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An Australian Reader Remembers Some Commonwealth History—The Double Standard That Hit South Africa In 1961
A Reader In Australia [Email him]
I had totally forgotten this page from Volume One of Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies' memoirs, into which I dipped afresh today. It's a 1961 cartoon from, I believe, Britain's DAILY EXPRESS by a certain Michael Cummings.
Haven't found the exact date of its appearance. But it must have happened just after PM Hendrik Verwoerd had withdrawn South Africa from the British Commonwealth. (March 1961).
Anyway, if anything like this cartoon were published in Cool Britannia, it would be banned, I should imagine, as "hate speech". A little pleasant browsing through Whittaker's Almanac annuals—at the State Library of Victoria—identifies all the figures portrayed. From left to right:
- Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker;
- New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Keith Holyoake;
- Hendrik Verwoerd;
- Kwame Nkrumah, personality cultist routinely addressed as "Redeemer" by those Ghanaians who valued their health;
- Nehru, having forgotten to remove his nightcap;
- Pakistani President Mohammed Ayub Khan (I think I deserve bonus points for figuring out that particular ayatollah's—oops, eminent statesman’s—identity);
- The sari-wearing Sirimavo Bandaranaike, distinguishable from Indira Gandhi principally through her absence of nukes, and who served as Prime Minister or President or something of Ceylon or Sri Lanka or something for about 57 years, or maybe it only seemed that long;
- Sir Roy Welensky, Prime Minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
- Harold Macmillan, naturellement, bringing up the rear outside the Commonwealth Club.
This might make an article for some magazine.
James Fulford writes: Hendrik Verwoerd went to London in 1961 to say that South Africa wanted to be a republic, not a monarchy, and asking (or offering) to remain in the British Commonwealth. All the black-ruled countries, which had been granted their independence on a similar basis, objected to this, because a white-ruled democratic country was much awfuller than all the black-ruled “One man, one vote, once” countries.
So Verwoerd withdrew his country’s application for membership of the British Commonwealth "in the interests of South Africa's honor and dignity".
It was the start of the denormalization process that led to black rule.
The cartoonist's point is that there was no Commonwealth country that couldn’t be attacked by anti-racists. And since 1961, all the white-ruled countries above have suffered similar attacks on their culture and history.