Message Sent to Canon Collins in 1956

Good evening, Canon Collins. I have just been making a tape-recording of a message that I am sending to your Group.(1)

I was told by a mutual friend that you wanted me to send you a message. I have quite a little audience here around me in the house of a friend who has been doing the recording for us. I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity of speaking to your Group, separated though we are by distance, yet one is happy that we are one in spirit. Receive greetings to our mutual friends.

I still look forward to coming to England accompanied by my wife: we look forward to being guests some day of Christian Action. Of course, there is always - this, that one or other of us must stay behind. But we do not want to waste our brains very much in thinking about that for the moment. We have not forgotten your inspiring visit to South Africa some time back. One wonders whether we shall be given the privilege of seeing you again here. But what a hope!

You may have heard from press reports about the meeting of the African leaders recently held in Bloemfontein under the auspices of the African Ministers' Federation.(2)

It was a most inspiring meeting, and really I was happy that it took place. Let me just say a bit about it.

The Conference met to consider the report of a Government commission which, under the chairmanship of Professor Tomlinson, was charged with the task of making a social economic study in order to commend a coordinated development plan in the areas(3). I suppose just as the British people need to make economic plans for the Protectorates,(4) so our Government feels the same way too. Of course, the difficulty with us is that it seemed that their plans are linked up with apartheid. However, let me go on.

This Conference of African leaders and people must be a landmark in their struggle for freedom in the Union of South Africa. There were many features which marked it out as a significant conference. Here are some of the features which I would like you to note.

Almost the first thing to note is that it was convened by African spiritual leaders. Ministers are not always very keen to associate themselves with political movements. (You and others are exceptions to the rule.) But there is no doubt that the African Ministers` Federation felt a deep concern at the rapid deterioration of affairs in our country, especially insofar as the Government`s policy affected the Africans and stretched almost to breaking-point their relations in the country. It is most significant when I think that the Conference consisted of African people representing all shades of opinion in national affairs. And it gave a thunderous "NO" to the apartheid report of the Tomlinson Commission. It gladdened my heart to hear that thunderous "NO". One wished that it could have been transferred to Pretoria almost immediately: but, no doubt, they got it through the special branch,(5) and I suppose also through press reports. As I said earlier, it is unfortunate that their recommendations are so indissolubly linked up with the evil policy of apartheid. But the Conference quite rightly rejected the Tomlinson Commission.

Well, let me repeat, we are happy that people like you, and Father Huddleston, and others, are working hard for the cause of freedom, not only in Africa, but throughout the world. May God bless your efforts!


Paper read at the Conference on the Group Areas Act convened by the Natal Indian Congress, May 5-6, 1956, in Durban

One fundamental cornerstone of human security is the possession of adequate and safely secured land rights for all citizens in a country. Insofar as the African is concerned the Union apartheid land laws are notorious for denying him adequate and safely secured land rights.

Speaking generally, the African is not only denied freehold tenure in the so-called African areas save what little land he held in freehold before the passing of the Natives Land Act, 1913, and also what little land he may have bought within the Released Areas made available by the Native Trust and Land Act, 1936; but even in the African reserves, his so-called natural home, where about one-third of the African population live, he has no security of tenure. These reservations are State lands merely set aside for African occupation under conditions which place him at the mercy of the African chief and the Native Affairs Department of the Central Government.

The desire of White South Africa to ensure its permanent domination over Africans has made it, through a Parliament of Whites only, to deny Africans, not only political rights, the only fundamental bulwark of the rights of citizens, but have denied them economic rights without which no people can realise a civilised way of life.

This shameful limitation of economic rights as affecting Africans is seen at its worst in the limitation of their land rights and I hope to show briefly how the apartheid land laws of the country affect them.

Apartheid land pegged in 1913

The principle of racial zoning given effect to in the Group Areas Act, 1950, was first designed and implemented in the passing of the Natives Land Act, 1913. This law put into legislative enactment the principle of territorial segregation and separation of land rights between Africans and non-Africans.

