From the book: Black ViewPoint by Ndebele, Ndamse, Buthelezi, Khoapa
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
I. THE PROBLEM
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 presupposes 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 socio-political 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).
II. SOCIETY AND POLITICS
Politics is the quest for and the use of power; and society is the interaction of various power-groups. 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.
III. POWER-GROUP AMONG BLACKS (a) 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 subconsciously, 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.
(b) 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 backyard 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 below.
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 self-expression. The emotional and spiritual states of our being enlist the assistance and cooperation 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 expression 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 Africa.
(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 development 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.