South Africa at the crossroads: Responding to the winds of change

The document concerns African nationalism and assesses the ability of South Africa’s present regime to resist it. South Africa is virtually isolated and condemned by the world for its racial policies. Thus far, its basic response has been increasing military preparedness, but there are three broad possible responses: resisting all demands for radical, acceding to these demands, or steering a pragmatic middle course, where certain basic premises should determine the policy: fundamental social, economic and political changes are inevitable. The longer reforms are delayed, the more radical demands become. Those demanding change should be convinced of South Africa’s sincerity of purpose. There is a necessity for consensus. Against this background, this document considers the basic tensions prevailing in the social, economic and political spheres, discusses steps that can relieve them, and also consider external pressures from the outside world that effect South Africa’s internal policy, especially concerning Africa and the intrusion of Soviet Russia and China, which added a new dimension to Southern African problems. The conclusion is that, if all demands are resisted in the mistaken belief that to concede something is to surrender everything, the masses will wrest political power from the ruling minority by violent means.