natives, religion, law, natural science, social customs and institutions all form one blended whole, which enshrines their view of the world and of the forces governing it. Attack this complex system at any single point and the whole is endangered.
The introduction of the Christian religion meant not only the breakdown of the primitive belief in spirits, in magic and witchcraft, and the abandonment of the practice of polygamy; it meant the break down of the entire integral native Weltanschauung
or outlook on life and the world. A knowledge of anthropology would have been most useful, and would have helped to conserve the native social system, while ridding it of what was barbarous or degrading. The tendency of the Christian mission has therefore on the whole been to hasten the disintegration of the native system, both in its good and its bad aspects. To this has been added the introduction of the white man's administration through his own official organs, the breakdown of the authority of the chiefs and the tribal system, and the loosening of the bonds which bind native society together, with the consequent weakening of disappearance of tribal discipline over the young men and women of the tribe. The general disintegration has been powerfully reinforced by the vast improvement in the means of transport, the opening of communications, and by labour recruitment, which have led to the movement of natives and their mix up on a scale which would have been impossible before. The events of the Great War on the African continent have also contributed to this general disintegration.
If the bonds of native tribal cohesion and authority are dissolved, the African governments will everywhere sit with vast hordes of detribalised natives on their hands, for whom the traditional restraints and the discipline of the chiefs and the elders will have no force or effect. The old social and religious sanctions will have disappeared, while no new sanctions except those of the white man's laws will have been substituted. Such a situation would be unprecedented in the history of the world and the results may well be general chaos. From time immemorial the natives of Africa have been subject to a stem, even a ruthless, discipline, and their social system has rested on the despotic authority of their chiefs. If this system breaks down and tribal discipline disappears, native society will be resolved into its human atoms, with possibilities of universal Bolshevism and chaos which no friend of the natives, or the orderly civilisation of this continent, could contemplate with equanimity. Freed from all traditional, moral and social discipline, the native, just emerging from barbarism, may throw all restraint to the winds. Such a breakdown should be prevented at all costs, and everything should be done to maintain in the future the authority which has guided native life in the past.
(Still scanning please come back later,going to bed)
In the interests of the native as well as those of the European administrations responsible for their welfare, we are called upon to retrace our steps, to take all proper measures which are still possible to restore or preserve the authority of the chiefs, and to maintain the bonds of solidarity and discipline which have supported the tribal organisation of the natives in the past.
This authority or discipline need not be exercised in a barbarous way, and should be shorn of all old time cruelty and other undesirable features. But in essence it should be maintained, and under the general supervision and check of the European magistrate it should continue to be exercised. Special means should be taken to instruct chiefs in their duties, and the sons of chiefs and headmen should be trained to the proper exercise of the leadership which they may be called upon to fill. Such schools already exist, not only in South Africa, but under the Tanganyika and Uganda administrations, and may prove most helpful in preserving the traditional native chieftainship and headmanship as a vital link in the organisation of native society.
The new policy is in effect enshrined in the Covenant of the League of Nations and in the mandates passed thereunder. Act 22 of the Covenant lays down that in those colonies and territories taken from the defeated powers, which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there shall be applied the principle, that the well being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation, and that this trust shall be carried out by advanced nations acting as mandatories on behalf of the League of Nations.
The development of peoples, not yet able to stand by themselves, can only mean the progress and civilisation of these backward peoples in accordance with their own institutions, customs and ideas, in so far as these are not incompatible with the ideals of civilisation. That this was the plain meaning and intention of the article I can state with some authority, as I was in a measure responsible for this mandate principle and for its formulation in article 22 of the Covenant. This article enshrines a policy and a principle which is not only in consonance with commonsense, but which has already been tested in practice on a fairly large scale, and which in future ought to govern universally the contacts between European and other less advanced peoples.
