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B.S. Biko (1972)
IT IS SIGNIFICANT that in a country peopled to the extent of 75% by blacks and whose entire
economic structure is supported and maintained, willingly or unwillingly, mainly by blacks, we find
very few publications that are directed at, manned by and produced by black people.
Black Viewpoint is a happy addition by the Black Community Programmes to all those publications
that are of great relevance to the black people. Our relevance is meant to be in the sense that we
communicate to blacks things said by blacks in the various situations in which they find
themselves in this country of ours. We have felt and observed in the past, the existence of a great
vacuum in our literary and newspaper world. So many things are said so often us, about us and for
us but very seldom by us.
This has created a dependency mood amongst us which has given rise to the present tendency to
look at ourselves in terms of how we are interpreted by the white press. In the process, a lot of us
have forgotten that the values and attitudes of newspapers are governed largely by the values and
attitudes of both their readership and of their financial supporters - who in the case of the white
press in South Africa, are whites. Therefore, when we read of a report of any speech or incident
which focuses on blacks, we usually find it accompanied by interpretative connotations in terms of
stress, headlines, quotations and other journalistic nuances, that are calculated to put the report in
a particular setting for either consumption or re-jection by the reader.
One must quickly add that the moral of the story is not that we must therefore castigate white
society and its newspapers. Any group of people who identify as a unit through shared interests
and aspirations necessarily need to protect those interests they share. The white press is
therefore regarded by whites as doing a good service when it sensitises its own community to the
'dangers' of Black Power. After all no white man is wanted outside the laager when the rest of the
white society is facing the illusionary swaart gevaar that only exists in the minds of the guiltstricken whites. Perhaps only very few whites would not want to be in the laager.
No, the real moral of the story therefore can only be that we blacks must on our own develop
those agencies that we need, and not look up to unsympathetic and often hostile quarters to offer
these to us.
In terms of this thinking, therefore, Black Viewpoint is meant to protect and further the interests of
black people. We do not intend to venture beyond this. We shall not serve as an exclusive
mouth-piece for any particular section of the black community but merely to pick up topics as they
come and as they are dealt with by blacks in various situations.
In the present issue we focus attention on four addresses delivered by blacks in different
situations. By juxtaposing these articles in this issue we hope to reflect the broad spectrum now to
be found in our society both in terms of the different stresses we lay in the definition of our
problem - the white problem - and in the mooted solutions that all four speakers touch briefly on.
We hope this will generate a good response amongst those who read it.

Njabulo Ndebele
Njabulo Ndebele is a final year B.A. student at the University of Lesotho, Botswana and
Swaziland. He is also the SRC President of UBLS
There are three kinds of socially significant groups in South Africa. There is the ethnic group, the
racial group and the broad national group. The national group is the combination of the racial and
the ethnic groups, that is to say, it is the national group which, for purposes of international
identification, can also be known as the people of South Africa, or simply as South Africans. The
racial group, on the other hand, is a combination of ethnic groups. Thus, the black racial group is
made up of Zulus, Basotho, Pedis etc. and the white racial group is made up of Afrikaners, English
people, Portuguese etc. The national group, we shall note, is fragmented by the institutionalised
racial conflicts, that is to say in fact the national group is formed when the racial groups begin to
interact. This means implicitly that the most important agent for social dynamism is the interaction
of the racial groups. In other words, it is not the nation, in South Africa, which matters, it is the
racial groups. Indeed, there is no nation in South Africa; a nation pre-supposes a voluntary and
unified political co-operation of all the social groups within a State.
However, on the level of simple human relations, at any particular moment, any particular
individual in South Africa is faced with three levels of socio-politico-economic conflicts. There are
the conflicts he experiences within his own ethnic group; those he experiences within his racial
group, and those he experiences as a member of a racially divided state. There is conflict within
and between ethnic groups, and conflict within and between racial groups. In these conflicts, the
conflicts within any particular group tend to be diminished whenever that group comes into conflict
with another similar group. In any conflict, two or more parties are both and at the same time,
fighting against each other for an objective which neither has. It may be that one party has already
reached that objective, so that the losing party is engaged in a constant effort to remove the victor
from the coveted place. On the other hand, the victor is engaged in an effort to maintain his
position. Thus, in matters of state politics, the victor can be in a position to control his opponent in
a conflict by force, if necessary, in order to maintain his position.
There is a hierarchy of conflict in South Africa. The greatest conflict is that between the races. The
race which is in power is the white race; that which seeks the power it does not now have is the
black race. The white races is able to control the black race, by force if necessary, in order to
maintain its position of power. The white race precludes the black race from participating creatively
in the quest for industrial development and, consequently, for political power. The white race-tries
to make it difficult for the black race to reach certain academic standards, thus excluding the black
race from the quest for intellectual and ideological power. The white race seeks to prevent the
black race from making any constructive and creative contribution to the black race's own cultural
development, by creating social conditions unconducive to meaningful cultural expression, thus
excluding the blacks from the quest for cultural power in a distinct cultural identity. The white race
tries to minimise the conflict within and between its ethnic groups in order to maximise its efforts to
dominate; it also tries to maximise the conflict within and between the ethnic groups of the
oppressed black race in order to minimise the latter's resistance in the racial conflict. Thus by such
means, the white race prevents the black race from attaining political power. The whole sociopolitical framework in South Africa is based on the preservation of the superior-inferior relationship
between white and black, a relationship essential for the maintenance of white domination.
The need for freedom is an essential and natural characteristic of humanity. That is to say, there is
no human being who can willingly accept a status of political servitude. It is self-evident therefore,
that the white race in our country seeks to perpetuate and unnatural condition. It is important,

therefore, to realise that nature is on the side of the blacks. It is important, furthermore, that the
blacks cultivate and develop a philosophy of nature and of life that will centre around the concept
of human worth and human dignity for only when we value our own selves do we find it necessary
to struggle for the preservation and the assertion of that which is valuable in us.
A paper for the Symposium on CREATIVITY AND BLACK DEVELOPMENT organised by the
South African Students' Organisation (SA SO).
Politics is the quest for and the use of power; and society is the interaction of various powergroups. This view of politics and society is what I may describe as a functional view in terms of our
human circumstances in this country. It is functional in the sense that it is a necessary view to hold
in the creation of a practical attitude towards the assessment of our condition. We blacks must sit
down to examine the various power-groups in our midst, with a view to finding out which of these
groups can be most effective and relevant towards our necessary, and hence natural, struggle for
a more meaningful participation in the shaping of our country's destiny.
It goes without saying, therefore, that there is a hierarchy of power-groups in a political structure.
But all these groups have one thing in common - the desire to propagate a point of view which
must be acceptable to a great number of individuals. The highest power-group is that which has
been granted the right and, at the same time, the privilege to rule a people. In seeking the greatest
power that man can ever wield, this group is conventionally referred to as the political group or
party. There are other power-groups which are normally referred to as social groups, that is to say,
smaller groups which by virtue of their existence, natural necessity and interaction determine the
nature of a community of people i.e. cultural groups, educational groups, religious groups,
industrial groups, sports groups and others. An important characteristic of these social groups is
that they may not necessarily be in conflict with one another, for each seeks to assert itself in its
own field of interest.

The Peasant and Semi-Peasant

There are social divisions among the blacks, which are of a universal nature. Such are those
which exist between rural and urban blacks. The former, who in the history of many social and
political revolutions have often been regarded as having the greatest potential as an agent or as
an instrument for the mobilisation of human forces towards social, political and economic reforms,
are virtually a dormant group in South Africa. This group, whose members are known as peasants,
is mostly to be found in small rural ethnic concentrations either in reserves or in the small towns
bordering the reserves. Where the towns are far from the reserves but not very far from the big
towns, the peasants of a particular rural area may be made up of several ethnic groups living
together and working for the same white farmer. The existence of these people has more often
than not been an embarrassment to the urban blacks whose relative social advancement has
tended to make them wish to forget their wretched past, constantly being brought to life by the
peasant and his companion, the migrant labourer.
The peasants on the white farms have almost no political consciousness. Their day is rigidly
scheduled according to some form of compulsory routine. They have accepted, either consciously
or sub-consciously, the fact that they are not working for their own betterment; rather, they are
working for a white master who seems to have a right to benefit from their labours. They have no
social security. They do not own land. They can be driven away from the farms almost at the whim
of their white master. Even their very survival is not as important as the survival of their master.
Theirs is the life of insignificance, of diseases, of ignorance. Their whole personal orientation is
geared towards serving their master. They are grateful that their master allows them to build their
rusted zinc lean-to's half a mile away from the master's mansion. They are human possessions
which the white master does not value.

Indeed, he does not even value their labour, as such, for he accepts their labour as much as he
accepts the fact of breathing. You only value the process of breathing when your lungs are in
trouble. Before then, your lungs are some aspect of yourself that you seldom think of in your life.
That is the extent to which human beings have been reduced - mere insignificance.
Yet, in spite of all his apparent degradation, we would be wrong to suppose that there is no vital
part of the peasant's personality which does not secretly abhor the degrading agent and the
inhuman physical conditions to which the agent subjects him. An intuitive knowledge of natural
justice tells the peasant that the life he is leading is far from ideal; that he is insecure; that he
wishes to own property and work for his livelihood as any person proud of his physical strength,
would wish. However, to wish for something is an indication that you do not have it at the moment
of wishing. Thus, the next step is to try to find ways and means of acquiring the object of your
wishes. What, therefore, can the peasant do? Nothing. It is a fact that on their own, they cannot do
much. They are weakened, as a group, by ignorance; by lack of political awareness; by immediate
ethnic differences which to them are still the determinants of the basic conflicts in life. This
peasant group is, indeed, a good example of a power-group that has no actual power. However,
their potential power is immense indeed. It is this potential power that should interest us, for
indeed, real social and political change, if it is to be a goal for all black people, can only be realised
in the mobilisation of all possible human resources.
Closely related to the peasant group, is a group that has become semi-peasant and semi-urban.
This is the group of migrant labourers, most of whom work in the mines. A good number of these
come from neighbouring black countries. These migrant labourers suddenly find themselves
uprooted from a rural life which they find uninspiring when compared with the stories of a
glamorous life in the big cities. They come to the town and frequently mix with the urban blacks.
Again, the tendency of the urban blacks has been to look down upon these labourers on account
of their untutored ways.
Having been in contact with the life of the towns, they have some measure of political awareness.
It is also important to realise that when they get back to their homes, they come with an enhanced
social status. They become interpreters of the fast-moving world outside. Some of them become
fairly literate. Thus, they realise, with some articulation, that there is a lot they do not have which
the better members of their country, the white masters, have. They can do more for themselves
than their completely peasant companions. We must realise, therefore, that this group can be a
very important agent for social change in the rural areas.

