About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

16 Jul 1990: Schumann, Adolph Wilhelm (Ters)

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POM     Ters, if you could perhaps start by giving me a bit of background on yourself, your wife, just your family, your children, where you live and what you do and what members of the family do?

TS     You will notice I've still got a proper German name. My ancestors, my great-grandfather was a missionary in Natal in the middle of the last century, 1850's, 1860s he came to South Africa but my grandfather's house was already Afrikaans speaking. He was a teacher in the Cape in what we call Klein Drakenstein and my father grew up as an Afrikaner. My uncles also made their marks as siding with the Afrikaner people in SA.

     I'm an Accountant. I was practising as an Auditor my whole life, for 50 years. I'm retired now. I married an Afrikaans lady. We had five children. She died from cancer about 20 years ago.

POM     Your wife?

TS     My wife yes. I've remarried and I'm 18 years married now again. Actually all our  children are out of the house. Two of my boys are engineers and one of my daughters is a teacher, she's a qualified teacher and the other one is a qualified nurse, a university degree. My youngest son has become a forester. He's just left my house yesterday afternoon for George where the college is. He's completing his course now there as a forestry diploma student. So that is more or less my background.

     I grew up here near Johannesburg in Heidelberg where my father was a teacher and I worked first in Springs there on the East Rand and then later after three years in Pretoria where I worked over 40 years and practised as an Accountant. I'm still a registered Accountant and I still do books, I'm doing the books of the party here on a part time basis.

POM     Were any of your grandparents or grand uncles involved in the Boer War in any way?

TS     My own mother was in a concentration camp. She was taken in an ordinary open truck to a concentration camp. My father's people were in the Cape.

POM     So they escaped it.

TS     Yes, my father was too young still. He longed for coming to help the Afrikaner, the Boer people, but he was too young still.

POM     Did your mother have bitter memories of that?

TS     No, no, it was not for a long time. We haven't got that side of it.

POM     When you were growing up as a young Afrikaner did you have resentment towards the British for what they had put the Afrikaner people through?

TS     Oh yes very definitely. We still have resentments but I think it's not that we do not like individuals, it's more a difference in culture and especially up to 1961 we had the grudge against them that they were more faithful to England than to SA. We are very aware of the fact that the English built up an empire to supply raw materials to their own industries. Especially my uncle, he was in parliament, he wasn't an MP, he was in as a visitor in the parliament when they decided to make ISCOR. ISCOR is our big steel factory. It's Industrial Steel Corporation of SA. That was opposed very heftily by the English speaking people, that's where most strife came from, that the English people were more faithful to England than to SA.

POM     They wanted to exploit SA on behalf of England?

TS     And they exploited SA and we have only got one country and that is SA you see.

POM     Would you say when you were growing up and when you began working, when you were an accountant, what kind of interest did you have in politics? Was it just a passing interest?

TS     No, as a high school student already I was with a group of friends, scholars with myself, who took an interest in politics and who formed more or less little societies to advance. I was fairly active in politics since my school days.

POM     Now you would have been active on behalf of the National Party?

TS     Yes for many years. In 1933, somewhere there, the NP made a pact with the South African Party, the SAP, they formed what they called the United Party with Jan Smuts on the side of the SAP, which was more or less the English speaking people and General Hertzog was the leader of the NP. Then Dr Malan broke away, he said, "No we're not going with that." And my father was also one of them that said no. He was only a teacher, he wasn't active in politics, but he said no he's not going with the UP. We were, I would say, Malanites or NP people, today's NP people since then. So I grew up with the United Party having absolute control, a two thirds majority, but we were in the opposition.

POM     And of course they came to power in 1948.

TS     We came to power in 1948.

POM     Just turning to today. What made you change from being a member of the NP to being a member of the Conservative Party? Were you active as a member of the NP or were you just a member?

