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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

15 Aug 1989: Evans, Bruce

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POM     I'm speaking with Bishop Bruce Evans. At lunch you had been talking about your assessment of the situation here, could you recapitulate that some?

BE     The situation in South Africa rather than just locally?

POM     The situation in South Africa first and then locally.

BE     The South African situation I believe is in transition a great deal but the future is not any clearer now than it was, say, five or six years ago. We only hope that the changes will be much closer than they would have been five or six years ago. But in some ways it is worse than we have known it to be, I understand, in two different areas. One, in terms of the black frustrations, especially amongst the young people who are again, as they did, say, ten years ago and as happened ten years ago, are talking about violence, about taking up arms against the system and talking very seriously about it. Not just jokingly. That is one thing that is not too cheerful. And the other is the kind of insidious pressure that the government has been bringing upon the situation. There is no more freedom now then there has been. There is no more opportunity for the black person to live in a white area or to have the same kind of amenities as white people have. There is still the population registration which ties a person from birth to death into what they can do and what they can't do. And those things haven't changed. But we see police working at a different or more sophisticated level.

     The situation in some respects could be worse than it was before. In other respects it's certainly better. They can swim on the same beaches in some places that they, black people, could not do before. There are various little things like that. When it comes to the reality of movement it is worse, the particular thing being that though folk are not in detention, or not as many in detention as before, they are so heavily restricted that no leadership can be given and as the organisations are restricted there is no way that information can be disseminated in terms of an opposition to the state or to the government.

POM     When Patricia and I were here five years ago, four years ago, it was just at the beginning of the emergency and here we are at the end of PW Botha's career, the impression we gained then was people were not very optimistic about the future. We've come back this time and a lot, maybe most, of the people we've talked to are more optimistic and the phrase 'a negotiated settlement' is on far more people's lips now than it was then. How would you compare and contrast the situation then and now?

BE     I should imagine ten years ago the feeling of no hope was more amongst the white people than the black. Because a lot of the black people at the time, certainly in this area, were saying it's around the corner, freedom is coming, we're going to be rising up. Five years ago it was perhaps not as much as it was ten years ago but there was still that feeling amongst black people who've lost some of that now. White people undoubtedly have shifted because of the style of F W de Klerk perhaps, the talk of negotiation, but what do they mean by negotiation? With whom are they going to negotiate? You don't negotiate with the people with whom you agree. You negotiate with those who are enemies, opponents. If they are going to do that kind of negotiation and particularly with ANC then I think we are very near to a solution. But whether they are going to do that soon or not is another matter.

POM     If you were to look at the white community in general have there been any significant changes in their attitude?

BE     There have been many changes I think. For the first time white people are saying yes we are going to accommodate the black people. I was in a rural area just this last weekend where the white and the black are very separated and the whites are conservative. They were saying, well you know within five years time we might have black people living next door to us, which is something that would never have been said even a year ago. So there's a very perceptive change taking place.

POM     Where's that seismic change come from?

BE     I think it's from the talk of negotiation. The Angola peace talks that have gone on, the change in Namibia and the relationship with Mozambique. I think all of these have had a great psychological effect on the white people of South Africa.

POM     If you are again talking about the white community in general, what are the major sources of division of potential division among them?

BE     Well very strongly the conservatives. I think there are many more than there were before and there's a movement there, I think ones who want to retain the roots of apartheid under Dr Treurnicht, go back to Dr. Verwoerd to have a laager situation of the protection of the volk, and if not the volk then certainly the white community. That's one. Certainly the Brits of the Democratic Party, which one doesn't quite know where it stands because it's not like the PFP, in fact it's something new and very, very broad and  I'm left of the Democratic Party myself so I find it very hard to knowwhere to put it. And then you get the National Party which is not much different from the Democratic Party but a little bit right of it.

POM     The elections are three weeks from now and I'll give you three scenarios and tell me what do you think would be the processes that would emerge out of each scenario. The first is the National Party is returned with a majority, a reduced majority but nevertheless a majority.

BE     A working majority.

POM     A working majority. And the second is a scenario in which the National Party is returned to power but with a severely reduced majority where the vote has gone to the Conservative Party. And the third is the scenario of a hung parliament.

BE     With the first oneI think we will see the same style that we have seen before, gradual movement into what they like to call reform. And it will take a long time. Certainly their five year programme, which doesn't say much, but that is what they'll work towards because they will have the authority and the strength to do so under the first scenario and negotiation will take place of some kind with certain people. Mandela will certainly be released and there will be conversations going on all the time. How they will accommodate the black people will certainly be in a way that will not in any way allow the black people to have a great deal of power.

