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THE

QUARTERLY REVIEW

No. 483.JANUARY, 1925.

Art. 1.—THE REAL SOUTH AFRICAN PROBLEM.

SOUTH AFRICA is the only country in the world to-day with a colour future which still hangs in the balance. Whatever of the unexpected may yet be written into the history of other lands, their colour fate has at least been settled. The development of their institutions may be uncertain, but one can say with complete confidence whether they will be regarded as white or non-white.

With South Africa this is not 180. There the white race claims nationhood, and believes in the permanence both of its domination and its civilisation; yet there are factors in the development of the sub-continent which suggest that only a coloured civilisation may ultimately survive. The final decision has still to be reached, and it is this long-drawn colour struggle which constitutes the real South African problem, and not, as is often popularly supposed, the rivalry of Boer and Briton, Lord (then Mr) Balfour perceived the truth twenty years ago when he drew the attention of the House of Commons to the steadily growing preponderance of the black races, and declared that 'the problem before South Africa in the future is one which has never yet presented itself in the history of mankind.'

There is at stake, too, the fate of a not inconsiderable section of the habitable surface of the globe. The colour conflict will be decided in the Union of South Africa; but the verdict will also dictate the future of Rhodesia, the mandated South-West Africa, and other portions of Africa south of the Zambesi. A territory well over one million square miles in extent will remain Vol. 244.-No. 483,

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among the spoils of the victorg-a land twelve times the size of Great Britain, and five times as large as France.

That this struggle is to-day going against the white race is made plain in the Final Report of Mr C. W. Cousins, the Director of Census in the Union of South Africa, on the enumeration of 1921. In the most striking and outspoken official survey of the colour conflict which has ever been written in South Africa, he shows that in the last thirty years the non-European population, despite half a million deaths in the influenza epidemic of 1918-19, has increased by 2,630,000; whereas the European population, excluding immigration and its consequences, and allowing for 2 per cent. per annum, i.e. a liberal rate of natural increase, added only 500,000 to its number. Excluding further immigration and its consequences the European population fifty years hence will number only 4,000,000. But the non-European, even allowing nothing for a lower infantile mortality owing to improving hygienic conditions, will number roughly 24,000,000.

* It will require very little calculation to show,' asserts the Director of Census, 'that, if the white race is to hold its own in South Africa, it will be necessary to secure an immense development of white civilisation during the next 50 years, or, perhaps, only the next 25 years. This comparatively short period may, and in all probability will, decide once and for all the issue upon which speculation has turned-whether the white race is to have any part in the ultimate development of South Africa, or whether it is to be entirely crowded out by the aboriginal population.'

The danger to which Mr Cousins draws attention is emphasised both by the trend of the development of the economic resources of South Africa, and by the history of European civilisation in it during the last two and a half centuries. Were South Africa a rich agricultural country it might even now become the heritage of the white race merely by natural progress. But its temporary wealth in gold and diamonds has given a wrong impression of its true character. In reality it is what is termed in mining circles a large low-grade proposition.' It is not a fertile land. Its soil is lacking in

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