TS     I was fairly active. By saying active I never had the idea of going for a public position but I was always working when there was an election and I was always serving on local committees, the management committees of the party and I was a member of various committees, dependent on where I lived, and up to a certain stage, 1971/72 somewhere there, and then I said no, I don't like the direction they're taking. Actually I put up quite a fight myself, I knew the ministers, I knew my MP and I wrote to him and I visited him and we discussed this is wrong or that is wrong, and he arranged with me for a meeting with Dr Connie Mulder who was a minister at that stage. There was no problem, that was all before the problems, and he promised me things and they never happened. So at that stage I resigned from the NP.

POM     What kind of problems were you having at that point?

TS     They started integrating, especially sports, and I consider sport as being a social activity. I was very much against integrating social activities. You see we had the idea, our whole apartheid thoughts are developing. In those years we just thought of keeping them apart and later on Dr Verwoerd came up and said we must give them their own governments. These days we realise that where a man is living and working you cannot keep rights away from him permanently so we are absolutely now for separate states, a place where the black man can govern himself, the various black nations can govern themselves and we want a place where we as a white nation can govern ourselves too, you see. But in those days we were still thinking of just keeping them separate but working together and even staying more or less not even very far from each other.

POM     When you resigned from the NP in 1972 there wasn't a Conservative Party at that point was there?

TS     No. In those days we were still fighting to try and get things right within the NP. Jaap Marais, the HNP (he's actually Jacobus, it's also a shortened name, a nickname), they are more or less extreme people and he resigned and he formed another party. But I knew him personally and also his people that followed him. I didn't like them. And also their principles are too extreme, it's not practical.

POM     Like what?

TS     Like oppressing the blacks all the time, permanently. Like having only Afrikaans as an official language. Those were more or less the two main points that they were working on and keeping the blacks out of everything and I couldn't go with that. Then for quite a number of years I said I'm a person without a political relation, I haven't got a political home.

POM     When an election would come would you vote in the election?

TS     Well we would vote for Jaap Marais' party, for the HNP when there was an opportunity. It depended. Then at a later stage you see the people who are now the CP were in those years still trying to get the direction of the NP and I had very much sympathy with that because a split is a very bad thing. We are realising it today, it's happening with us that our families are split. My one daughter is completely NP.

POM     I was going to ask you that. If you take your five children, what route would they have taken?

TS     My eldest son is with us, my second son is with us, my daughter is with us. It's only my one daughter. They've got more or less, they don't exactly have my ideas. My younger son that left yesterday he's more or less, he says the nation doesn't matter, what you call the 'volk', we make a difference between a nation and a people and they're separate people but they're not governing themselves. A nation means a people which is governing itself, but we call people that are not governing themselves a volk. So we have about ten very different black volk, nations, in SA. We talk of a black man in general but that's wrong. There's a bigger difference between a Zulu and a Xhosa than there is between a Zulu and a white man, for instance. That's what I've heard said, people that have made a study of it. In other words we have the different volk. What was my point?

POM     We were talking about the difference, like one daughter supports the NP and you were talking about your son who went to college.

TS     He says, no, the white man must be the superior, must be the governing people, not the Afrikaner volk, but that's a minor difference. So they've got their ideas, but most are with me except, as I said, my one daughter and my son-in-law. They are very strong on the other side.

POM     Do you have arguments about this?

TS     Well I've been talking nicely to my daughter. No, we just don't talk about these things. They're very nice people but we just don't talk. There's already heart-sore strife between our own people on this matter because it's split up our church, it's split up everything.

POM     Now you were a member of the Dutch Reformed Church were you?

TS     Yes, but I also left the DRC because of their liberal direction at that stage.

POM     They changed a couple of years ago?

TS     Yes, and even before that I was at loggerheads with them. If you want to go in that direction I will give you my ideas on that. You see I believe that the DRC was an exclusive church just for the Afrikaner and it's preaching was deep into the culture of the Afrikaner and you will have noticed that after the 2nd World War the Afrikaner was more or less stronger than any other nation against this wave of permissiveness. I argued that that is because our church is our own church. It comes into the culture, it's a portion of our living. It's not just a general organisation.

POM     It's not just a church for white people in general, it's a church for Afrikaners?