This Act was opposed most strenuously by the African National Congress under the leadership of the late Dr. J. L. Dube. The Act provided that:

"except with the approval of the Governor-General, a Native might not acquire from a person other than a Native, nor a person other than a Native from a Native any land or interest in any land outside the Native Area described in the Schedule to the Act, and that without such approval no person other than a Native might acquire land or interest in land in a Scheduled Native Area."

The area of land thus scheduled for Africans was about 10 ½ million morgen being only about 8 percent of the total area of the Union. The remaining land, approximately 132 million morgen was practically entirely in White ownership, whereas the Whites numbered then as now only about one-fifth of the population of the Union.

Land set aside by the 1913 Natives Land Act inadequate

The inadequacy of the land set aside for Africans was admitted even at the time of the passing of the Natives Land Act; hence a Commission known as the Beaumont Commission was immediately appointed by the Union Government of the day, to consider how additional land could be appropriated and set aside for Africans.

It is sad to report that on account of the insatiable land greed of Whites in South Africa to own large tracts of land - often far in excess of their legitimate needs and generally beyond their ability to farm them beneficially - the mild recommendations of the Beaumont Commission proved to be unacceptable to White South Africa, nor were those of "Local Committees" appointed to water down the proposals of the Beaumont Commission to make them more acceptable to Whites.

Final pegging of land set aside for Africans

It was not until 1936 in the Native Trust and Land Act that, in the form of what was called "released areas" did the White Parliament of the Union decide that 7¼ million morgen of land should be added to the African areas within ten years as a final settlement of the division of land in South Africa between Africans and non-Africans. Of the non-African land practically the whole of it is owned or occupied by Whites. This final allocation of land to Africans, when fully realised, would have given them land about 13 percent of the total area of the Union, i.e., Europeans who are about one-fifth of the population would own practically 87 percent of the Union.

It is sad, but most revealing of the avaricious nature of Whites, which makes them indifferent to legitimate African land needs, that despite the solemn pledge of Parliament in 1936 to buy additional land for Africans within ten years, by 1954, about eighteen years after the passing of the enabling Act (the Native Trust and Land Act of 1936), only about 63 percent of the promised land had been bought. Successive Union Governments since 1936 found themselves thwarted in their implementation of Parliament`s solemn promise by the reluctance of White farmers to sell their land to the South African Native Trust for the purpose. In the face of this opposition the present farmers` government, the Nationalist Party Government, is now saying that it is going to soft-pedal the purchase of land and concentrate its efforts on rehabilitating and developing existing land for Africans. This neglect of a solemn pledge made by Parliament is clear proof that White South Africa wants apartheid without paying for the cost it involves. It is the African who is made to bear the burden and suffer the ills inherent in the apartheid policy, notwithstanding the fact that Africans, in no uncertain terms, have made clear their opposition to the apartheid policy on the ground that it is not in the best interest of the country as a whole.

The right of an African to buy land only from another African in a scheduled or released area a mockery

The total land set aside in final allocation was about 18 million morgen. Of this land only about two million morgen was held in freehold tenure by Africans in the whole of the Union at the time of the final pegging in 1936 of land set aside for Africans.

It was, therefore, a mockery of the worst kind for Parliament to give Africans a legally restricted right and which, further, was for all practical purposes unrealisable since there was not enough freehold land among Africans.

African areas inadequate and defective

It is generally admitted that even the final quota of land set aside for Africans under the Native Trust and Land Act, 1936, was most inadequate even at that time. Further, these areas possess physical defects that militate greatly against their capacity to carry satisfactorily human and animal life found in them. This congestion is borne out by the fact that the principal sectors of these areas showed an average density per square mile of about 60 as against that of 20 for the whole Union according to the 1936 census.

In addition, most of these areas consist of broken hilly country and suffer from much soil erosion.

It is most important and urgent that White South Africa, supporting as it does territorial segregation, should make available to Africans land sufficient to enable those of them living on the land to make a living reasonably in accordance with civilised standards of life.

We support the policy of promoting development in African areas. This development should be carried out concurrently with plans to make available to Africans more land. We are convinced that no amount of development of existing African areas will make them carry human life in these areas above subsistence level.

It might be appropriate to reiterate here that in the African National Congress we stand for the policy of creating in the Union of South Africa a common society where all people would be free to engage in any occupation of their liking anywhere, where an opportunity presents itself. In such a free society the question of setting aside land for this or that group would not arise.

