SOUTH AFRICA’S KU KLUX KLAN
THE AFRIKANER Broederbond (Bond of Brothers), a secret society founded “on the Rock of Jesus” with the avowed aim of bringing about the union’s “God-given destiny” —Afrikaner domination over the polyglot races of South Africa—is today the real ruler of the Union of South Africa. It counts among its members the Prime Minister, Dr. Daniel Malan, who has publicly declared that he feels better after attending Broederbond meetings; the Governor-General, Dr. E. G. Jansen; most, if not all fourteen members of the cabinet; and a good two thirds of Government MPs and heads of state departments.
The 3,500 to 4,000 broers ( Brothers) are directing
the destinies of one of the richest countries in the world, with its 1,500,000 Afrikaners; 1,000,000 English South Africans; 8,500,000 natives (Negroes); 1,000,000 coloreds (mixed blood); 360,000 Asiatics.
The AB, as the organization is generally known, is run by a handful of ambitious men. It is ruled by a trinity, consisting of the supreme secret chief supported by two assessors who are members of the executive council of twelve members, known as the twelve apostles. They in turn are assisted by disciples drawn from various cells.
Secrecy has been a cardinal principle of the AB since it went underground in 1935. The names
of all broers and all their actions are supposed to be top secret. From time to time secret codes are issued, enabling broers to identify one another. The term Broederbond is never used; it never appears on stationery, and is not in the telephone book.
The AB has often been likened to the Ku Klux Klan, the secret society based on racial hatred which came to hideous Mower in the U. S. after the Civil War. But the AB is more secretive than the Klan ever was. It has no office in its own name; it always meets in the name of one of its subsidiary groups -a church, cultural society or political party. With certain exceptions South Africans have no inkling of the identity of these men whose
decisions, made behind closed doors, influence so strongly the Dutch Reformed Church, the schools and the workings of parliament itself.
Only Afrikaners of Protestant faith may become broers. All English-speaking South Africans, as well as Afrikaners who support the United Party (the official Opposition) are excluded. Any form of co-operation with the English-speaking section is frowned upon by the AB. Dr. William Nicol, Administrator (governor) of the Transvaal, a prominent broer, though himself the product of an English-Afrikaans union, has urged Afrikaners not to intermarry with English-speakers. One Nationalist MP was manoeuvred out of parliament because he spoke English to his English wife. The AB is fighting the Boer War all over again.
New members can only be proposed by old members and must be approved by all existing members and by the twelve apostles. The initiation ceremony is said to be gruesome. The generally accepted version is that in complete darkness a corpselike body lies on a bier, wrapped in a black winding sheet on which is embroidered in letters of blood: VERRAAD (treachery). A bloody dagger is thrust to the hilt in the body of the “corpse.” A torch throws brief flashes of light on the scene while a chaplain intones:
He who betrays the Bond will be destroyed by the
Bond. The Bond never forgives and never forgets.
Its vengeance is swift and sure. Never yet has a
traitor escaped his just punishment.
The AB, which is “accountable to God only,” was founded in 1918 as a patriotic movement to f os ter the use of the Afrikaans language. It came under German influence after 1933 and went completely underground two years later when General J. B. M. Hertzog, then prime minister, denounced it in parliament. It was, he said, a “secret society” whose members “sit and scheme day and night, within and without this House, and try to keep others out of their rights and try to undermine them . . . They are trying to push the English people out of all positions.”
Race Hate as a Party Platform
When Hertzog warned against the AB he was not aware that prominent members of his own party and even members of his own staff were broers. He ultimately fell victim to the AB in 1941 when he was destroyed politically and driven into retirement with a broken heart.
A similar fate befell the late General Jan Smuts who, as prime minister in 1944, placed the AB out of bounds to civil servants. “The Broederbond,” Smuts said, “is a dangerous, cunning, political, fascist organization ... a sort of secret Star Chamber among the people.”
Dramatic developments followed. Smuts dismissed W. C. du Plessis, a senior diplomat, for refusing to resign from the AB. To wreak vengeance on Smuts the AB sent Du Plessis to oppose him in his own constituency at Standerton in the 1948 general election and threw all its influence and power into the struggle. Du Plessis defeated Smuts by a small margin and became an AB hero.
