Courtesy Reuters

Loneliness in the Beloved Country

To write against the racial policies of South Africa is not a difficult undertaking; through its discriminatory legislation, the South African Government provides plentiful material for the use of its critics. To write reflectively not about the black but about the white population is not easy and can lead to misunderstanding. Yet there is room for an explanation of South Africa as many or most of its white inhabitants see it. In any event, an explanation is not a justification.

South Africa's isolation from the rest of the world is a source of mounting bitterness within the country. Last October, Prime Minister Verwoerd received what seemed a stinging rebuff when the prime ministers of the Scandinavian countries turned down an invitation to visit South Africa to see it for themselves. Their refusal sharply illuminated South Africa's estrangement. Since Dr. Verwoerd is not a stupid man, he can hardly have been surprised at the refusal; but some interpreted the incident as a painful evidence of the willingness of South Africa's critics to condemn without any knowledge of the real facts of the country.

The real facts, as the average South African sees them, are the events, the atmosphere, the tempo, of his own daily life. The outside world, he believes, has a distorted focus on his country. His own picture of himself comes back to him, reflected in hostile debates in the United Nations, in images so misshapen that he feels himself to be the victim of a deliberate plot of misrepresentation and slander.

How does a South African who feels that the outside world is unfair to him see himself? What is his own focus upon his daily life? His view is not much different from that of the Southerner in a quiet suburb of Nashville or Atlanta who has an easy, friendly way with a Negro gardener. The fact that the personal warmth and kindliness which the white South African feels is part of a master-servant relationship sustained by the

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