n South African Law Journal - A century worth celebrating : notes

Volume 127, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



It is understandable that no great fuss has been made of the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of South Africa as a nation state within its current borders (through the South Africa Act 9 Edw VII, ch 9). The Act of Union, after all, while it represented a triumph for those arguing for the formal reconciliation of 'Boer and Brit', marked much more negatively the exclusion of the majority of the new country's population from any effective say in the institutions of government. Not only were the proponents of federalism, which might have allowed the less conservative leadership in the Cape Colony to retain a degree of autonomy through which to pursue government based on individual worth, soundly defeated, but the elements of non-racial government preserved in the Cape franchise arrangements (and to a lesser extent, those of Natal) were seen as provisions to be protected as a dying species, rather than as bridgeheads for their expansion more widely within the Union.

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