n English in Africa - "A teaspoon of milk in a bucketful of coffee" : the discourse of race relations in early twentieth-century South Africa

Volume 38, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



This year, 2010, marks the centenary of the creation of the Union of South Africa (and the modern South African state). From our vantage point, the South Africa Act of 1909 and the formal event of Union on 31 May 1910 cannot but seem shabby milestones in the country's long shabby history of racially discriminatory legislation. But it may be salutary to be reminded of just how far the public discourse on race and race relations has shifted over the past century. In this essay I canvass a range of popular contemporary English-language sources, mainly non-literary, in order to adumbrate the discourse in which, in the years between the South African War and the First World War (and beyond), white South Africans discussed the politics and future of race relations in the country.

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