Ripple of Hope

Afrikaans Press and articles about the SA government's response to the visit

  1. Senator Kennedy
  2. Kennedy's Message
  3. Blaar Coetzee calls Kennedy ‘little snip’
  4. He arrived with closed mind - Blaar Coetzee
  5. Kennedy will be banned by South Africa, says report
June 7, 1966

Senator Kennedy
(Translated from Afrikaans)

     Senator Kennedy was wise not to use the platform provided for him in Cape Town by Nusas to attack the prevailing policies of South Africa too directly and strongly.
     It is even possible for people of different convictions to agree more or less with much of his paean on youthful idealism. Parts of his speech could very well have been delivered by any South African youth leader: appeals to youth to face the challenges of the time, to be zealous for social justice and to search for international understanding, are certainly never superfluous.
     We hope the speaker did not mean — as some of his listeners might conclude—that such high aspirations in South Africa are exclusively or even mainly embodied in Nusas or other organizations whose ideas of multi-racialism bear a certain superficial resemblance to that which Senator Kennedy advocates in the United States. The desire for peaceful coexistence between widely different nations for all groups and individuals and for growing international understanding, especially in Africa, lives powerfully here among those supporting the policy of separate development and who see in multiracial integration and the breaking down of all boundaries within “the nation,” as Senator Kennedy advocated in passing, a short-cut to injustice and chaos.
     We get the impression that he favours it, in spite of his acknowledgment of differences between the American and the South African situation, that we should nevertheless do what they are trying to do there, although it takes longer. Nearly two centuries after they accepted as their creed that all people are born equal, they are intensifying their efforts to integrate the ten percent of Coloured Americans with the rest. Against certain spectacular successes, there have so far also been massive failures and delays, which Senator Kennedy did not hesitate to mention. He admitted the distance between ideal and reality, but does not allow his verbal zeal for the ideal to be subdued by it.
     Is it asking too much of Americans to try to understand that our multi-national situation is not susceptible of such a solution? Is it too difficult for them to grasp that if their non-White population had consisted of more than half a dozen different nations which together were four times more numerous than the White Americans, the enthusiasm for integration there would have been as limited and politically powerless as here?
     To us, in any case, it is obvious that increasing justice and freedom for all South Africans, as groups as well as individuals, are not to be found in the breaking down of all boundaries, but in the realistic acknowledgement of differences, in the demarcation of rights and areas and in the separate development of our diversity of nations. Only in this way can the sense of certainty be bred without which natural contact and understanding across the boundaries cannot come into being.
     We do not mind the American striving after fraternity and equality between their races, although we fear that the problems are played down and glossed over for the sake of the image of the United States in the rest of the world. What Senator Kennedy, together with his President and many other Americans, should try to do, is to think further and more profoundly about their recognition of the differences between our own country and theirs. If they can manage to do that they would realize that our problems are not susceptible of progressivistic handling and that organizations like Nusas and the Progressive Party can naturally not become the bearers of a hopeful and later victorious idealism of freedom in South Africa.