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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

01 Aug 1990: Irvine, George

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POM     We're talking to Bishop George Irvine on the 1st of August. Bishop, since Patricia and I were here a year ago, a lot has happened in South Africa. And a year ago, as I recall, you were pretty pessimistic about the prospects for change. Have you been surprised? And, what do you think motivated De Klerk to move so rapidly on such a broad front?

GI     Well, I'm not sure that it will be wrong for me not to say I was surprised, I think I was. I think I need to say that right at the beginning. I was, as you say, feeling pessimistic about the situation and wondering if real change would be experienced. That was the time when President Botha was in control and he had bypassed many Rubicons and we had listened to enormous promises and nothing ever came to light. And then in came De Klerk and we were very surprised to hear some of the things he was saying. And also to discover that he was prepared to do it and not just say it. You asked me why I think De Klerk did that. I think at one level, at a human level if you like, I'm quite sure that the whole issue of sanctions bit very deeply into the economy. I'm sure that's a factor.

     But I also would say that what we're facing and witnessing, what's going on is kind of a miracle, I think. You know, too much happened for it to be purely a humanly-engineered thing. I have a feeling, and I suppose you would expect me to say this as a Bishop, that somehow God intervened in this mess. And it almost seems as if he's saying to us, "Now, I'm giving you guys this ball for the last time. And if you drop it this time, you're not going to get another time." So, we have a real sense of destiny about the time in which we live and I think De Klerk is sincere. I think he intends for a new South Africa to emerge and at the moment I am hopeful. Now, you may say, but why aren't you ecstatic? I think I would say, to keep it in the picture form, I would say that maybe the new South Africa has been conceived but it hasn't yet been born. And maybe it could get an abortion. Maybe something could happen between conception and delivery which would not be very creative.

POM     Do you think that De Klerk has conceded on the issue of majority rule?

GI     That's not very clear at the moment. What I think about what he said he's committed to, except for the future. I've listened to both Mr. Mandela and Mr. de Klerk and they've been very good at saying things which offend each other but at the same time keeping the door open. They have said nothing that will close the door to the future. One of the questions we faced at the SACC conference was, at what stage, and we have personal durability which will guide us more than most, at what stage could we call these negotiations irreversible? At what stage would we need to be at down the road where we'd say, "Well, you know, no matter what they do now, we're on the road." Nobody can go outside that now. And there was a feeling in the SACC conference, and this can also come out, I think, in the process that we couldn't call it irreversible until we had some kind of Constituent Assembly, very much like the Namibia situation, where this present government would actually resign and the Constituent Assembly would be in place. And then the negotiations would continue irreversibly. And that there was a feeling that while the government remained the government, and it entered negotiations as a government, we couldn't call anything irreversible. Now, I do note that one of the things that Mr. de Klerk has said is that his government is not going to resign. He feels it's a legitimate, legal government and therefore they will not stand down. Now whether he would change, I don't know.

POM     In fact, he's even gone one step further in saying that any proposed new political dispensation would be taken back to the white electorate for their approval. That's hardly a promise that he can keep.

GI     I don't think he can keep that. I honestly believe that if he took it to the white electorate at this moment, he'd lose.

POM     That the Conservative Party would win?

GI     Yes. And even those who would not identify with the Conservative Party, many so-called liberal whites (might vote for the Conservative Party).

POM     What do you think accounts for the shift in the electorate away from the National Party to the Conservative Party?

