13 APRIL 1929, Page 36

The Black Man's Burden THAT two books of such exceptional

importance on a peculiarly live subject should appear within a few days of each other should be a happy augury for future developments in Africa. It is time that scholars and men of knowledge should take a hand in one of the most important problems of our age, and if anyone should object that the days of brutality and exploitatjon are over and that a recital of our past misdeeds is not relevant, it is well to recollect that • Mr. Elliott, of Natal, stated less than two years ago :— • " My opinion is that the time must come when we shall have to fight for our position in this country, that things will have to In decided by force, and that if we want to hold our own we must exterminate the natives."

It is only a week ago that a Transvaal farmer was reported in the newspapers as having thrashed a native's bad: to pnlp and having struck him twice with a brick when he tried to run away. While the man was• on the ground, the farmer kicked him, breaking his ribs and diaphragm : he then handcuffed him and suspended him from a tree by one leg until- he died: The farmer :was sentenced to seven yeas' hard labour and ten lashes, but- it is significant of local opinion that representations have -been made against the sentence of lashes. The is. still current that the African's original sin is the real source of all trouble._ Professor MacMillan is already well known to all who have at heart the . vexed question of racial .contact, and in his latest volume he gives us a clear, documented survey of all the factors which have contributed to the present native iiro.blern in South Africa. He provides .the historical back- qOunil,- showing us what the problem really is and hovi the different interests and ideals of the three communities have been in Perpetual conflict. The white race has little to be proud of in its dealings with South Africa. Till the nineteenth century the Bantu were merely a frontier problem, but As colonists advanced upon the Bantu there came first a period of unsettlement, with cattle-thieving, raids, and counter-raids, till smma more than usually serious ' incident ' culminated in a war. The war was followed by a fixing of boundaries, usually a little further East than before ; for since some action must be taken Against a tribe guilty of murder, or even ` theft,' the obvious punish- ment was to seize cattle and confiscate land . . . Time after time to secure a suitable military frontier, whole tribes were transplanted, or tribe burled back upon tribe, and when the Bantu were driven to war among themselves, or to retaliatory raids on the Colonists' cattle • • - , the inevitable specific was: to ;drive off more cattle, confiscate more land, and fix yet another boundary, so beginning the process all over again."

Driven off their land, the wild game on which they depended rapidly exterminated, the natives were reduced to hunger and had to steal cattle to , support life. Reprisals were generally unjust, harsh, and undiscriminating.. This-system, aptly named pax hellicosa, ensured a regularity of wars. Divide et impera. was the accepted policy, and friendly "chiefs lie Gaika were callously. betrayed when they -were of no further use.,. And yet, during one . of the periodic . wars native carried a white child to Grahamstown " only. to -he wade a prisoner. for his pains." And yet, challenged_ by the invaders, Maqomo. Very well.. You may, I fight, but I will not." The moral balance is -heavily against the

white. • : r." : •-•

The result of it all Was that the: natives' :wealth in cattle was largely destroyed,- their lands .*ere:expropriated,. and they were reduced to an economic dependence which frireed them to labour or to starve. The . Pocir Whites" now: find themselves in competition for unskilled . labour "with the still cheaper outflow of natives from' farms: and 'congested reserves. The native problem is in short- both economic and political, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to 'keep the native in order and to make him do his -duty: .

Professor MacMillan's exposition has a peculiar significance just now, and should be read together with Lord Olivier's volume. White Capital and Coloured Labotir, 'enlarged and re-written in the light of recent Reports,: is wider in its scope and adopts the comparative, rather than the historical, standpoint : but on the other hand it makes a more detailed analysis of special aspects of contact, which are only in- cidental to Professor MacMillan's thesis. A large share of the volume is devoted to Kenya, the general interest in which has been intensified by the Hilton-Young Report. Without misrepresenting the motives of the settler com- munity, Lord Olivier succeeds in exposing the sophisIns which have so frequently befogged policy and discussion in the past. He shows us that in East Africa we are in danger of treading the same path as we followed in South Africa. The conditions which are now being reproduced in East Africa are all described in Professor MacMillan's hook : the problems of segregation or assimilation, of Squatters and Poor Whites, of Pass Laws, Registration and Vagrancy Laws, though comparatively new in East Africa, are not new at all, and only by correcting our policy by past experience 'hall we avoid in East Africa the dangers and, possibly, the wars through which South Africa has already passed. We nay note incidentally that the same arguments as are now med to justify the restriction of the Masai to a limited reserve were formerly used to extenuate the acquisitive tendencies if the Boers.

Both our authors agree that land is the fundamental prestion, and that all other issues are determined by it. is Sandile said, " the patrimony of a chief is not cattle. It s land and men " : or, as an African proverb puts it, " Land outs men, not men the land." Private ownership" of land is apart from its usufructory _rights is unknown to Africans, Or whom, however, land is bound up with the religious omplex which permeates all their culture. To deprive hem of their land is to uproot them from their past and to lestroy the integrity of their institutions.

The problems of East Africa and South Africa are not the sune, and cannot be approached from the same angle. Despite he Transkei, South Africa has probably gone too far for a evival of native institutions, even if that were desirable, but 'rofessor MacMillan does not indicate what the solution there to be, if it is not to be miseegenatirin: The piobIem " in East Africa is to prevent a reproduction of South African conditions, and it is a pity that Lord Olivier does not give us some concrete suggestions as to how this" should be done. The Hilton-Young report rightly demonstrates that complete segregation is impossible and propoSes a modus rivendi on parallel lines of contact without fusion. Lord Olivier, who has elsewhere expressed doubts about the value of Trusteeship as a theory, nevertheless appears to advocate some extension of the Mandatory system, and this seems to be a possible solution of an extremely difficult and contentious situation.