SOUTH AFRICA: TIME RUNNING OUT by Study Commission on U.S. Policy Toward Southern Africa


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The recommendations on US policy toward southern Africa are strong and forcibly put: #l. ""To make clear the fundamental and continuing opposition of the U.S. government and people to the system of apartheid. . . ."" But though the Rockefeller Foundation-backed report garnered headlines, it was obviously designed--expertly--to be read, reflected upon, and consulted as well. Directly following the policy guidelines (which include cessation of US investment in South Africa), there comes the first of the book's three groups of interviews. We meet, among diverse others, a migrant worker, living in a Soweto men's hostel (""migrant"" after ten years in an office job), who deems himself ""lucky because I can get a bus sometimes at weekends to see my wife""; and a wine farmer, appreciative of his workers' ""aspirations,"" of black and Coloured ""potential,"" but who nonetheless recoils at sharing: ""where were they when we came here?"" Part I then begins by exploding the ""myth"" that the first white farmers settled ""virgin territory,"" and goes on to trace ""The Road to Apartheid,"" explain its ramifications, describe working and living conditions (health, housing, education), survey the economy, examine the (dependent, fragmented) territorial homelands, assess black pressures and white resistance. Some motifs: ""the distinctions between the Afrikaners and the English-speakers are now blurting""; ""whether [economic] growth alone will result in black political emancipation is a matter of controversy""; the ""growing but reluctant acceptance""--among black activists ""of the belief that fundamental change will come about only through revolutionary violence."" Part II looks abroad--to South African relations with other African states, with the Communist world and the US. Part II specifically backs up the policy recommendations: why ""special attention"" to South Africa? For concerned Americans, like shareholders in US corporations doing business in South Africa, there are also precise recommendations. Vitally important for its stand, indispensable as a source.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1981
Publisher: Univ. of Calif. Press