Property rights of Africans in urban areas

The different provinces of the Union had various restrictions on the entry and stay of Africans in their respective urban areas and in general, with a few exceptions such as the restrictions in gold mining areas, all provinces, except the Orange Free State, had no legal restrictions debarring Africans from buying or leasing land in an urban area. But the basic pattern of segregation having been set by the 1913 Natives Land Act, which applied throughout the Union with the specific exception of urban areas, it was clear that something had to be done in urban areas. This need brought about the Native Urban Areas Act, 1923, and the successive amendments to it which, with the principal Act, were consolidated into the Urban Areas Act of 1945. These urban areas laws, inter alia, prohibited Africans from acquiring land by purchase or lease from a non-African in an urban area save with the approval of the Governor-General; they also called upon the Local Authorities to set aside land for the establishment of African locations and hostels where all Africans, except those who fall under exempted categories, would be forced to reside as municipal tenants.

Before Union and during the open period after Union some Africans had acquired freehold landed property in such areas as Sophiatown and Lady Selborne in the Transvaal and in some urban and peri-urban areas in Natal and in the Cape. On the whole the buying was not extensive.

To quote an instance: in Durban, Malvern and Westville Africans owned in all freehold property only to the extent of 125 acres valued at £90,000 in about 1951.

Africans and the Group Areas Act, 1950

Some Africans erroneously suggested that the Group Areas Act was designed to affect Indians and to some extent the Coloured people. Such people must now be getting a rude shock to find that Africans have been the first victims of racial zoning as witness the ruthless removal of Africans from Sophiatown to Meadowlands in Johannesburg, and to find that many African-owned places are now threatened with removal such as Lady Selborne in Pretoria and some African urban communities established on African-owned land in Natal towns such as Newcastle, Charlestown, Vryheid and others. The Cape, too, has such African communities.

These removals are being prosecuted with all haste and ruthlessness among Africans so much so that where the provisions of the Group Areas Act and the Urban Areas Act prove inadequate and slow, the Group Areas Act has had to be aided and supplemented by passing kindred legislation such as the Resettlement of Natives Act, 1954, under which removals at Sophiatown were affected and the Group Areas Amendment Bill, 1956, now before Parliament. This Bill seeks, inter alia, to amend the Group Areas Act to make it possible for the Government to bring about removals in such places as Lady Selborne which so far fell outside the orbit of the Group Areas Act and the Urban Areas Act.

One tragic aspect of these removals is that Africans affected by them are given no compensation, nor are they given in the new area to which they are moved freehold sites to replace the freehold sites they lost through the removal.

It is to safeguard itself from being delayed or halted in any way in this matter of urban removals of Africans that the Government is rushing through this present session of Parliament a Bill which will bring about an Act that will stop aggrieved Africans from seeking through an interdict the protection of the courts of justice whenever they feel that their rights are in jeopardy. This is another case of shoot first and ask questions afterwards.

The Nationalist Party Government has made it clear that under no circumstances will an African ever be allowed to hold land in freehold title in or near an urban area and so an African must regard himself as a sojourner in an urban area, being permitted there as it were on sufferance, for only as long as he is employed in that urban area and behaves in a manner satisfactory to the Local Authority and the Government.

I must here point out that the legislative restriction on African freehold tenure and the implication of Government policy make it futile to allocate to Africans in an urban area an African group area in which they may reside or buy land since non-African owners of such a proposed African group area would have to get the permission of the Governor-General before they could sell their land to Africans. It is evident that the Group Areas Act helps completely to deny Africans the right of ever owning land in freehold in an urban centre. The end result is that Africans will be thrown out for good from urban areas as holders of freehold land and only remain as tenants in Municipal Locations.

It should be plain to all that one main purpose of this policy is to bring about undemocratic control over Africans in urban areas. Denying African freehold rights in urban areas makes it easy for White authority to control the nearly three million Africans living in urban areas of the Union and so it is that we find these millions living under the most insecure conditions imaginable. This insecurity tends to make some of these Africans show a docility to White supremacy that does most humiliating dishonour to their own human personality.