TS     It was a church only for white people and mainly only for Afrikaners and so it has its influence burnt into the culture of the people and it had its strength there. Even before the political split I was fighting my church because they were opening up and they were generalising and they were losing strength.

POM     When you say 'opening up' what do you mean?

TS     Bringing in blacks, bringing in other people and not being exclusive, taking the attitude that they may not be exclusive, which I denied. Then I said, no, I cannot take part in the church breaking down its power, its influence, and I stopped giving donations to the church even before the new church was formed. But then this lately with that one article they brought out, constitution more or less, they took sides in politics and then it was finished with me.

POM     What church are you a member of now?

TS     I'm a member of the Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk. The Afrikaans Protestant Church.

POM     Are many of its ministers drawn from ministers who left the DRC when it came out against apartheid?

TS     Yes. We have three Afrikaans churches here, the Dutch Reformed and what we call the Gerevormeerde Enkele the Single Reform Church, just the Reformed  Church, what we call the Doppers, and then we have the Reformed Church. I wouldn't know how to translate that in English but what we call the Gerevormeerde Kerk and the Gevormde Kerk.  You more or less get that? We've got three churches but this new Afrikaans Protestant Church draws from all three churches.

POM     How many members? Is it a fast growing church?

TS     It's a fast growing church. We have in Pretoria already, it's just three years old a few weeks ago, beginning of July we celebrated it's third birthday, it's three years old. According to a report from the Synod the total income over the country was over seven million rand already. We  have over 200 congregations over the country already. Everywhere there are small groups and they are at the stage of starting to build or buy churches.

POM     Would most people who attend the Afrikaans Protestant Church be supporters of the Conservative Party or would they be drawn from Afrikaners in general?

TS     No, Afrikaners in general more or less. Politics doesn't play a role there, but mainly it would be supporters of the CP.

POM     What distinction would you make between the APC and the DRC?

TS     Just the matter that their policy is to have their doors open for everybody, the DRC. Their policy is a liberal policy. They even go beyond the bible as far as I'm concerned. They do not apply the bible properly at certain points, especially to liberalise. This whole idea today of advocating your horizontal things, the relations between people instead of relations between a man and God, that is our main difference. But more or less they are absolutely liberalising. We are bringing back it's more or less the external habits we have of our ministers when they go into the pulpit they are properly dressed with a black coat they put around them. What do you call it in English?

POM     I know what you mean.

TS     And our church council members wear white ties and the parson also, but in the DRC they've abolished that, they dress up in anything and they're absolutely liberalising.

POM     The Afrikaans Protestant Church would be open only to Afrikaners or to people in general?

TS     Well it's white people, it's definitely only white. We say that it's a Christian church for Afrikaners.

POM     Is the church in favour of apartheid and the homelands policy?

TS     I don't know that they have expressed themselves, the church councils, even the Central Council have expressed themselves on that point but its membership is definitely limited to white people siding themselves with the Afrikaner. There's no doubt about that.

POM     What do you think is happening now with the releasing of Mandela, the unbanning of the SACP?

TS     You see they are abolishing apartheid. We went quite far on abolishing apartheid and I think that's the main drawback that the money powers of the world have in trying to rule the whole world.

POM     Sorry, could you say that for me again? They're trying to abolish apartheid?

TS     Basically I think that this whole move was started (I'm afraid my English is not so good, I'm looking for words), the big money powers of the world that try and rule the whole world, they want to get the whole world in their power.

POM     Like the United States?

TS     In the United States.

POM     Would that be one of the money powers?

TS     Well I don't know exactly but I think United States, England, even in Europe these people more or less have a sort of, I've never studied it properly, but they have more or less a sort of an association. They're trying to control the whole world, to rule the whole world and by doing so they want to break down all nationalism, all religion. They want to make the people neutral people, especially nationalism and religion, even morality they want to break down that. Our success, I think that our success in SA to build each nation, each nation group and to give them their rights was the major thing that stopped these people, and if that could go out to the whole world then that's why they have murdered Verwoerd and the next man Vorster he wasn't up against it, he wasn't giving his life, he drew back but he didn't want to be a complete traitor.

