The late Mr. Jan Brand, that noble President who was succeeded by Reitz and now by Steyn in the presidency of the Orange Free State, appeared to have had early intimations, or at least presages, as to the true nature of the Afrikaner Bond, for during the early eighties that association had yet posed as a harmless body, intended to preserve old Boer traditions upon perfectly constitutional lines. President Brand and some others then already suspected more, as the following incident will show. In 1883 President Brand officially opened the new wagon-road bridge over the Caledon River at Commissie drift, near Smithfield, Orange Free State. Towards the conclusion of the ceremony, one of the other speakers, Mr. Advocate Peeters, member of the Volksraad for Smithfield district, in the course of his speech formally suggested that President Brand should accept the leadership of the Orange Free State section of the Afrikaner Bond. The President, addressing the burghers and all present, replied in about the following terms: The proposal just then made by Advocate Peeters had pained and offended him; the festive event would be marred by that incident were it not that it afforded him the opportunity, which he otherwise would have missed, of telling them all what he thought of the Afrikaner Bond—that it was an evil thing; he could not find terms strong enough to warn the people against its subtle seductions. The Afrikaner Bond professed its objects to be peace and harmony, but it really contained the pernicious seeds of division and strife, to set up enmity between English Afrikaners and Boer Afrikaners. He pointed out the sincerity of friendly relations on the part of England towards both the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republics. The peace which restored to the Transvaal its independence a few years before was one big proof; his Government had many proofs of England's good will, too. It suited both parties to maintain harmony—it behoved every Afrikaner to be one-minded in friendly reciprocation. Through a gracious Providence both Republics were prosperous and enjoyed independence. All over the world the prosperity of States depended upon good relations with their neighbours—this was especially so as regards the Orange Free State. They knew what kind of bond the Bible enjoined. It was the bond of peace and concord; and he concluded by declaring his well-grounded fears that the Afrikaner Bond was a device of the devil directed against the well-being of the entire Afrikaner nation. Instead of being encouraged, it should, like the "Boete Bosch" (Xanthium spinosum, burr weed), be extirpated from the soil of South Africa.
MEMORANDA OF BOND PROGRAMME, EMANATING FROM HOLLAND (TRANSLATION FROM GLEANINGS).
The Afrikaner Bond has as final object what is summed up in its motto of "Afrika voor de Afrikaners." The whole of South Africa belongs by just right to the Afrikaner nation. It is the privilege and duty of every Afrikaner to contribute all in his power towards the expulsion of the English usurper. The States of South Africa to be federated in one independent Republic.
The Afrikaner Bond prepares for this consummation.
Argument in justification:—
(a) The transfer of the Cape Colony to the British Government took place by circumstances of force majeure and without the consent of the Dutch nation, who renounce all claim in favour of the Afrikaner or Boer nation.
(b) Natal is territory which accrued to a contingent of the Boer nation by purchase from the Zulu King, who received the consideration agreed for.
(a) The British authorities expelled the rightful owners from Natal by force of arms without just cause. The task of the Afrikaner Bond consists in:—Procuring the staunch adhesion and co-operation of every Afrikaner and other real friend of the cause.
(b) To obtain the sympathy, the moral and effective aid of one or more of the world's Powers. The means to accomplish those tasks are:—
Personal persuasion, Press propaganda, legislation and diplomacy.
The direction of the application of those means is entrusted to a select body of members eligible for their loyalty to the cause and their abilities and position. That body will conduct such measures as need the observance of special secrecy. Upon the rest of the members will devolve activities of a general character under the direction of the selected chiefs.
One of the indispensable requisites is the proper organization of an effective fund, which is to be regularly sustained. Bond members will aid each other in all relations of public life in preference to non-members.
In the efforts of gaining adherents to the cause it is of importance to distinguish three categories of persons—
(1) The class of Afrikaners who are to some extent deteriorated by assimilative influences with the English race, whose restoration to patriotism will need great efforts, discretion, and patience.
(2)The apparently unthinking and apathetic class, who prefer to relegate all initiative to leaders whom they will loyally follow. This class is the most numerous by far.
(3) The warmly patriotic class, including men gifted with intelligence, energy, and speech, qualified as leaders and apt to exercise influence over the rest.
Among those three classes many exist whose views and religious scruples need to be corrected. Scripture abounds in proofs and salient analogies applying to the situation and justifying our cause. In this, as well as in other directions, the members who work in circulating written propaganda will supply the correct and conclusive arguments accessible to all.
Upon the basis of our just rights, the British Government, if not the entire nation, is the usurping enemy of the Boer nation.
In dealing with an enemy it is justifiable to employ, besides force, also means of a less open character, such as diplomacy and stratagem.
The greatest danger to Afrikanerdom is the English policy of Anglicizing the Boer nation—to submerge it by the process of assimilation.
A distinct attitude of holding aloof from English influences is the only remedy against that peril and for thwarting that insidious policy.
It is only such an attitude that will preserve the nation in its simple faith and habits of morality, and provide safety against the dangers of contamination and pernicious examples, with all their fateful consequences to body and soul.
Let the Dutch language have the place of honour in schools and homes.
Let alliances of marriage with the English be stamped as unpatriotic.
Let every Afrikaner see that he is at all times well armed with the best possible weapons, and maintains the expert use of the rifle among young and old, so as to be ready when duty calls and the time is ripe for asserting the nation's rights and be rid of English thraldom.
Employ teachers only who are animated with truly patriotic sentiments.
Let it be well understood that English domination will also bring religious intolerance and servitude, for it is only a very frail link which separates the English State Church from actual Romanism, and its proselytism en bloc is only a matter of short time.
Equally repugnant and dangerous is England's policy towards the coloured races, whom she aims, for the sake of industrial profit, at elevating to equal rank with whites, in direct conflict with scriptural authority—a policy which incites coloured people to rivalry with their superiors, and can only end in common disaster.
Whilst remaining absolutely independent, the ties of blood relationship and language point to Holland for a domestic base.
As to commerce, Germany, America, and other industrial nations could more than fill the gap left by England, and such connections should be cultivated as a potent means towards obtaining foreign support to our cause and identification with it.
If the mineral wealth of the Transvaal and Orange Free State becomes established—as appears certain from discoveries already made—England will not rest until those are also hers.
The leopard will retain its spots. The independence of both Republics is at stake on that account alone, with the risk that the rightful owners of the land will become the hewers of wood and drawers of water for the usurpers.
There is no alternative hope for the peace and progress of South Africa except by the total excision of the British ulcer.
Reliable signs are not wanting to show that our nation is designed by Providence as the instrument for the recovery of its rights, and for the chastisement of proud, perfidious Albion.
7. Literally "bush of fines" (fines imposed on landowners where the burr weed was not eradicated).
8. Africa for the African citizen or African-born whites.
9. It is notorious that from about 1890 such marriages were denounced from the Boer pulpits and on the occasions of the Independence day anniversaries (16th December).