The Urban Blacks

The urban blacks are the most socio-politically aware among the black groups. This is because
the urban black is more advanced socially, politically, economically, educationally and in many
other ways that make life in the urban areas supposedly more meaningful. That is one of the
unexpressed, main political reasons behind the policy of the Bantustans. The urban blacks,
because they know too much (much more than the lower classes among the whites) must be
divided into ethnic groups and sent to their homelands. There, they shall become a semi-peasant
group, because basically the homelands are intended to be labour reservoirs of migrant labourers.
In the homelands, they can be very easy to control; easy to convince that they are inferior, and
easy to convince that they have political power when in actual fact that political power is only the
freedom to organise effectively, through a government machinery, migrant labour, as some black
neighbouring countries are doing. The black governments in the homelands are going to do the
white man's dirty job.
However, in his relative advancement, the urban black still feels backward in relation to his white
counterpart. He works in the same factory as the white worker; diagnoses the same diseases with
the white doctor after having written the same examination; worships the same God as the white

churchgoer and generally does many other jobs which the whites do, yet, in a state which, by
virtue of his colour, discriminates against him, he is unable to participate in any decision-making
processes affecting him and his work.
He has repeatedly compared his skills with those of his white counterpart and has not found his
skills wanting. There are two social evils which beset the life of the urban black. He suffers
primarily because of the black colour of his skin; and secondarily as a member of the exploited
class in a capitalist economy.
One of the most shattering characteristics of an advanced capitalist economy is that it tends to be
extremely acquisitive. People want to lay their hands on almost anything that is brought to their
notice by cunning advertisements. The urban blacks have joined this acquisitive world, and the life
of this world is characterised by extreme alienation from oneself. Each person tends to move away
from himself in a bid to acquire things external to his own person. Thus, the acquisition and the
hoarding of material things is responsible for a proportional rise in social status. That is to say,
people do not matter; it is things that matter. Things make people; people no longer make things,
that is to say, people no longer approach work and matter with a creative bent, because their
handling of matter is no longer a means of self-expression, it is now a barren conformity to an
impersonal acquisitive norm. An acquisitive society is also characterised by its purposelessness.
There is no intrinsic purpose behind this blind acquisition of material things; indeed, acquisition is
an end in itself. That is why after having acquired out of conformity, one has no value for that
which one has acquired, because it has no intrinsic value for one.
A casual and brief look at the history of racism in South Africa shows that the early white settlers
were sincere in their belief in the inferiority of the black man. They were driven by deep-seated
religious beliefs. Now, it is no longer that way. There are very few whites now religiously
committed. Let us not be deceived, the Afrikaner is no longer as deeply religious as he was in the
nineteenth century. Today, he has tasted of the material fruits of modern society and is determined
to enjoy them for as long as he can. The effect of religion is only powerful immediately after human
appeals to it have been successful. After that, that influence and power wane with each passing
generation. That is why today, the Afrikaner speaks of ideologies, because an ideology is a
rational product of the mind.
That is why he now speaks of 'youth preparedness', because he cannot now rely on irrational and
mystical religious appeals. The capitalist society has removed all the mysticism and seeks to be
enjoyed on its own terms - rationality and indoctrination. That is why rational justifications for
apartheid only succeed in being feeble. The true foundations of apartheid are irrational and that
irrationality has now disappeared. Indeed, the effect of apartheid today lies in the statute books laws long written, and laws being written. The latest laws are now written with a view to the benefit
of the economy and not of religion.
This fact leads us to a very important conclusion. We have seen how a fast-moving capitalist
economy advances with a proportional increase in alienation. The white South African does not
know himself; he knows only that he is white, but of the collective humanity of whites he has a
vague knowledge because they have lost it. The capitalist society has had its toll of self-alienation;
and the laws passed to the capitalist's benefit have helped him along by providing him with the
maximum opportunity for hoarding wealth. The black person has ceased to be just a person who is
black, he has now become a vital tool in the hoarding race; the acquisitive marathon race. The
black person has been reduced to a thing. There is no difference between the machine and the
black person. The money he earns is the oil that serves to keep him running. The blacks have
been relegated to a vague generality in terms of human dimensions, and to a specific generality in
terms of exploitative and quantitative economic productivity. They have been reduced to a mere
racial concept of labour by all the sections of the white community. Blacks are known as: labour in
the factory; labour in the mines; anonymous labour in the essential services; labour in the Kitchen.
'Labour' and 'black person' in South Africa are synonymous. In changing such concepts about

them, the blacks can cripple the evil reality such concepts serve. They must realise that the whites
cannot help but acquire, and in doing so, these whites may be ignorant of the injustices they
perpetrate, having been rendered feeling less by the blind urge to acquire. The blacks must assert
their human dignity and rebel against an institution which relegates them to the status of things.
By what has just been said, it should not be understood that the implication made is that there are
no racial conflicts. Among the whites, the fanaticism about race has simply watered down to
negative attitudes springing from a self-inflicted ignorance. That is why apartheid has all in all
become 'petty'. Apartheid is no longer a pseudo-ideology; it has become an economic principle.
This is an important development for the black person. It means that the black man must be
careful of concentrating on the racial struggle, to the detriment of the economic struggle, because
the latter may have become more important than the former. The whites continue to make
declarations about white superiority and Western Civilisation. These declarations seemingly seek
to underline racial conflicts; they are in essence intended to hoodwink the black man into believing
that his only problem is the racial one. This is clearly brought out by the liberal elements among
the whites. The liberal cry against the oppression of the black man is essentially ethical. They do
not want a politically free black man, they simply want a happy labour force. They have publicly
declared that the happier the blacks, the more they can produce economically. To the liberal, the
black person is still a thing, only the thing must be given more oil to function with better efficiency.
Let us look closely now, at the urban blacks.
The black person has in the past tended to demonstrate to the whites that he was also capable of
being a professor, an engineer, a businessman, a technician and other highly professional
persons. So his whole personal orientation became geared towards this personal display. Little did
he realise that in trying to prove himself he was doing so not on his own terms, but on the terms of
the whites. He had to prove himself within standards of life which had in themselves the capacity
to oppress him, not within the standards of his own indigenous civilisation. Thus today he is still
crying for education, sacrificing for it to the extent of starvation because the game of personal
display is still being played. There is a vague notion of what education is, and what it is for. We
have all heard at some stage in our life the distraught old lady saying: My child, what can we do in
this world without education? This question is still being asked. But it is the wrong question. The
correct question should be: When we have education, what do we do with it?
What is happening now is that the blacks acquire education with only a vague aim for its
utilisation. The real shocking tragedy comes when the black man realises that even with his
education, he is still not really accepted by whites. He is still given lower wages; he cannot do
some jobs because of job reservations.
This struggle for education created social problems within the urban black population. Those who
struggled for this education for personal display tended, psychologically, to dissociate themselves
from their ignorant lot. In this way a black middle class, the darlings of the white liberals, was
formed, that is to say, class divisions were formed among the blacks. Some of the members of this
class due to their political perspicacity decided to seek the political kingdom on behalf of their
people. This group reigned during the time when the teacher and the priest were highly respected
members of the black community. Because they brought themselves close to the people, their
political influence lay in the fact that they were the few whom the people could present to the world
as symbols of success. The influence of this group reached both its zenith and its downfall at
Sharpeville. Sharpeville indicated that the intelligentsia had failed. At that time, the factory worker
was just beginning to earn more than the priest and the teacher. The ordinary, uneducated man
could buy a car and even run a business. This new economic power, insignificant though it was,
gave the ordinary man confidence and an increased self-reliance. But it was a self-reliance that
had no political direction. It was a self-reliance commanded more by a mere instinct for survival.
When, under oppressive conditions, the group has failed, each person goes at it alone. Thus, any
collective racial feeling against the whites was greatly diminished, because each person felt he
was suffering as an individual.

