"Should we get rid of the whites?" - Albert Luthuli answer to a question, 5 March 1959

Chief Albert Luthuli, the banned leader of the ANC, meets US Senator Robert Kennedy, in Groutville on June 8, 1966.

[Drum, a Johannesburg monthly, asked a number of African leaders, "Do we really want to get rid of the white man?" The following is the reply of Chief Lutuli.]

My reply to the question is obviously "No. We do not want to get rid of the white man." I believe that the tendency in the world from way back has been for people to come together, and not to be separated. That is how civilisation has spread.

It is true, unfortunately, that when the white men migrated to new lands, their motive was the selfish one of enriching themselves. Hence they colonised, and colonisation was accompanied by oppression. They did not make an effort to uplift the people.

But I say, for all that, the white man is in the land where he is, and the aim should be to get him to repent of his wrongdoings rather than to work for his forceful removal out of the country.

The white man must accept the demands of the people for unqualified freedom for all on the basis of adult suffrage, regardless of race or colour, and shed himself of all weaknesses of domination. If he satisfies these conditions, there is no reason why he should go. If he does not satisfy these conditions, then one of two things could happen. He could either become a subjected person or return to his original home.

The white man has a contribution to make, and the country would become poorer by unnecessarily ridding itself of people who can play a part in its progress.

ES Reddy