It may be of some interest to indicate briefly how this policy is being applied in a mandated territory like Tanganyika. The foundation of the system is the maintenance and building up of the authority of the chiefs in their various ranks. Their sons receive special training in a school for the sons of chiefs, intended to fit them for their future duties. Their office is hereditary, but disposition and popular election are both possible in accordance with native ideas. The chief is responsible for the administration of his tribe, maintains order and good government within its area, and prevents the commission of offences. The heads of families pay an annual tax of ten shillings, which goes into the tribal treasury, from which a fixed amount is paid to the chief for his maintenance, the balance being devoted to tribal purposes, The chief can issue orders for a large number of purposes, such as prohibiting or controlling the manufacture and consumption of intoxicating liquors, preventing the pollution of the water in any stream, controlling migration of natives to or from his area, and requiring any native to cultivate land in such a way and with such crops as will secure a proper supply of food for him and his family. He may also make rules imposing fines and other penalties for the enforcement of his orders. Native courts are also instituted, administering native law and custom in both civil and criminal cases between natives within a certain jurisdiction; and from their decisions or sentences appeals lie ultimately to a white authority, who has also to confirm certain criminal sentences before their execution.
The white administration remains responsible for the larger functions of government, such as the combating of human and animal diseases, the organisation of education, the improvement of agriculture, and the construction of public works, and maintains a staff for these and similar purposes. But all the purely tribal concerns are left to the chief and his counsellors, whose actions are supervised by the white officer only in certain cases intended to prevent abuses.
The native system may not be as efficient and incorruptible as direct white rule would be, but a certain amount of inefficiency or even injustice, according to white ideas, is excusable, so long as the natives are trained to govern themselves according to their own ideas, and bear the responsibility for their own small mistakes. In this way they learn to stand by themselves, and will in the long run be trained to do their own local government work. It is not only the training in self government that will benefit them. They will develop the sense of responsibility which goes with it, and which is in itself one of the most valuable lessons of life. In looking after their own concerns they will, in addition,cultivate a sense of pride in their own system and increase their self respect. And, above all, they will develop an active interest in their own public affairs which will be of enormous moral and social value. The white man does the native a grave injury by doing everything for him in the way of government, and thereby depriving his life of all public interest. Gone is the excitement of his petty wars ; and if in addition there is the repression of all his former public activities and the suppression of his native values, we must expect a sense of frustration which will take all the zest out of his life. The question has even been raised whether the white man's rule, in taking all the interest out of native life, is not responsible for that decadence, lowered birthrate, and slow petering out which we see in the case of many primitive peoples. At any rate, the new policy of native self government will provide the natives with plenty of bones to chew at and plenty of matters to wrangle over and they do love to talk and dispute ad infinitum and in that way help to fill their otherwise empty lives with interest.
Another important consequence will follow from this system of native institutions. Wherever Europeans and natives live in the same country it will mean separate parallel institutions for the two. The old practice mixed up black with white in the same institutions ; and nothing else was possible, after the native institutions and traditions had been carelessly or deliberately destroyed. But in the new plan there will be what is called in South Africa " segregation " separate institutions for the two elements of the population, living in their own separate areas. Separate institutions involve territorial segregation of the white and black. If they Eve mixed up together it is not practicable to sort them out under separate institutions of their own. Institutional segregation carries with it territorial segregation. The new policy therefore gives the native his own traditional institutions on land which is set aside for his exclusive occupation. For agricultural and pastoral
natives, living their tribal life, large areas of reserves are set aside, adequate for their present and future needs.
