Alan Paton's speech at the Lotus Hall

2008-05-29 00:00

On the Sunday evening of March 26, 1961, at the same time as the All-in-Africa Conference was winding down at the Arya Samaj Hall in Imbali, Alan Paton, national president of the Liberal Party and author of Cry, the Beloved Country, was speaking at the Lotus Hall in Longmarket Street.

As reported in The Natal Witness, Paton told the multi-racial audience that “South Africa would now be moving into an era of more governmental boycotts on the part of overseas countries.” He said “it was quite clear that the West was drawing away from any kind of support for the policies of apartheid and there was a possibility of increased aggressiveness on the part of the African nations”.

Paton, in reviewing a few of the probabilities for the future, said that there was one certainty — that long before the year 2000 Afrikaner nationalism would no longer be the ruling power.

“The only alternative to catastrophe in this country lay in a process whereby those who had power, property and privilege (compelled by external and internal pressures) embarked on sharing these benefits … with those less privileged.”

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