     Now by doing that, by not giving each nation, our people, our Afrikaans people could never survive. We're only one out of ten more or less in SA. We can only survive if we can group together as a nation and that's our main outlook and they are trying to make it even. That means only one thing to us and that is that the blacks are going to rule.

POM     So do you think De Klerk is moving in a direction where blacks are going to rule?

TS     We cannot see that anything else could happen.

POM     What would you say to black people who would say, "We don't belong to ten separate nations, we regard ourselves as all belonging to the same nation"?

TS     Yes they are advocating that a lot but if you talk to a black man on his own and even he will tell you when you start, "No, I'm just a black man, I'm an international black man. I'm not even a South African." That he will tell you, but if you talk to him you'll soon see that his priorities come out. Ask him where his children go to school and you will notice if he's a Tswana they will go to a Tswana school or if he's a Zulu they'll go to a Zulu school. You will very soon see in his heart he remains a Tswana or a Zulu.

POM     But they don't have any choice where they go to school do they? I mean they have to go to a school designated

TS     No, they have more or less, it's not officially sorted but he sends his child to where most of his people are you see.

POM     Most of his people, but does he not have to do that according to the law? Doesn't a Zulu have to send his child to Zulu school?

TS     No I don't think so. There's no compulsory education for the blacks yet. We've not developed to that stage yet. We're near that but we have not developed that. He sends his child to the school where he likes.

POM     So black family doesn't have to send its child to any school if they don't wish to?

TS     No. No it's not compulsory.

POM     So you think that the present government is moving towards - ?

TS     Yes they are absolutely demoralising our whole set up.

POM     What do you think would happen if that did happen? What are you afraid of if that were to happen? What are your fears?

TS     You see we're working on another basis at the moment. We're not so ready, we know that's going to happen and we are trying to form a society of our own to get a place of our own. You see being a strong people and the country being uninhabited when we got into the inland of SA we spread and we were able to govern the whole SA but things have developed that we are realising now that the time has come that we cannot control the whole of SA but we want to get a portion of SA now as a white country where we are a majority of whites or we have practically no blacks, a majority of whites, especially white Afrikaners and where we can declare ourselves independent as a country and rule ourselves.

POM     I'll talk to you about that in a moment, but going back to the question I'd asked you what would be your fears if tomorrow morning there were a black government? What are you afraid would happen to you?

TS     Well not much, no I won't be very scared. No. We will more or less carry on as we are but that won't be the sort of living we would prefer. If the suburb where we're living starts getting mixed, the values of our property would fall of course.

POM     Do you think that's likely? Most blacks would still live in the townships wouldn't they?

TS     No, it's quite likely, it's quite likely that it can happen because it is happening to a certain extent already. You get where we live three or four people in a house, they live 30, 40 in the same house and they buy a house next door to you and they live there, 30, 40 people there and you've got to live here next to them and then another man won't buy my place. I think that's quite temporary because in the end you will find other blacks that will buy your place if you want to move, so it will be temporary and then you will get your money back again.

POM     So on a practical level you don't think that it would make very much difference to your life if in fact there was black majority rule?

TS     Yes. Another thing that will happen, that we expect, is that our language will be abolished as a legal language in SA and we're fighting that. Our actual life, our way of living and eating and sleeping and dressing, I don't think that will change a lot.

POM     Let's talk about this white homeland, white Afrikaans country.

TS     Yes.

POM     How do you see that? Most people would say that's impractical. That's the reaction I get from a lot of people I talk to, they say it can't happen.

TS     Well in the first place it will take a long time and it will take a lot of hard work and suffering but I don't think it's completely impractical.

POM     How would you see it happening?

TS     Over a number of years one will club together by propaganda in a certain area and build it up. We, as being westerners or white people, have the ability to build a country from its absolute nothing. We've done that in our history, we've done that a few times already. We will have to do it again but that will take quite a number of generations. It's not going to happen in one day.