When the struggle seemed to be that of individuals, the decadent values so typical of capitalist
economies set in. When there is excessive individuality, objective morality ceases to have any
meaning at all. Rapidly, the blacks were absorbed into the stream of acquisitiveness. The moral
effect this had on the social life of the blacks was phenomenal. The appeal of the mass media
became irresistible. Black people began taking to fashions; buying cars, generally developing a
compulsive urge to seek entertainment. Thus their lives began to revolve around money and the
accumulation of wealth. How else do you explain the actions of a man who buys a pair of shoes
worth about thirty rands, when his family is starving? It is the same with liquor, where the more
expensive brands are preferred.
(i) The Black Middle Class
This class was referred to earlier on as the darlings of the white liberals. It is made up of doctors,
businessmen, lawyers, journalists, and other professional people. Most of them have become
obsessed with capitalist values. They have the shared characteristic of indulging in the exploitation
of their own people. This is because, although they are politically aware, they have no political
commitment. There is also the added vice of individuality. Because Africans can own no land in
the urban areas, the white liberals were heard to speak on behalf of this black middle class. It was
argued that if they were given land, hence security, they would work for the maintenance of law
and order. This invariably means that they would assist in the oppression of the blacks. The
womenfolk of this class have formed ineffective social groups such as Women's Leagues where
table manners, recipes, and darning methods are discussed. The journalists are worse. There is
no black press in South Africa. The few black papers are white-owned. It follows, therefore, that
their editorial policies as decided by the whites are geared towards financial gains, and the black
editors seem to agree to be used as direct instruments for the exploitation of their own people. The
strategy of this press is to make feeble attacks on apartheid as an indication to blacks that it is on
their side. An indication that they are not interested in the political education of the blacks is the
space they give to gory murders, rapes, sports, adultery and other sensational events. They justify
their actions by making false claims that blacks are keenly interested in such things.
The black middle class is also characterised by a general lack of creative imagination. There
seems to be endless imitation and very little innovation. Scientists will complain about a lack of
research facilities - what is there to prevent them from building a small back-yard laboratory?
Similarly teachers will complain about a lack of teaching aids - what is there to prevent them from
making some? Accomplished musicians will continue playing classicial music and American Jazz
without researching or experimenting with a wealth of musical forms and rhythms around them.
There is a general frustration from self-pity which does not seem to struggle to find outlets. This is
a group that should be in the forefront of a black renaissance in South Africa. This class must
wake up and review its position in the black community. It should come nearer to the ordinary
workers for it is the latter who can give them a genuine support towards the realisation of healthy
dreams, and not the white liberals.
(ii) The Workers
The workers are by far the greatest number of urban dwellers. Like the peasants, the urban
workers have a great potential for effecting social change; but they have had no effective
leadership. But unlike their rural companions, the workers are to some extent conscious of their
political position, even if their dissatisfaction is only feebly and vaguely expressed. The workers
are very active in their urban social setting. They have shown great initiative and creativity. From
them we get mbaqanga musicians, actors, beauty queens, soccerites, soul musicians, gangsters.
The middle class seldom, if ever, takes the challenge that the creativity of the workers present.
The middle class never develops on the crude initiative of the workers precisely because it
despises the workers' efforts. They forget that the mainsprings of a true cultural identity come from

It has been mentioned that the workers lack effective leadership. Like most workers throughout the
world, the black urban workers are caught up in the webs of a socio-political environment they
cannot fully comprehend. It is the educated middle class who can explain to the workers the
workings of the system they live in, in order to channel this vast wealth of initiative towards the
destruction of the system. There is a group in black urban society which can be regarded as a
sub-group of the workers.
(iii) The Black Religious Sects
There are more than three thousand religious groups in South Africa. A number of theories have
been advanced to account for this occurrence. The generally accepted theory is that because
black people could not hope to participate legitimately in the exercise of national political
expression, they sought this expression in religion. Most of these groups broke away from the
main white-dominated denominations.
(iv) The Basis for a Black Socio-Political Change
We have seen what I consider the most important groups in the black community and we have
noticed that under over-bearing oppressive socio-political conditions, the more aware, by virtue of
their education, tend towards a frustrated and apathetic acceptance of the situation, whereas the
less aware show a great zest for life. Society cannot change significantly unless the crude initiative
and creativity of the less aware are crystallized into comprehensive gems of thought by the
educated. If this does not happen, society as a whole lives by intuitions, and intuitions have never
been clear agents for purposeful collective and effective action.
(a) The Blacks and the Philosophy of Life
Life is there to be lived, and lived fully. To live life fully means putting into practice as far as
possible the life of the rational imagination. An essential characteristic of the imagination is that it
varies in direct proportion to the availability of physical circumstances conducive to emotional selfexpression. The emotional and spiritual states of our being enlist the assistance and co-operation
of the mind towards their expression. It is the mind that examines physical possibilities of
emotional expression. If the mind cannot manipulate physical reality, imaginative reality soars to
great heights. If the latter does not find physical expression frustration sets in. Frustration can be
passive and it can be active. The former is that which seeks no outlet; it simply forces the victim
into a world of dreams only. Active frustration searches for outlets for relief. It enlists another
faculty of the human being - the will. Active frustration, however, puts great reliability on the
rational faculty. The mind is forced and pressurised into seeking practical solutions.
We can see, therefore, that the essential duality of mind and matter is an ever-present reality. The
mind seeks to manipulate matter to the benefit of a third human dimension - man's spiritual being
which is the seat of morality. While nature tends to be arranged in a dialectical pattern, it is also
true that in the dialectical opposition between good and evil, man tends to wish for the
perpetuation of the good.
If man tends towards this desire, then it is only because nature wills it so. The spiritual being in
man determines the good to be pursued. Thus, when man handles matter, he does so with the
aim of doing something good with it. Having considered these factors very briefly we can see that
without man, matter is valueless; and without matter, man has nothing with which to express
himself. The purpose of man is self-expression, in the manipulation of matter. When man has
transformed matter into an object of inner expression, he is magnified and made valuable because
he has created something of value. The aim of society therefore is to create an order in which
individuals can create, and politics is nothing but the quest for the power to create maximum
opportunity for man to create. Thus politics, properly conceived, is also a creative occupation. The
creation of society, for the purposes mentioned, is a collective activity, that is to say society is for
man. Any society will tend to develop a culture peculiar to it. Thus, culture, in its broadest
meaning, is a shared characteristic among members of a particular society of tending to seek self-

expression in a defined pattern of activities. But there is such a thing as universal culture, such as
the world objective knowledge, science, mathematics, technology etc. These are not the monopoly
of any one society; it is simply that some societies acquired them before others.
The black man must begin to see life, his life in particular, in terms of the above thesis. There are
certain basic moral tenets which are essential prerequisites in the quest for a creative society. The
black man must believe that it is both good and right for him, so long deprived of human worth, to
seek the freedom to give ex-pression to his humanity; he must believe that it is both good and right
for him, so long degraded, to reassert his human dignity, he must believe that it is good and right
for all citizens of South Africa to share equally in the creation of the means of self-expression; he
must believe that it is both good and right to believe that he holds the right view because it is not in
conflict with universal objective morality; he must believe that a system that relegates humans to
the status of feelingless things is both wrong and evil not only because it degrades man, but also
because it desecrates those values and beliefs which man holds most dear. (We cannot talk about
man without in the same breath talking about the purpose of his life as is indicated by his values).
The black man must believe that it is both good and right that if he lets such a system continue to
degrade him, he is contributing to the desecration of his own beliefs; he must believe that it is both
good and right that human beings are more than just labour entities; that the black man's mind and
being, if given free expression, can create great works of art; great music; great philosophical
thought; great scientific contributions all of which can make South Africa a great country. If the
black man can see himself as such, he has already begun the journey towards freedom; he has
begun to turn the heaven of his thoughts and beliefs into a physical reality on earth, and in South
(b) The Blacks and Indigenous Culture
Culture includes customs, traditions and beliefs. But customs and traditions are man-made,
therefore they can be changed according to whether man continues to find value in them. No
sooner has man created something than he either wants to improve on what he has made or
create something else. Culture therefore is essentially dynamic. That is why the blacks must set
about destroying the old and static customs and traditions that have over the past decades made
Africa the world's human zoo and museum of human evolution. When customs no longer cater for
the proper develop-ment of adequate human expression, they should be removed. Almost all the
so-called tribal customs must be destroyed, because they cannot even do so little as to help the
black man get food for the day.
(c) The Blacks and Art
Today, the black man plays music with new musical instruments; he uses paints and the chisel,
and he writes. The black man must use new instruments without shame, for science and
technology are the rightful inheritance of all men on earth. But the use to which the blacks put
these things is their peculiarity. The blacks can develop their own universal standards of artistic
excellence. They must ignore the white critic who, in reviewing a black art exhibition, says the
black artist has not progressed beyond the township themes. Such critics do not appreciate the
paradox in the fact that there is universality in parochiality. Black music must become more
reflective. The present state of music is chaotic.
Mbaqanga cannot make one think seriously about life: the same applies to soul music as it is
played by South African blacks. Black musicians must study the kind of music we have and
improve on it. Drama, that great art form of human expression, is still very poor. It portrays the
trivial aspirations of frustrated people without making the people want to outlive such trivialities.
The blacks must ignore the white critic who says that drama is not a black art form. Drama is a
universal art form, and the black playwright must develop on the dramatic events peculiar to his
environment. The blacks must ignore the frustrated black journalist who says that South African
blacks must win the political kingdom first before they begin to create artistic works of any

meaning and merit. Indeed, it is the great art works that inspire a bondaged people towards
seeking freedom. An imaginative exploration of the miserable human conditions in which people
live, touches the fibre of revolt in them; the fibre that seeks to reassert human dignity. Indeed, an
intellectual awakening is a vital prerequisite to any significant social change.
(d) The Blacks and Religion
Religion is a very important and highly effective form of social control. A wrong religion can
influence people towards wrong and irrelevant values and aspirations. We have seen how religion
has seemingly been used as a substitute for political expression. In being thus, religion in the
black community has become barren, because it has no intellectual content to it. Thus, the many
sects we see are a perpetuation of bondage. The blacks must obliterate all these sects. On the
other hand, the blacks must turn their backs on all the Western Churches; they have been shorn of
all emotional content. A genuine religion will spring out of the blacks' own circumstances, just as a
genuine philosophy of life should. It should be a religion that will find God through man; and not
man through God. Man must understand himself first before he can relate himself to God. A
religion of today must be like a true work of art: it must rationally centre in man and yet be rooted
in an inexplicable mystery, the appeal of which is emotional. Religion is man-made, and because it
is man-made it is also subject to the forces of change. A strong religion is one which, over the
ages, has continued to be an accepted determinant of social morality. If and when it fails
something else must be devised to keep society's confidence in accepted moral codes.
We have looked at the various aspects of the socio-political situation of the black community in
South Africa. It is now for the black man to begin to work. It is work that involves a whole human
re-orientation. The blacks must awaken intellectually, spiritually, socially, morally, culturally and in
many other ways that make life worth living. If the whites do not want to change their attitudes, let
the blacks advance and leave them behind; and when they have been left behind, let them be
waited for on the day they realise the value of change. The important thing to realise is that what
the blacks are striving for is more valuable than racial hatred. The blacks must know what they
want when they cry for freedom. They should not be put in the situation whereby when they get
this freedom they do not know what to do with it. The struggle is more than a racial one; it is also a
human one; a human struggle involves development in all human activities that are the marks of
true civilisation.
C.M.C. Ndamse
C.M.C. Ndamse is a distinguished educationist and former lecturer at the University of Fort Hare.
PRINCE BISMARCK once said that one-third of German university students broke down from
overwork, another third broke down from dissipation, while the other third ruled Germany, I do not
know which third of the student body is here tonight, but I am confident that I am talking to the
future rulers of this country, and also of the free countries who may have come to this centre of
It is my belief that this institution is not only interested in turning out mere corporation lawyers,
skilled accountans or entomologists. What it is interested in, and this I hope is true of every
university, is in turning out citizens of the world, men who comprehend the difficult, sensitive tasks
that lie before them as free men and women, men who are willing to commit their energies to the
advancement of a free society. That is why you are here.
Dr Brookes is still alive. My remarks on and references to him must naturally be limited. Here we
have a statesman who eloquently proved the difference between a statesman and a politician. A
statesman thinks and prepares for the next generation. The politician thinks and prepares for the

