The Project Gutenberg / Wikimedia Boer militiamen during the Boer War, 1900.

South Africa at War

IN South Africa we have two great problems of a racial nature. There is the conflict between the Boer and the Briton, or if you prefer, between the Afrikaans-speaking and the English-speaking South Africans. Then there is the conflict between white and black, the problem of two million Europeans seeking to postpone equality for eight million natives and a quarter million Indians.

The Afrikaner, the lineal descendant of the Dutch pioneers, differs essentially from the Englishman, whether of early stock or recently arrived. In character and outlook he resembles a member of some Old Testament tribe. He comes of pastoral stock, he has relied upon religious leadership through many generations, and he looks upon politics as almost synonymous with religion. In their isolation from the rest of the world the Afrikaners have developed an almost fanatical determination not to allow others to share in the formulation or direction of their race policy. Only reluctantly can they bring themselves to coöperate with the British. But it would be a mistake to assume that this conflict is merely an expression of racial differences or of resentment at hardships suffered at British hands. After all, the victors in the Boer War exercised their authority with remarkable restraint, as most Boers now freely admit; and less than eight years after the close of the struggle South Africa had already become a self-governing Dominion. We must therefore seek other causes if we are to explain the deep antagonism between the two peoples.

There is, for instance, the wide difference in their attitude towards the natives and other non-Europeans. The mentality of the Afrikaners allows no room for liberalism towards colored peoples. In their eyes white supremacy is the touchstone of all action, and from early times they have looked with grave suspicion upon the more liberal tendencies of the British in native affairs. This fundamental difference dominates South African politics. It also has acute economic and social implications. The Union's labor problem, for instance, is

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