Online Archive  
Issue 10 - February 1973
Apartheid is achieving its desired effect, not in South Africa or Mozambique but in Australia - where the black community is gradually being wiped out of existence. This was the message that Bobbi Sykes, the militant black Australian leader carried with her to meetings in the north-east recently.

For a start, a black Australian is not a citizen of his country, and if he applies to become one he must separate himself from other blacks for two years. As non-citizens they cannot vote and are not entitled to welfare aids.

The practice of apartheid occurs in all fields of life, and especially affects those blacks not on the reserves (these are emigres from surrounding islands or native Australians born with a white parent). The education system is typical of the situation: in two hundred years only two blacks have become qualified post-graduates, and Bobbi who has shown her worth by becoming the first black journalist in Australia was herself forced to leave school at fourteen - the usual norm for black children.

After leaving school employment is almost impossible, with the lack of education provided, the common respiratory and eye diseases, and an unemployment level equivalent to Britain (not that this is stated when advertising the 'land of opportunity'!). Those blacks who drift to the cities live in black ghettos, and as in the case of the US Red Indians alcohol has become a serious social problem.

There is a dual legal system in operation, e.g. it is an offence for a black to be drunk, but a white must be disorderly. Arrests are made by police swooping on black bars and arresting all those there at the time. Any black brought to court can be uprooted with his whole family and dumped onto the reserves, whether found guilty or not.

The vast majority of blacks are kept permanently on these reserves, in conditions as bad as the Red Indians, and these reserves are out of bounds to other blacks and Relief Organisations such as the World Council of Churches and Oxfam, who have both attempted to inspect conditions recently.

In addition it is disturbing how the reserve areas are diminishing. Recently a 510 sq mile reserve at Weipa was reduced to 300 acres because the Government sold mineral rights to a Swiss firm. The same number of families remains on the reserve. Lord Vestey (of Midland Cold Storage Container notoriety) owns vast areas, and the workers are treated abysmally. In one area cheap black labour has been on strike for six years!

But what can this small black community do as their culture and existence slowly disappear? Miss Sykes and others have formed groups of militants who have co-ordinated protests to remind whites they exist.

In Britain we can work on a Campaign of Public Education like that operated with success on South Africa to publicise the facts, and discourage migration to this 'land of opportunity'. In addition donations towards the Emergency Nutrition Fund would be of practical assistance.

So next time you see Bondi Beach, Yvonne Goolagong (an aborigine who was adopted at 9 by whites and had the open conscience to declare herself white in order to play tennis in South Africa) or Brisbane Cricket Ground try to think about the corrugated sheds of misery on the forbidden detention camps.

Written after 2 days touring with Bobbi Sykes

For further information about the Educational Campaign or the Nutrition Fund please contact:
45 Woodbine Road
Newcastle NE3 1DC
Tel 855910