Hendrik Verwoerd: 10 quotes by Hendrik Verwoerd (Politics Web), 20 September 2016

The 6th September 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of National Party Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd on the floor of the House of Assembly in Parliament, Cape Town.

In his biography of the man Verwoerd: Architect of Apartheid Henry Kenney noted that Verwoerd had a “dominating personality, and those who came under his influence found him irresistible. This seems to have been one of those cases where that much-abused word ‘charismatic’ is applicable. Verwoerd’s intellectual powers were clearly formidable. Supremely self-confident, he never doubted the correctness of his views. It was an outstanding characteristic of Verwoerd that, once having made up his mind, it was virtually impossible to make him change it.”

In order to give some indication of how Verwoerd sought to rationalise the imposition of ‘demographic representivity’ in 1930s white South Africa (something he was not able to put in practice) and then apartheid, post-1948 (which he was), below are ten extended quotes illustrating some of his reasoning.

As an early proponent of ‘Employment Equity’

1. A possible solution to Jewish ‘domination’ of the economy of South Africa

Below are the possible ways in which the state can help Afrikaners gain their necessary share of commerce and industry. The country's commerce and industry is still busy developing. In the first place this expansion must be placed at the disposal of the English- and Afrikaans-speaking parts of the population, presently being disadvantaged in these fields.

Legislation must gradually but purposefully ensure that each white section of the population should, as far as practicable, enjoy a share of each of the major occupations, according to its proportion of the white population.

This situation is called balanced distribution (ewewigtige verspreiding), but it has also been called a ‘quota system.' As Jews presently enjoy a disproportionate share of the wholesale and retail trade, such a balanced distribution can be achieved only by refusing them further trading licences, until such a time as the other main population groups, such as English- and Afrikaans-speakers, have gained a proportion which (as far as practicable) corresponds to their percentage of the white population. When trading licences held by Jews lapse due to special circumstances, they may not be allocated to compatriots, until all other population groups have achieved the above-mentioned equal priviliges (gelyke bevoorregting) in this regard. However, this does not include the normal transfer of a business from father to son.

As editor of Die Transvaler 1 October 1937

2. ‘Demographic proportionality’ the goal

Another possible way of aiding this process could be proposed.

The establishment of an industrial bank, similar to the institution's responsible for the German industrial flowering after 1870, and that of Japan from the beginning of this century, would promote the general development of industry in the Union. Such a bank, which would have to enjoy government support, would be responsible for the establishment and financing of new industries.

Such an industrial bank could be used as an instrument to give Afrikaners-who lack capital but have the requisite expertise-the chance to achieve leadership in various industries. This could happen, as it did at Iscor, where young Afrikaners-without capital, but with the right skills and personality traits-became part of the management of an extensive industry.

In the allocation of capital and top management posts, the banking institution would discriminate against the Jew, until a stage is reached where the Jew, and the English- and Afrikaans- speakers enjoyed a share of industry, proportional to their percentage of the population. Of course, the discrimination must disappear as soon as the correct balance (ewiwigtigetoestand) has been achieved.”

As editor of Die Transvaler 1 October 1937

As the architect of apartheid

3. Intermixture a recipe for conflict between 'Bantu' and 'European'

“As a premise, the question may be put: Must Bantu and European in future develop as intermixed communities, or as communities separated from one another in so far as this is practically possible? If the reply is ‘intermingled communities’, then the following must be understood. There will be competition and conflict everywhere. So long as the points of contact are still comparatively few, as is the case now, friction and conflict will be few and less evident. The more this intermixing develops, however, the stronger the conflict will become. In such a conflict, the Europeans will, at least for a long time, hold the stronger position, and the Bantu be the defeated party in every phase of the struggle. This must cause to rise in him an increasing sense of resentment and revenge.”

Speech as Minister of Native Affairs, 5 December 1950

4. On the rationale for apartheid

“My point is this that, if mixed development is to be the policy of the future of South Africa, it will lead to the most terrific clash of interests imaginable. The endeavours and desires of the Bantu and the endeavours and objectives of all Europeans will be antagonistic. Such a clash can only bring unhappiness and misery to both. Both Bantu and European must, therefore, consider in good time how this misery can be averted from themselves and from their descendants.

They must find a plan to provide the two population groups with opportunities for the full development of their respective powers and ambitions without coming into conflict. The only possible way out is the second alternative, namely, that both adopt a development divorced from each other. That is all that the word apartheid means.”

Speech as Minister of Native Affairs, 5 December 1950

5. A policy of mutual 'baaskap'

“… the present Government adopts the attitude that it concedes and wishes to give to others precisely what it demands for itself. It believes in the supremacy (baaskap) of the European in his sphere, but, then, it also believes equally in the supremacy (baaskap) of the Bantu in his own sphere. For the European child it wishes to create all the possible opportunities for its own development, prosperity and national service in its own sphere; but for the Bantu it also wishes to create all the opportunities for the realisation of ambitions and the rendering of service to their own people.

There is thus no policy of oppression here, but one of creating a situation which has never existed for the Bantu; namely, that, taking into consideration their languages, traditions, history and different national communities, they may pass through a development of their own. That opportunity arises for them as soon as such a division is brought into being between them and the Europeans that they need not be the imitators and henchmen of the latter.”