     If the Conservative Party are the strong opposition and the Nats are still in power there will be fear of movement. There won't be a great deal in terms of so-called reform, is my own understanding of it. And I think there will be a reduction in meaningful negotiation or meaningful talking. We haven't got to negotiation yet, meaningful talking.

     If there's a hung parliament it will depend on whether the Democratic Party or the Conservative Party can persuade the government to come along with them. And I should imagine the National Party will at this point in time go along with the Democratic Party or try and win them to vote together in order to swing things away from the Conservatives.

POM     Will there be a possibility of a split within the National Party at that point?

BE     I'm going to add that there are two different, two things that could happen that if the Nats bring in any legislation that the Conservatives and Democratic Party don't like they will combine together to out-vote the Nationalists. But there could be a split in the National Party with some of the more conservative going over to the Conservative Party and some of the others going to the Democratic Party. But that will then probably put the Conservative Party into power if that happened. And that would be disastrous. And I think you'd have a lot of violence as a result of that.

POM     At lunch you were more pessimistic about the future than many of the people we've talked to, including many of the people who are on the left.

Pat     Including your own son.

POM     What of the pace?

BE     Well I think possibly living in an area which is pressurised, there's a lot of pressure here and more security police per capita than anywhere in the country, so we have that very hard thing which may give one a bit of a jaundiced view about the situation. But also humanity when it's in power, people like power and they don't like to give power up easily and the National Party is not going to release its hold and its power too easily. And I don't see two or three or four years of major change taking place. It will be longer, I think longer than that. Because the changes that have got to take place are not only political, which is one thing, but its got to be economic as well. And that is not going to be easy for that to happen. That will be a long process I think. In fact I would guess if I were to say, I don't know, presuming I live another 12 or 15 years taking me into my seventies, I don't know that I will see a truly liberated South Africa.

POM     Do you think that whites now accept, at least at a subconscious level, the inevitability of black rule but haven't reconciled themselves to it?

BE     Yes, I think they do see that. I think that's what they're frightened of and that's why they won't accept it but I'm sure they do think that, that the time is coming when the blacks will certainly have the dominant role. I mean demographically it must happen.

     If we now look at the black community, what do you see as the major sources of division within the black community itself that would impede the progress towards negotiations?

BE     I think there are a number of different divisions. There's the division between those who are going along with the system at the moment, like the local town councils, and those people and the UDF and other comrade situations. There's a strong division there that they'd have to accommodate one another. There's the division between Inkatha and UDF and others. They are very strong, there'd have to be a great divide there. There is the division of the educated more westernised and more affluent African people and the poorer ones, the workers so to speak, which is a very big division and it's being pushed by the present government and I think will cause problems. And there will be the division that will come between those who want to work very much with the white people and those who say no, we want a greater element of black consciousness. I think that's going to be a problem later on.

POM     How about divisions between organisations like the UDF and the ANC and the homeland chiefs and their administrations?

BE     You mean once the ANC comes in or while they are still external.

POM     In both cases.

BE     The UDF is an independent body. They listen to the ANC but they do act independently and they are not under the waters of ANC at all so there will be divisions, there will be differences but they respect them.

POM     Differences between what would be the UDF, the liberation movement, the mass democratic movement and the homelands chiefs.

BE     There are marked differences of course. I think you're talking to some of the what one might call leaders within the liberation movements. They will say that there will be no homelands and ultimately they have to disappear.

POM     Yet at least in the case of those who have declared themselves to be independent there is a whole patronage system and police system operating in each of these.

BE     Yes very much so.

POM     Do you think this will pose, do you think those people will try to be - they will be heard and I am sure will have to be accommodated. But it will be temporary, whether their independence is a temporary one. It will have to be included somehow or other and accommodated within the Republic of Southern Africa. Again taking the emergency as a starting point and today at this point in time, what one or two major developments in black politics have been most significant?

BE     I think the one thing is the movement away from charismatic leadership to a much more shared leadership so that if one person goes into detention or dies there's always a half a dozen others who could step into it. And things, decisions being taken much more in the group situation rather than an individual. I think that is a very significant thing. Which means more and more people have been trained in leadership skills then they had been I think five years ago, four years ago. That's a very significant thing. I think the other one is the readiness to accept that education is necessary, that training is necessary, positions of authority in the business world, the industrial world are things that need to be taken because they help to train people for future leadership and there are significant things that have happened.

