South African Predicament

South African Predicament

South African Predicament

South African Predicament

Excerpt

South Africa has been in the news a great deal since the Second World War. Its once fair name has been badly seared by the winds of adverse criticism that have blown upon it from the four corners of the earth. Naturally enough, most of this criticism is resented in South Africa, and certainly much of it has been ill-informed and unfair: but where there is smoke there is fire, and it cannot be claimed that all is well within the country. Yet while much of the criticism can be ignored by South Africans only at their own peril, at the same time it would be as well if the criticism could be more sympathetic and constructive, in view of the particularly difficult problems which confront the country

Apart from its wealth in precious minerals, which are being taken from the earth as rapidly as possible by the best means that modern science can devise, the country is not particularly rich in natural resources. Yet within its borders there are four distinct racial groups -- the Whites, the Africans, the Indians, and the Coloureds -- all determined to retain their racial characteristics in this one country, which all insist is their only homeland. But the divisions go even further than this. Among the Whites there are the Afrikaners, derived mainly from the early Dutch and French settlers and speaking a distinct language, the English-speaking people, largely descendants of British colonists, and a fair proportion of Jews from all parts of Europe. Among the Africans there are at least four distinct ethnic groups, which have yet to shed their historical antagonisms. The Indians include both Hindu and Moslem; and the Coloureds -- hitherto the most tragic section of the population -- are a heterogeneous people springing from varying mixtures of African and Malay slaves, Hottentots and Whites.

To weld these diverse elements into a nation is a formidable task, and it is little wonder that in the process there is friction . . .

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