GI     Well, I think there are two kinds of shifts. The one shift is completely understandable, and that is that they have been brought up on a diet of apartheid. And they just can't cope with what De Klerk is saying. And it's going against everything that they have been taught. So, I can understand that, you know, and it's like a, how do I put it? It's like a Protestant, it's like Ian Paisley saying, "We've got to now talk to the IRA. And we've now got to make allowances for the IRA in the future Ireland." It's totally against what they have been brought up to perceive. That's the one group. But I sense there is another group that would be with Mr. de Klerk, I think, but who would be expressing, not even expressing, but feeling very threatened at the removal of their property, that kind of thing, and very worried about reports within the press about arms being found in the ANC, worried about communism and Joe Slovo and all that sort of thing. And so very worried, very, very worried. So there are two kinds of whites, maybe three, those who are totally opposed, those who are very wary about what's happening and they're frightened. And those who are going with it, and going with strong commitment and immediately face, or are going to have to face themselves.

POM     We were talking to Judy Chalmers the other day and asking her what kind of things her friends were expressing and she said she could mostly talk for white liberals. And she said that surprisingly enough she found that many were expressing great anxieties about the future and that many were planning to leave the country and she pointed to the odd situation of the people who had been anti-apartheid all their life were now about to leave the country, leaving behind the people who had been pro-apartheid all their lives. But she also said that her friends were guilty in expressing their anxiety. What kind of experiences have you had with your interaction with them?

GI     I would say exactly the same thing. Andrew Savage was a PFP MP who died. There were a lot of white liberals at his funeral. When they came out of the church they saw the comrades with the ANC flag toyi-toying.

POM     Sorry?

GI     Andrew Savage. He's the MP here for the PFP. And he worked with Molly Blackburn.

PK     Yes.

GI     I prayed for him Thursday. Now, it was interesting to me the number of white liberals who were there. And who were absolutely with what we were saying about Andrew. But when we came out the church and found a couple of hundred comrades surrounding the coffin with the ANC flag up, they were very perplexed about why these people had come to take over the funeral. What are they trying to do? Were they trying to, you know, make a political platform of Andrew's funeral? And, whereas the 15,000 people who gather outside at Molly's funeral, how many years ago was that? Four years? I don't know. Five years? And the ANC flags and toyi-toying and everything that you could think of, all the white liberals in there were absolutely, with what was happening outside, thrown to bits. In fact, some of them got lifted shoulder-high, and when I was there we were lifted shoulder-high and they marched with us into the police line to challenge the police to shoot and all that kind of stuff. Now, they were not going to move at another funeral but I just noticed a distinct change in attitude. We're happy to go for change, we're happy to fight for change, but now wait a minute. We don't want the ANC to take over. We don't want this or this or this to happen. And like Judy, what Judy has said, I think, there are a number of whites wanting to leave now. Because they don't want to live, they didn't want to live under the injustices of apartheid but they don't want to live under the pregnancy period of bringing this new South Africa to birth.

POM     Do you think the threat on the right is a real threat or do you think that it's one of those inevitable obstacles that would be there and simply will gestate for a period and then, with time, disappear or do you think it could be something far more serious?

GI     I think it's a real threat. How serious it is, I'm not sure.  I think it will remain, it will not be sinister to the degree that De Klerk can hold onto the army and to the police. And, you know, it will not be serious if the army and the police take seriously the discipline in the handling of the right-wing. But it could become imminently serious if the police, for instance, let their sympathies out. Because I'm sure the police, and quite a majority of the police, their sympathy lies with the right-wing, with the conservatives.

POM     Would you see the Conservative Party now as being the political party of the Afrikaners? The party that speaks for the majority of Afrikaners?

GI     Yes I think so. I think so. As I say, I think where Afrikaners - let me put it to you like this, I remember my father saying to me, "Ian Paisley, George, is just a big mouth. But he's got a point, you know."

POM     He's got a point?

GI     A point. You know, like, I can't go along with it completely. But, you know, he has got a point. He's trying to protect us. Now, I think there would be many whites that would be there, you know. We don't go with Treurnicht, you know. He's a bit of a big mouth. And the same is true of Eugene Terre Blanche. But, you know, they do have a point. They're trying to protect our heritage, our culture, our whiteness.

POM     When, again, when you look at whites, what do you think are their major fears?