Displacement of Africans in rural areas

Urban Africans residing on African-owned land in urban areas are not the only victims of this ruthless policy of removing people and making some of them to become displaced people as in Nazi Germany.

Africans residing in rural areas in what are known as "Black spots" are to suffer the same fate. These "Black spots" are African areas that find themselves surrounded by non-African land, usually White lands. The Natives Land Act, 1913, and the Native Trust and Land Act, 1936, forbid such a state of affairs since rural Africans, in terms of some of the provisions of these two laws, are to reside in "Scheduled Native Areas" or in "Released Areas" save those that reside as labour tenants or squatters on European farms.

There are many such "Black spots" throughout the Union and the aim of the Government is to eliminate them completely.

In our province of Natal most of these "Black spots" are found in the Northern Districts, especially in the Magisterial districts of Newcastle, Dundee and Klip River. Some of these, such as Kumaloville near Besters, have already been given notice to get ready to move.

Everywhere under the rule of the Nationalist Government there is "Removal", "Removal", and "Removal", and Africans are unsettled and uneasy.

These removals involve Africans in heavy financial losses as the properties from which they are uprooted represent a life`s savings made at great sacrifice of other necessary essentials of life such as adequate housing and food and the schooling of children.

In urban centres it further involves Africans in heavy transport expenses to and from work practically daily as, speaking generally, Africans are generally moved to areas that are very far - ten miles or thereabouts - from the main centres of work. Added to this is the inadequacy of transport facilities causing many workers to get up too early in order to get to work in time.

All this suffering means nothing to a ruthless, callous Government determined to uphold White supremacy at all costs by oppressing and crushing Non-whites.

A brief comment on the Tomlinson Report

The challenge of the Tomlinson Report demands that before I close my paper I should briefly make reference to some aspects and implications of this important report which, for good or ill, is likely for a long time to come to provoke an unusual awareness on African affairs in the Union.

The report sets an unqualified seal of approval on the apartheid policy of the Nationalist Party and rejects completely the sound policy of creating a common society in our multi-racial nation if peace and progress are to be promoted in the Union.

The report goes to great pains and details to make proposals for the implementation of the policy of apartheid and lays much stress on the need for promoting a coordinated programme of development in existing African areas.

We grant that in some phases of development it puts forward constructive suggestions with which we have no quarrel; but on grounds of principle and general practicability the African National Congress must reject this report since it advocates and promotes the policy of apartheid which, in all sincerity, Congress believes will bring about ruin to the Union of South Africa.

The report abounds in many inexcusable flaws for a Commission which makes claim to an impartial and scientific approach to its task. Unfortunately its assumed air of scientific authority may make White South Africa accept its findings without subjecting them to a critical scrutiny whilst at the same time shrinking from accepting the sacrifices - financial and otherwise - called for by the report. Already the Nationalist Party Government in its white paper on the report, whilst naturally welcoming the report as a vindication of its policy of apartheid, nevertheless, openly refuses to accept as authoritative the methods of implementing the apartheid policy as put forward by the Commission. The Government asserts that it is its sovereign prerogative to decide on how much of the report it accepts and on the means and ways it may adopt in implementing the apartheid policy supported by the Commission. In other words the Government is not prepared to call upon White South Africa to brace itself to make the sacrifices, financial and otherwise, demanded by an acceptance of the policy of apartheid. Apart from setting South Africa on the wrong road to the solution of the problem of human relationship found in our multi-racial nation the report may indirectly influence White South Africa to content itself with a negative approach to apartheid since it would have conveniently shirked the responsibility of meeting the inescapable sacrifices called for by an honest, though mistaken, approach to apartheid.

I wish to conclude my brief comment on the Tomlinson Report by referring pointedly to what I call: "The flaws in the Tomlinson report".

(a) The whole report is based on an unscientifically proved acceptance of apartheid. It ignores the evident economic forces that are promoting integration. During the Nationalist Party rule the number of African urban dwellers has increased daily.

The Commission itself concludes that in the white areas - European farms and cities - there will always be a large African population. Likewise in African areas, in some capacity or another, there will always be a considerable number of whites: to say nothing about those who will be running industries on the borders of African areas.

