SEPTEMBER 27, 1985
BOILING SPRINGS, NORTH CAROLINA
^ Inside South Africa
With Dr. Partain
The following interview was conducted with
Dr. Jack G. Partain, professor of religion at
Gardner-Webb. Dr. Partain was appointed by
the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern
Baptist Convention; to Arusha, Tanzania for
the period extending from 1965 until 1978. Dr.
Partain served as a professor at the Baptist
Theological Seminary of East Africa. It is
hoped that our discussion will bring you to an
understanding of the current turmoil in South
Africa; its causes, and perhaps future ramifica
Q. What is apartheid?
A. The word means “separateness”. The
basic theory is this; in South Africa (S. A.) there
are several different nations . . . the White Afri-
kaaners, African Blacks, Indian, and Colored.
Each nation has its own heritage, language, and
culture. The government has decided that each
nation is to remain separate, so each develops
independently of the others. Black Africans
have their own educational system, and their
own unskilled jobs. This apartness permeates
every aspect of life. Each nation has its own
“homelands”. The Whites decided that all
poor land that Whites termed worthless (that
they hadn’t taken away from the Africans)
would be the Black African “homelands”. So,
24 million Blacks are left with about 13% of the
total land area; 5 million Whites claim the rest.
“24 million Blacks are left with about
13% of the total land area;
5 million Whites claim the rest.”
Q. This was started back in 1948?
A. The theory was pushed by South African
Prime Minister Verwoerd in the late 40’s and
Q. What was happening before 1948? Were
any Blacks in control?
A. No. Blacks have never been in control.
Q. How long has this group of Whites been
A. Since the I600’s. They’ve been there as
long as there’ve been White people in America.
They came from Holland, with a few from
France. They speak a language like Dutch, and
call themselves “Afrikaaners”.
Q. Do the Blacks work in White South
A. Yes, that’s where the system is shown to
be fiction. The pretense is that Africans do not
“really” live where they work. White S.A. is
not their “homeland”. This is how apartheid
becomes oppressive. Let’s say you come from
Bophuthatswana, but you live in a township
near Johannesburg (J-burg) called Soweto. But
of course you don’t really live in Soweto.
You’re not allowed to have property there; you
just have a permit to be there to work. You
must carry a passbook that shows who your
employer is. There are thousands of people
camped around J-burg, who work there, but
are not really allowed to “live” there. So you
have to carry out this fiction that you are a
foreigner in your own country. You can be
evicted at any time. You have no rights. You
can’t have your family with you. If your wife
and children come into the township, they are
in danger, because they have no pass. There
fore, all over the country, the women live back
in the “homeland” on a poor farm, rearing
by; Charlotte H. Porter
the children; while the husbands are at a mine
camp or a township. That’s a sure-fire formula
for social disintegration.
“There are thousands of people camped
around Johannesburg, who work there,
but are not really allowed to live there.”
Q. Do we have a right to try to change their
system? Jerry Falwell said recently that we’re
trying to get South Africans to change some
thing in 37 years; when it took us over 130 years
to move toward equality in America. Is there
any validity to what Falwell says?
A. I don’t know that there’s any validity to
that stance. I get a little troubled by trying to
equate every situation in every country with
something in American history. The situation
in S.A. is rather different, and difficult to
understand on our terms.
Q. I have a feeling many Americans equate
our Civil War with what’s happening there now.
A. It’s not the same. We’re deahng with an
extensive system which exploits the majority of
the people, for the economic and social benefits
of the minority.
Q. What makes it different from our experi
ence with civil war?
A. Whites were in the majority for one
thing; and there was no tone of nationalism.
You’re not dealing with slavery here, as such.
Q. Has the rioting been going on for years,
and we didn’t pay much attention? Is it just re
cently Blacks have gotten the courage to speak
A. There has been a wave of unrest about
every 10 years. Starting with the Sharpsville
incidents in the 1960’s; there have been riots in
the 70’s and early 80’s. It takes 10 years or so
for frustration to build up, and for another
generation of kids to come along who don’t re
member the last efforts. White S.A. is very
heavily armed, very efficient, and knows few
limits to what they will do to put down Black
Q. The major famine that we hear about in
Africa hasn’t touched S.A. Yet, I have a feeling
that a lot of us might confuse the famine in nor
thern Africa, with the problems of apartheid in
southern Africa. Many probably think there is
a hunger problem associated with the plight of
the South Africans.
A. Well, I’m sure there is a continuing prob
lem with undernourishment and a poor food
supply, especially in the “homelands”; because
of the way agriculture is done.
Q. Would it be safe to say that the Blacks in
S.A. are generally well-fed? They’re not facing
any major droughts or starvation?
A. They’re not dealing with massive death or
Q. Where in relation to S.A. is the famine?
A. Far to the north, in Ethiopia, Chad,
Mali; all along the band just south of the
Q. Has America aided in stirring unrest be
tween the White Afrikaaners, and the Black
Africans; because of our economic interests?
A. No. Many of our companies there, go
along with the White government. If you’re a
White businessperson; the benefits of the
Continued on Page 4
UTH AFRI C
For A New President
Due to the recent resignation of Dr. Craven WiUiams, the
Gardner-Webb College Board of Trustees is presently in the pro
cess of finding a worthy candidate to the position of President.
Mr. Hobart Smith, chairman of the board, has formed a Search
Committee which he will also supervise. The Search Committee
is comprised of George Blanton, Jr., Lloyd Bost, Dr. Paul
Craven, Ann Hardy, Bernard Parker and Dr. Timothy Pennell.
Already they have compiled a list of criteria which they will use
in their search for a new President. This criteria has been de
veloped into a statement which has been published in The
Chronicle, a well-reputed journal of higher education.
The ad in The Chronicle lists specific qualities which include
“distinguished academic credentials and proven dynamic, crea
tive leadership skills appropriate for a church-related liberal arts
college.” In addition “demonstrated abilities in communica
tions, fiscal management, and fund raising are expected.”
Dr. Williams relates his resignation to the growth of Gardner-
Webb over the past ten years. He feels that in order for Gardner-
Webb to continue its growth new le.adership is essential. Upon
leaving Gardner-Webb Dr. Williams will retain his title of
“President” as the head of the Dominion Corporation of
Raleigh. We wish the Williams family all of the best and we
thank them for ten years of unsurmountable growth, personal
commitment, and involvement.
This 1985-86 school year,
Gardner-Webb has seen a de
cline in on-campus enroll
ment. Though the total num
ber of students is only seventy-
five less than last year, the loss
is noticed most by returning
collegians and professors.
On the other hand, Dr.
Drayer, the Vice-President of
Academics, reports an impres
sive overall registration of
1,830 students. This figure in
cludes the day and night
classes here at the campus,
graduate studies, GOAL, as
well as the Gardner-Webb
satellite colleges in Statesville
and Charlotte. Thus far, there
have been 402 freshmen,
transfers, and re-admissions
welcomed to the college.
There are several possible
reasons behind the decrease in
students. One explanation as
indicated by Religion profes
sor Dr. Robert Lamb, is that
the famous post-World War II
Baby Boom has passed, result
ing in a smaller number of stu
dents in the 18-22 year old
Another explanation is that
state universities have started
recruiting students still in high
Continued on Page 2