Page 2, 15th September 1950

15th September 1950
Page 2
Page 2, 15th September 1950 — RACE RELATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA

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People: Michael Scott


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SIR,-1 regret that Mr. Sen finds my letter of July 7 "painful reading "; but I feel that, had he followed my argument more closely, he might have spared himself some distress. For after the somewhat sweeping assertion that 1 cart easily be shown to be wrong on every point, he selects for refutation points which I certainly did not make. For instance, he seems to conclude that 1 was defending the Malan administration, whereas my purpose in writing was to point out that ill-judged intervention abroad may serve only to provoke a reaction in favour of Malan even among his opponents in South Africa, and strengthen his hand in implementing a policy, many aspects of which I am at one with Mr. Sen in deploring.

At the same time, with regard to "apartheid," I was merely concerned to show that, whatever the Malan brand of it may turn out to be, it is in principle not necessarily an in

iquitous method of dealing with the

problem. Anyone who has seen natives coming into. the towns newly arrived from their " kraals "-Zulus. for instance, men of a proud race, of fine physique and great natural gravity and courtesy of manner-and has seen them changed, in a year or two or even a few months, into the slouching, insolent, demoralised byproducts of modern " must entertain grave doubts whether these people would not have been far better off living their tribal life in their own natural surroundingswhich is what I take segregation to mean.

It is simply not true, at least of the Bantu in general, that, in Mr. Sen's words, " backward races can only improve fast enough by living in contact with the more advanced races." The tempo of modern civilisation has an enervating effect even on sophisticated Europeans; to the children of the African wilds it is quite bewildering; and the influence on them of its materialism and low standards of morality is corrupting and soul-destroying. Here I must join issue with Mr. Roberts (in his letter of July 14) on the use of the word " segregation." It is true that etymologically the word implies the breaking-up of the flock; but surely in this context we are referring to a process of " separating-out-into-flocks" a heterogeneous multitude. No doubt it is a loose usage of the word, but that is surely what we mean. As for the danger of breaking up Christ's "little flock," I maintain that it is easier for missionaries to nurture their native flocks in the setting of their own culture and way of life. It is when the natives go to the towns that they are in very many cases lost to the Church. and in this way the flock of Christ is broken up. Further, the fact that, as Mr. Roberts says, the Church preaches " the only true universalism" does not give every busybody who happens to be a member of the Church the right to sit in judgment on problems with the intricacies of which he is not familiar. Both Mr. Sen and Mr. Roberts have the advantage of knowing South African conditions at first hand; but not many of Michael Scott's hearers in this country and in America are in that position; and without such experience. while it is easy to criticise, it is impossible to judge with sobriety.

There are a number of other points in the letters of Mr. Sen and Mr. Roberts with which I do not agree, but 1 will not trespass further on your space and patience. Sir, by dealing with them here. However, in order that the points on which we are in agreement may appear, let me briefly state my position once again.

I do not wish to condone the very real injustices that exist in South Africa. But I consider that more harm than good will come of illadvised agitation, and of criticism by those who are ignorant of the real conditions. There would appear to be three possible means by which redress may be brought about. viz.; 1. i by revolution; 2. by armed ntervention from outside; 3. by constitutional means within the country. it is unthinkable that we should wish to promote I or 2. Let us therefore hope and pray that South Africans may put their own house in order; let us in any case place no obstacle, by our unsympathetic attitude, in the way of those in the country who desire reform.

Rev.) J. BROGAN, Si. Heythrop College, Chipping Norton, Oxon.

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