GI     I think the major fears are based on ignorance of black people. They don't know, they just don't know the amount of goodwill there is in there. I think they're frightened of a one-party state as they look at Africa and see that that has been the order of the day in the new black countries. And I think they're frightened, as well, of what they would call barbarism as expressed in Natal. You know, with not too much care being taken to control what's happening. I think they have been frightened of that. They've been frightened of a lowering of standards, economic standards. And so on.

POM     So, would they see what's happening in Natal kind of as a precursor to what might happen all over the country in the event of black majority rule?

GI     I think it's not quite as clear as that. It's more saying, how can you expect these people to rule if this is how they behave? It's a using of the Natal thing to reflect that all blacks -  the same prejudiced remark that you get in Ireland. You know, in the IRA, dig up a body and return it to the front stoep of the person's house. Some of them will say, you want these guys to rule? So, people do pick up more extreme actions and they see it as being true of all of them.

POM     You had talked earlier about the SACC saying that the process of change wouldn't be, it would consider the process to be irreversible at a point when there was a Constituent Assembly and the government resigned. That's one thing the government has been pretty adamant on, that there will not be a Constituent Assembly. And they will not resign. And in fact that to have a Constituent Assembly would be to concede one of the things they want to negotiate, i.e., the form of the voting franchise. Two questions. One, if that is not the route, what do you think might be the route? And if the government hold firm in its opposition to a Constituent Assembly, what leverage do you think the ANC have? What cards does it still have to play?

GI     I find it very difficult to imagine a situation where a Constituent Assembly will not be appointed. I've got a feeling that down the road, that's going to happen.

POM     When you say appointed, do you mean by electoral procedure or appointed by what?

GI     Electoral. I think it could be by an electoral procedure but for the whole of all South Africans. I mean, not just a white thing. It might even be overseen - well, they wouldn't agree to being overseen from outside but I think it could be appointed by all South Africans. It's not beyond the human wit to work out the scheme whereby a Constituent Assembly could be appointed to oversee the transition from one thing to the other. Now, if the government says, no, we don't want to change. We want this government and this is a negotiation factor. How do we make this government more representative of all the people? And I'm not sure, to be honest, where that would lead. Things are so fluid at the moment that I don't know how the ANC would accept that. If the thing collapsed now, the card, I think, that the ANC has to play is the workforce, the unions, bringing things to a halt.

POM     An absolute halt.

GI     To a grinding halt. That's their card, I think.

POM     When you look at, again, the manner in which the process may unfold, and I want you to take both Mandela and De Klerk, what are the main obstacles that De Klerk faces? What are the main stumbling blocks that lie in his path that pose dangers to him? And similarly, what are the main stumbling blocks or obstacles that Mandela may encounter or should be watchful for?

GI     I think both of them have got the same problem. And that is carrying on with the negotiations and taking their support with them. I think De Klerk has a problem holding on to white support. And I think Mr. Mandela has a problem holding on to black support. Because, you know, there were even headlines over the weekend about some move to sideline him. You know, as soon as you start negotiating, as soon as you become a negotiating person, and you know this better than I do, you become suspect in the common person's mind, that somehow you're going to sell them out. Somehow you're going to be soft. And a lot of young blacks would fear that Mr. Mandela is going to become some kind of Uncle Tom. You know, these conversations that are coming up, it's about the 6th or 7th of August, I'm not sure of the date, the official talks about talks, I think you might well find the ANC saying that they're going to drop the armed struggle. Let's say they do. Now, I think that would be a very courageous thing for them to do, but I think there would be many, many blacks questioning that.

POM     So, is Mandela's problem that he has to achieve a rate of change that is sufficient for the black community to see that real change is occurring?

GI     Umm.

POM     And what about divisions within the ANC itself? Do you see conflict there over that?

