the injunction to be apolitical thus becomes a precept of amorality. These remarks are not exclusive to South Africa, of course;
they apply with nearly equal strength to such other places as Mississippi and Alabama, or indeed California and Ohio. The
last centuries of Western history, and most especially the nineteenth, have been tainted by the nearly ubiquitous aberration of
My last dealings with the South African government took place
in December 1961 at the customs office of the Johannesburg
airport. A bored official routinely inspected my luggage, which
contained many irreplaceable and incriminating documents. I
greeted his lack of zeal (to which the ungodly hour of 4 A.M.
probably contributed) with a subliminal sigh of relief. I had
successfully passed the last test of my rite de passage as an
Africanist. Invaluable as my two years in South Africa had been,
I knew that they would leave a profound and durable impact
on me; I also knew that I would badly need the six-month
European vacation ahead of me in order to regain some intellectual balance.
The title of this chapter paraphrases Mahatma Gandhi, who spent
two trying but highly formative decades of his life in South Africa.
See Mohandas K. Gandhi, An Autobiography: The Story of My
Experiences with Truth (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1954).
See, among others, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques ( Paris: Plon, 1955); Elenore Smith Bowen, Return to Laughter ( New
York: Harper, 1954); and J. F. Holleman, African Interlude
(Cape Town: Nationale Boekhandel, 1959).
For example, a brilliantly satirized and thinly disguised Lloyd
Warner appears under a pseudonym in John P. Marquand, Point
of No Return ( Boston: Little, Brown, 1949). Dennison Nash
analyzes the function of field work in anthropology in "The
Ethnologist as Stranger: An Essay in the Sociology of Knowledge," Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 19 ( 1963): 149-67. A
number of issues germane to this chapter are discussed in three
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Race and Ethnicity:Essays in Comparative Sociology.
Contributors: Pierre L. Van den Berghe - Author.
Publisher: Basic Books.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1970.
Page number: 171.
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