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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Extracts from Newcastle Advertiser 1949-53

Visit to Newcastle Advertiser on 27 October 2003

EXTRACTS: January 21, 1949. Friday.

It's a small item that reads:

In spite of the rumour that a fracas between natives and Indians on the Newcastle station was narrowly averted this week, order has so far been maintained and no incidence of racial violence has been reported. Stringent measures have been taken by the police and station authorities to ensure that as far as possible no repercussion of the Durban riots will be experienced in Newcastle. Newcastle took on a military aspect during the weekend as convoys of vehicles including troop carriers, ambulances and armoured cars paused to refill with petrol. The SAAF Dakotas flying police and military reinforcements to Durban passed directly through the town.

This is from an editorial also on 21st January 1949. The editorial is called "The Lesson in History".

This paragraph reads:

When we remember that fifty years ago the Zulu was a soldier and not a workman we understand why he does not and perhaps never will make an exemplary servant. How can a warrior cast the Teutons of Africa ever sink to the degradation of domestic labour. We see that his love of warfare, a throwback from Shaka's day (mis-spelt Chaka's) still finds expression in the blood spilt in faction fights and now riots. By a study of his history we realise that there is nothing in his code of ethics to forbid slaughtering and plundering his neighbours. To him it is the soldiering tradition of men.

Headline on January 28, 1949

ASIATIC ALLIANCE TENURE ACT ENFORCED. INDIANS FOUND GUILTY.

The first paragraph reads:

Three Newcastle Indians, I S Vawda and D S Vawda, shopkeepers, and M E Vawda a medical practitioner, appeared before the Newcastle Magistrate's Court last Friday charged with occupying or allowing others to occupy premises other than those in an exempted area which was not lawfully occupied at a fixed date by an Asiatic without the authority of a permit. They were all found guilty and cautioned and discharged.

Interesting, I find that on 4th March 1949 the Newcastle Advertiser appears, at least for 1949, to publish an article in Afrikaans and not English.

From Friday April 1st, 1949

(By the way, the Newcastle Advertiser is a weekly paper.)

An item marked Stereo Crime Dealt with Last Week.

In the Magistrate's court last week a native jail prisoner was sentenced to 14 days hard labour for deserting from his place of work. Another native was sentenced to a fine of £1 or 14 days hard labour for deserting from his master's service while a male and female servant on the same charge were cautioned and ordered to return. Other crimes showed the same lack of originality and five natives including three women were sentenced to £2 or a month or £1 or 14 days for unlawfully being in enclosed premises at 2.30 am.

Item on the 15th April 1949.

Again, the spill-over from the Durban riots.

Serious shortage of policemen.

Like nearly every town in the Union Newcastle is experiencing a shortage of constables and according to an official statement 3000 recruits would be required to hold crime in (End of first side of tape continued on side 2)

Increase in crime, the riots such as those in Durban between Indians and natives has made the reinforcement of the police force at this time particularly necessary. Attention (that's all)

7th May

Nationalist Party Campaign meeting for the upcoming election in which Mr Marais (or Maree) spoke in detail of the Indian problem.

At the UNO India had referred to the Indians in South Africa as Indian nationals and as such they could be repatriated. If they would not go of their own free well conditions will be made to make them go. As Union nationals the Indians were still putting forward claims. India's ultimate claim, the equal franchise. Natal was in grave danger, he warned, and the English and Afrikaners must stand together but not under Hofmeyer.

Introducing T Naude, Mr Marais said that he had come here because he wanted to save white South Africa. He advocated that the English and the Afrikaners were to stand together and fight for white South Africa.

Dealing with the threat of communism Mr Marais stated that in order to fight communism now the standards of living of white people must be raised because the future was threatened by non-Europeans who would welcome communism.