GI     I think they'll work those out, you know.  I've seen with the PAC and the others, for example, I think they will have to get together and they will see that quite clearly. You see, you talk about the rate of change. What I feel is that when De Klerk talks about, he's got another four years, I think, before the next general election,  I don't believe he's got that amount of time. I think the longer they go on with talks about talks and the less concrete change we see, the more time they're giving to the extreme wings on both sides to grow even stronger. And I would think that they need to get on now and get something in place that cannot be derailed.

POM     So, again, we've heard two scenarios. One is that it's a slower process, where people are educated along the way as to what is happening and to where it is going. And the other one is the one that you have talked about. Whereas you bring about change as quickly as possible and you put it in place and you say, there it is, and let people react to it.

GI     I'm saying something like this: I think it's going to take time to get all the change into action. But I think there are certain changes that could be made immediately, which would need to be made immediately. And maybe that would be, if it's not a Constituent Assembly, maybe a President's, a new kind of President's Council, made up of lots of different appointed people, by the people, appointed by the people and get that into place. I think, yes, remove the barriers, immediately. Get rid of the Population Registration Act. Do one or two things whereby it shows absolutely, irrevocably that we're on the road now. How you do that? I don't know. Then we could take four or five years to do the other things. In other words, I get back to my own question, which is: at what point can these be no longer derailed? And I think they've got to get to that point, whatever that point is, as soon as possible.

POM     How about economic structures? Again, many people have said to us that many white fears centre around protecting their standard of living, believing that the economy would become another African basket case if it's run by, if the country's run by a black government. Do you think that De Klerk will attempt to protect the economic interests of whites by looking for certain safeguards to included in the constitution relating to nationalisation?

GI     Yes, I think he's going to try and do that. I think he's going to try and do that.

POM     How serious is this debate about nationalism, socialism versus free-market economies?

GI     I think it's a vague debate, if you ask me. I'm not an economist, so I don't know. But I have a feeling that what the bottom line is that we can't go on in this country with the vast difference between the few and the many, that somehow we've got to close that gap a bit. That's the bottom line. But that's the only bottom line. I would think that anybody that I listen to is committed to saying the only way to do that is socialism. Or the only way to do that is free-market enterprise. I see that as very fluid.

POM     Let's say tomorrow morning you have a black majority government, say an ANC government. What difference do you think that would make in the life of the average black person who lives in a township or who's a squatter or lives in a shack area?

GI     I don't think it would make any degree of difference at all at one level. But at another level, and this is very difficult to explain, the only way I could describe it is when you go to America and other countries and you see the problems, and I'm talking about white South Africans visiting, then they come back and they say, "I don't know whether America has any right to talk to us about this. Because we went into Chicago and we saw slums", or we went wherever. And what they forget it that in these countries they visited, yes, there were slums. I mean, I have lived in central Washington and the streets are the same. I know the poverty and these issues. But that's different, quite different to living in a situation which has legislated for that kind of condition and which, if you fight, you get picked up. You get arrested. I mean, at least in Washington, if you're fighting for the poor, you're on the side of the law. So what change? There would be a deep psychological change if it was a black majority rule. We would have lost this feeling that somehow we're living in the most terrible guilt. And we now have got to face the issues of poverty and the squatters and urban development, more job creation, all the rest. But we face it without this terrible load on our back, which is a load of guilt. Because we have been nurtured by and nurtured.

POM     That guilt would be white guilt?

GI     Yes, white guilt.

POM     I'm talking about for a black person. Once he's becomes used to the fact, which wouldn't take very long, that the government in power is now a black government but found conditions at the grassroots really not significantly different. Or would they be significantly different?