(b) The development of industry in the African areas envisages the investment of private European capital in the African areas where it will obtain cheaper labour than exists in so-called white urban centres. In other words exploitation will be carried on by perpetuating the cheap labour policy.

(c) The Tomlinson Report, read together with the Nationalist Government`s white paper on the report, exposes what a great fraud apartheid is. Why should the Government run away from nursing its baby, apartheid, properly?

(d) The Commission shamefully ignored to face the important and urgent question of the inadequacy of land set aside for Africans when all fair-minded people admitted as way back as 1936 that the land set aside for Africans was insufficient and so the unjust land division made in 1913 and 1936 remains unaffected. The Commission ignored to recommend the appropriation of additional land for African areas. It did so on the doubtful hypothesis that the "developed African areas" would be able to carry more people by giving an eight acre plot to each African peasant farmer qualified to live by farming. The Commission with satisfaction envisaged the peasant farmer producing on this land a minimum income of £60 a year.

When the Commission did think about additional land for African areas it recommended that efforts be made to recommend the incorporation to the Union of the already populated British High Commission Territories. Why the Commission did not feel itself called upon to call upon White South Africa to sacrifice by giving up some of the large tracts of land it holds is difficult to understand.

(e) Political participation of the Africans:

The Commission ignored the fundamental standpoint that in one country there can be only one sovereign body - Parliament - in which all people in that country should be adequately represented.

The African in the seven puppet kingdoms of the Native Affairs Department is not likely to remain for long satisfied with ineffective local government when laws affecting him continue to be made by Parliament in which he is not represented democratically.

Let me close this brief comment on the Tomlinson Report by calling upon all leaders in our liberatory movement to make a careful study of this apartheid report.

In closing my paper let me call upon you all to say:


We stand for a united South Africa of all the people!

We say away with the sectionalism of the Nationalist!

Afrika! Afrika! Mayibuye!

Mayibuye Afrika!


Opening address to the Twenty-second Biennial Conference of the South African Indian Congress, Gandhi Hall, Johannesburg, October 19, 1956

Once again another biennial Conference is upon you.

It is my good fortune to be privileged once more to open your biennial Conference. It was in 1954 when I had the honour to open your twenty-first Conference. I wish this biennial Conference opening today the blessings and guidance of the Almighty.

My message at this Conference will centre around summoning you and all who like you believe in Freedom For All to accept the challenge of apartheid and solemnly to resolve that somewhere and soon a halt must be called to this policy which is seriously threatening peace in South Africa, by undermining confidence in the Government of the country and straining race relations in the country, especially black and white relations.

No one is more conscious than I of the difficulties that have to be contended with in building up this determination and that such a determination cannot be built overnight or by wishful thinking but can only be built by stoic, patient persistence.

Important and urgent matters arising out of the tyrannical white rule in the Union of South Africa will come for consideration at this Conference. But the Conference will have failed if it does not directly or indirectly generate a spirit of resisting this tyranny, especially at this time when the Nationalist Party Government, through the Group Areas Act and other kindred Acts, is robbing non-whites of their properties and seriously threatening their livelihood.

I shall be happy, even if only in a small measure, if my contribution to this Conference can help to create such a spirit of resistance to this arrogant and studied tyranny.

Stand up in defence of human values

I must begin by reminding you that the history of mankind shows that people in different lands throughout the ages have had to meet such challenges as face the people of the Union of South Africa at this time but history teaches us that rarely, except for some temporary setbacks, have movements of the people to resist oppression, no matter how ruthless the oppressor, failed. If we truly respect fundamental human rights and noble divine concepts of man, the dignity of man and the worth of an individual, the brotherhood of man, we must come all out in defence of these values as they are being seriously threatened by evil forces in our land. We should remember that Providence has ordained it that a people who refuse to meet such a challenge deservingly suffer moral degenration and degradation.

The grim story of oppressive rule over non-whites of successive white Governments in the Union of South Africa, climaxed by the tyrannical rule of the Nationalist Party Government, which has plagued the Union of South Africa for eight hard years, has confronted non-whites of the Union with inescapable challenge: either they meet it fearlessly to their honour and the salvation of South Africa or evade it to their dying shame and the desecration of our beloved land, South Africa.