Mr Naude said that when voting it was not a question of Mr Marais or not, it was a question of white South Africa or not. Both Dr Malan's motions for a round table of all parties to be held on the Coloured question had been voted against by the United Party. Mr Naude then outlined Mr Hofmeyer's policy. It is gradual enfranchisement of the natives.

There are large native education in the Cape Province. This ensures a certain part of the voting qualifications necessary for the native. The result is a large non-European voting list. Mr Hofmeyer already advocated abolition of the colour bar in the universities. It had been done at the universities of Pretoria and Cape Town. Now that we have acknowledged the Indians right to vote the native would

10th June.

There is a review of a book well it's issued by the Natal Tourist Guide and Hotel Accommodation Register, compiled and edited by Thomas Armstrong, which says that Newcastle today is the third largest industrial centre outside of Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

This is an item on 15th July 1949.

FILM GOING A NEW CRAZE

A new craze - film going at the Bantu cinema Kumalo Hall, Lennoxton, is altering somewhat the lives of the natives living in Newcastle. This is noticeable especially among the younger set who are falling off in their attendance of their previous popular swing sessions. The prices are one quarter for adults and 8 pence for children and the social implications are not forgotten, for the neatly roneoed advertisements patrons are urged to 'roll up and meet your friends'. Local industry cry is exploited to the full and the Bantu population is asked to 'support your own bioscope'.

These slogans are enticing enough, but I like the phrase which has more appeal than all Mr Goldwyn's superlatives put together, it is simply, 'You will be sorry if you miss this picture'. The film They Were Expendable and showed last Saturday night. My own comment was yeah, they should go to it, they were expendable.

Two small items but an indication of the implementation of apartheid.

THE NATIVE SECTION OF HOSPITAL IS TEMPORARY

At a meeting of the Newcastle Town Castle held on Tuesday the Mayor said that he had been advised that the proposed new native section of the hospital would be of a temporary nature and would suffice only until the new native hospital to be built near the native school was completed.

At the end of the page, a little item, legend:

SEGREGATION INDANNHAUSER

The Newcastle Advertiser Correspondent in Dannhauser reports that the Dannhauser Post Office which did not have a separate counter for Asiatics in the past has now been divided into two sections, European and non-European. Previously there was a counter where only natives were served.

(Divide them. In other words the natives were the Africans so before you had a counter for Africans and others, now you had one for Indians, Coloureds and Africans and one for whites.)

19th August 1949

Item talks about the acute shortage of farm labour in Newcastle and notes that as the country is becoming more industrialised labour gravitates to the industrial centres and "unless some scheme is evolved to keep sufficient labour in the purely rural areas the farm labour position will continue to deteriorate". And "The draw of higher wages and location subsided housing schemes are the main cause of the influx of natives into the towns and cities and farmers are turning more and more to mechanical means of production."

Friday November 5th, 1948

An announcement of the election of native representatives.

Tuesday November 2nd was polling day for 10 000 native voters in Newcastle and district. The district is split into four wards and one native in each of these wards is elected. He in turn joins the executive which elects the native representative in parliament of which there are two. This election is between Mr Brookes, United Party, and Mr van Rooyen, Nationalist.

The official motto of the town is: He who goes not forward goes backwards.

7th October 1949

NATIVE SWORE AT EUROPEAN

In the Newcastle Magistrate's Court last Friday a native was found guilty of using obscene language in the main street of the town. A 13-year old European boy said he was coming out of the gate to his house when the native passed on a bicycle and swore at him. His dogs did not chase the native. The native said the European boy barred his way and he could not pass. When he dismounted from his bicycle the boy ran into the house. 'I rang the bell three times. His dogs were killing me', he continued. He was sentenced to a fine of £1 with the alternative of 2 weeks of hard labour. The fine was paid.