Speech as Minister of Native Affairs, 5 December 1950

6. His vision for the 'Native reserves':

“According as a flourishing community arises in [the Native] territories… the need will develop for teachers, dealers, clerks, artisans, agricultural experts, leaders of local and general governing bodies of their own. In other words, the whole super-structure of administrative and professional people arising in every prosperous community will then become necessary…

The limited territories are, however, as little able to carry the whole of the Bantu population of the reserves of the present and the future – if all were to be farmers – as the European area would be able to carry all the Europeans if they were all to be farmers, or as England would be able to carry its whole population if all of them had to be landowners, farmers and cattle breeders.

Consequently, the systematic building up of the Native territories aims at a development precisely as in all prosperous countries. Side by side with agricultural development must also come an urban development founded on industrial growth. The future Bantu towns and cities in the reserves may arise partly in conjunction with Bantu industries of their own in those reserves. In their establishment Europeans must be prepared to help with money and knowledge, in the consciousness that such industries must, as soon as possible, wholly pass over into the hands of the Bantu.”

Speech as Minister of Native Affairs, 5 December 1950

7. On Bantu Education

"It is the policy of my department that education should have its roots entirely in the Native areas and in the Native environment and Native community. There Bantu education must be able to give itself complete expression and there it will have to perform its real service. The Bantu must be guided to serve his own community in all respects. There is no place for him in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour. Within his own community, however, all doors are open.

For that reason it is of no avail for him to receive a training which has as its aim absorption in the European community while he cannot and will not be absorbed there. Up till now he has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his own community and partically (sic) misled him by showing him the green pastures of the European but still did not allow him to graze there. This attitude is not only uneconomic because money is spent on education which has no specific aim, but it is even dishonest to continue with it. The effect on the Bantu community we find in the much discussed frustration of educated Natives who can find no employment which is acceptable to them. It is abundantly clear that unplanned education creates many problems, disrupts the communal life of the Bantu and endangers the communal life of the European.

For that reason it must be replaced by planned Bantu Education. In the Native territories where the services of educated Bantu are much needed, Bantu education can complete its full circle, by which the child is taken out of the community by the school, developed to his fullest extent in accordance with aptitude and ability and thereafter returned to the community to serve and to enrich it.”

Speech as Minister of Native Affairs, 7 June 1954

8. Response to Harold Macmillan’s ‘Winds of Change’ speech:

“The tendency in Africa for nations to become independent and, at the same time, the need to do justice to all, does not only mean being just to the black man of Africa but also being just to the white man of Africa. They are the people, not only in the Union but throughout major portions of Africa, who brought civilisation here, who made possible the present development of black nationalism by bringing the natives education, by showing them the Western way of life, by bringing to Africa industry and development, by inspiring them with the ideals which Western civilisation has developed for itself.

The white man who came to Africa, perhaps to trade, and in some cases, to bring the Gospel, has remained and we particularly, in this southernmost portion of Africa, have such a stake here that this has become our only motherland. We have nowhere else to go. We settled a country which was bare. The Bantu too came to this country and settled certain portions for themselves. It is in line with thinking on Africa to grant them there, those fullest rights which we with you, admit all people should have. We believe in providing those rights for those people in the fullest degree in that part of Southern Africa which their forefathers found for themselves and settled in.

But we also believe in balance. We believe in allowing exactly those same full opportunities to remain within the grasp of the white man in the areas he settled, the white man who has made all this possible.”

Speech as Prime Minister, 3 February 1960

9. How a multi-racial democracy would lead to 'Bantu domination'…

Let us consider a little more closely the solution which a multi-racial state represents. For the purposes of my argument it does not really matter whether it is constituted on a federal basis or according to another system. If the one multi-racial state were to become a federally constituted state (in accordance with the United Party’s policy) or a unitary state (in accordance with the Progressive Party’s policy, with a civilisation test) or a unitary state (on the basis of the Liberal Party’s proposition of ‘one man, one vote’) and at the same time by truly democratic and in harmony with the spirit of the times, it would inexorably lead to Bantu domination. Because in the long run numbers must tell. That is what this age wants.

That is what is said to be true democracy. That is not what the Communists practice. It is not even what the African states practice. But that is the pressure being exerted when demands are made upon our country. In other words, the process towards integration may be delayed by some and accelerated by others if they were given the chance, but inexorably it would lead to Bantu domination, a situation from which there would be no escape.”

Speech as Prime Minister, 23 January 1962

10. … and be a recipe for race-suicide of all minority groups

[Coloureds and Indians] must not think that the colour of their skins will protect them. The minority groups will all have to contend with an unrestricted domination by the Bantu if a multi-racial state comes into being. I say this explicitly because it is self-evident that if one could follow the course of retaining one state in which the White man continued to exercise his historic rule (even if its limits had to be restricted to some extent) that course would be preferred. As far as we are concerned that is the easiest road; it is the most convenient, regard being had to the past.

But when that cannot be done and continued, ever-increasing integration is insisted upon, then it must be put forward as the one alternative and the other alternative must also be put forward and weighed, with all its difficulties, of which there are many, and with all its dangers, of which there are many, as against the first method with all its dangers and difficulties. That is a fact that I never hide. You must, when faced with a choice between the alternatives, test both, whether you wish to retain the present state of affairs or not.

And I say it unequivocally that the people of South Africa cannot accept the consequence of a multi-racial state unless the Whites, the Coloureds and the Indians are prepared to commit race suicide.”

Speech as Prime Minister, 23 January 1962

Sources: Die Transvaler 1 October 1937, Verwoerd Speaks Edited by A. N Pelzer, APB Publishers, Johannesburg, 1966 www.politicsweb.co.za

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