next general election. Here we have a politician who has eschewed mud-slinging, and always
fought with clean hands. Here we have an educationist whose name has been a password from
generation to generation. He is one of the most distinguished scholars in South Africa, who does
not believe that knowledge is merely for study, but that it is also for the market place. We are
talking about Brookes the Christian whose deeds and activities are a testimony to the soldiers of
the Cross. But above all we are talking about Brookes the man. I shall not be so naive as to
suggest a fitting epitaph for him when he reports for higher service, but I do suggest that when he
gets to the pearly gates of heaven and Gabriel and Michael demand an account of his activities,
the answer should be straight and simple I am Brookes'. Believe me, the gates will open on their
own accord.
That is why, Mr. President, your invitation was accepted with trepidation. And yet to stand before
you I count as a priceless privilege. To stand before you as a Dr E.H. Brookes lecturer means to
link arms with those men who have previously demarcated, at your request, the irreducible line of
academic freedom. This is a momentous task, to be assumed with all humility, and demands from
each of us a statement as to where he stands and who he is. It is my heartfelt delight to remind
this august gathering that my fore-bears stalked these hills in days of yore. My great-grandfather
fought side-by-side with Shaka, and when Disraeli said: 'What! these Zulus, they beat our soldiers
and convert our bishops', he was referring to the prowess and valour of the Zulus which has never
been surpassed. This is the day gone by. I am looking for the new day. This city is named after
two Voortrekkers leaders, reminding us of the carnage and bloodletting that took place in these
parts. These vales and valleys were filled with bellowing of beast and moaning of dying men.
Human wreckage lay scattered, and the birds of the air fed with glee to their satisfaction. The
bullet penetrated man's skull, and the assegais kissed man's heart. Man fought with alacrity to
grab and usurp. Man fought with valour and honour to hold. God's children were at one another's
throat. Hell was let loose. That day passed and gave way to another day. Black hands joined to
build the city. Time marched on.
We are all immersed in the stream of time. As day succeeds day and history bears us onward over
its cataracts of change, we cannot be certain where we are or where we are tending. I am sure
that Charlemagne's followers never thought of themselves as 'coming out of the dark ages'. The
men of the Middle Ages didn't know their period was giving way to the Renaissance. In fact, as far
as they were concerned, their age was not in the middle but right in front, like every real degree of
doubt about any attempt to appreciate changing circumstances and to define historical epochs.
One may believe that a momentous period in human history has come to an end. I may say that I
fully agree with Paul Sauer, when after SharpeVille he said: The old book has closed and a new
one has begun'. So profound are the changes and upheavals. But I fully realise that there is
nothing more difficult to share and perhaps easier to refute, than a particular angle of vision on
human affairs. Historical change and changes in the circumstances in and of man have a way of
deluding the observers.
It may be that the complexity of our times comes from the fact that many processes are going on
simultaneously. There is a definite setback in the political control exercised by the peoples of
Western Europe for centuries. The people of Western Europe committed the fatal mistake of
associating political control with the 'white colour'. The black world has been asserting its rights
with ever-increasing determination. The Declaration of Human Rights means more to the blacks
than many people realise or care to know. The blacks are now aware of their numerical
superiority. They have watched with glee the struggle between the United States and Russia - the
Colossus of Europe, in Smuts's words. They have evolved the doctrine of non-alliance. They have
used the United Nations Organisation to good advantage. There is above all the dramatic
phenomenon, the new discovery by the black peoples: Black Consciousness. May I in passing
sound this warning that wise men ignore this new development at their own peril. Another process
was a world-wide expansion of the technological and egalitarian revolution which Western Europe
set in motion - the West Europeans have changed everything because as their dominion grew,
they invented and carried through the decisive modern revolutions based on the drives of equality,

science, technology and fair play. The white man's transformation affected everybody else. They
began, perhaps not without cause, to think well of themselves. They forgot the cardinal lesson.
They are no exception. They foamed dry about their civilising mission. Had they not rescued
peoples from barbarism, converted the heathen, whatever that meant, and made three blades of
grass grow where none grew before? They even claimed some special endowment and privilege
for the colour of their skin. Western civilisation and Christianity were synonymous. The converted
were, however, not allowed to discuss the ills of this world. Golden seats awaited them in the
world to come.
This did not go on without being noticed. Cetwayo, the Zulu King, expressed himself succinctly.
Referring to the activities of the white people, he said, 'First come missionary, then come rum,
then come traders, then come army'. But Cecil Rhodes expressed himself more clearly, 'I would
rather have more land than niggers'. Conquest and power do not confer intrinsic value. That lies in
Man's being alone, the humanity he shares with all God's creatures. The fact that the two world
wars were conducted by men of white skin tells only that during that period, they had the edge in
strength, weaponry and new techniques. Indeed, if at time, to be in terms of superiority, we would
all be living in a well-ordered Utopia. Our world is still largely what they made it to be. The
confusion and violence in which our planet is now immersed suggests that the Europeans are not
supermen. They are men, and so are all the in-habitants of this globe. Mankind, I believe, will have
a special chapter for the period in history when a leading nation in the west dropped the hydrogen
bomb on Hiroshima.
The new day we crave for replaces the old day. We choose to forgive and forget the past. Let us
close the old books. Let us search ourselves. Let us find out who the real lovers of our land are.
Let us be clear as to who the enemies of our land are. Where do you place those who even in
spite of themselves, are prepared to spend and to be spent to improve race relations? Where do
you place those who boast? May I crave for indulgence in my plea for the consideration of the
black worker!!
The black people are forced to labour under circumstances which are calculated not to inspire
them with love and respect for labour. This constitutes a part of the reason why it is necessary to
emphasise the matter of industrial education as a means of giving the black man the foundation of
a civilisation upon which he will grow and prosper. Mere training of the hand without the culture of
brain and heart would mean little. The effort must be to make the millions of blacks self-supporting,
intelligent, economical and valuable citizens as well as to bring about the proper relations between
them and the white citizens among whom they will continue to live. With proper preparation and
with sufficient foundation, the black man possesses the elements out of which men of the highest
character and usefulness can be developed.
Lessons shall be applied honestly, bravely, in laying the foundation upon which the black man can
stand in the future and make himself a useful, honourable and desirable citizen, whether he has
his residence in the urban areas or in the homelands. I am black. I know the black man pretty well
- him and his needs, his failures and his success, his desires and the likelihood of their fulfillment I have studied the relations with our white neighbours, and striven to find how these relations may
be more conducive to the general peace and welfare of both the black man and of the country at
I am not minimising the attempts that are being made. But the truth must be given in no uncertain
terms that these attempts are too little, too slow, too niggardly and too grudgingly given.
The creation of nationalities and separate states within the ambit of South Africa has reached the
point of no return. We leave this to time and the safe lap of history. Let me say, however, that the
three million whites are bound to the twenty million blacks by ties which neither can tear asunder
even if they would. The most intelligent in the University of Natal campus community has his
intelligence darkened by the ignorance of a fellow citizen in the backveld of KwaZulu. The most

wealthy in Park town would be more wealthy but for the poverty of a fellow being in the shackles of
a Free State small dorp. The most moral and religious men (in human terms) in a theological
seminary have their religion and morality modified by the degradation of the man living in squalor.
Therefore, when the black man is ignorant, the white man is ignorant, when the black man is poor,
the white man is poor, when the black man is in rags, the white man is in rags or at best, his soul
is in rags. When the black man is the victim of countless diseases, because of the squalor and
abject conditions under which he lives, the white man is in danger for epidemics and germs defy
divisions of colour and creed. When the black man's crime-wave increases, the whole nation
commits crime. For the white citizens of South Africa there is no escape. They must help raise the
character of the civilisation of the black man or theirs is lowered.
No member of the white community in any part of South Africa can harm the weakest or meanest
member of the black race without the proudest and the bluest blood of the nation being degraded.
It seems to me that there never was a time in the history of our country when those interested in
education in this audience should the more earnestly consider to what extent the mere acquisition
of the degree, the mere acquisition of a knowledge of literature and science makes men
producers, lovers of labour, independent, honest, unselfish and, above all, good.
Call education by whatever name you please, if it fails to bring about these results among the
people, it falls short of the highest end. The science, the art, the literature that fails to reach down
and bring the humblest up to the enjoyment of the fullest blessings of our land, is weak, no matter
how costly the building or apparatus used, or how modern the methods of instruction employed.
The study of applied mathematics and statistics on poverty and disease and illiteracy that does not
result in making men conscientious in alleviating the lot and plight of their fellow-men is faulty. The
study of art and social sciences that does not result in making the strong less willing to oppress
the weak means little.
How I wish that from the corridors and campus of such a university to the humblest mud-hut
primary school among the kraals of the Transkei wild coast, we could burn, as it were, into the
hearts and heads of all, that usefulness, that service to our brother, is the supreme end of
We have had quack ideas repeated ad nauseum that the black man is an innocent child of nature
who needs the perpetual protection of the white man. It has been asserted that education helps
the black man, and that education hurts him, that he is fast leaving the rural areas and taking up
work and residence in white areas, and that this justifies strict influx control measures. It has been
asserted that education unfits the black man for work and that education makes him more valuable
as a labourer, that he is the greatest criminal or thief and that he is our most law-abiding citizen.
The black man has been told to acquaint himself with the modern scientific methods in farming; in
the same breath he has been told to perpetuate and cherish his custom and traditions. The black
man has been told about diet and about the vitamins. He is told about the traditional food and to
plant and eat mealies to maintain identity. The black man is told to love his mother tongue which
he learnt from his mother's lap and that mother tongue instruction or medium in schools is the best
educational communication known and yet he is told that to get a decent job he must prove
proficiency in English or Afrikaans or both.
In the midst of these conflicting opinions, it is hard to hit upon the truth. But also in the midst of this
confusion, there are a few things of which I am certain - things which furnish a basis for thought
and action. I know that whether the blacks are inferior or not inferior, whether they are growing
better or worse, whether they are valuable or valueless, a few years ago there were few
Coloureds, fewer Indians and not so many Africans and now these number millions. I know that
whether oppressed or free, the black people have always been loyal to the South African flag, that
no school house has been opened for them that has not been filled, that the statements and

