South West Africa

South West Africa

South West Africa

South West Africa

Excerpt

'What exactly do you think you're doing?' the Archivist in Windhoek demanded, calling me into his office. 'Collecting material for a book,' I said. He could stop me, he said aggressively. We argued the toss; he produced the Archives Act, and then compromised. I could work there, but he would decide what material I could not see. From the reports on the table he withdrew all those dating from the end of 1946.

That was the year South Africa rejected the United Nations Organization's request to put the mandate of South West Africa under international trusteeship; she has defied the world body ever since. South West Africa is South Africa's property: trespassers will be prosecuted.

The week before I left for South West Africa, the newspapers had announced that the borders were being manned to block any threatened United Nations invasion. (The Special Committee on South West Africa had asked for access to the territory so that it could examine conditions there for itself.) I was no invading force, only a journalist bent on collecting the facts and feeling of the South West African situation. But I knew that questions were not encouraged, interviews with U.N. petitioners were seen in official eyes as preparation for subversion, and I had a political record of close association with the Congress movement in South Africa. So it seemed prudent to anticipate police bans (to keep me out of the territory), and scrutiny (to frighten off interviewers), by taking as devious a route as possible.

The train crawled painfully over the barren, stony, droughtstricken south. In the coach were four men, travelling to the capital in order to give evidence in a murder trial: an assistant . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.