POM     Well, if you look at the future?

TS     I will only see the start of it.

POM     But you see black majority rule coming in the short term? Do you see you see black majority rule happening in the next four or five years?

TS     Yes, well if things go on like this, definitely.

POM     So even at that point then you still have to continue your campaign and your efforts to get a white homeland, in other words the fight wouldn't stop?

TS     No.

POM     A couple of things, De Klerk has said that before any new dispensation is agreed to he will put the matter before the white electorate. Do you think he will do that?

TS     He will do that in a way that doesn't compel him to act according to it. He will give us a referendum but my idea is that when he runs a referendum he'll lose it today.

POM     He would lose it?

TS     Amongst the whites, he will lose it. But then he will say that a referendum has got no legal power in our whole constitution system so he can still do what he likes and he will say, well that's a small portion of the inhabitants and I'm not taking notice of it.

POM     What if he did put a referendum before the white electorate and what if a majority of whites actually voted for it? Where would that leave you?

TS     We'll still have to continue our whole idea of working for the survival of the Afrikaans people.

POM     So you make a difference between the white people and the Afrikaans people?

TS     Yes we do, we do. But we talk about it, the Afrikaans people and those that want to side with us. We have a large section of English people. I've got English speaking friends. We cannot come together on our social functions, they won't come to our Afrikaans cultural functions and we won't go to their English cultural functions. We don't go to the same church but we do believe in the same God, we've got the same bible that we work with and we will collaborate but we will not come together because they've got a different culture. But we've got these English people they're just as true to SA as we are. SA is their place, not England any more. I can give you people in Johannesburg here that have that attitude. We can collaborate with them but we still think they are a different people from the Afrikaner people.

POM     What other distinctions would you make? One is language, one is religion, one is cultural events, are there any other?

TS     No, sports we will do together, business we will do together. There's no doubt about that.

POM     Just another question, I know these questions are only speculation but they're interesting questions because I can come back in a year's time and ask you the same question again and see if you answer the same or if you're changing.

TS     You can try me.

POM     What if there was an election among the white electorate and the CP secured less than 50% of the Afrikaans vote, where would that leave you?

TS     We will still work for the people that want to remain an Afrikaans nation.

POM     No matter what happens?

TS     Apart from what happens.

POM     Would you work within the system? Would you work according to constitutional means?

TS     We will have to comply with the laws of the country, we're still complying with the laws of the country.

POM     At what point do you see the Afrikaans people being compelled to mount what would be tantamount to an armed struggle on their own behalf or do you ever see that happening?

TS     Yes, at a stage where we are more or less organised and we can with a certain amount of success defend a certain piece of the country. Then of course we will go to armed struggle if we are threatened there but we're very far from that. At the moment there's no sense in shooting a person here or shooting a person there, we're too spread, we're far from each other and what are you doing it for? We can't, unless we take the government but it's even a question of if we take the government today by force or by revolution what are you going to do with this country? There's so much wrong with the country that you cannot right it.

POM     When you talk to your neighbours and other members, just ordinary members, of the CP, again I want to go back to this question of fears, what are they afraid would happen to them if black majority rule were to occur?

TS     In the first place for 300 years now we have conserved our white skins, our western descent. That's the main thing. Actually we didn't want it but it has happened like that that we have formed a new nation which did not happen in South America or in North America. In North America it's forming, you are being quite different from the English people really to a certain extent, but in SA we're a very clear new nation not only from European people but from English people, from French people, we formed a very clear nation with a very definite new language which did not happen in Australia or in South America. That's happened. We want to conserve that and our own people have, over the 300 plus years that we've been here, conserved that white descent absolutely positively all the way. We've got no right to abolish that but with our laws being abolished at the moment we are bound to become a mixed nation and a mixed nation is even worse than a true black nation. If you have the true Zulus on their own, they're a lovely people, or just a few miles from here the Tswana in Bophuthatswana, I've watched those and helped them. I've been working there and helped them a lot.

POM     Where do you work there?