In not setting aside sufficient such areas in South Africa in the past we committed a grievous mistake, which is at the root of most of our difficulties in native policy. For urbanised natives, on the other hand, who live, not under tribal conditions but as domestic servants or industrial workers in white areas, there are set aside native villages or locations, adjoining to the European towns. In both rural reserves
and town locations the natives take a part in or run their own local self government. Such is the practice now in vogue in South Africa and it is likely to develop still further, and to spread all over Africa where white and black live and work together in the same countries. For residential and local government purposes a clean cleavage is becoming ever more marked, the white portion of the population living under
more advanced European institutions, while the natives next door maintain their simpler indigenous system. This separation is imperative, not only in the interests of a native culture, and to prevent native traditions and institutions from being swamped by the more powerful organisation of the whites, but also for other important purposes, such as public health, racial purity, and public good order. The mixing up
of two such alien elements as white and black leads to unhappy social results racial miscegenation, moral deterioration of both, racial antipathy and clashes, and to many other forms of social evil. In these great matters of race, colour, and culture., residential separation and parallel institutions alone can do justice to the ideals of both sections of the population. The system is accepted and welcomed by the vast majority of natives ; but it is resented by a small educated minority who claim "equal rights" with the whites. It is, however, evident that the proper place of the educated minority of the natives is with the rest of their people, of whom they are the natural leaders, and from whom they should not in any way be dissociated.
Far more difficult questions arise on the industrial plane. It is not practicable to separate black and white in industry, and their working together in the same industry and in the same works leads to a certain amount of competition and friction and antagonism, for which no solution has yet been found. Unhappy attempts have been made in South Africa to introduce a colour bar, and an Act of that nature is actually on the Statute Book, but happily no attempt has yet been made to apply it in practice. It empowers the Government to set aside separate spheres of work for the native and the non native, the object being to confine the native to the more or less unskilled occupations or grades of work. The inherent economic difficulties of such a distribu
tion of industrial functions, the universal objection of the native workers,and the sense of fair play among the whites will make its practical application virtually impossible. No statutory barrier of that kind should be placed on the native who wishes to raise himself in the scale of civilisation, nor could it be maintained for long against the weight of modern public opinion. As a worker the white man should
be able to hold his own in competition with the native. Industrial, as distinguished from territorial, segregation would be both impracticable and an offence against the modern conscience.
There remains the big question how far the parallelism of native and white institutions is to go ? Is it to be confined to local government, or is it to go all the way, up to the level of full political or parliamentary government ? Should black and white co operate in the same parliamentary institutions of the country ? If so, should they have separate representatives in the same parliamentary institutions ? Few acquainted with the facts and the difficulties can profess to see clear daylight in the tangle of this problem. In the older practice, embodied in the constitution of the former Cape Colony and in many other colonial institutions, political equality between the different races on the basis of a complete mixture of political rights was recognised. justice is colour blind and recognises no political differences on grounds of colour or race. Hence the formula of equal " rights for all civilised men " with which the name of Rhodes is identified, and which 'represents the traditional British policy.
That policy, however, arose at a time when the doctrine of native parallelism had not yet emerged, when native institutions were proscribed as barbarous, and the only place for the civilised native was therefore in the white man's system and the white man's institutions. The question is whether the new principle makes, or should make, any difference to the old tradition of mixed and equal political rights in the same parliamentary institutions. I notice that the Hilton Young Commission, after having made a powerful plea for separate native institutions for local government purposes, pause when they come up against the question of parliamentary institutions, and in the end leave the question over for the future.
If " (they say) " the idea of parallel development is accepted, then it follows that it is desirable to keep the way open as long as possible for the maximum measure of political segregation. This suggests that political development for the native and the settled areas should be carried forward on separate lines native and British respectively as far as possible."
Lord Lugard, in dealing with the question of equal rights in relation to colour, lays down the following proposition which a former President of the United States of America approved of:
" Here, then " (he says), " is the true conception of the interrelation of colour : complete uniformity in ideals, absolute equality in the paths of knowledge and culture, equal opportunity for those who strive, equal administration for those who achieve ; in matters social and racial a separate path, each pursuing his own inherited traditions, preserving his own race purity and race pride ; equality in things. spiritual, agreed difference in the physical and material."
An admirable statement of the principle to which, 1 think, all fair minded men will agree. But you notice once more the silence about political rights.