POM     Where in that scheme do the hunger strikes fight fit?

BE     Well the hunger strikers were out of action for quite some time, for two years or more some of them, and I think they are now orientating into this kind of thinking.

POM     One or two people said to us that here was a situation where they actually made the government do something.

BE     You mean what significant place did the hunger strike have?

POM     Yes, in terms of the raising of the consciousness or showing the limits of state power.

BE     I think it not only did that, the hunger strike primarily helped all white people to see how bad detention without trial was which was a very significant thing because many white people just accepted it as the norm and I think it raised their awareness of what it was about. Also the clout that people can have when they take a stand over something against the government. It also brought together a lot of people to work towards a change and got Mr. Vlok and others to the negotiating table which was the first time that's happened.

POM     One person characterised the situation as follows: they said that on the one hand you had the ANC who now recognised that there wasn't going to be a national war of liberation that would bring about freedom and on the other hand you had the state which recognised that freedom, imposed reform from above, would never bring about a satisfactory state of affairs. Do you think that's an accurate assessment?

BE     I think they've a right perception I would say in both instances. It's not as cut and dried as that. There were ANC people who long ago said that there would never be a war that will change the situation, it will only help to change the situation.

POM     How significant do you think the ANC's guerrilla campaign has been?

BE     I think it's been quite significant when tied together with things like sanctions and others in putting pressure on South Africa and encouraging the liberation struggle in this country. Giving encouragement to the people involved if they lose hope if nothing happens. It helps them too.

POM     Are there sufficiently significant numbers of incidents that form some kind of a continuum?

BE     No, I think it's just now and then, that's why the government doesn't allow it to be published because I think it is encouraging, and by shutting it up and preventing the newspapers from writing about it which the newspaper can't write unless they get police permission to do so.

POM     So you think there's more of it than is published?

BE     I think it has lost the impact that it used to have, the violence, the armed struggle situation, I think.

POM     What is the position of the Anglican church on the violence in this South African situation?

BE     I think everybody, the Anglican church has taken a firm stand against all violence, that is whether it be the South African Defence Force, the police or apartheid with its violence, its violence against the whole humanity. It recognises that there are some who have come to a place where they felt that the armed struggle is the only way and one won't in any way say that the armed struggle is the right thing. One can understand those who feel that it is the right thing. I think that's roughly where the Anglican Church is. But certainly against all violence ultimately and that negotiation is the right way of dealing with the problem.

POM     What do you see as the role and function of the Anglican Church in particular in this situation and of the churches in general?

BE     The Anglican Church has come out very firmly against the government and against apartheid.

POM     Has that been an activist kind of opposition?

BE     It has partly, there are many Anglicans who wouldn't agree with it, any activity taking place, there's lots of conservative people in the Anglican church amongst the whites but the church is 82% black and as a consequence we have this very strong element of liberation that affects the whole life of the church with certain consequences because some white people have disinvested financially in the church because of it. And that has been a very hard thing for the church.

POM     I think Patricia in the car coming here said that you had told her that no white politician could back sanctions.

BE     I don't think anyone, you mean real politician, they could never do that, they would immediately lose their position, they'd have to have no votes.

Pat     And that's your point; it's not a very pragmatic position.

BE     It would be impossible to do no matter what he felt inside or she felt inside, but I don't think they feel it anyway.

POM     Do you think sanctions have been an effective tool?

BE     Yes, I think when we had the certain laws lifted like the Mixed Marriages Act, Immorality Act and so on it was just at the time that sanctions started and there was pressure on the government about loans once again being rolled over and not being rolled over. That took place at that point. I believe that sanctions helped with the Namibian situation. Because part of the reason why we moved out of Angola is because we lost the war in air. The Cubans were better than the South Africans because they had better planes. Not perhaps better flyers but better airplanes. And that's because of the boycott on the arms in this country. There we could produce a lot of stuff and the ground guns or the armoured cars or the things like that which are probably the best in the world when you're working in the bush. But they couldn't progress with the airplanes. So the Mirage fighters that we had from France, what we could do with them had a very great limit. We just haven't got the know-how to produce planes of the calibre of the Migs that the Cubans were using from Russia and I think that played a big part in what happened in Angola.

Pat     What do you think it meant in terms of this community, what have sanctions meant in terms of this community? Unemployment?