TS     As an Accountant, helping them in their businesses there. You can go and look at the development they've got there, it's absolutely astonishing, and they are driving out the non-Tswana blacks. We've got to take them here. They are forming what we think of forming for the Afrikaans people, for the white Afrikaans people, they have been forming and they have it for the Tswanas. So we say why can't we have it for the white people also?

POM     Again, getting back to what Afrikaners might be afraid of if there were a black government.

TS     In the first place we're afraid of becoming a mixed nation, a very low quality mixed nation. That's what we want to preserve, we want to preserve our white descent. Then what we're also afraid of is losing our language as an official language. Then also the whole country degrading to a third world. We've built up a first world, as you've seen for yourself here, I think we live at the level of the first world. I don't know whether you agree or not with me, but we more or less have a first world level and we will definitely be going down to a third world country. Go and have a look at Namibia, South West Africa. Go and have a look at Zimbabwe. We knew Zimbabwe when it was ruled by the white people and go and have a look at Zimbabwe now. You will be becoming a third world country and we do not want that. We want to remain, even if it's only in a small portion of SA.

POM     Would Afrikaners be prepared to accept a lower standard of living initially in their own homeland?

TS     I think so.

POM     Do you see this as a geographical area, like one geographical area?

TS     I've got an open mind on where exactly, there are different societies that have different ideas, are working on that, what we call growth points.

POM     Could you give me some of the ones that are suggested?

TS     You see the Orania Werkers, that's a society here, they've got growth points here in Eastern Transvaal at Morgenzon. I'm chairman of a housing company that's built flats there. Then Morgenzon, and they want to take it down to more or less Port Elizabeth or just west of PE, Mossel Bay, something like that. They've started also a growth point there. But it's going to take generations. The AWB has got another idea of going to Natal, north of Durban up to Richards Bay, St Lucia and coming through to Transvaal here, making that a portion. Dr Carel Boschoff he's got the idea, which I like very much, which is the western parts around the Orange River. There were studies made during the rule of Dr Verwoerd, his father-in-law, on the development of a fifth growth area which has only started with the building of the Verwoerd Dam and the other big dam, there are two big dams which were built to control the Orange River. That whole area up to the western coast can be developed from that.

POM     This is a rather sparse area at the moment?

TS     It's a sparse area at the moment. You see we find that here in the PWV it would be impossible to sort out the various nations.

POM     Would you see it, if that were to happen, that whatever government is in the rest of SA would compensate you for leaving and provide some of the money for the infrastructure?

TS     At the moment I think we will have to do it for ourselves under the existing laws. I've got ideas myself. In our company law we've got provision for what we call a share block company and I'm actually running an old age home here on that basis. I'm chairman of the board.

POM     How does that work?

TS     You buy a unit and you've got to buy the shares you but you don't get transfer of the unit, it doesn't become your absolute property, you buy the right, the lifelong right to live there, to use it, and you also must get a share and you must be able to vote according to the law in the company.

POM     So they're shareholders and rather than occupiers.

TS     Yes, but you do it under a contract and the contract says whom you may bring in there and who you may not and the contract says also that the moment you die the unit will be bought back from your estate or when you leave the unit will be bought back, you can get your money back and you can even get an increase in value back. But you have the lifelong right of that estate but it's controlled by a board in which you have a vote. Now you can arrange that thing so that you can make your ideas of keeping out blacks compulsory and you can also do that on a big property. You can give persons, one can erect this factory and another one that factory and the other one can farm, so you can build a society under the existing laws and that's my own idea. Then at a certain stage, when you are a strong society, you can say, well now we want independence. That's my idea but that's not going to happen in my life, it might happen in my grandchildren's life.

POM     Is there an understanding among members of the party and voters that this securing of an independent state is going to take a long time, it's not going to happen overnight?

TS     Yes, yes, oh yes. You see we were on our way with

POM     So basically then they know, do you think they know that there's going to be majority rule and even while there is majority rule they will still continue the task of - ?

