Die dinamika van Blank en Bruin verhoudinge op Stellenbosch (1920-1945)

Hendrich, Gustav (2006-12)

Thesis (MA (History))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.

Thesis

Since the twenties the dynamic disposition of white and Coloured human relations was remarkably influenced by specific political, social and economic phenomena and change. In the social life a healthy mutual relationship prevailed. Particularly in the town centre of Stellenbosch white and Coloured residents lived side by side in undisturbed harmony. Within this rather enclosed town society, both religious and educational institutions played a vital role in the colligation and cementation of peaceful white and Coloured co-existence. Apart from this, fixed political thoughts revolving around the maintenance of “white superiority” and the supposition of “Coloured inferiority” became a severe handicap for the constancy of the relations over the long term. During the thirties economic depression, radical political ideologies and particularly an enduring tendency towards racial separation – or segregation, also made inroads into Stellenbosch. White residents mostly embraced segregation as an attempt to safeguard and maintain white control whereas most Coloured people rejected it outright. In 1938 the influence of Afrikaner nationalism and the Great Trek centennial further stimulated the political consciousness of the towns’ people. As a result of increased tension between the different groups in Stellenbosch and the social impact of the outbreak of the Second World War the entire town community became divided between two irreconcilable camps. Together with this political division, internal racial friction mounted and became inevitable. In July 1940, this racial friction reached its pinnacle when a severe town riot between white students and Coloured people erupted. Historically this was one of the most tragic events in the history of Stellenbosch. Thereafter the white and Coloured relations gradually improved despite the ongoing poor socio-economic conditions of Coloured people and the continuation of segregation at the end of the war in 1945.

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