May I refer pointedly to the Indian community and ask you of this community why Providence brought your forebears to South Africa? Was it just to help the white man to exploit selfishly the wealth of this country? Was it just to help some of you to exploit the wealth too? Was it just that the majority as ordinary humble folk should make a living?

It might have been for all this - yes - but certainly it was for a worthier cause than these. It was to harness the Indian community in building in this land a tradition that respects virtuous conduct and noble human values since it is only upon such values that a young country like South Africa could build a civilisation worthy of a country that lays claim to Christianity and the best in the so-called Western civilisation.

When we are faced with a Government that is carrying out a policy that is a negation of all that is best and noble in a civilised country - justice, fairplay - it is time you in cooperation with other decent people in the land stood up unequivocally in defence - not of your property or property rights, but of your souls and human values that are being trodden underfoot by the Nationalist Party Government and those white people who unfortunately accept the leadership of the Nationalist Party when it comes to the treatment of non-whites. Unfortunately, at present, such whites form an overwhelming majority of the white community in the Union of South Africa.

Fortunately for you, you are well equipped for this noble but most exacting task. You have as your guide, as your inspiration, as your fount of sustenance in such testing times, the noble tradition of resistance to tyranny of your leaders here in the land of your forebears. You have the undying example of devotion to, and sacrifice for, a noble cause of your illustrious leaders: your Mahatma Gandhis, your Nehrus, your Jinnahs and others here and in India.

You dare not fail them for failing them is failing the best in life - LIBERTY, for which they and others throughout the ages everywhere have sacrificed all to secure it and preserve it. We young fighters for freedom in this age stand between these heroes of freedom and posterity and our bounden duty is to defend and preserve this divine heritage - LIBERTY and all it stands for - and hand it unimpaired to generations yet to be.

Remember the inspiring words of an English poet I always like to refer to in such a connection. It runs something like this:

The challenge to you and all of us who love and value LIBERTY is to build a tradition that will be a STATUE OF LIBERTY in the Union of South Africa. We have to do this in the face of strong gales that make the task of building and maintaining this Statue of Freedom a most hazardous undertaking fraught with dangers that are capable of destroying us and the tradition of liberty we would be building. The cause is so worthwhile that any risks and dangers confronting its realisation sink into insignificance.

Shameful denial of rights

What an opportune time for the holding of your twenty-second biennial Conference! You are meeting at a time when the policy of apartheid is bringing untold suffering to thousands of non-whites, stark poverty, intense mental anguish, frustration and the like, especially as a result of the implementation of the Group Areas Act and kindred Acts such as the Resettlement of Natives Act, relevant amendments to the Urban Areas Act and the Natives Land and Trust Act. We are really witnessing a mopping process in the action of depriving and denying non-whites democratic rights and privileges. This action was started on a Union-wide scale at the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 and since then has been carried out by successive Union Governments but never so intensely and ruthlessly to such a climax as by the present Government of the Nationalist Party.

In opposing this unashamedly brutal rule we should labour hopefully in the assurance that right must ultimately triumph over wrong even though evil might appear to be on the throne now. By way of emphasis let me remind you of some of these shameful acts of denial and deprivation.

Franchise rights for non-whites were whittled away at Union in 1910.

In 1936 the Cape Africans who were the only Africans with franchise rights, save a negligible number in Natal, were put on a separate voters` roll and were given a disgracefully emasculated representation by whites only. This fate has now befallen the Coloured people.

Legalised plunder of non-whites

The Indians in Natal lost their municipal franchise long ago. On the matter of land rights and security of home, notwithstanding the British maxim - "One`s home is one`s castle" - land rights ceased to be respected long ago in so far as non-whites were concerned. The Native Land Act of 1913 and subsequent amendments to it, such as the Native Land and Trust Act, deprived Africans of the right to further purchase or lease land, save in special scheduled and released areas. In urban centres he suffered a similar fate in the Urban Areas Act of 1923 and subsequent amendments to it. The Group Areas and other kindred Acts are but a mopping up process for him.