I do not think there can be, or that at bottom there is, among those who have given the subject serious attention, any doubt that in the supreme legislature of a country with a mixed population all classes and colours should have representation. It is repugnant to our civilised European ideas that the weaker in a community should not be heard or should go without representation, either by themselves or through European spokesmen, where their interests are concerned. There can be but one sovereign body in a country, and that body should represent the weaker no less than the stronger. To that extent there should be agreement. As to the mode of representation of colour in the supreme parliament there can be legitimate difference of opinion.
The older practice was to give equal rights in the sense of mixed ,representation, the same member of the legislature representing mixed bodies of white and native voters alike. The new policy of segregation of political rights would seem to point to separate representation for the colours in the same parliament so that white and native voters would vote in separate constituencies for separate representatives. There would still be equal political rights, and the Rhodes ideal in that sense would not be affected, but they would be exercised separately or communally. In South Africa, which, owing to the advanced condition of its natives, has become a sort of cockpit for race issues, we started with the older system of mixed constituencies in the Cape Colony, and this system is embodied and entrenched in the Act of Union which forms our Constitution. The present Government has proposed to scrap this system for the future, and to give separate representation in Parliament to native and non native voters. A policy which might have been easy and, from certain points of view, even commendable, with a clean slate before us, has become enormously difficult because of what has been done in the past, and the justifiable fervour with which the Cape natives cling to their vested rights, which they have enjoyed for three quarters of a century. A battle royal is still proceeding on this and cognate issues affecting the political rights of the natives, and it will require all the wisdom and patience which we can command in South Africa if we are to reach a generally acceptable solution.
If we had to do only with the tribal native voters the question would not be so difficult, and the application of the general segregation principle to the particular case of political rights might be justified. Unfortunately very large numbers of detribalised natives are spread all over the Cape, and are no longer resident or registered in the native areas. These urbanised natives living among the whites constitute the real crux, and it is a difficulty which goes far beyond the political issue. They raise a problem for the whole principle of segregation, as they claim to be civilised and Europeanised, and do not wish to be thrust back into the seclusion of their former tribal associations, or to forego their new place in the sun among the whites. With the application of strict education and civilisation tests it would probably be the better course to allow them to exercise their political rights along with the whites. Were it not for this case of the urbanised or detribalised natives, the colour problem, not only in South Africa but elsewhere in Africa, would be shorn of most of its difficulties. And the situation in South Africa is therefore a lesson to all the younger British communities farther north to prevent as much as possible the detachment of the native from his tribal connection, and to enforce from the very start the system of segregation with its conservation of separate native institutions.
In conclusion I wish to refer to an apparent discrepancy between this lecture and my previous one. In that lecture I stressed the importance of white settlement in Africa as a potent means of furthering native progress and civilisation. I pointed out that enduring contact with the white man's civilisation is the surest way to civilise the native. In this lecture I have emphasised the importance of preserving native institutions, of keeping intact as far as possible the native system of organisation and social discipline. It may be thought that there is a clash between those two aims, and that civilisation by white contact must inevitably lead to the undermining and ultimately to the destruction of the native culture and social system. This, however, is not so. So long as there is territorial segregation, so long as the native family home is not with the white man but in his own area, so long the native organisation win not be materially affected. While the native may come voluntarily out of his own area for a limited period every year to work with a white employer, he will leave his wife and children behind in their native home. The family life in the native home will continue on the traditional lines ; the routine of the family and of the tribe will not be altered in any material respect. The male adults, father and sons, will no doubt imbibe new ideas in their white employment, but their social system will not suffer on that account.
It is only when segregation breaks down, when the whole family migrates from the tribal home and out of the tribal jurisdiction to the white man's farm or the white man's town, that the tribal bond is snapped, and the traditional system falls into decay. And it is this migration of the native family, of the females and children, to the farms and the towns, which should be prevented. As soon as this migration is permitted the process commences which ends in the urbanised, detribalised native and the disappearance of the native organisation. It is not white employment of the native males that works the mischief, but the abandonment of the native tribal home by the women and children. This the law should vigorously prevent, and the system whether it is administered through passes or in any other way should only allow the residence of males for limited periods, and for purposes of employment among the whites. If this is done there will be no serious danger that the indigenous native system will be unduly affected.
