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Historia

versión On-line ISSN 2309-8392
versión impresa ISSN 0018-229X

Historia vol.54 no.2 Durban  2009

 

Maintaining a British way of life: English-speaking South Africa's patriotic, cultural and charitable associations

 

Die behoud van 'n Britse lewenswyse: Engelssprekende Suid-Afrikaners se patriotiese, kulturele en liefdadigheidsverenigings

 

 

John Lambert

John Lambert is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of History of the University of South Africa He has published widely in the field of white English-speaking South African studies The article is based on a paper delivered at the biennial conference of the South African Historical Association held at the University of Pretoria in July 2006

 

 


ABSTRACT

As part of on-going research on the history of white English-speaking South Africans, this article examines the role played by a number of patriotic, cultural and charitable associations in the lives of English-speakers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most of the associations were transplanted to South Africa from the United Kingdom or from Canada and they were firmly grounded in the British and imperial ethos that was so marked a feature of the group. The article examines the establishment and growth of the associations and shows how they flourished during the years of British paramountcy in the sub-continent and during times of crisis such as the two World Wars. It then examines the reasons for a decline in association membership from the middle of the twentieth century.

Key words: : British Empire Service League; Britishness; brotherhood; Caledonian societies; charity; culture; English-speaking South Africans; First World War; Freemasons; Guild of Loyal Women; imperialism; MOTHs; patriotic, cultural and charitable associations; patriotism; Protestantism; Second World War; Sons of England; South Africanism; sport


OPSOMMING

As deel van voortgesette navorsing oor die geskiedenis van wit, Engelssprekende Suid-Afrikaners, ondersoek hierdie artikel die rol wat 'n aantal patriotiese, kulturele en liefdadigheidsverenigings in die negentiende en twintigste eeu in die lewens van Engelssprekendes gespeel het. Die meeste van hierdie verenigings is uit die Verenigde Koninkryk of Kanada na Suid-Afrika oorgeplant, en hulle fondasies was deeglik in die Britse en imperiale etos gevestig - 'n kenmerkende eienskap van die groep. Die artikel ondersoek die stigting en groei van die verenigings, en dui aan tot watter mate hulle gedurende die jare van Britse oppergesag oor die sub-kontinent, asook gedurende krisistye soos die twee Wêreldoorloë, gedy het. Dit ondersoek dan ook redes waarom lidmaatskap van die verenigings van die middel van die twintigste eeu afgeneem het.

Sleutelwoorde: British Empire Service League; Britsheid; broederskap; Caledoniese Verenigings; Eerste Wêreldoorlog; Engelssprekende Suid-Afrikaners; Guild of Loyal Women; imperialisme; kultuur; liefdadigheid; MOTH's; patriotiese, kulturele en liefdadigheidsorganisasies; patriotisme; Protestantisme; Sons of England; sport; Suid-Afrikanisme; Tweede Wêreldoorlog; Vrymesselaars


 

 

Full text available only in PDF format.

 

