South Africa: A Short History

By Arthur Keppel-Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
RACE RELATIONS

THE relations between white men and black, during the greater part of South African history, can be expressed in military terms. But the long tradition of warfare across an ill-defined frontier did not cease to be an active force in politics after the last tribal warriors had suffered final defeat.

The advancing white settlement had pushed the Bantu back, but this process was not carried to its logical completion. It could not be, for the Natives continued to increase, and they had to live somewhere. The tide of white colonisation therefore swept round the rocky black islands on which the Natives crowded too densely for comfort. In these territories that remained to them they carried on as well as they could the old tribal life, with chiefs administering Native law and allotting land for the use of tribesmen. Traditionally, the chief owned the land in trust for the tribe. His powers of distribution remained, but the legal ownership passed to the white man's government in various forms. Over the chiefs the governments placed officials with superior authority, both administrative and judicial, and Parliament or Volksraad assumed powers of legislation. Generally speaking, the land in Native "reserves" and "locations" was protected against European encroachment.

The existence of the reserves indicates one aspect of the white man's policy, adopted from the beginning in colonies and republics: the safeguarding of European settlements against the flood of barbarians that would be overwhelming if no space were provided for it. On one side of a frontier, as in the days of the border wars, lay the white man's country; beyond were the hills of "Kaffirland".

Yet no European ever proposed that the whole Native population should be accommodated in reserves. Native policy had its other side, the provision of a labour supply for farmers and other employers. European colonisation had from the first been based on coloured labour, slave and Hottentot. In the

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South Africa: A Short History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • Chapter I - The Half-Way House 11
  • Chapter II - Afrikaners 24
  • Chapter III - Slaves and Hottentots 38
  • Chapter IV - The Bantu Frontier 51
  • Chapter V - The Great Trek 65
  • Chapter VI - Diamonds and Englishmen 82
  • Chapter VII - The Imperial Factor 96
  • Chapter VIII - The Uitlanders 116
  • Chapter IX - Nationalism 145
  • Chapter X - Union and Disunity 153
  • Chapter XI - Race Relations 166
  • Chapter XII - Hertzog 179
  • Chapter XIII - War, Apartheid and the Republic 196
  • Short Bibliography 225
  • Index 227
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