At the same time I wish to point out that the prevention of this migration will be no easy task, even where ample tribal lands are guaranteed to the natives. The whites like to have the families of their native servants with them. It means more continuous and less broken periods of labour, and it means more satisfied labourers. It means,however, the use of the women and children for such work as they
are fit for.
These are considerable advantages, and the white employers will not be very keen to carry out a law against them. On the other hand, the native also very often likes to get away from the jurisdiction of the chief and the discipline of the tribe, and prefers to have his women and his children around him in his daily life. For the native the pressure to break away from the old bonds and live with his white master is thus very great. We have seen the process at work in South Africa. When the white emigrants entered and occupied Natal, they found the entire territory between Zululand and Pondoland unoccupied ; it had been laid bare and made a waste buffer between these two powerful native states. But no sooner had the whites settled in this empty area than native deserters, dissatisfied with the harsh rule of their chiefs, began to arrive and settle as servants among the whites. And to day, through this wholly voluntary migration, the province of Natal has a very large native population. It was not a case of the natives not having sufficient fertile lands for their own use. Zululand is one of the most fertile parts of South Africa, and it was and remains comparatively thinly populated. White employment, white protection, the freedom of the white man's rule compared to the discipline of the native chief and the jurisdiction of the tribe have been the potent factors in bringing about this migration. And they will continue to operate in an parts of Africa where whites settle down.
In the old Cape Colony one frontier after another was drawn by the Cape governors between the white settlements and the native tribes,,and migration from the one to the other was prohibited under stern penalties. But the system was for ever breaking down. The whites like to have native servants ; the natives prefer to have white masters, and this double economic attraction has proved too much for any prohibitory law.
There is, however, no reason why segregation, although it has broken down in South Africa in the past, should not be a workable and enforceable system in the future. The power of Government and the reach of the law are to day very different from what they were under the primitive nomadic conditions of the old Cape frontier. The system of native administration is to day so ramified and pervasive, the policeman is so ubiquitous, that segregation can be tried under far more favourable conditions than existed in South Africa in the past. The young countries to the north can start with a clean slate. They can learn from the mistakes which we made in South Africa. and can ab initio
reserve ample lands for the natives to live and work on. They can check the abuses of the chiefs, and can effectively supervise the working of the native system, both in its administrative and judicial aspects. Witchcraft can be fought, official injustice and corruption can be largely prevented, schools can be established, and the simplest amenities of civilised life can be introduced, in the native villages and tribal areas.
The position is really very different from what it was generations ago, and the inducements for native families to remain on their tribal lands are such, or can be made such, that a segregation law will become
comparatively easy to carry out. The women and children will continue to carry on their native life at home. will continue to work in the homes and in the fields as they have done from the immemorial past. The men, instead of lying in the sun, or brawling over their beer' or indulging in the dangerous sport of tribal warfare, will go out to work and supplement the family income and render tolerable a weight which under the new conditions is becoming more and more difficult for the women and children. They should never be away long, and the physical and moral life of the family and the tribe need not suffer because of the short periods of absence. Theorists may pick holes in such a system, but there is no practical reason why it should not work in practice. There is no break in the communal village life, but among the men the thin edge of the industrial wedge is introduced, and they rightly become the bread winners which they have seldom or never been. Such a system has great redeeming features, and compares more than favourably with the old ways, which meant absolute stagnation for the men, and virtual slavery for the women. It represents a compromise between the native routine of the past and the white man's industrial system, which may work tolerably well in the future.
Without breaking down what is good in the native system, it will graft on to it a wholesome economic development, which will yet not disturb too deeply the traditional ways of mother Africa. The whiteman's civilisation and the steadily progressing native culture will live side by side and react on each other, and the problems of their contact will provide a fruitful theme for the statesmen of the future.