1 The UNESSA Manifesto, included in personal correspondence, Peter Parnwell, Dorchester, 19 May 2004
2 L Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1830 (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1992)         [ Links ]
3 During recent years there has been a wide interest in Britishness throughout the English-speaking world, as is evident from a series of British World conferences that have been held this decade For a discussion on Britishness in South Africa, see: S Dubow, "How British was the British World? The Case of South Africa", Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 37, 1, 2009, pp 1-27;         [ Links ] J Hyslop, "Cape Town Highlanders, Transvaal Scottish: Military 'Scottishness' and Social Power in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century South Africa", unpublished paper, British World conference, University of Cape Town, 2002; J M Mackenzie with N R Dalziel, The Scots in South Africa: Ethnicity, Identity, Gender and Race, 1772-1914 (Manchester University Press, Manchester & New York, 2007);         [ Links ] C Saunders, "Britishness in South Africa: Some Reflections", Humanities Research, 13, 1, 2006, pp 61-69;         [ Links ] A S Thompson, "The Language of Loyalism in Southern Africa, circa 1870-1939", English Historical Review, 118, 477, 2003, pp 617-650 See also the following articles that I have written: "Britishness, South Africanness and the 1st World War", in P Buckner and R D Francis (eds), Rediscovering the British World (Calgary University Press, Calgary, 2005); "An Identity Threatened: White English-Speaking South Africans, Britishness and Dominion South Africanism, 1934-1939", Kleio, 37, 2005, pp 50-70; "'Munition Factories Turning Out a Constant Supply of Living Material': White South African Elite Boys' Schools and the 1st World War", South African Historical Journal, 51, 2004, pp 67-86; "South African British? Or Dominion South Africans? The Evolution of an Identity in the 1910s and 1920s", South African Historical Journal, 43, 2000, pp 197-222; "'The Thinking is Done in London': South Africa's English-language Press and Imperialism", in C Kaul (ed), Media and the British Empire (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2006);         [ Links ] "'Their Finest Hour?' English-speaking South Africans and World War II", South African Historical Journal, 60, 1, 2008, pp 60-84
4 Morrell has discussed the domination of Natal Freemasonry by the colonial elite See R Morrell, From Boys to Gentlemen: Settler Masculinity in Colonial Natal, 1880-1920 (Unisa Press, Pretoria, 2001), p 118         [ Links ]
5 M Nuttall, St Patrick's Church, Pietermaritzburg, 1904-2004 (No publisher, Pietermaritzburg, 2004), p 10,         [ Links ] and generally pp 10-11
6 Pretoria News, 27 April 1912, "Who are the Sons of England?" This was a legacy of their Canadian origins
7 V Bickford-Smith (ed), Cape Town in the Twentieth Century: An Illustrated Social History (David Philip, Cape Town, 1999), p 96         [ Links ]
8 See http://www grandlodge co za/glsahist html; N Worden (ed), Cape Town, the Making of a City: An Illustrated Social History (David Philip, Cape Town, 1998), p 144;         [ Links ] Morrell, From Boys to Gentlemen, p 117
9 AA Cooper, The Freemasons ofSouth Africa (Human & Rousseau, Cape Town, 1986), p 158         [ Links ]
10 Cooper, The Freemasons ofSouth Africa, pp 152-158
11 See http://www grandlodge co za/glsahist html
12 F Prochaska, Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain: The Disinherited Spirit (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006), p 7         [ Links ]
13 See http://www raobgle org uk/order htm, WAC Hartmann, Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes Grand Lodge of England: Conceptions and Misconceptions It was founded near the Drury Lane Theatre by stage hands and theatre technicians, receiving its name from the fact that meetings always concluded with the singing of the ballad, "We"ll chase the buffalo" Despite its title, it never received a royal charter, but by the 1860s so many lodges had appeared, that the Grand Lodge of England was formed to govern the order and structures Ritual and regalia similar to all Masonic lodges were introduced
14 Lochhead's Guide, Hand-book and Directory of Pretoria, 1913 (The State Library, Pretoria, 1980), p 225
15 One of the few non-British or non-Dominion Masonic associations to set up daughter lodges in South Africa, was the American International Order of Good Templars, a temperance movement that combined temperance with Masonic rituals and ceremonies See Worden (ed), Cape Town, pp 232-233
16 Worden (ed), Cape Town, pp 121-122
17 Lochhead's Guide, p 225
18 J M Mackenzie with N R Dalziel, The Scots in South Africa: Ethnicity, Identity, Gender and Race, 1772-1914 (Wits University Press, Johannesburg, 2007), pp 224-227         [ Links ]
19 Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa X (Nassou, Cape Town, 1974), p 62 The reason for choosing Uitenhage as the founding centre of the association is unclear
20 The Natal Mercury, 19 April 1915, "Sons of England" As this article concentrates on the associations in what became the Union of South Africa, it does not pay attention to lodges and other branches established by amongst others the Freemasons, Sons of England and the Caledonians elsewhere in southern Africa It is to be hoped that research will be done on associations outside South Africa, particularly in Southern Rhodesia