Friday, September 17th

Mr van der Smit, Assistant Manager, said that he was of the opinion that the action Mr Schabram has taken was justifiable when he dismissed the case before the court in which Mr Schabram was appearing on a charge of culpable homicide for allegedly shooting and killing a native who was in his house. On June 1st Mr Schabram who is a Station Manager went into his bedroom and discovered that the mosquito netting on the window had been ripped off and he immediately suspected that someone had gained entry through the window and was in all probability still in the house. Mr Schabram went to another room to fetch his gun. Calling to his wife he remarked that there was a native in the room and asked whether she could notice the odour peculiar to many natives. Mrs Schabram was about to enter the room in question when the door was slammed in her face. Mr Schabram immediately challenged whoever was in the room to come out, warning that he had a gun and would fire. After calling several times without receiving a reply he fired two shots through the door to frighten the burglar. Eventually when the opened the door they discovered a native in the room and he was badly wounded. Subsequently the boy died.

In summing up Mr van der Smit said Mr Schabram was justified in shooting for there was a "state of emergency" and he must have felt that his life was in danger.

October 15th 1948.

Newcastle's municipal elections last week disclosed that there are 20 Indians registered as municipal voters in Ward 2 and recalled that until some years ago Indians had full municipal franchise in Natal and the right, believed never to have been exercised, to stand for election. The franchise was withdrawn but the right was safeguarded of those already on voters' rolls throughout the province to remain on. Death has removed them in succeeding years. In those days the Indian vote was much sought after because in at least one ward in Newcastle it had a dominating influence.

Next item.

Senator Browne is speaking and he is accusing the Nationalists of speaking with three voices.

The Labour Party were in favour of satellite towns provided with good transport facilities. Natives could return from work and live in their home surroundings which everybody, no matter what the colour of his skin, is entitled to, said Senator Browne. The Nationalists spoke with three voices on this matter. They told the industrialists they were going to drive the natives from the country, then they told the farmers they were going to clear them from the towns and then they promised the natives their own Bantustan. Senator Browne dealt with Coloured and Indian representation and said that the United Party had passed the Asiatic Tenure Act without the consent of the country. The act entitled three Europeans to represent the Indians and later it was moved that two Indians take the place of the European representatives. The Labour Party opposed this bill but it went through. The Nationalists passed a resolution whereby the Indians were to have no direct representation at all. The Labour Party was not prepared to support taxation without representation.

The proposals were to appear in the Newcastle Advertiser on April 4th and 11th 1947.

On September 8th 1947 the Newcastle Town Council wrote to the Secretary of the Board to ask if the matter had been finalised. The Secretary's reply was that the Board's report and recommendations on the matter had not been forwarded to the Secretary.

The signed statement to the Newcastle Advertiser, Advocate S Frank gives the following reasons for his resignation from the United Party, for joining the Afrikaner Party. The election of a communist by natives by such overwhelming majority proves without a shadow of a doubt that western European civilisation in South Africa is faced with a threat so grave that it's the duty of every European South African to assist in his utmost in combating the cursed onslaught. It has further proved that the policy followed by us in the past instead of being appreciated by the native leaders and being used to uplift the ignorant, uncivilised native masses to a sense of responsibility has been used to the contrary to promote racial hatred and ill feeling to such an alarming extent as proved by the election result. The government and the Senate will provide the forum for their well-known dastardly (disasterly?), irresponsible attacks on our heritage if we wish to safeguard South Africa for us and our children. All true South Africans must unite to fight the imminent danger which if allowed to develop will assuredly destroy our fatherland.

March 26th 1948.

There is an article - LOCAL INDIAN CHARGED FOR AIDING PASSIVE RESISTERS.

For aiding and abetting four persons who were prohibited from entering the province to enter Transvaal, Dr Gordham was fined £15 or three months hard labour. On the night before the entry into the Transvaal the accused was approached by a group of Indians to hire a taxi to take four unknown men across the border. The following morning he approached F.M.Naicker, a taxi driver, and asked him the fare to Volksrust. The final far agreed upon was £3. He paid Naicker then. When Naicker asked him who his passengers were he told he him he didn't know. He later learned that they were passive resisters. That afternoon Naicker took his four passengers as far as the border where the car was stopped and permits demanded by the police. The four passengers refused to return to Natal but Naicker left.