There were no AB candidates as such. Du Plessis, Malan and other broers stood as Nationalists and fought and won the election on the doctrine of apartheid (rhymes with “apart-hate” and means separation of the races).
Apartheid—literally, “apartness” exactly sums up AB philosophy. It was inspired by Hitler’s Aryan and Nordic manias. South Africa had its race problems long before the Nazis emerged and the white fear of the black majority has afflicted the country since the first European colonization of the Cape three hundred years ago. But it was not until Hitler’s rise to power that ambitious politicians used race hatred as a political weapon. Hitler had to create his minority problem. South Africa had it in fact.
In general, the AB idea is to ring off the Afrikaners to prevent their pollution by foreign influences. The AB’s bitterest disappointment is that, at least one third of the Afrikaners will have no truck with its
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BOER EXTREMISTS GIVE JIM CROWISM A NEW VIRULENCE
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theories and thus remain heyond its control. But it is doing its best to win the children and is particularly active through its many teacher-members in the schools.
In the Transvaal province the Nationalist Party has, by law, taken from parents the right to choose their children’s schools. In other parts of the union the AB is attempting, through an organization of educators known as the Institute for Christian National Education, to segregate Afrikaans and English-speaking children.
The main difference between the Malan Government and previous South African governments is that the Malanites live politically by applying pinpricks gratuitously to the nonwhites. Segregation is as old as the veldt in South Africa. It has always bean the vogue, often without compulsion or a fanfare of trumpets. Today, however, every new government irritation to the black majority is loudly acclaimed as proof that the Malan Government is “saving white civilization.” This is the cry which won the 1948 election for the Nationalists and put the AB in power.
Even in railway coaches there is strict apartheid. People of mixed blood have been prosecuted for tiding in coaches reserved for Europeans only. In Cape down a colored man was charged before a magistrate with “leaning” against a bench reserved for Europeans only. At big railway stations, in cities like Johannesburg, whites and nonwhites use separate entrances and exits.
Mixed marriages, between white and nonwhite, although there were only a few annually, were prohibited. Since only a clairvoyant could judge from outside appearance, as the law requires, whether a person is white or colored, shocking mistakes were made. People who had lived together legally for decades were hauled before the courts. Clergymen had the greatest difficulty in deciding whether they were breaking the law when marrying borderline couples. All this necessitated frequent revision of the official interpretation of what the law really meant, and it is a stock joke in South Africa today that mixed relationships are okay provided the offence has been committed long enough. A white woman at Johannesburg was brought before the magistrate because she had high cheekbones, from which a zealous policeman deduced that she was of mixed blood and therefore breaking the law by living with her European husband. At Cape Town a European was prosecuted because he called himself “colored” to marry a mulatto.
A Child Committed Suicide
A national register, now being prepared, will classify the entire population on racial lines. Every person w'ill be given a certificate containing his personal details and photograph, and saying he is white, native (Negro), colored (half-caste), or Asiatic, making it impossible for him or his descendants to break out of his racial caste. This may entail tracing the ancestry of thousands of people, as was done in Hitler’s Germany, and is bound to have tragic results in a land with one million people of mixed blood, some of whom pass as white hut will be classified as colored when the witchhunt is over. In many colored families in the Cape, gradations of color range from coal-black to blond Aryan, and it often happens that a light-colored
child is accepted at a European school while his darker brothers and sisters are forced to attend a colored school, which brands them for life as socially inferior and closes the door to opportunity in business and commerce. One child when booted out of the white school he had been attending committed suicide.
The Nationalists want to avoid all contact between white and nonwhite except where the nonwhites work for the whites. To round off apartheid, the Malan Government passed the Group Areas Act, which is now being used to divide every city and town on a technicolor basis into black, white, colored and Asiatic zones. This is already the pattern in South Africa’s multiracial society and was built up during the centuries mainly by custom and consent of the races concerned. Instead of achieving their object on a voluntary basis, as Smuts tried to do, the Malanites are rubbing salt into the racial wounds. Under the Group Areas Act, which the nonwhite races say stigmatizes them as inferior and discriminates against them, residential apartheid is to have the sanctions of the law behind it. People will be herded into different areas simply by reason of race. No Indian, for example, may own or occupy property in a white zone or vice versa.
