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 racism.
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.