7th July 1950

MORE AFRIKAANS TAUGHT TO NATIVES

Representatives of the Natal African Teachers Union now in congress in Newcastle who attended the sittings of the Natal Native Education Advisory Board told the Congress that Afrikaans was being taught increasingly in African schools and they trusted that this policy should be continued as opportunity afforded. On the rising of the standard of African education they said the board learned with much satisfaction the rising of the standard of African education as reflected in the new Standard 7 syllabus and trusts that this policy will be continued. At the same time they expressed alarm at the poor results in the 1949 Standard 7 examination and said that they "assumed this was partly due to the change of syllabus and that it was too soon to judge whether the rising of the standard would continue to cause many failures."

January 30th

NATIVES EVICTED FROM TOWN LANDS

Eight families of natives living in 14 huts on the town lands of Newcastle were evicted by the Deputy Messenger of the Court on Monday afternoon. They had previously been given notice to leave the municipal authority but had taken no notice of the warnings and ejection orders. On a previous occasion the Deputy Messenger had been threatened with violence should any attempt be made to evict them and they were given 14 days within which to leave. The municipality had offered them alternative suitable accommodations in the new native location.

February 6th

There's another small article:

There have been further developments in connection with the eviction of certain native families from a part of town lands under an order obtained by the municipality. Although the natives were officially evicted by the Court Messenger and their huts sealed an appeal has been sent on their behalf to the Native Representative Senators and to the Native Affairs Department claiming an investigation into the criminal circumstances.

Next Item (no date)

Mr Ray Swart is the main speaker and he reiterated that personality party politics had come to an end and now people should determine their opinions not by respective leaders but by considering the policies of different groups. He blamed politicians for stirring up bitterness between Afrikaners and English speaking sections of the community by throwing the spotlight on tragedies of the past which were best forgotten. If South Africa wanted to rank as one of the progressive nations of the world it would have to be as the South African nation and not as separate entities divided by barriers of prejudice and bitterness. He pointed out that the native is the white man's responsibility. As the white man continued to break his promises to the native this group of population could completely lose faith in his superiors. The move to remove the Cape Coloureds from the common voters roll was an infringement of the constitution and it was passed by a simple majority. It would frighten away overseas capital as it would be the general opinion that the government was not sufficiently stable to warrant investment.

(Obviously Mr Swart is a United Party oh it says so later here.)

Mr Swart expressed the optimistic hope that the United Party was rounding the bend after all the reverses it had suffered in the last year and that hard and willing work was needed if anything was to come of this turn of the tide.

17th November 1950.

DEEPAVALI CELEBRATED

A gathering of over 300 people representing all sections of the Indian community attended the Deepavali celebration which was held at the H P S Hall, Lennoxton under the auspices of the Hindi Pracharni Sabha. After the "Hawan" ceremony the crowd was entertained with songs and music by the H P S Hindu schoolchildren. The Chairman, Mr A R Singh, after welcoming the guests spoke of the significance of Deepavali. Mr G M Singh, the Joint Secretary of the HPS stressed that Hindu should be adopted as a national language of all Indians in this country. "Such celebration creates a love for our mother tongue, culture and civilisation. It tends to awaken dormant minds and make us feel conscious of what we learn." Mr Singh continued, "A language is the pride of every nation and we must therefore give greater prominence to our Hindu language which is going to become the lingua franca of India. To achieve this purpose we need the unstinted support and co-operation of our people. We should not allow sentiment to carry us away from the ideals for which we stand, that of unity and brotherhood, and we should pledge ourselves to propagate Hinduism throughout the country and bring about solidarity among our people."

Friday 10th . 1950.

An editorial: LAW & ORDER.

