"Face the future"
8 August 1960
The white minority rule policy of segregation and more so its virulent form, apartheid, have screened off from each other Black and White in South Africa. Our knowledge of each other is scanty and most superficial. But worse, what there is of it is tainted with prejudice and wishful thinking. This makes it easy for Government policy and the lying propaganda that boosts it to push us further and further apart.
What a tragedy that so many should thus be made to live blissfully in a world of fantasy. When Rome is on fire many seem oblivious to how much our thinking actions are a flight from reality, which makes us "build castles in the air". Many thus become victims of complacency. Among whites one gets some day-dreaming of a white South Africa that is not, and can never be. When such whites suddenly discover that "Kaffirs are lively" and challenging in earnest, they become an easy prey to unnerving fears that throw them off balance in their thinking and actions.
Non-whites on the other hand are prone to indulge in dangerous speculative airy talk about Freedom, such as speaking about it as being "round the corner" when they are doing nothing for the Freedom cause. This makes such non-whites sooner or later become victims of frustration, or an easy prey to fraudulent and dangerous Government plans whose end result is nothing but more and more cruel and insulting serfdom.
The South African Congress of Democrats publication to which I have the honour to write a Foreword provides a much needed brief factual presentation of our situation in the Union. It confronts us with challenges we can only evade to the harm of our country and ourselves. To honest and serious citizens it provides an impetus and a basis for making a much-needed agonising reappraisal.
No one who reads the book with an open and searching mind can sink into complacency or become panicky, for the book is constructive in its approach. I trust it will disturb and shock many to realistic thinking and action. There is much at stake. There is no time nor room for cowardly thinking and action. Too many of us ignore the signs of the times. This justifies the note of urgency and disaster the book strikes.
But more importantly, the author points a realistic way out. A hard way, yes. It has to be so for us too, for at no time, and nowhere in history has Freedom come without much sacrifice by both the oppressor and the oppressed; it seems never to come without "tears and blood". There is still enough goodwill among non-whites to avoid a bloody struggle being a sine qua non to Freedom. But the situation can no longer be met by giving too little of Freedom at a time, and most certainly not by ordering Africans even at the point of a bayonet to march back to tribalism, as is the aim of apartheid.
Non-whites reject with the contempt it deserves the Nationalist Party Government policy of separate development. They see it for what it is: an attempt to delay the march to Freedom. They will have no truck with adulterated pseudo forms of democracy; no caricatures, but only the genuine article will do. No amount of jackbooting will halt them from making and striving for their demands. Jackbooting will only embitter them against the whites, and thus make it difficult to build our multi-racial society and non-racial democracy.
The book is mainly a charge to white South Africa. Non-whites should not, however, derive much comfort from its laudatory references to them. As a group we are taking too long to wake up. The rest of Africa is up and doing. It is distressing to find some of our people who should know better being false prophets, counselling people to compromise with apartheid. What is there to compromise with in apartheid? Compromise with death! This would be a voluntary acceptance of oppression. What a counsel of despair which makes its authors guilty of national suicide!
I use the opportunity afforded me by this Foreword to thank those whites who have taken a stand to make common cause with us in our struggle. They are doing this at great cost to themselves. This is an index of how they value right as against "might is right". These friendly whites are to be found in the Congress of Democrats, the Liberal Party and other progressive groups and individuals. They have truly become our comrades-in-arms. Together we mirror the South Africa of tomorrow we are striving for - a truly non-racial democratic South Africa in which as countrymen, equals and friends, we shall be comrades in Freedom.
I plead with white South Africa to swell the ranks of these progressives. What a glorious prospect awaits us! Let us all work sacrificially to make its speedy realisation possible.