National Geographic : 1900 Mar
96 BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA AND THE TRANSVAAL door open and the oxen come out. They also thought it an act of cruelty to make so small an engine draw such a huge train of cars. The conditions I have described, however, are rapidly changing before the march of civilization. But beyond the present outlook there is a cloud on the horizon, very small now, but which may at no distant day increase until it overshadows South Africa and sweeps it with the destructive force of a tornado. There has existed for some time in South Africa an uneasy consciousness of danger, from the fact that many of the natives are restless and dissatisfied to a consider able extent. When it is considered that they so enormously outnum ber the white inhabitants, this is no imaginary danger. The Kafirs, Zulus, Basutos, Swazis, Matabeles, and other tribes of the Bantu race are not now as a whole untutored savages or weaklings, but a brave, virile race. Many of them, particularly among the Kafirs and Basutos, are well on the road to civilization, professing the Christian religion, having school-houses and churches; many of them also are tolerably well educated, speaking both Dutch and English, and are no longer willing to quietly endure the lordly superiority claimed by the white man over dark-skinned races; they have begun to realize their griev ances and to long for the rights of free men. The Boers have always been harsh and tyrannical in their treatment of the natives, a sur vival, perhaps, of the consequence of their long connection with negro slavery and the struggles they have had, first with the Hottentots, and later with the Kafirs and other Bantu tribes. The English have treated the natives with greater'humanity and justice than the Dutch have done, and the government regulations for their management are excellent, but the danger is that private cupidity and the struggle for wealth may induce the white man to override or evade these regulations. The supreme question in the development of Africa is not the in crease of the power and prestige of England, Germany, France, or any other European nation. All the nations that have been reconstruct ing the map of Africa must recognize the great responsibility they have incurred toward the native races. After the present war-clouds shall have been dissipated the future of South Africa will rest largely on the question of equity and integrity in the treatment of the natives. If those principles are strictly observed, there will lie a bright prospect before the country and its people, both white and colored; but if the white man closes his eyes and does not recognize the handwriting on the wall, he may receive a very rude awakening.