The Long, Long Trek of the Afrikaners

A large number of cultural and self-help organisations were established in these years: the Reddingsdaadbond (literally Rescue Operation Alliance, representing a concerted Afrikaans action to extract themselves from their dreadful dilemma); the FAK – Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniging; the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns; the ATKB; AKPOL; the SAVF; Dames Aktuel; Jong Dames Dinamiek and many more.

Carnegie Report

The first detailed, scientific study of the Poor White problem nation-wide was made by SA investigators financed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  The Commission issued a five-volume report on its findings in 1932.

A “Poor White” was designated as “someone of European descent who could not support himself according to even a moderate European standard of civilisation.”  At the time of the investigation, the Commission estimated that 300 000 of the White Community, 17,5% of the total number, were “very poor.”  One in every four Afrikaners was a “Poor White,” it was stated.

After intelligence testing of more than 15 000 pupils in 170 schools, many of them from Poor White homes, the Commission said that this “leads to the conclusion that a greater part of them constitute a human material which need not be a burden, but which may, granted a sound State policy, become a decided asset to the Union.”

By now, relief schemes were in full blast, with tens of thousands of men employed on railways, roads and irrigation schemes.  They were given free housing and paid at the rate of 3s. to 5s. a day.  In this manner, over the years, great numbers were assisted to reach a higher level of subsistence.