We do not agree with these snowball native banks in fact we abhor them. They relate too closely to the equivalent of the "spiv" who became and still is notorious in the aftermath of the last war. But we like less this boisterous hooliganism that seems to be spreading among the Bantu people. For that reason we welcome the conviction of 33 native women in the Magistrate's Court in Newcastle two weeks ago. This sentence was tempered with mercy and for that we are grateful. After all they are our children and for this brief moment of time they are still our children and our responsibility.

But indications both on the Rand and in Durban are that they are outgrowing this adolescence. Unhappily, like the eastern world, in the European proletariat way. That is the wrong way. Feeding emotions on blasted people's hopes has never helped any people and that is what is going on underground among our Bantu people. We are liberal to a degree that we still welcome the sentence imposed on these rioters. We would go further. We would suggest that our magistrates, who are also our Native Commissioners, should tell petty thieves and kraal heads that the punishment in future will be much more severe. As Europeans we have to abide by the many irksome rules and regulations. Apart from apartheid and anything else the Bantu must also learn that if he and this country is to progress we must appreciate law and order.

28th April 1950

A little editorial called: FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT

The organisation of the Gymkhana have called for tenders for catering for Indians at the gymkhana to be held tomorrow. Indians have always patronised our race course and they provide a large measure of the income and they always amuse the crowd with their excitement towards the end of a race. Indians here have little entertainment if not less than us and they are also entitled to a day out and they are entitled to some comfort and consideration while they are there. The committee are to be congratulated on this step and they are to be congratulated on giving us some form of relaxation. They have put in some very hard work to make the day a success and they deserve our support and thanks.

18th January 1952

FIRST INDIAN PRINCIPAL

A Dannhauser Indian, Mr. A D Lazarus BA MA, has been appointed the first Indian Principal of Sastri College, the premier Indian institute for higher education for Indians in Natal. This is the first time an Indian has been appointed to the post. All the previous Principals were Europeans. Mr Lazarus was also the first Indian in Natal to qualify as BA and the first Indian to proceed to America where he took his MA degree at Yale University. He has travelled widely and has considerable teaching experience.

Friday 9th May

PASS LAWS DISCUSSED

The Executive Committee of the African National Congress, Natal Branch, met at the Eastern Theatre Hall and addressed the Africans of Dannhauser and the district on the proposed action to be taken in the future against the pass laws and other measures.

The Chairman of the Congress, Chief Luthuli told the meeting that he did not advocate the burning of passes but was asking for volunteers to come forward and refuse to carry passes and thus court imprisonment. He did not want violence. On the question of the culling of cattle, Chief Luthuli stated he was against it and he wanted the people to refuse to drive the cattle to dips and other places where the cattle were to be decreased. He wanted the volunteers to remain at home and allow the authorities to drive the cattle and when the owners were charged they would go to prison as a protest against this measure.

May 22nd 1953 referring to the coronation of Elizabeth.

Dannhauser Indians have decided to take part in the coronation celebrations and a Coronation Celebration Committee has been formed under the auspices of the Dannhauser Indian Child Welfare Society and the Principal and staff of the Indian school. An elaborate programme has been drawn up and the celebration is expected to last a full day. The Dannhauser Town Council is giving a grant towards the celebration. The Committee is busy collecting funds.

June 12th 1953

Native headmaster says Africans should respect Europeans. "The development of an attitude of love and respect towards the white people is the most important task of the African educationist. It is the only path of progress for African people", said the Principal of the Fairleigh Native High School, Mr A M Nzimande, in welcoming a large gathering of Europeans and natives on the annual sports and music competition held under the auspices of the Newcastle Utrecht branch of the Natal African Teachers Union at the Fairleigh Native School.

June 3rd 1953.

Heavy fines were imposed in the Dannhauser Magistrate's Court on natives found in possession of large quantities of dagga. Samson Nkosi, a native aged 45, was found guilty by the Resident Magistrate of being in possession of 61 oz. of dagga.

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.