Alternatives to Apartheid in South Africa

SOUTH Africa's policy of apartheid, or separation of the white from the colored races within its community, has been denounced abroad as repressive. Most South Africans are at a disadvantage in meeting this charge--with which a great many of them agree--because they still do not know, in spite of earnest questionings of themselves and others, exactly what the policy is. In theory there are two kinds of apartheid. South Africa has not yet made up its mind which kind it wants, and it stands in fretful indecision between them like an ass between two bales of hay.

Last year there were disturbances in the small Witzieshoek Native Reserve, an offshoot within the Union of South Africa of the British Protectorate of Basutoland. The natives there opposed orders to cull stock on their overgrazed lands, destroyed government-erected fences and ignored summonses to appear before the Native Commissioner. They contended that the remedy for overgrazing was more land, and that much of their traditional land had been taken away from them last century. The dispute eventually led to a clash with the police. Lives were lost on both sides.

A commission of inquiry investigated. It recommended additional land for the natives, but noted that the Reserve could not permanently hold the whole of its population and the natural increase. Many had already migrated to the towns of the Free State and Transvaal, and the commission proposed that they should be formed into communities there with some measure of local self-government. It recommended that natives who have been absent from the Reserve for many years should no longer regard it as their home to which they are entitled to return at any time; after two years they should be considered to have left permanently.

Apart from the clash with the police, the dispute and the report caused little stir. The Reserve is small and unimportant and few natives are involved. Yet there were two significant reactions to the report. The first came almost automatically

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