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THREE HUNDRED YEARS
"Mnguni", the author of this seminal work, is the pen name of Hosea Jaffe, who grew up in Oudtshoorn (Cape). Trained at the University of Cape Town as an engineer, he finally adopted teaching as a career. He fled the country during the repression after Sharpeville, was hounded out of Kenya by the government, and then commuted between Britain and Europe.
The purpose of this history is to expose the process of the conquest, dispossession, enslavement, segregation and disfranchisement of the oppressed Non-Europeans of South Africa, in order that the oppressed as a whole will understand better how to transform the status quo into a society worth living for and worth living in.
The present South Africa, the status quo, did not drop from the heavens. It was man-made. It can be transformed by man. In the very process of conquest, expropriation and enslavement, the conquered were metamorphosed into potential liberators, the conquerors were rendered unfit to manage society, and the artificial restraining walls of colour-discrimination baulk progress in all walks of life.
To understand these forces of liberation and reaction and the contemporary struggle between the two, we must understand how both came into being. For we cannot know a phenomena without knowing its history.
To know the past is already a step forward in knowing the road to liberation. This study is not academic, but part of the knowledge of liberation. The study of our past should aid us in unburdening ourselves of the decaying monster, the status quo, which grows hungrier with age, more desperate with time, for its main sustenance is the ignorance, unawareness and passivity of its host, the oppressed, and its death knell is the awakening of the people.
CAPE TOWN, 1952
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