The Two Nations: Aspects of the Development of Race Relations in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

The Two Nations: Aspects of the Development of Race Relations in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

The Two Nations: Aspects of the Development of Race Relations in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

The Two Nations: Aspects of the Development of Race Relations in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

Excerpt

'I was told that the Privileged and the People formed Two Nations.' These words are to be found in Disraeli's novel Sybil or The Two Nations and they were written of England just over a hundred years ago. They illustrate very clearly the theme which emerges as outstanding from the mass of detail--sayings, thoughts, Blue Books, Acts of Parliament--which Richard Gray has collected about Rhodesia, and that is why The Two Nations has been borrowed as the title of this book.

It was surely inevitable that to begin with there should be very little understanding between peoples so utterly different in their background as the Bantu tribes of Rhodesia and the British and Afrikaners who made the bulk of the first settlers. At the end of the great Victorian period, the differences were taken for granted and there was no question that the two could have much to say to each other. It was only after the First World War that it became necessary to express as a conscious opinion what before had been a matter of course. Legal barriers were then built and a deliberate policy of segregation and separation was adopted. This was the Two-Pyramid policy; it was expounded in Parliament and the Press and on the whole most people regarded it as wise and enlightened. In philosophy it was very like what in the Union of South Africa today is called separate development, though less rigid and less formulated. After the Second World War this policy was abandoned and a beginning made of an alternative and opposed ideal of bringing the two nations together in partnership. But it is much easier to sow suspicion than to get rid of it; by any reckoning the story has an element of tragedy. Looked at today, what the African wanted in the thirties seems pathetically moderate, but by the time the privileged--with a goodwill and an effort of imagination that must not be under-rated--were ready to meet their wishes, waiting had made the people bitter and they wanted . . .

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