BE     We've had a very high unemployment in this part of the world. It's been high for a long time. They estimate that about 56 percent of the black people are unemployed at the moment, that is one of the universities here.

POM     That's in the greater Port Elizabeth area?

BE     Yes, that's a very high percentage. But some years ago we were up to 70% before there were sanctions.

Pat     Are you suggesting sanctions have brought jobs to Port Elizabeth? (laughter)

BE     What I'm saying is it is very hard to make a statement about unemployment when you've got this very high unemployment anyway.

POM     Do you think sanctions have made any difference to the standard of living of the average white person?

BE     I don't think it's really - well I suppose the devaluation of the rand might have, has had a lot to do, that has therefore lowered our standard, things cost more. Every week things go up in price. I would think yes it has. It has affected us.

POM     Or is it a situation where it may have or it may not have but people link the two anyway?

BE     I doubt it. They might link disinvestment with it. I don't think they think it's sanctions. But in the end I think they will say it is mismanagement by the government economically.

Pat     You were explaining the root of the labour problems.

BE     I was yes, I could tell you more about it but mainly it began with the fact that management in Goodyear didn't in any way discuss it with the union or with the people employed there when they moved into the changeover where Goodyear moved out and Anglo-Vaal moved in to take it over, which is a mining company. The wage factor is also part of this that's going on but it was also that lack of consultation. What happens is usually we found when a South African company takes over, South African people take over, like General Motors for instance, that the productivity increases and things seem to run better. And I think in the short term there are certain benefits. These benefits may not last in the long term because they need the imports, they need what can come from the larger mother companies situation which no longer exists. But I think of General Motors, the General Motors cars that are made here now are called Delta but they are the same as the ones in Germany and elsewhere, are selling far better under South African management than they ever did under American management. I think they run the company better, that's all. They're better at running the company.

POM     Do they treat the workers as?

BE     Well, they see the Sullivan Principal, things like that are no longer there because they're not an American company. And in some instances the same sort of thing depending upon the trade union. And in others, certainly not.

POM     You talked a little at lunch about the divisions between the UDF and Inkatha.

BE     Yes in Natal.

POM     Yes, could you talk a little about the source of that division?

BE     Primarily because I think Inkatha is a political party and with which Chief Buthelezi is associated and he's the leader and his own policies dictate how Inkatha moves and behaves and it's very much a Zulu organisation and party where UDF is a non-racial organisation. You got white, coloured, many black people, many different groups and tribes and so it has a totally different kind of concept. The differences are quite strong.

POM     Like for example. Could you explain?

BE     Well mainly that basis, that it's non-racial. The two that the UDF is supportive of and the ANC, and it links very closely with the ANC which Inkatha doesn't and has little time for it. UDF is pro-sanctions, Inkatha is against sanctions. I think those would be some of the major differences.

Pat     Would there also be a perception that Inkatha has accepted the homeland policy?

BE     Not fully. Inkatha certainly, I mean they are a homeland, KwaZulu, but not an independent homeland, but they do have their own government. And that would be contrary to the stand that the Mass Democratic Movement takes of which UDF is part.

POM     If you look at the next five years, what do you see happening?

BE     I hate to predict but I would see that there are going to be more people in detention again, I think is what's going to happen and then there'll have to be negotiations somehow to get them out. But I think that's going to happen. I think restrictions will continue on organisations and that will hinder any kind of real negotiation taking place because until that's lifted, perhaps at the end of the five years there may be greater ease of working and lifting of restrictions and so on. I think we're going to be in a financial muddle for a long time. And as long as apartheid continues, which it will do over the next five years, we're not going to have the help from overseas that we desperately need in order to lift the economy in this country.

POM     What signs of hope do you see?

BE     I see a lot of hope. I hope in that more and more white people are changing in their attitudes. September 6th the elections will indicate whether there's a swing to the left or to the right. But I think a lot of thinking people have changed their viewpoint and are wanting change and wanting black participation. And I think that's very hopeful. I think the other fact is that people who played no part at all, white people, are now talking and coming out rather boldly in terms of change and anti-apartheid. I think that the fact that PW Botha has gone is hopeful in itself because one doesn't have that bullying dictatorship within the National Party, that will be the ruling party, which will be helpful. I'm hopeful that the United States and countries overseas will put certain pressure on South Africa if there's no change taking place. So I think certain changes will take place because Mr. de Klerk will want to have the backing of European countries and America and so certain changes will have to be made in order to fulfil some of the promises he must have made when he did his itinerant tour around the place. I'm hopeful in that the church as a whole, I'm not only talking about the Anglican church, as a whole is taking stronger and stronger action and a stand within the situation and being more and more recognised as an intermediary between parties and has been used quite a bit, helping negotiations take place. Its small things, like Goodyear for instance, and bigger issues like what's happening in Pietermaritzburg.