For the Indians compulsory segregation can be regarded as having commenced in 1932 and became more and more stringent until 1946 when the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act was passed. This Act pegged the rights of Indians to occupy land in certain controlled areas. The land tenure provisions of this Act can be regarded as the forerunner that inspired the passing of the Group Areas Act in 1950.

The Group Areas Act, in all its tyrannical provisions and its nefarious objectives as voiced by some leaders of the Nationalist Party, including Cabinet Ministers, spells utter doom to the Indian community and the Coloured community as does the mopping up process among Africans, carried out under the Resettlement of Natives Act, recent amendments to the Urban Areas Act and the intensification of the elimination of so-called "Black spots" in rural areas under the provisions of the Native Land Act, 1913, as amended, and the Native Land and Trust Act, 1936, as amended.

I could go on and add more to the list of these dishonourable acts which in effect sanction legalised plunder of non-white property but the laws I have cited to prove my charge against white South Africa in this regard suffice. Why all this tyranny and that in the name of Christianity and Civilisation? In brief: It is to try and satisfy the insatiable greed and selfishness of white South Africa. We truly pity our fellow white South Africans who in lust for power and comfort have cast overboard moral considerations to their own harm and to the harm of the name of the Union of South Africa and endangering the building of a sound State resting on firm moral foundations.

Grim challenge

What shall you, what shall we all, do in the face of this grim challenge? Shall we complacently and passively resign ourselves to our doom in the fashion of "Tata baba, shiyamind sikukazi naloqude" (if you rob me of my fowls please leave a hen and a cock) as alleged by Africans to be what Indians in fear say to thieves stealing their fowls.

Remember it is not just our property and our property rights that are being threatened nor only our means of earning a livelihood but our honour as created beings of God and our honour as people who profess to value the heritage of Freedom and all the noble conceptions that are its components. We should seek economic security but not worship material things to the extent of disregarding moral values. Rather our properties go! Rather our homes go! - than that we should shamefully compromise in an effort to save what little we may save, if at all, after the plundering of our all by the Nationalist Party Government through the Group Areas and similar Acts has been carried out. In compromising we shall inevitably be guilty of aiding and abetting apartheid and all the insults and suffering it stands for. Rather lose all than lose our souls and honour and so save ourselves the shame of earning the disdain of our contemporaries and the condemnation of posterity but worse suffer eternal damnation for indeed "what will it profit to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?"

This Divine poser should be pondered upon deeply by any of us who might be tempted by considerations of expediency and false personal gain or intimidation by fear to flirt with the wicked maid, apartheid.

I assure you again of the support not only of the African National Congress, but of the responsible people in our community typified by the 349 leaders and delegates who attended the recent All-in Conference of the African people in Bloemfontein who with unanimous voice said "NO" to the Tomlinson Commission report as an instrument of apartheid. May the South African Indian Congress continue in its laudable efforts of seeking to cooperate with all people of goodwill who love and believe in freedom for all and with all such people form a liberatory movement that will oppose and eventually defeat enemies of freedom in our land, South Africa, whoever they may be and wherever they may be.

You - we all - should refuse to be fenced in physically, mentally and spiritually; we should refuse to be a party to anything that dishonours South Africa; we should refuse to compromise or in any way submit to tyranny and domination at the expense of degrading our manhood.

To go back to the title of my address, the answer to the challenge should be to build among all those who believe in Freedom for All a spirit that refuses to tolerate a reign of tyranny in our land. In this task I feel sure that this twenty-second biennial Conference of the South African Indian Congress will emphatically reiterate its past stand of standing firm in opposition to apartheid and of helping to forge a united opposition against it since organised unity is the one sure effective force that will spell doom to this evil thing, apartheid.

I now have pleasure in solemnly declaring this twenty-second biennial Conference of the South African Indian Congress, meeting in Gandhi Hall, Johannesburg, on October 19, 20 and 21 duly opened.

Long Live Freedom!

Long Live Africa!

Mayibuye! Afrika!


1. Defence and Aid Fund for South Africa, London.

2. The All-in African Conference was convened by the Interdenominational African Ministers' Federation in Bloemfontein from October 4 to 6, 1956, to consider the Tomlinson report.

3. African reserves

4. Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland, then protectorates of the United Kingdom - now the independent States of Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland

5. Secret police


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