pronouncements issued by black leaders are as potent for weal or woe as those from the wisest
and most influential men in the Republic. I know that wherever the black man's life touches the life
of the nation, it helps or hinders, that wherever the life of the white race touches the black, it
makes it stronger or weaker. I know that only a few centuries ago, soldiers and missionaries alike
felt themselves crusaders to save the pagans, that the blacks came out better Christians. The
blacks went to school with a foreign language as medium of instruction, they came out speaking
the proud Anglo-Saxon tongue. Today many blacks speak more idiomatic English than many
They speak better Afrikaans than many English-speaking South Africans. Indeed many blacks are
thoroughly proficient in English, Afrikaans and vernacular. A few years ago, the Coloured
especially in the Western Cape was left to the fate of the slow paralysis of the tot system. That
today they are a potential force admits of no debate. A few years ago, the Indians came to South
Africa on invitation. Under the blazing sun their sweat soaked the soil along the Natal coast.
They would, it was thought, multiply with untold prolificacy, fill the gutters and if it must needs be,
they would be repatriated. At the time South Africa did not know that these people had an 'eastern
secret'. They have the ability to bear and endure. With their indomitable spirit, they have moved
from strength to strength, defying 'ghetto laws' and paralysing restrictions. I am inviting the
'doubting Thomas' to accompany me to Grey Street. Indeed let him open his radio set on Saturday
or Sunday morning and listen to the wonderful music with an eastern setting. Much credit goes to
the present government for its wisdom to see the need for change of attitude.
The African tribesmen from all the corners of Southern Africa, moved in ant-like formations to the
mines. From the bowels of the earth, where many of them have died unwept and unsung they
brought gold and diamonds, which precious stones have made South Africa the white man's
'haven' and the envy of many. For these humble and innocent children of nature the habitat was
the vermin-infested compound or sack hovel. But I know, who does not, that their descendants are
the commercial tycoons in Soweto. From the backyards of garages and hovels the black muscles
carry South Africa unflinchingly. Yes, the hand and muscle of men and women happy in distress
and rich in poverty. The world has been twice faced with devastating wars, and twice the black
man has answered the clarion call to fight for king and country. The wreckage at the bottom of the
sea near France includes the pieces of the Mendi. The story is told that as the ship was slowly and
surely sinking, a faint voice was heard saying, 'Abantwana bam, Abantwana bam'. 'Oh, my
children - my children'! We have reason to believe that this cry was a testimony of hope that the
men had fought a good fight for a good cause and better things awaited their children. In the
second world war the black hands waved knob-kieries and rusted assegais at Marshall Goering's
mechanised units. And day and night, the British Broadcasting' Corporation, echoing the
declaration of the Atlantic Charter, beamed in constant refrains 'we fight for freedom'.
On the frontline the black man did all to save a white brother. At home the wheels of progress
rolled on and there is not a single attempt to sabotage the war effort reported on the part of a black
I submit it to the candid and sober judgment of all men, are not a people capable of such a taste,
such transformation, such endurance, such long-suffering not worth recognising? We crave for
recognition and not tolerance. We call upon South Africa to help us to help them. One of the
clarion calls we are called upon to make is that our nation with might and main should open the
floodgates of educational opportunities.
For this we need honest men who will face the stark realities of the situation. There are those
among both black and white who assert with a good deal of earnestness, that there is no
difference between the white man and the black man. This sounds very pleasant and tickles the
fancy. But when the test of hard, cold logic is applied to it, it must be acknowledged that there is a
difference - not an in-herent one, not a racial one, but a difference growing out of unequal
opportunities in the past and at present.

Of course these days it is common knowledge that there is no inherent inferiority on the part of the
black man. Some years ago the black man foamed dry trying to prove that he had as much brain
and intelligence as the white man. If I were provoked, I would be inclined to say that under given
circumstances, the black child has better brains than the white child.
Consider the prenatal care that is given to an average white child, how the mother is fed, cared
for, and nursed. Consider the care taken in a nursing home or hospital. Consider the nursing the
baby is given. A balanced diet awaits the baby. Hygienic conditions surround both mother and
On the other hand the black child is born of an ill-fed mother. Often the black child is born in a
thatched rondavel kitchen filled with smoke. At times the rondavel is infested with vermin. Almost
all the facilities and amenities taken for granted for the white child are conspicuous by their
absence. As he grows he hardly has toys. There is no children's literature.
There is no radio. The black child and the white child go to school. It has happened that these
have found themselves on the campus of Natal University. At some stage the two write the same
examination and obtain the same grade. The question may be asked, if the conditions were the
same from the beginning, what would be the position? The highest test of civilisation of any nation
is its willingness to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. A nation, like an individual, lifts
itself up by lifting others up. Surely no people ever had a greater chance to exhibit the fortitude
and magnanimity than is now presented to the people of South Africa. It requires little wisdom or
statesmanship to repress, to crush out, to retard the hopes and aspirations of a people.
But the highest and most profound statesmanship is shown in guiding and stimulating a people so
that every fibre in the body and soul shall be made to contribute in the highest degree to the
usefulness and ability of the nation. It is along this line that I pray God the thoughts and activities
of this audience may be guided. We must all recognise the world-wide fact that the black man
must be led to see and feel that he must make every effort possible in every way possible, to
secure the friendship, the confidence, the co-operation of his white neighbour in South Africa.
However, I am aware that the white man has no respect for a black man who does not act from
principle. In some way the white man must be led to see that it is to his interest to turn his attention
more and more to the making of laws that will, in the truest sense, elevate the black man. One of
the greatest questions which our youth must face in South Africa is the proper adjustment of the
new relations of the races. It is a question which must be faced calmly, quietly, dispassionately
and the new day has dawned to rise above party, above race, above colour, above sectionalism,
into the region of duty of man to man, of South African to South African, of Christian to Christian.
The black people will fight for the maintenance of their identity. Yet we should surely admit that we
are one in this country. The question of the highest citizenship and the complete education of all,
concerns all people in South Africa. When one race is strong the other is strong. When one is
weak, the other is weak.
There is no power that can separate our destiny. Indignities and petty practices which exist in
many places injure the white man and inconvenience the black man. No race can wrong another
race, simply because it has the power to do so, without being permanently injured in its own
morals. The black man can, as he has often done, endure the temporary inconvenience, but the
injury to the white man is permanent. It is for the white man to save himself from this degradation
that I plead. If a white man insults a black man, ill-treats him, despises him, it is the white man who
is permanently injured. Vexation of spirit comes to the black man discriminated against or hurt, but
death of morals - death of the soul - comes to those responsible for discrimination.

In the economy of God there is but one standard by which an individual can succeed. There is but
one for a race. This country, which we all love and for which we shall pay any price, for its own
sake, expects that every race shall respect the dignity of man.
During the next decade, the black man must continue passing through the severe South African
crucible. He is to be tested in his patience, for his forbearance, his perseverance, his power to
endure -to withstand temptations, to economise, to acquire and use skill - his ability to compete, to
succeed in commerce, to disregard the superficial for the real, the appearance for the substance,
to be great and yet small, learned and yet simple, high and yet the servant of all. This is the
passport to all that is best in the life of our South Africa and the black man must possess it or be
barred out. It is this discovery that has given birth to Black Consciousness. Moreover it is with a
people as it is with an individual. It must respect itself if it would win the respect of others. There
must be a certain amount of pride about a race. There must be a great deal of faith on the part of a
race in itself. An individual cannot succeed unless he has about him a certain amount of pride enough pride to make him aspire to the highest and best things in life. Wherever you find an
individual who is ashamed of his race trying to get away from his race, apologising for being a
member of his race, then you find a weak individual. And such a race is weak and vacillating. The
apostles of Black Consciousness adhere to this and are prepared to pay any price to go it alone. I
am not going to call upon liberals to shed tears, if they have any.
Some of us are convinced that the sponsors of Black Consciousness hate nobody and bear malice
to none. They have discovered, and just in time, that they are 'children of the universe no less than
the trees and the stars; they have a right to be here'. And we are all convinced that in working out
his own destiny, while the main burden of activity must be with the black man, he will need, as he
has done in the past, the help, encouragement and guidance the strong can give the weak. Thus
helped, those of all races in South Africa will soon throw off the shackles of racial and sectional
prejudice and rise above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness and selfishness into that
atmosphere, that pure sunshine, where it will be the highest ambition to serve man, our brother,
regardless of race or previous condition. We should hear less nonsense about Dutchmen,
Rooineks, and Coolies and Kaffirs. We should realise that every man, woman and child, no matter
what colour or creed, is a vital component of a tremendous nation-in-being, a momentous
experiment in history, of which we are a part. As South Africans we are committed to the arduous
task of building a great society, - not just a strong one, not just a rich one, but a great society. This
is a pact we make with ourselves. We should remember that the bastion for South Africa is not a
particular section of the population, indeed neither is it an increased defence budget or more
information offices, as necessary as these may be. The bastion for this country is the great society
of great men and women dedicated to their mother-land not by ties of master and servant, but by
mutual respect. Let us remember what Thomas Jefferson said, borrowing a vivid phrase from an
English Revolutionary, ... 'the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor
a favoured few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of God'.
The effect of discrimination on the human mind has an affinity with the mental condition we call
arrested development; an historian whose task it is to record the deeds of the perpetrators of
discrimination towards the blacks, finds himself embarrassed by what he knows will be the
contemptuous astonishment of posterity. He feels he is being invited to chronicle the mischief and
snivelling of schoolboys who should be birched and sent to bed in eternal oblivion. But they have a
place in history. It is a humiliation of the Muse of History.
The new day has come for every lover of South Africa to set the might of angered and resolute
manhood against the shame and peril of discrimination. These perpetrators of discrimination
whose glee taunts their victim as he is bundled out through the front door of a restaurant, or is
thrown headlong into the police van for failure to produce a pass, do not represent the best among
the whites in South Africa. And I plead for the masterful sway of a righteous and exalted public
sentiment that shall condemn discrimination to high heaven. Let us remember that there is no
escape through law of man or God from the inevitable:

The laws of changeless justice bind oppressor with oppressed. And, close as sin and suffering
joined, we march to fate'.
Mr President, let me say that millions of black hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they
will pull against you the load downwards. The blacks will constitute a fraction and more of the
ignorance and crime in South Africa or a fraction of its intelligence and progress. They shall
contribute to the business and industrial prosperity of South Africa, or they shall prove a veritable
body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic. The
United States and Russia choose to make amends in space. We choose to make amends on
mother earth.
My friends, this is our task. It is not an easy one. At present great gaps in culture, understanding,
education and income hold the races apart. It is not simply a question of white and black. It is all
round the world. The 'new day' may be too imperceptible for our eyes. The atmosphere may be
more congenial than we imagine. Let me remind the youth in this hall that the temptation, is
naturally to want no change. Idealism ends with the attainment of a degree. It is very comfortable
to be at the top of a heap, to live in a clean home with all the amenities, not filthy backyards; to see
your children grow up well fed, with adequate provision for education, to have no experience of
hunger; to be literate and skilled, to know nothing of human contempt.
Somebody has said that this lulls the conscience, dulls the mind and narrows the heart. As Robert
Kennedy once said: 'For the fortunate among us the danger is comfort; the temptation to follow the
easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those
who have the privilege of education. But that is not the road that history has marked out for us.
There is a Chinese curse which says: 'May he live in interesting times'. Like it or not we live in
interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also more open to the
creative energy of men than any other time in history. And everyone here will ultimately be judged
- will ultimately judge himself - on the effort he has contributed to building a new world society and
the extent to which his ideals and goals have shaped that effort'.
We are called to duty in good weather and in bad. Let us take heart from the certainty that we are
united by hope and purpose. For we know now that freedom is more than the rejection of
discrimination, that prosperity is more than escape from want, that good race relations is more
than the sharing of power. These are, above all, the human adventures. They must have meaning,
conviction and purpose and because they do, the new day calls us to a great new mission. The
mission is to create a new social order, founded on liberty, justice and fair play, in which all men
and women can share a better life for themselves and their children.
So we are idealists. We are all visionaries. Let it not be said of you and of me that we left ideals
and visions to the past, nor purpose and determination to our adversaries.
And we shall ever remember what Goethe once said:
The highest wisdom, the best that mankind ever knew, was the realisation that he only earns his
freedom and existence who daily conquers them anew'.
Delivered at Edgar Brookes Academic and Human Freedom Lecture for 1972 at University of
Natal, Pietermaritzburg, on Friday May 5th, 1972.

Chief M.G. Buthelezi
Chief M.G. Buthelezi is the Chief Executive Councillor of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly.
In South Africa, this is one of those rare occasions where people meet across the colour line not
as masters and servants but as fellow compatriot to communicate. This is not deny the fact that I
came here as a representative of the underdogs of this land who are the servants-class of South
Africa, and whether we like this or not you represent the master-class of this land on whom my
people depend for a living.
It was suggested that I should in my short talk deal with The Current Economic Situation and it
Affects the Zulu Homeland. I must say that with all due respect for this suggestion, I am no
economist. I will, however, do my best to present in as few words as possible the picture as I see it
from the point of view of a black man in the street.
As a historian I will be excused of reading a bit of well-known history of our land, because I believe
that no one can never see things in their proper perspective, save against the wider canvas of the
history of the land. This is regardless of whatever one wants to look at, be it political issues,
cultural or social problems. This applies equally to our economic ills. As a layman I cannot make
presentations that I can offer a diagnosis or even a hazard guess at any cures for our economic ill
in KwaZulu.
However, being a representative of the patient, I can at least describe the pains particularly the
very sharp ones around the tummy which are so excruciatingly painfully! Even the doctor needs
this is to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
As early as 1880 The Natal Witness disputed the suggestion that Africans had any right to
consider Natal as their country: They are here as immigrants on sufferance, and not as citizens'.
This was after the Zulu War, when even Zulu territory north of the Thukela was fragmented
deliberately in order 'to break the Zulu power once and for all', in the words of Sir Bartle Frere and
Zulu Territory was opened up by the conquerors for white occupation. This was not peculiar to
Natal, but happened throughout this southern-most point of Africa.
My people were at first self-sufficient because there was enough to eat and no problems of
population explosion. This too was soon brought to an end by the new conquerors who called
upon Chiefs to supply young men to work on what was then known as Isibhalo. They were in other
words forced to sign contracts to come to places like Johannesburg and Kimberley and other
industrial areas to build the white industrial empires that we see in full bloom in all the metropolitan
areas of South Africa. Taxation was one of the methods used to force Africans to move into urban
areas to work.
The tragedy deepened when even in the urban areas my people found themselves regarded as
temporary sojourners who were there on sufferance, only to minister to the reasonable wants of
whites. According to the 1852-1853 Commission Report it was recommended that 'All kaffirs
should be ordered to go decently clothed. This measure would at once tend to increase the
number of labourers because, as they would be obliged to work to procure the means of buying
clothing, it would also add to the general revenue of the Colony through Customs Duties'.
Coming to the question of the so-called Homelands, as early as 1849 Earl Grey agreed that it
would be 'difficult or impossible' to assign to Africans reserves of such a size that they could
continue to be economically self-sufficient. He added that it was desirable that Africans should 'be
placed in circumstances in which they should find regular industry necessary for their subsistence'

Not all Africans could be accommodated on the reserves, and the remainder continued to occupy
crown lands and colonist owned farms. Africans ultimately spilled over into the white farms as
squatters. The reserves were made up of the worst farming lands in the Colony. According to G.R.
Peppercorne, most of the land in the Impofana reserve is 'as worthless as the sands of Arabia' (2).
Only thirty percent of KwaZulu is arable land.
According to Brookes and Hurwitz there was no increase in land provision for Africans between
1864 and 1913 (3). The promises made by the Hertzog Government under the Native Trust and
Land Act of 1936 for an additional quota of land to my people and other ethnic groups was a
recognition of this fact. Little wonder that whereas other people improve with times, my people
have sunk lower and lower into poverty over the years because they are caught between two
When the Zulu Territorial Authority was inaugurated in 1970 I made it clear that without
consolidation of land, the present Government's policy would not make any sense. There has
been very little done or said about this aspect of government policy until last year when the Prime
Minister promised to consolidate the Zulu Homeland only to the extent of the 1936 land quota. I
pointed out to him then that consolidating in terms of that quota could hardly be adequate in terms
of setting us up as a separate independent State in terms of his government's policy.
What happened last week has been merely confirmation of what the Prime Minister said last year
and also a few weeks ago in Parliament. I refer here to the so-called draft map for the
consolidation of KwaZulu. This is a question which is crucial to the whole exercise of setting up
KwaZulu as a country and on it hangs the issue of whether we can ever be economically viable or
not. I wish also to submit that the whole question of our economic potential depends on it.
Earlier this year I opened a conference at the University of Natal's Institute for Social Research on
Towards Comprehensive Development in Zululand'. This Conference was interesting in so far as
we did not try to find cures for KwaZulu's economic ills, but managed to assess the complexity of
KwaZulu's economic ills. We found that there are two issues closely interlinked, the problems
relevant to the development of the Zulu homeland territories, on the one hand, and those relevant
to the development of the Zulu people on the other. Although the two issues are closely
interlinked, the problems facing the development of the Zulu people, the AmaZulu, relate not only
to the Zulu Homeland Areas, but more directly to the entire economic, social and political structure
of South Africa. The development of the AmaZulu (or that of other blacks for that matter) is much
more closely interlinked with change and progress in the common economy and common area of
South Africa, than is the development of KwaZulu (4).
To me the most important area which concerns all of us is that of the development of my people.
At present we have hardly any employment opportunities for the KwaZulu citizens, no wonder we
have only about a third of citizens in KwaZulu at any time. More than sixty percent of our ablebodied males are away most of the time.
We have at present no industrial growth points except Sithebe which has few Zulus at present,
who are paid very low wages. The specious argument used by the Bantu Investment Corporation
is that although Sithebe has low wage levels and ample supply of labour on the credit side, the
relatively low level of training is ranking high on the debit side and it is, therefore, not strange to
find that an unskilled worker is being paid a weekly wage of R 5 to R7. The Bantu Investment
Corporation further state that they would prefer wage levels comparable with those in the
metropolitan areas but realise that it is far better at this stage of development in KwaZulu to have
say 100 Zulus employed at R7 a week than to be able to create say only 10 employment
opportunities at R12 per week. It must also be remembered that the cost of living in metro-politan
areas is very much higher than in the vicinity of Sithebe (5).