GI     No, I don't think they would. I think that the government that comes in, like Kenneth Kaunda and the others had to face, that people will be shouting for change, that people will still be demonstrating. People will still be going on strike. And a black majority rule government will not give us Utopia. And, I mean, a stupid example, when Jack and these others were let out of detention, and we got some money together from different places, SACC and so on, and they bought, they were able to buy a dry cleaning business, the comrades who had been released, to make some money and so forth, it was interesting to watch the comrades handling their first strike. See? Because their workers, down, two of them, said, "No, we want more wages." Now, here you have an interesting situation, you see, because all of a sudden the rebels who were pushing for change all of a sudden were the owners, were the capitalists if you like, wanting to do business. And all of a sudden they had to start talking wages and how much do you want and how much can we afford to give you. And that was real for me, I liked that. You know, I think that's the way it's going to happen whenever you have a black majority government.

POM     Do you see that there's any chance of a backlash? That if in four or five years - ?

GI     Black backlash?

POM     Let me give you one scenario that I  use as a way to try to express the point, that you have the PAC, who say, "No negotiations, this is all a sell-out." And they sit out there. They more or less wait out the process. And you have four or five years of an ANC government and conditions haven't improved and people are disgruntled and the PAC's out there saying, "We told you so. This was a sell-out.?" Do you see any probability, more than a possibility, of the disaffected moving towards the PAC as the other, as the alternative? Not because they necessarily agree with the PAC but because the ANC is not delivering.

GI     I don't know the answer to that. That's possible, yes. The answer is, it is possible.

POM     Where do you see the youth here? I mean, the youth have played such an important role in mass mobilisation. Where do you see them fitting into the new scheme of things? Again, it was Judy who used the phrase that there was a whole generation of young blacks out there uneducated, unemployable, and unemployed.

GI     I think one of the major tasks a new government that comes in is going to have to address are unemployment and the education question. I'm absolutely sure of that. I'm also pretty sure that if those young people that we're talking about become convinced that this government, led by Mr. Mandela or whoever, is not delivering the goods, you're going to have as much toyi-toying on the streets and as much anger as if it were a Nationalist government. The fact is, a black government's not going to stop the guys from getting angry. But, how this new government handles that - I mean, they'll be in trouble whether they send in the police, especially if the police are white. So, the scenario boggles the mind a bit. But then the answer to your question is, I don't think a black government will be supported by black youth just because they're black. I think they'll be wanting some kind of deal, which sounds to them like as if they're being listened to and that some of their needs are being met.

POM     Do you think, again, going back to this generation out there, that there is a generation of young people who have learned only one thing, and that is how to protest and to protest in the name of the struggle, who will know no other behaviour?

GI     That's right.

POM     And when a new government emerges?

GI     That's right. And that's why we will need vast number of training and opportunities in your black townships.

POM     How about - ?

GI     It's not just the young people, by the way. I mean, there are clergy who know nothing but protest. And now that we have reached the stage where we're trying to negotiate, they don't know how to do that. And some of the clergy don't know how to go off centre-stage. I mean, there was a time when they were centre-stage because the ANC were locked up and they couldn't speak for themselves. So Desmond and others of us in our own way were out there centre-stage. All of a sudden we're off centre-stage. And now they have a big rally here in the Eastern Cape for the ANC and I don't get invited to that. See? Which is definitely a very good thing. And if I want to go to that, I go as a person.

PK     A very perfect role.

GI     As a person. They might be kind enough to tell me, if you want to come sit in the front.

POM     Looking at both Mandela and De Klerk. What feedback do you get from your ministers as to how De Klerk is perceived in the black community?

GI     I think he is perceived as very, as trying to be honest. I think he suddenly managed to rescue the white boss(?) from the concept, from the perception that he's wanting to take everybody for a ride. And he's only just talking. I think somehow this guy has managed to sound honest. I think he's been very sure-footed, I think. I think our Bishops' meetings would say that, that he quite honestly hasn't put a foot wrong in any dramatic way. Except in one way. And that was when he asked Alberts(?) to call the other meeting of the churches, which he would meet. And of course, that threw a whole storm into the thing. But we sent a message to him via his brother saying, you know, back out of this. Because you're not doing yourself any good. And he totally withdrew and said that he didn't wish the churches to think that he was trying to take them over or do anything. He just wanted to try to talk to people. And he said, "Now, it's up to the churches to decide whether or not they want to see me. And they must meet together and discuss that." So, he has been a very effective statesperson. And I think that's coming across to people.