TS     Yes, because the black man if he lives here and he works here he's got to have his rights here and he's got to be able to vote. The main thing why we have so many strikes and crossing the law, disobedience of the law by the blacks is because they hate the white man's law. They won't side up with any white man because they want their own laws, it's inherent. The whole bible is on it, the bible talks of peoples and their own peoples and God giving each people its own territory. That's got to happen for the blacks also. We've done that for the Tswanas here. We're busy, the Zulus refused independence because they've got an idea of ruling the whole country, but they will have to fight the Tswanas. I don't think the Indians would like to be under the rule of the Zulus. The Indians are also a portion of our country, they should also have their country with their own laws which they long for.

     A member of my family has been a professor at the University of the North, the black university here outside Pietersburg, I don't know whether you know of it? It's quite a large university for blacks.

POM     Is this a close relative?

TS     Not very close, it's the brother of a daughter-in-law of mine. We visited him there and he said their main problem was that the different peoples, all blacks, it was a black university, never collaborated. They have their student committees and a Tswana will not vote for a Zulu.

POM     What is the name of the university?

TS     University of the North.

POM     Where is it located?

TS     It's located outside Pietersburg, or east of Pietersburg, it's located there. The idea was, that's one of the ideas, you've also got a university for the coloured people, the University of the Western Cape, more or less on the same basis. But you have white professors and black professors. White professors teaching them with the idea that they eventually withdraw and it's completely black professors. The main drawback there was that the different peoples in the blacks they never wanted to collaborate but they only collaborate on one thing and that is on ousting the white people but once they've got the white people out they start fighting amongst themselves.

     You've seen that whole thing over the whole of Africa. These African states that liberated themselves they simply went for the smaller peoples that are not ruling the strongest people here. You see that in Zimbabwe a lot, the Shonas are the ruling majority and the other nation, there are two peoples there, they get murdered and they get suppressed.

POM     Coming back to SA, what do you think is going to happen in the next year? There are two scenarios, one is that the government will have more talks with the ANC and then bring other political parties into the talks and that they will try to reach some consensus on what to do when they draw up a new constitution. The other is that there will be an election for a Constituent Assembly along Namibian lines that will draw up a constitution. What do you think is going to happen if you look at the next twelve months?

TS     We're just watching it more or less from the outside. We're very interested in seeing De Klerk promising that the rights of the whites will not be abolished. On the other hand we've seen it that the black people, especially the ANC who are the leaders at the moment, don't want to give away, don't want to compromise to the slightest extent. They completely want a one man one vote government with no restrictions. What we believe is that any reserves for other peoples, like the white people, built in is only a bit of paper that's absolutely useless. We're watching it because he's been promising us that we will not lose our rights. On the other hand we cannot see him gaining any agreement with the blacks without giving up everything, so we're just watching what's going to happen.

POM     When do you expect black majority rule to happen by?

TS     I think it will be quite a while still, four or five years but it can't be much longer, then something will have to happen. Something will have to happen you see. At the moment it's not clear to us what will happen but the moment he concedes to one man one vote it's finished with white rule. That we've got to realise, it's completely finished with white rule.

POM     What's your opinion of Nelson Mandela?

TS     Well he's a crook, he's a murderer. There's no doubt about that.

POM     Yet here he travels the world and is received as an international statesman.

TS     I think the world is sick to accept a man like that. I can't believe that the leading people in any country are so ignorant because we're not so ignorant on what's happening in America, we're not so ignorant on what's happening in Ireland. We know more or less what's happening there and they should also know what's happening here and to elevate a man like that, that's been murdering and who's not abolished it yet, he still writes on his bombings and all that type of thing and he still goes for sanctions against SA even while talking with us and we think it's the most arrogant actions you can have. There's no doubt about it.

POM     What about De Klerk? What's your opinion of him?

TS     Well he's a complete traitor to the Afrikaans people. There's no doubt about it. He's a complete traitor. You see also PW Botha is now out of politics and we've said we don't want him back, he's a traitor. We just don't want him back, he must just stay quiet now and live the end of his life.