It is basic AB philosophy that the Natives who have never had the right to vote, must never get the franchise because then political power would pass to the blacks by virtue of their numbers. The natives are today advancing far too rapidly for the AB’s peace of mind. They are being absorbed in ever greater numbers in industry and are learning the white man’s ways rapidly in schools and simply by absorption in the great cities of Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. It is only
a matter of time before they demand greater rights, and many shrewd observers believe that the AB is bringing about the very conditions it fears most. Ultra-Afrikaner nationalism is provoking a counter black nationalism, not only in the Union of South Africa but throughout Africa, particularly in the British colonies, where the Malan Government’s native policy is fouling relations between whites and blacks. If this trend continues, the position of the five million whites in Africa vis-à-vis almost two hundred million blacks will become increasingly difficult, if not precarious, unless a workable system of good will and co-operation is evolved.
Two Doors at the P.O.
In a land of fear, race prejudice is a potent vote getter but dangerously increases inter-racial tensions. Outspoken Hannes Strydom, the Nationalist crown prince, who is almost certain to succeed Malan as leader of the Nationalist Party, says frankly that the whites must forever maintain their position of baasskap (bossism) in South Africa. He and other Nationalist politicians are already using the same catchy slogan of Save White Civilization for the next general election, which is due in 1953 but may break this year.
As things stand now, it is perfectly legal for a black or colored woman to work side by side with her white mistress in a kitchen, or to bring up her mistress’ children, but the moment they step out into the street apartheid separates them remorselessly. Except in one province, they must travel in separate buses, or rail coaches; enter a post office through different doors and be served at different counters.
Before Malan, in Cape Town a white woman and her colored or native maid could ride in the same bus or train. Now they cannot ride in the same train although they can for the time being share a bus. However, the government plans to change this when there are more buses. In other provinces there has always been traditional segregation but now it is the law.
Apartheid has invaded parliament itself. One of Malan’s first acts as prime minister was to abolish the three seats allocated by Smuts to the South African Indians, whose treatment by South Africa is a subject of hitter controversy at the United Nations. Next he awarded six seats to former German South-West Africa and ensured the return of his candidates by giving the vote to Germans eager to revenge themselves on Smuts for waging war on Hitler.
The Sailor Fights Again
Last year Malan placed a limitation on the rights of colored voters in Cape Province who had enjoyed much the same privileges as white citizens except that colored women could not cast a ballot. Although colored voters had to pass a literacy test, show property worth not less than seventy-five pounds or an annual income of at least fifty pounds as against the universal suffrage of whites over twenty-one, they did vote for the same candidates in fifty -five constituencies and their names appeared on the same roll. Under the Malan law the colored people can vote for four members who must be white. This law is now being contested in the Supreme Court.
When the Coloured Franchise Bill was being steam-rollered through parliament, a group of war veterans, some of whom had voted for Malan, became alarmed at what they called the rape of the constitution and spontaneously organized the Torch Commando. After
holding torchlight processions in the main centres, they trekked in jeeps with Sailor Malan, the famed Rattle of Britain ace, at their head to Cape Town to lodge their protests on the steps of parliament. They drew huge crowds wherever they went. At Cape Town fifty thousand people of all colors milled round the streets while the torchmen marched on parliament and presented petitions to the leaders of the Opposition parties, including Smuts’ heir and disciple, Jacobus Strauss, the leader of the Opposition.
Said Sailor Malan: “The eyes of all freedom-loving men are on us. We have stood silent for three years and have watched this Government, controlled by a secret society, assail our liberties one by one. We will no longer stand for a government representing a faction which in the last war openly supported our enemies.”