POM     And looking at Mandela. How would you assess him since his release? Are there things that he's done that have exceeded your expectations and things that he's done that have disappointed you?

GI     He has been, I think he has been a first-class statesman. I think he's been - look, he's said one or two things overseas - maybe he could have said them better. But I think it's remarkable that after 27 years in jail, of course, when he was in jail he was keeping up with everything, but I mean, can you imagine a guy walking out of jail after 27 years and taking a lead in world politics and being so at ease the way he is now? I think it's been absolutely remarkable.

POM     Is there anything that he's done that has disappointed you? Anything that he's failed to do?

GI     No, no. There are some of the things he's said, for instance, like I wondered about his affirmation of Gaddaffi. I thought that was an unwise thing to say. I think he should speak in support of the Palestinians. I mean, I've no objection to that. And even to do that in South Africa will throw whites in turmoil in some ways because whites have been favouring the Israeli story for so long that they don't think the Palestinians have any point at all. But some of his statements like that, I think, have worried me a little bit. But, no, I think he has been a master in the situation in which he finds himself.

POM     One of the things that Judy expressed to us about Natal is that many of her friends, or colleagues maybe more than friends, saw it in terms of the precursor in a way of a one-party state. That the ANC were out to crush opposition. That they didn't brook large-scale opposition and that this might be a harbinger of the way they would behave in the future. Do you pick up any of that? What do you pick up in relationship to Buthelezi and the violence there?

GI     I think Mandela and Buthelezi and the ANC and Inkatha will have to eventually talk. There's no doubt about that in my mind. And I think they will talk. And sometime I wish both sides would stop posturing because when you get them close to, when you see that maybe they're going to come close to talk, some of them will say something or other which is ... I don't think the ANC, unless I'm being naive, intends a one-party state. I don't think so. And Mr. Mandela met last week with church heads, I'm not talking about District Bishops, I'm talking about the Archbishop and the Presiding Bishop and so on, and he was sharing with them, he asked to meet with them and he was sharing with them his dream for a new South Africa made up of all persons. And he made the point, you know, that in the meeting with Mandela, that if you have to kill someone to make your point then there's something wrong. That's why I get the feeling that the ANC may be soon coming out with a different line.

POM     Could you define for me what a South African communist is? Or, why there is this fear of communism that still seems to linger here, despite the fact that it's been so discredited in the rest of the world?

GI     The only thing I can think is that for years and years and years, a kind of McCarthyism has been at work in this land. Anybody who was against the government, anybody who was standing for justice was labelled a communist. So there is a keen sense in many white people's minds of the danger of communists to this nation. Then all of a sudden you have them unbanned, and believe me we were paranoid about communism in this land. You know, they saw communists under every bush. That's the background in South Africa. For years and years and years and years communists were the bogeyman. And if you wanted to kill anybody, your reputation in the white community, you suggested that they had something to do with communism. And that's where it's at. And when you see Joe Slovo getting released and let in, people are saying, You know, Joe, he's a communist. And that's like saying he's got Aids in their minds. I don't think what's happened in Eastern Europe has even begun to undo that sort of perception that's been built here.

POM     At this time next year, where will do you think things will be and where do you hope they will be and where do you think they will be?

GI     I wish I knew. I don't know where they will be next year. I will just hope that the negotiations will be underway. I would hope that more than the ANC will be involved in them, the ANC and the Nationalist government. And I would hope that they will all be facing the question of how can you make these negotiations irreversible.

POM     Pat?

PK     Perhaps you understand this question and I don't. The Johan Heyns' statement about good and evil?