The argument on the cost of living being lower in rural areas is a partial truth, because people can
only live in accordance with their means of livelihood. And in any case this is also on account of
poverty and since we have no cash crops except sugar cane in some parts of KwaZulu, we have a
cash economy and it is a remittance economy, as families depend entirely on cash from their
bread-winners, who must earn wages elsewhere. The measuring rod as far as wages are
concerned is the poverty datum line. Food is cheaper in town than in the rural areas where people
are charged extra for transport costs.
The greatest shock so far in this whole question of whether Kwa-Zulu can ever be economically
viable now or in the dim misty future has been the decision by the all-powerful South African
government in deciding that Richards Bay should be developed as a white port, and in doing so
depriving KwaZulu of the only opportunity of having an outlet to the sea. No one disputes the fact
that Richards Bay is providing jobs for Zulus, and that this will increasingly be the case as the
Richards Bay complex develops. Job opportunities are welcome as is the concern of governments
throughout the world. But the question that arises after that is whether we can really be
independent as easily as it is so often glibly said these days, if at most KwaZulu's development
means that it is merely going to continue to be a vast labour farm for white South Africa, as all
Black Homelands are at present?
What is not so encouraging is that even in the metropolitan areas of South Africa very few of our
people are paid above the poverty datum line. Many surveys have been carried out including one
by an employee of the Johannesburg Municipal Non-European Affairs Department. I feel certain
you are all familiar with these. On the average it is now well-known that the ratio of black to white
wages is 1:14. Other industries give what are called fringe benefits and many of them boast that
they look after their employees and provide them with a balanced diet. What Dr Francis Wilson
had to say last week on this point is quite illuminating concerning the recent rise in the wages in
the Gold Industry (6). It is also true to say that any wise person who uses any beast of burden,
would look after it, feed it well and shelter it so that it can be in good condition to bear its burdens.
One must also thank and encourage all the other industries that are trying to narrow the wagegap. But we blacks wonder what underlies white thinking in this respect because when one looks
around there are no subsidised shops that sell necessaries of life at sub-economic rates. At the
same time the majority of white South Africans have for years rejected the idea of accepting black
urban workers as anything but temporary sojourners. These people are supposed to send money
to their families in the Homelands and to help us develop in the Homelands. The question is, in
view of the above, how does one do it? So far there seems to be no serious consideration of
consolidating these Homelands, as a result KwaZulu cannot at present take even displaced
Africans from white farms as it is congested. We are developing a new class of rural Africans who
cannot even have token arable allotments, and cannot keep any stock, who are settled in what are
called closer settlements. Owing to the stringent application of Influx Control regulations these
people cannot freely go to look for jobs in urban areas.
An additional burden is caused by lack of a free and compulsory education for blacks, which is
available for the white group. So that some of the meagre earnings that are sent for necessities
have also to be used to pay for the children's education, in fees, books, in some cases for the
privately paid teachers and also to put up school buildings. At this juncture I wish to congratulate
those white people who are assisting in providing funds towards the Rand Bursary Fund, ASSECA
and other similar projects. These are palliatives that are very necessary and which we highly
The Homelands are all being given 'self-government'. In other words we are supposed to provide
facilities for our people from our taxation and from allocations from the Consolidated Revenue
Fund made to us by the Republican government. At present it is not yet apparent that these
Homeland governments can provide separate but equal facilities on the basis of this. In fact the
KwaZulu budget of 32 million rand for the current financial year is, despite inflation, hardly a drop

in the ocean, in terms of providing facilities for four and a quarter million Zulus. Even for our Civil
Service it is going to be difficult to get the best men in view of this differentiation in salaries on the
basis of race.
There is an apparent reluctance on the part of white South Africa to consolidate the Homelands
realistically, to make them independent countries in a meaningful way. There is also an equal
reluctance to accept our people who are in the urban areas as permanent residents in these
areas. It might also be pointed out that all of us including myself, may be indulging in self-hypnosis
by even trying to believe we can successfully create several ethnically oriented economies in
South Africa instead of one.
Several questions at once arise such as, does white South Africa hope to have her cake and eat
it? At some point we have got to decide one way or the other. Or does white South Africa hope we
can all live in a make-believe world ad infinitum through sheer force of arms? This seems to be the
time for decision whether we are going to be set up as viable Homelands or not. This is the
dilemma of white South Africa, in which South Africa alone has placed herself. It is black South
Africa's dilemma too, with the difference that since black South Africa does not wield the power of
the bullet and the ballot, it is a dilemma in which black South Africa has been placed by white
South Africa. So that in a sense we are not equally cul-pable as far as the apportioning of blame in
this dilemma I am talking about is concerned. But we all have equal reason to 'Cry the Beloved
Country', since our destinies are so inextricably intertwined.
How long are urban Africans going to remain temporary so-journers in the metropolitan areas of
South Africa? If we blacks are as human as whites can anyone tell me what are these virile ablebodied men in hostels and compounds supposed to do in order to enjoy feminine company? Of
the married temporary sojourners from the Homelands who are forbidden to bring their wives with
them into metropolitan areas, the question can be asked: Can our male white compatriots
countenance the idea of living in separation a mensa et thoro from their wives, and only make love
to their wives during the Easter weekend and during a few days at Christmas time?
Many of you will, I am sure, want to ask me, why then be in-volved in the Homelands policy? I
believe that it is a moral duty to be involved in alleviating human suffering, even if that is the most
one can do. For this reason I believe that despite the many snags I have pointed out there is still
some scope to help my people to develop even within the limitations of the policy. That is why I
have great admiration for what American firms like Polaroid, I.B.M., and Pepsi Cola, and banks
like Barclays Bank and Standard Bank are doing in giving equal pay for equal work regardless of
race. These firms should by now have put our own South African firms to shame, if at all we still
have a conscience such as I believe South Africans have. Do South Africans feel happy that
foreign firms should take this lead, and that South African firms should drag their feet instead of
following in their footsteps?
I believe that apart from the development of people themselves there is still a little scope for
developing these Homelands whether one believes in separate development or not. The
Homelands to me are a challenge whether one regards the Homelands policy as a political fact or
a fantasy.
I believe that their development even on the basis of establishing micro-economic activities is
something in which all of you can assist us. Community development schemes are a necessity in
areas such as KwaZulu where people are as a result of poverty still victims of diseases of want
such as malnutrition, kwashiorkor and tuberculosis.
I believe that where there is economic infrastructure, industry and commerce in South Africa
should not hesitate to help us to establish industries, not necessarily as cures for our economic ills
but even as palliatives. To me while South Africa battles in trying to make up her mind about the
future, we should not forget that human lives are at stake here. What is more our whole future,

yours and ours, and that of our children depends on this. I believe the manner in which the future
will unfold, that is whether it will be peacefully or violently, depends to a large measure on these
factors. We cannot hope that the nerves of our black population will stand this insecurity
indefinitely both in the urban and rural areas.
We do not ask to be given doles or what we do not deserve. We would like to be self-reliant and
having contributed so much towards the production of South Africa's wealth, we are at least
entitled to a little of it, to set up on our own feet, be it in the urban or rural areas.
The Ovambo strike has given us a foretaste of what may one day overtake us, and I do not believe
that we need to wait for the trauma of a confrontation of that kind to ensure our peaceful
co-existence on this southernmost point of Africa.
At this particular time in the history of South Africa it might be as well to ponder over the words of
Mr H.D. Winter who was Minister for Native Affairs in the Natal Government when the Bambatha
Rebellion, which arose as a result of the imposition of the Poll Tax, took place. After the
Rebellion a Commission was appointed to hold an inquiry into the causes of the Zulu Rebellion.
Mr H.D. Winter's evidence is interesting to read the more so as he was by no means sympathetic
to the cause of the black people in Natal and this is what he had to say among other things:The heavy burdens which - had been pressing on the people for many years past; for he added,
the master may continue to hit and strike his dog until the time comes when the dog seizes hold of
the hand of the master. This was what had occurred' (7).
1 David Welsh: The Roots of Segregation (Oxford University Press. 1971) p. 117.
2 David Welsh: Ibid.
3 Edgar H. Brookes and N. Hurwitz: The Native Reserves of Natal (Natal Regional Survey Vol. 7
(Cape Town) p. 57).
4 Statement summarising Major Points emerging during the proceedings of the Conference:
Towards a Comprehensive Development in Zululand' prepared by the Organising Secretary, L.
Schlemmer, Dr. Francis Wilson and S. Kahn, p. 1.
5 Dr. M.J. Olivier: Interview with Tim Muil The Natal Mercury dated 8th June, 1972, p. 8.
6 Financial Mail: 2nd June, 1972.
7 David Welsh: The Roots of Segregation (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 312. (Quotation from
evidence 1906-1907 Commission Report, p. 9).
Bennie A. Khoapa
Bennie A. khoapa is an experienced social worker and currently the Director of the Black
Community Programmes
WHEN YOUR SRC President invited me to come here and talk to you, I replied that I did not feel it
a great priority of mine to do so, for I belong to a group of people who are seeing increasingly the
futility of devoting a major portion of their time to talking and intellectualising about things that
prove unhelpful to both sides because we see things differently.
Your President did not agree with me and he argued that there is some value in getting white
students at least to be aware of some of the things that make people (black and white) in this
country see things differently and he assured me that white students at this University would
benefit something from what I have to say.

