Letter To Professor D. D. T. Jabavu, July 5, 1940

In my letter of yesterday I forgot to stress the fact that the Government has offered to employ four thousand Africans to guard vital points and although these people will be called upon to take up a most dangerous kind of job, they will not be armed.

The experience of the Belgian, Dutch, French and British soldiers has shown us that even these well-equipped and well-armed soldiers were not able to stand up to the superior armed forces of the enemy. How dare the Government of this country expect the Africans to withstand such mechanised attacks armed only with wooden-sticks and knob-kerries? It shows a callous and criminal disregard of the sanctity of African lives. The audacity of the Government in making such an insulting offer transcends all the limits of human decency. Were it not so tragic the offer might have given no amount of derisive amusement to our people.

This latest piece of effrontery should not be allowed to go unchallenged. Let us proclaim in stern but clear terms that we shall not allow such an intolerable state of affairs to continue any longer. We must make it clear to the Government that it must either take heed of our timely warning or suffer the consequence for its criminal disregard of non-European feeling and sentiment.

Again wishing your conference success.

Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo South Africa's Freedom Struggle: Statements, Speeches and Articles including Correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi

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