POM     Oh, yes. Yes. I interviewed Dr. Heyns and I'd asked him whether the Dutch Reformed Church after its "conversion", after it came out against apartheid, ever condemned, ever said that apartheid was evil. And he said that the church hadn't but they had said it was wrong. And that when they said it was wrong, that was tantamount to saying it was evil. And I found that a very weak answer. What kind of an answer would you find it to be?

GI     Yes, it's a weak answer. I think your perception of it is right. There are a couple of streams in the church today which you need to watch. The one is in the fundamentalist stream of the church, in the charismatic churches, these names may mean nothing to you, there is a kind of emphasis on spiritual warfare, what they call spiritual warfare. Everything is evil. And you've got to fight the devil. So it's not really the government you're fighting, it's the devil. You notice the great emphasis in South Africa on demon possession. And news, interviews, radio interviews, television interviews, the police are setting up a special department to handle the possibility of child sacrifice. That demon and so on. Now you watch that. That is a diverging tactic away from the real issues that we have to face. I'm not denying the force of evil. I'm not denying that, even in England I saw a program recently; Sixty Minutes. You know that programme? It had a very good analysis of demonism in England and so on. So I'm not saying it's not there. But it ought not to be taking the priority that it's been given in this country at the moment. So, we're into that. In the church? Yes, I think if my answer to your question is that when Mr. Heyns says that we haven't called it evil, we just said it was wrong, I think he's missing the issue. Because what I would define evil is that which destroys people. It's not just wrong, it's evil. So I think he was dodging the issue.

POM     What are the, still, the South African Council of Churches' reservations about allowing the Dutch Reformed Church to become a member again?

GI     Well, first of all, they haven't asked to become a member again. And the good thing that's come out of thing with the President's standing back now and saying it's up to the churches, we're now calling a large conference of churches in about November, I think, October or November, to discuss these issues. Just these very things.

POM     And then just finally, the Zionist church which we've heard is the largest church in South Africa.

GI     What's the name?

POM     The Zionist?

GI     Oh, the Zionist Church. Yes.

POM     Yes that it is the largest. What kind of values does it propagate? I mean, does it propagate values that ensure a kind of passivity and non-political advance?

GI     Yes. Yes. You've got it. You've got it. I'm not sure it's the largest church now.

POM     Yes?

GI     It may be the largest independent church, I think. I'm not sure it's the largest church in South Africa. I think there are more Methodists than Zionists, there are more Catholics and such. But it's an independent church and it may be the largest. OK, they're apartists in the sense that they would be teaching the need for prayer, bible reading, personal morality. But they would not encourage any involvement whatsoever in any kind of structural change, political change.

PK     Is there a motivation behind the government trying to, continuously trying to focus on Zionism and its following as opposed to some of the more traditional churches? Is there something they're trying to do there?

GI     Well, of course, don't forget it was the Zionist convention that invited Mr. Botha to speak to them. And he was thrilled at that because he had a lot of mileage out of that. And he had the videos going and everything and the television going, even overseas. He could say, "But here are 3 million blacks who are very happy with me! So I don't know why you are angry with me."

POM     Some people have said that in that connection, that in an open election, one voting registered that the National Party could perhaps get up to 20% of the black vote.

GI     Are you going to talk to Rory Riordan? At the Human Rights Trust?

POM     We haven't got him scheduled.

GI     He may be out of town. Monitor magazine has done a lot of investigation into the Coloured and Indian areas on that. You must get a copy of the Monitor while you're here. You must go around to the Human Rights Council.

POM     Is that around the corner?

GI     On Clyde Street. And let them put you on the mailing list for Monitor magazine. I'm not sure what that costs but I think it should be worthwhile.

POM     Yes, sure. Sure. Well, thank you very much once again for your eloquence.

GI     Thank you.

POM     You've a lovely way of putting things.

GI     Well, I just, I mean, sometimes I think I'm talking far too much.

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.