POM     Would you see the outside states, maybe the frontline states, somebody like a Mrs. Thatcher, providing the framework in which negotiations might be conducted or do you think it will be between the state and the mass liberation movement?

BE     They'll have to include frontline people. And I think Kenneth Kaunda is key. That's why I'm glad that De Klerk is going there. I left the report that I made with the State Department in 1986, 1 think it was or 1984, I don't remember now, a full report for Mr. Reagan on the whole area of how Kenneth Kaunda could play a part in bringing about a negotiated settlement here, if his government and his administration would provide the means whereby this could happen and act as a catalyst for it. But he turned down my suggestion. But I still believe that Kenneth Kaunda is a very key person because of the quality of this man. He's a statesman and I think he could really bring about a situation where the ANC and National Party people could sit together at the same table.

Pat     Is the ANC ready to do that? Are they ready to negotiate?

BE     I would think that there are people not in the leadership position who would be willing to do that as a beginning.

Pat     To talk about talks?

BE     Yes, talk about talks about talks. I mean that far back. But I think Kaunda could set that up if they asked him to.

Pat     And what about the ANC position relative to including other parts of the black African community in South Africa, and whether that's Inkatha or whatever?

BE     Oh I think they're very willing to talk to Inkatha and they have said that if there is to be negotiation all the elements must be represented. That is with Inkatha, I presume it would include the Democratic Party, it would be AZAPO, it could be the Pan African Congress I mean they all, I think, would have to be part of it. But that's looking way ahead.

Pat     Sure. Do you think the Democratic Party would participate?

BE     Well there are many of the Democratic Party who have met with the ANC so they'd have to, they would be quite happy to sit around the table.

POM     On which side would they sit, with the National Party and Conservative Party on one side?

BE     Well I think it will be a round table.

Pat     The shape of the table is going to be important here.

BE     Of course it is. It always is. The body language is very important and where you sit is certainly. However it will be a round table.

Pat     Will the loans be used as leverage in this negotiating?

BE     I'm convinced of the importance of loans. I don It think they'll stop the loans, they won't stop rolling them over. South Africans are very good in paying the interest on loans and so from a banker's point of view it's very good because the money comes in. But I think they could tie, and I hope they will tie, conditions to it. We will roll them over if one, two, three, four, like release all political prisoners, unban the restricted organisations, things of that nature.

POM     Just one final question. Do you have something Patricia?

Pat     Do you think these conditions should be bound in legislation? I mean you don't see the international banking community coming up with some sort of ethical standards?

BE     No, talking to them, not even publicised this kind of pressure. It would need governments to put pressure on the banks to do that kind of thing. Banks won't do it otherwise. Bankers are hard-nosed business people. They're not interested in politics or morality. One would need pressures within the countries upon the banks to do this kind of thing.

Pat     How does the banking community in South Africa look at these upcoming loan agreements?

BE     Well talking to bankers as we did the other day, some of us with economists and bankers, the bankers certainly are not in favour of any conditions being imposed.

Pat     Do they believe it's possible?

BE     I think they think it could happen, yes. But it would need government pressure or business pressure on the economic situation, on the banks. Now we bank with you but we don't like South Africa, we'll remove our custom unless you start putting the pressure on.

POM     Is there is any recognition by the state that future economic growth can only come about with a more skilled labour force and that that skilled labour force must come from the black community?

BE     It can only come from the black community and we don't have that skilled labour force at the moment.

POM     It can only come from the black community.

BE     Yes, unless we bring in a lot of immigrants which would cause riots if that happened. But the black people are not sufficiently trained. This is one of the problems. There has to be a mass educational programme in the industrial and business world, I think.

POM     Do you see the state moving in that direction towards mass education in its own self interest?

BE     But it can't at the moment until it starts to find money. That means reducing military expense.

Pat     As a result of sanctions South Africa needs to train its indigenous work force, its black youth in skills relative to building internal industries.

BE     Right, which is probably true. But not enough has happened.

Pat     No, but the government's point was that the first priority of the Ministry of Education in the next term is this matter of skilled educational facilities on a massive basis. When we asked him the question about financing them he said half of the financing for education is now coming from the VAT sales tax so that we have the critics of the government expenditure in this area didn't have as much of a leg to stand on as they had before. Do you think they're being honest in that?

