Black Power in South Africa: The Evolution of an Ideology by Gail M. Gerhart

By Gail M. Gerhart

Black strength In South Africa: The Evolution Of An Idealogy, via Gerhart, Gail M.

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As the demand for black workers mounted in the mining industry, so too did the requirements for African farm labor as the country's growing urban economy stimulated the expansion of agriculture. The result was a long series of legislative acts directed at pushing Africans off the land and into the employment of whites, a pattern of white policy which persists to the present day and has profoundly affected the character of both urban and rural African society. At first, taxation of rural Africans was relied on to force men into wage labor, and the natural forces of over-population and crop failure were accepted as healthy catalysts in the recruitment of workers.

Social and recreational organizations require constant per sistence and patience on the part of workers to keep them func tioning. The African's emergence from the dominance of the tribe has given him a sense of freedom. The urge is upon him to progress. But the obvious ways are blocked and barred against him and the result is bewilderment, frustration. Appeals to him to unite and fight his way out, do not arouse him. 10 Most rural-born workers, having little or no formal educa tion, found the workings of a modern economic system far beyond comprehension.

From the time of Union until the electoral victory of the Afrikaner Nationalists in 1948, the paternalistic doctrine of trusteeship formed the basis of official government policy to ward Africans, notwithstanding that in practical terms it was a doctrine honored more in the breach than in the observance. To most educated Africans the principle of trusteeship seemed BLACK POWER IN SOUTH AFRICA sound. They considered it realistic to think of Africans as a whole progressing gradually and in step-by-step evolutionary stages, and they saw no reason to question the right of the white "trustees" to define the criteria of merit by which African prog ress was to be measured.

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