The Ideal Union and how it may be achieved (1916)
Cape Town 11 September 1916
(Extract from a “letter of commendation below)
“The manuscript containing your draft Constitution, the object of which is the attainment – especially by means of the rising generation – of an “Undivided White South Africa”, I have read with interest and full agreement… in the meantime it should be our ideal to unite those two white races…”
BOND OF UNION OF THE YOUTH OF SOUTH AFRICA
(hereunder, extracts from the Draft Constitution)
“if owing to our past history it is impossible for the present day Dutch and English adults to become united by bonds of mutual love and admiration, it ought to at least be within the compass of their genius to devise ways and means by which their children – boys and girls of today – will be attracted to so unite in action that the next and succeeding generations must develop, and in transmit to their descendants, not only lasting sentiments of affection but a common patriotism and respect for every true South African, irrespective of his origin…”
Our white population, as indicated above is mainly composed of Dutch and English, almost in equal proportions and their duties as the trustees of civilisation in this part of the “Dark Continent” can only be properly discharged if they are a united people…
The Attainment of Our Aim
These two sections have for more than a century kept apart from each other, principally because of misunderstanding and distrust born of ignorance of each others language, history and traditions.
Continued and permanent division of the white population must inevitably lead to their ruin.
Even united, their mental and moral resources will be sorely taxed to retain that supremacy which it is essential should be preserved in a land to a vast number of whose inhabitants civilisation has yet to be extended….
where however, the adults have failed, the young, if their thoughts and energies be guided in the right channels, can surely achieve what all who love South Africa must yearn for – the dawn of an era in which the two sections will, in the development of their common heritage, be free from racial animosities …
to understand a people, their history, aspirations and traditions, demands a knowledge of their language. It is not only sufficient, but quite wrong, for one section to hold aloof and to say to each other ‘by all means enjoy your language, your history and your natural characteristics and we will enjoy ours‘.
That is a mistaken idea of equal rights and equal opportunity. NO, both sections should aim at the realisation that their two languages, their histories and their traditions have become a common asset of a common people. If we therefore through proximity to the past and through a consequently distorted perspective have been unable to view matters in this light, let us enable our children to do so.
We should endeavour to create a mental environment for our children where they will be less liable to brood over the wrongs of the past as their parents were; for it is not honourable to continue to rake up the past for the purpose of reproach; it should only be kept alive as a record of glorious deeds of brave peoples able to endure and suffer in the hour of trial and honourable and faithful at all costs. Hence our aim should be to have South African history studied and taught in this light.”