A. B. Xuma: “Bridging the Gap between White and Black in South Africa”

(1930)

Alfred Bitini Xuma’s speech “Bridging the Gap between White and Black in South Africa” was given to a multiracial audience at the South African Native College in Fort Hare, South Africa, on the evening of July 1, 1930. Xuma, a black South African, presented “Bridging the Gap between White and Black in South Africa” during an unusual event, the Bantu-European Student Christian Conference, which met between June 27 and July 3. Tracing historical developments in South Africa following the arrival in 1652 of about ninety European men employed by the Netherlands East India Company, Xuma highlighted white-black interaction and conflict and the discovery and exploitation of diamonds and gold in the later nineteenth century. This exploitation created enormous demand for cheap black labor, radically modernized the nation's economy, and seriously affected race relations in South Africa. Xuma ended his historical narrative with a reference to the creation of the Union of South Africa...