BE     They're probably honest at the moment but it won't be enough later on. We're talking about the numbers and as long as we go on with the expense of apartheid with it's I don't know how many education departments, I think its eleven or even eighteen, I'm not sure, that's just duplication and the tremendous amount that goes into military. Unless this money is released into education and housing they will never have enough for the kind of education that is needed on a mass scale.

POM     Just finally on that. Has there been in the last four or five years the emergence of a black middle class that in itself is acting as a focal point of change?

BE     There is a black middle class that's more being built up as a kind of buffer between government and white people and those who are perceived as being the opposition so to speak.

POM     Would you see the black middle class as being in a sense more co-optable by the white? That their identification ultimately would be with the state rather than with the much poorer?

BE     To some extent yes. This is one of the problems that's being wrestled with at the moment by black people. Why shouldn't they have what whites have got. Yet if they've got it are they becoming a problem? It depends what stand you take and whether you take a capitalist view of the country. We take a socialist view of the country where, as I see it, a mixed economy is the only way I see it working in this country. I don't think either capitalist or socialist will function properly. Neither a mixed economy.

Pat     Are the leaders from various organisations from within the Mass Democratic Movement - could they be classified by you as middle class?

BE     Some of them would be.

Pat     In terms of their education and their life style?

BE     Yes, but not quite. They are middle class.

Pat     Not the way we normally think of the middle class person?

BE     But they wouldn't be perhaps like some of the teachers and police and nurses and so on that are getting tremendous subsidies from the government, own beautiful houses and are earning quite a lot of money and so this whole middle class is being built up on government subsidies so therefore there is a certain obligation towards the state. That's different from some of the others who are leaders because of their education.

Pat     And this would be basically people who are in public sector jobs.

BE     Yes, those ones. And most of the middle class are like that. Not all by any means. I mean we have in Port Elizabeth four or five millionaires but three of them are black and two are white. So I mean there are some who are making a lot of money who have nothing to do with the state.

POM     One last thing. To go back to where you started. You said that last week you had spoken with young people in one of the townships. What feeling did you get of their level of alienation. I mean are they just as alienated from organisations like the ANC and the UDF, believing that everything is going too slow or that nothing is going to happen?

BE     They weren't as radical as that. They would certainly put themselves with the UDF and ANC. But impatient with talking and lack of action. They do think like that.

POM     They believe that only change could come about with violence.

BE     Not only but with the help of violence. Especially those who are not able to have jobs.

Pat     Do you think that they have a capacity to wage an effective campaign of violence as you see it?

BE     Oh, I don't. The army and police are far too strong. They just have to put in a few tanks. One airplane. I mean you can't deal with a huge force like the South African one and win but you can do a lot of damage if you are willing for thousands to die. It could be a very effective situation where the violence will not be black on white it will be white on black which it normally is. That could be effective if there are a lot of deaths in terms of international outcry and pressure. But I don't think we will move into that kind of situation. We may see increased so-called urban terrorism but I don' t see much more than that. But that's looking at it from a white position I've been talking, I'm a white person, I'm in a privileged position, I don't have to suffer like many black people do. So what I've said is from that perspective. You need to talk to someone who is in the black situation.

POM     Do you think that a white person here is really trapped in a sense that even if they vehemently oppose apartheid that they unwittingly are maybe just getting some of its benefits?

BE     Oh you always benefit. I mean you just do. The areas that you live in, the schools that your children go to are benefits of apartheid all the time. And the respect that one gets in the government situation if you're white as distinct from being black.

POM     When people say, activists on average, the normal white activist who would be opposed to apartheid thinks of it being abolished do they think of it more in terms of black people having access to the opportunities, educational systems, jobs, that they have, or do they see it in terms of there being maybe quite a substantial drop in their own standard of living?

BE     If they think like that they'd think in terms of the later I think. Their own standard dropping and the others coming up. But black or white activists, like black activists are not even thinking in those realms, they're thinking in terms of shared power. That's where they are. A whole change in the system of politics in this country. That's where they are at.

POM     That activists would be part of the mass liberation movement would be thinking - Just a clarification, would that mean that people, white activists who are part of the mass democratic movement ultimately see a sharing of power between black and white?

BE     Yes. They're more concerned about that than they are about the change of the economy, education, but the main thing would be to see that the black people move into a position where they have power because when you've got power you can bring in the changes.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.