I finally agreed to come here today and talk to you with the full understanding that I do not believe
that what I say here is necessarily going to be useful for the group I am most concerned about,
that is, black people. But if you benefit anything from what I am about to say to you well and good,
if you don't I will not hold it against you because it will prove what I said earlier, that it is not
possible for me and you to see things the same way until we have re-defined a few things. Feel
free therefore to walk out just as soon as you think you can't take it any longer.
I feel that it is important however to state very clearly where some of us stand at this time in our
history. Very often the viewpoint of the so called 'militant black' has been so badly misunderstood
that it becomes necessary to explain it for the benefit of those who are interested in understanding
it sincerely. I will attempt to do this now, and in doing so I will start first of all by looking at two
concepts which have bedevilled this country for many years. These concepts I refer to are
integration and separation.
Very often, it is assumed that if a person is not an 'integrationist' in South Africa, he is therefore a
'separatist', and that because an increasing number of black people are rejecting 'integration' as a
national goal, they are therefore 'separatist', i.e. they make the permanent separation of races a
national goal. This is nonsense. The black people who have been accused of being separatist are
in fact not separatist but liberationists.
Central to both integration and separation is the white man. Blacks must either move towards or
away from him. But his presence is not nearly so crucial for those who pursue a course of
'liberation'. Ideally they do whatever they conceive they must do as if whites did not exist at all. At
the very least the minds of the 'new black' are liberated from the patterns programmed there by a
society built on the alleged aesthetic, moral and intellectual superiority of the white man.
Liberationists contend that integration is 'irrelevant' to a people who are powerless. For them the
equitable distribution of decision-making power is far more important than physical proximity to
white people.
This means complete emancipation of blacks from white oppression by whatever means blacks
deem necessary, including, when expedient, integration or separation.
What the new black man is talking about is liberation by any means necessary and this does not
depend on the question of whether blacks should integrate or separate.
The fundamental issue is not separation or integration but liberation. The either/or question does
not therefore talk to the point that the New Black is making.
We will use the word 'regroupment' to refer to that necessary process of development every
oppressed group must travel en route to emancipation.
What people usually call separation in the black community is not separation but regroupment. It is
not separation for blacks to come together on matters of common policy. It is not separation for
blacks to go on Sunday to a church which has never been closed to anyone. It is not separation
for blacks to go into a room, shut the door and hammer out a common policy.
I would now like to explain why the liberationist gets irritated by the constant accusation that he
should either be for separation or for integration or otherwise be a fraud. This kind of either/or
thing is irrelevant and a waste of time and energy and I will say why.
First, the either/ or thing is irrelevant and immaterial:
because it confuses means and ends, strategy and tactics. it makes a fetish out of mere words
and offers a pre-determined response for every place and time. What is to be done? - that
depends - Depends on what? - on what advances the cause of black liberation.

The question of the presence or absence of white people is a tactical matter which can only be
answered in a concrete situation by reference to the long-term and short-term interests of blacks.
The tactics will depend on the situation and will flow naturally from that situation if people will only
remember that the aim is not to separate or integrate but to triumph.
The second reason why I say that this 'either/or' proposition is irrelevant is because it is based on
false premises. It assumes that blacks are free to choose and that their only options are the horns
of a dilemma. This assumption does not do full justice to the complexity and the tragedy of the
black man's situation. It ignores the infinite gradations between integration and separation and the
fact that there is a third choice -pluralism, and beyond that the fourth -transformation. Even more
serious is the hidden assumption that blacks are free to choose ex nihilo. But the essence of our
situation at this moment is that we can neither integrate nor separate. We are caught just now in
an impossible historical situation, and that fact, which terrifies some, and leads others to despair,
gives our struggle a grandeur, a nobility, and a certain tragedy which makes it of moment to the
It is impossible to draw a straight line in a curved space. Both 'integrationists' and 'separatists' are
trying to create right angles in a situation which only permits curves. The only option is
'transformation' of a situation which does not permit a clear-cut choice in either direction.
The philosophy of liberation recognises this fact and suggests that we use history as a tool of
appraisal and analysis. It points out that all movements for liberation in the black community,
whether integration or separation, have failed, and asks why? What were the movements' strong
points and weak points? What mistakes were made and what can we learn from the mistakes?
Another evasion of the situation is to assume that blacks can integrate unilaterally, and from this
assumption it is but one step to the pernicious idea that blacks are polarising the country. This is
the same old policy of giving a white disease a black name (the Native Problem) and blaming the
oppressed for the oppressor's aggression. It is not 'separatism' of blacks but the 'separatism' of
whites which threatens this country. The decision is in the hands of whites. If they want
transformation, let them give up their separate neighbourhoods and institutions and organisations
and come out in the open. Until then, blacks must organise and use their group strength to wrest
control of every organisation and institution within reach.
The either/or proposition is false also because it is based on a mis-understanding of the modern
world which is grounded on power, group organisation and group conflict. This is a world of
groups. A man's power depends ultimately on the power of his group. This means that oppressed
individuals must recognise their common interests and create a group. Groupness is a simple
exigency of the situation. The oppressor creates a situation from which the oppressed can only
extricate themselves by a regroupment.
From this sketch, it is clear that the oppressor and the oppressed must clash. Some men try to
avoid the exigencies of the situation by preaching universal brotherhood. But it is a mystification to
preach universal brotherhood in a situation of oppression.
Paradoxically, a prerequisite for human solidarity is a feeling of non-solidarity with men who stand
in the way of solidarity. Paradoxically, the oppressed can only bring about a future of universal
brotherhood in proportion as they feel and exhibit group solidarity among themselves and cease to
feel solidarity with the enemies of human solidarity.
Indeed we shall earn the right to love all men by struggling against some, we shall earn the right to
hold hands with all men by refusing to hold hands with all men who stand in the way of all men
holding hands with all men.
Here, as elsewhere, the devil must be driven out first. It is too soon to love everybody.

This brings us to the paradox of integration, to the fact that blacks must sing black and black
together before they can sing black and white together, to the fact that black integration must
precede black and white integration, to the fact that blacks must unite before they can separate
and must separate before they can unite.
There is nothing ominous or subversive about this principle. It is simply an exigency of the
situation. History has charged us with the cruel responsibility of going to the very gate of racism in
order to destroy racism - to the gate not further.
The either/or proposition does not explicate the dialectics of development in which a negation is
necessary for a synthesis.
Sweet are the uses of 'integration'. The stress on Black nationalism and Black separatism in white
media is ideological; its function is to keep blacks unorganised and powerless.
Whites have organised racially oriented
businesses, unions, churches, newspapers, resorts, country clubs, youth camps, welfare
agencies, ethnic studies departments, colleges, universities, unmarried mothers agencies, child
welfare agencies, vacation associations, war veteran groups, professional associations,
employment services, theatres, encyclopedias, funeral homes, homes for the aged, agricultural
societies, boards, tourist agencies.
But, whites are always telling blacks that organisation on a national basis is a no-no. It is
especially naughty for blacks to form organisations without white members and white officers.
Finally, the either/or dilemma is irrelevant and immaterial because it is a reaction to an action.
Both integration and separation are responses and largely emotional responses at that to white
Neither integration nor separatism deals with the question, for both remain on the level defined by
whites. Both integrationists and separatists are excessively preoccupied with the question of sitting
down beside the white man; the 'separatist' is excessively pre-occupied with the question of 'not'
sitting down beside the white man. The liberationist says the presence or absence of the white
man is irrelevant. What obsesses him is the liberation of black people, and the white man is free to
aid that liberation by contributing information, sweat, money and blood, but he is not free to join
that struggle or to lead it. Preoccupation with the white man leads to blunders, confusion in the
ranks and demoralisation; it obscures the issues. It is possible for example to be free, creative and
happy without being in the presence of white people. It is also possible to be free, creative and
happy in groups which are not all black. Neither separation nor integration confronts the system in
its totality for both share the same root postulates. In one way or another both deplore the fact that
white people do not love black people. But love is irrelevant. History is a struggle, not an orgy.
Men decide matters of fundamental interest not on the basis of goodwill but on the basis of social
necessity - on the basis of what they conceive to be in their interests. Men do not and cannot love
each other if their material interests conflict. As long as institutions, particularly economic
institutions, make it necessary for one group to hate another in order to maximise its position, then
integration is impossible.
It is not necessary to argue the either/or question of whether racism is basically economic or
basically ideological. What is certain is that racial problems can only be solved in a climate of
economic equality. The 'either integration or separation' dilemma ignores the implications of this
fact. One side ignores it by calling for 'integration' of the blackman into the economic status quo.
But the prerequisite for integration, i.e. transformation, is the integration of the economic order.
Most proponents of the either/or dilemma find such discussions tedious. Basically they are
idealists, they believe that the words in the books mean something.

The philosophy of liberation calls for a transcendence of the either/or dilemma which has had such
disastrous impact on white/black policy. The liberationist concedes the power of the integrationist's
dream but points out that black power is necessary to accomplish it.
A philosophy of liberation requires a frank appraisal of the in-stitutions and policies of the white
communities. A philosophy of liberation also requires an advanced programme of economic
democracy. Racial integration requires economic integration, and this in turn, requires a
recognition that the race problem cannot be solved without profound structural modifications in the
country; without real changes in the tax structure and the relations between the private and public
sectors, without a redefinition of all values and a redistribution of income and power.
A philosophy of liberation requires a re-appraisal of the policies and institutions of the Black
Community. We must re-evaluate everything we are doing and saying. We must rise now to the
level of conceiving the black interest as a universal interest. Too many people think blackness
means withdrawing and tightening the circle. On the contrary, blackness means expanding and
widening the circle, absorbing and integrating instead of being absorbed and integrated and from
that perspective, it is easy to see that a philosophy of liberation requires black people to cast their
light not over one thing but over everything. We must rise now to the level of black hegemony, the
idea that blacks must establish moral and cultural authority over the whole. A philosophy of
liberation requires transformation. It says that everything must be made anew, but we recognise
that blackness, as so many people have said is necessary but not sufficient. Being black is not
enough. One must be black and ready together.
A philosophy of liberation requires unity. Black unity in turn requires black organisation. We need
more, not fewer, black organisations, we need black-oriented or black-based youth camps,
centres, colleges, welfare organisations etc.
For the New Black, this is a preparatory stage. The means are not now available for entering the
final road. Our task therefore is to prepare for 10, 15 and 40 years. The only question now is
whether black people are made of such stuff as histories are made of, and black people must
answer that question in the presence of the world and in the presence of the black living, the black
dead and the black unborn.
An address to students of the University of Cape Town, June 1972.