POM     I think that's what he's going to do.

TS     And we just don't want him back because he's been a traitor.

POM     And the ANC?

TS     You see the ANC is not a South African organisation. We realise that the ANC is more or less an organisation which has been built on the aspirations of the black people to become independent peoples. We are in sympathy with the black peoples to become independent peoples but they must also have sympathy with our aspirations to become a people and they built themselves over the whole country and they've become a very strong world-wide organisation. Their head office is not in SA, Mandela is not their leader, he's only a vice leader, a sub-leader working in SA. In other words it's imperialism for them to want to rule SA if they want to through their organisers. The problem is that the black peoples are very easily influenced and they more or less on this basis bring together quite a few nations but the moment the white people are out of the way they will fight amongst themselves.

POM     Who do you think controls the ANC? Who is Mandela answerable to?

TS     Well they've got their head bodies in Lusaka and they're more or less devoted to the communists but that's a sub-matter. They more or less are communists. Where those people get their instructions from, I think the world-wide money powers they make use of them, they make use of this situation and they more or less guide them but I haven't had time to read these things.

POM     When you think of yourself do you think of yourself as an Afrikaner first and then a South African or a South African who happens to be an Afrikaner?

TS     Well I'm in the first place an Afrikaner but I've got no other country than SA because our roots are here.  We are Afrikaners because we came to SA. Once you go to another country you cannot stay an Afrikaner.

POM     Thank you very much for taking all this time. During your life how have you formed your opinions of blacks? Through observing them or reading about them or what?

TS     Yes, we have been living more or less amongst them or with them my whole life since I was a child.

POM     Didn't they live in townships then?

TS     Yes they lived in townships but they worked for us and even their youngsters came and worked for us. We played with some of our own age, one would play, but there was always that difference you see.

POM     How did your opinion of them form?

TS     We saw them as proper people. We never hated a black. We were brought up to respect an older black in the same way as we respected white people but we were always aware of the big difference. When I was a child the black people were still very much behind, they were still very, very undeveloped. I remember, for instance, saying to a friend of mine, "Look at that black man, that kaffir, he wears shoes." It was an exceptional thing to see a black man wearing shoes in the late twenties. Another thing was that I remember the black women coming with big basins of wild fruit, blackberries and strawberries, no, not a strawberry it's called another one, there were two kinds which we knew well, they came with that and my mother used to barter with them for old clothes. She bought it from them for old clothes. We were used, up to when I was already working, if you have an old pair of trousers you give it to a black man and he's absolutely very glad to accept it. Today you can't give an old pair of trousers to a black man, he will rather give it to you.  They have developed.

POM     What do you see as the differences now between blacks and whites?

TS     It's a major development difference. It's a completely major background difference. They've got a completely different culture and outlook than we have.

POM     What would you say are the main differences in outlook?

TS     They think, definitely they speak a different language, they have different habits. They have a different attitude towards work and their whole background is completely different. How can I explain it to you. You see, you must remember that the blacks they have a major struggle, they've got a bigger struggle than we have because that background is so far behind. They were a nomadic, hunting people. They never had any architecture, they never had any seafaring. They never had any written language. They only had a speaking language. Now it's us whites that have taught them to put their language in writing. So they've got to work from that side and they've got to exist in an over-populated world on a small portion where they can't hunt and move from one place to the other any longer. You've got the same thing in the east, there in the Nepal mountains where these tribes used to move from one place to the other. They've also got to adjust themselves. These people have got a major problem and we've got to help them. We've got to help the black people but we want to help them to build their own and in the meantime we want to build our own also and remain a white people. Our main point is remaining a white people, by white I mean a western cultured people. You must build a Negro people, their peoples, they've got their backgrounds also and they are people on their own also the same way as the difference is between a Xhosa and a Zulu. A Xhosa will never want to become a Zulu and a Zulu will never want to become a Xhosa even if they're both black people and their development is more or less the same.

POM     Thank you. I think we should stop there if that's OK. That's terrific, a good start.

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.