In a few months the Torch Commando, which has one object only—to rid South Africa of the Malan Government—has recruited one hundred thousand Afrikaners and Englishmen, ranging from a retired chief justice of the union to veterans of World Wars I and II and the Boer War. It is now aiming at a membership of two hundred and fifty thousand before the next general election and backs the United Parny, which is the official Opposition.
Is He the New Kruger?
Adolph Gysbert (Sailor) Malan was born forty years ago on a farm near Cape Town. The name Sailor, which he prefers to Adolph, has stuck since he took a training course at sea before joining the RAF. Like his seventyseven-year-old namesake, Dr. Malan, he is of French-Huguenot-Afrikaner (Dutch) descent. On his mother’s side, unlike Premier Malan, he is English. During World War II (of which Dr. Malan disapproved so strongly that his enemies accuse him of pro-German sympathies) Sailor bagged thirty-two German aircraft and came unscathed out of more than two hundred dogfights. He was not only a great pilot but a brilliant commanding officer.
Dr. Malan has never been a warrior. He did not fight in the Boer War and, in World War II said, “We want peace with Germany.” He still speaks with the resonance of the Dutch Reformed Church pulpit from which he descended forty years ago to seek temporal power as a politician. Smuts summed Malan up by saying that Malan led from the back—not from the front. In his early career as a politician he expressed admiration of Communism, which he now detests; he wanted to give the vote to colored women; he said England was the mother of South Africa’s freedom. Slow and plodding, he has toed the Broederbond line meekly since 1933
when he joined this sinister society. ,
His followers now call him the modern Paul Kruger, after the last president of the South African Republic. Kruger believed that the world was flat.
In 1936 Malan was asked in parliament if he agreed with a sentence in a Broederbond pamphlet reading, “We shall strive for the eventual mastery of South Africa.” He replied, “Yes.” Since 1948 the AB, working through the government, has been doing just that. Interior Minister T. E. Donges, South Africa’s chief delegate to the United Nations, recently walked out I of the General Assembly in protest against that body’s decision to hear witnesses from South-West Africa, a former German colony which South Africa administers. A further move i in the direction of the domination of all South Africa by the AB has been the isolation of colored voters.
One of Malan’s cabinet ministers has already said that the four MPs representing the colored population will have to go if they don’t behave themselves. In the name of apartheid the three MPs representing natives (Negroes) may be scrapped and all native and colored representation confined to the senate, which is powerless to unseat any South African government. NonEuropean representation—it is only token representation—would have been sidetracked to the senate had it not been for the opposition of Nicolas Havenga, Malan’s Minister of Finance, whose more moderate Afrikaner Party was for a time in a position to block this move. Now, however, the Nationalists have absorbed Havenga’s little party, which seems to seal the doom of nonwhite representation in the assembly, the South African equivalent j of the Canadian House of Commons.
Ten Million Colored Enemies
All this apartheid jugglery means a net gain of two dozen seats to the Nationalist Party in a house of one hundred and fifty-nine members, making it difficult to overthrow them by ballot-box means. One leading Nationalist MP has gone even further. At a public meeting he said that all “liberals” should be placed on a separate voters’ roll, as has been done with the coloreds. This would be extending political apartheid with a vengeance to the white population.
After three years of AB rule through the Nationalist Party, Malan himself has had to admit that race relations have deteriorated alarmingly. Judge F. A. W. Lucas, who retired from the Supreme Court last August, put it much more strongly: “The National-
ists have done more in three years to endanger (white) civilization than anyone or any group has done in the preceding three hundred years. South Africa is rapidly approaching the stage when the white people, who are divided among themselves, are likely to be surrounded by ten million enemies of themselves and their civilization. The Nationalist policy will soon make the position of the whites in Africa untenable.”
Undeterred by ominous repercussions the AB is forcing the pace and goes its undeviating apartheid way, believing that it has a God-given destiny to fulfill. It believes that God planted the Afrikaner in southern Africa for some divine purpose. As a leading broer put it at a secret meeting: “We are not fighting in
the cause of the Afrikaner nation. We are fighting in the cause of God. We do not serve our Afrikaner people only. We serve God Himself. The AB was created by God to bring about His will. The AB will have to account to God Himself for its actions.” ★