21 Pretoria News, 4 March 1903, "New Zealand Club" Proof of how active the various associations were, is provided in the social and activities columns of all English-language newspapers from the late nineteenth century into the interwar years
22 Lochhead's Guide, pp 224-226
23 Pretoria News, 27 April 1912, "Who are the Sons of England?"
24 Pretoria News, 27 April 1912, "Who are the Sons of England?"
25 Pretoria News, 4 July 1914, Editorial
26 National Archives of South Africa, Transvaal Archives (hereafter NASA, TAB), Governor-General Papers (hereafter GG), 3/5306, Secretary, Sons of England Women's Association to HRH, the Duchess of Kent, 24 February 1936
27 Worden (ed), Cape Town, pp 121-122 Jane was the wife of the missionary, John Philips
28 Bickford-Smith (ed), Cape Town, p 32
29 Mackenzie with Dalziel, The Scots in South Africa, pp 247-248 See also Morrell, Boys to Gentlemen, p 119; N Roos, Ordinary Springboks: White Servicemen and Social Justice in South Africa, 1939-1961 (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2005), pp 183-186
30 Morrell provides important information on the social role of clubs and societies in Natal See Morrell, Boys to Gentlemen, and the social columns in English-language newspapers
31 See Pretoria News, 1 October 1938, "Gathering of the Clans"; Mackenzie with Dalziel, The Scots in South Africa, p 244
32 Pretoria News, 11 March 1907, "L and Y Association"; Pretoria News, 4 March 1903, "New Zealand Club"
33 A L Dick, "Building a nation of readers? Women's organizations and the politics of reading in South Africa, 1900-1914", Historia, 49, 2, 2004, pp 23-44;         [ Links ] Pretoria News, 19 February 1903, "Guild of Loyal Women"
34 E van Heyningen and P Merrett, "The healing touch: the Guild of Loyal Women of South Africa, 1900-1912", unpublished paper, British World conference, University of Cape Town, January 2002, p 16 See also M P Atteridge, A Short History of the Guild of Loyal Women in South Africa (Pretoria News, Pretoria, no date)         [ Links ]
35 University of Cape Town Libraries, Manuscripts and Documents (hereafter UCTL, M and D), Sons of England Patriotic and Benevolent Society Collection (hereafter SoE Collection), BC 1035, A6, Grand Secretary to FA Davies, 4 March 1958
36 The importance of volunteering and charity in Britain has been examined by Prochaska, Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain, pp 8-12
37 Pretoria News, 25 May 1939, "SOE Meeting"
38 UCTL, M and D, SoE Collection, A1, Grand Lodge of Africa, Constitution, no date
39 Van Heyningen & Merrett, "The healing touch", p 17 Seeing its main function as the promotion of imperialism, it laid stress on the fact that the Guild was not a benevolent society as such, and had no intention of becoming a "flannel petticoat society" (Pretoria News, 19 February 1903, "Guild of Loyal Women")
40 Worden (ed), Cape Town, p 168
41 See http://www grandlodge co za/glsahist html
42 See http://www raob org/about the raob htm, D Hardy, An Introduction to Buffaloism as practiced by the RAOB
43 See http://www raob org/about the raob htm, D Hardy, An Introduction to Buffaloism; NASA, TAB, GG 1/268, 1925
44 Andrew Thompson has discussed this loyalist tradition in "The language of loyalism in southern Africa, circa 1870-1939", English Historical Review, 118, 477, 2003, pp 617-650
45 Pretoria News, 24 May 1917, Editorial
46 G Wheatcroft, The Randlords (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1985), p 141         [ Links ]
47 Cooper, The Freemasons, p 153; Pretoria News, 2 October 1944, Editorial
48 NASA, TAB, GG - The collection has numerous files dealing with the patronage dispensed by successive Governors-General to association charities
49 The Sons of England even barred membership to men married to "non-white" women See NASA, TAB, Prime Minister (hereafter PM) 1/4/412, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Secret Organisations, RP 20/1965, p 3
50 Ernest Oppenheimer was master of Richard Giddy Lodge, Kimberley in 1912, while his son, Harry, became a member in 1943 See Cooper, The Freemasons, p 127
51 See http://www grandlodge co za/glsahist html The fact that the Scots and many of the Irish settlers were Calvinist Protestants, could have been a factor in encouraging cooperation between their lodges and those of the Afrikaner constitution
52 NASA, TAB, GG 27/124, Guild of Loyal Women of South Africa, The Federal Leaflet, Special Number, July 1911; Van Heyningen & Merrett, "The healing touch"; Pretoria News, 21 April 1911, "Loyal Women"
53 See K Pickles, Female Imperialism and National Identity: Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2002)         [ Links ]
54 Pretoria News, 13 November 1905, "Loyal Women and Soldiers' Graves" After Union this work was transferred to the South African Soldiers' Graves Association See NASA, TAB, GG 27/239, South African Soldiers' Graves Association, 2 January 1936 The Association also cared for Boer graves
55 Van Heyningen & Merrett, "The healing touch"
56 For a discussion of South Africanism, see J Lambert, "South African British? Or Dominion South Africans? The Evolution of an Identity in the 1910s and 1920s", South African Historical Journal, 43, 2000, pp 197-222         [ Links ]
57 NASA, TAB, GG 27/239, South African Soldiers' Graves Association, 2 January 1936, Appendix C, p 24
58 NASA, TAB, GG 27/239, South African Soldiers' Graves Association, 2 January 1936, Appendix C, p 25; Pretoria News, 22 January 1915, "The Victoria League" For information on the British Victoria League, see E Riedi, "Women, Gender and the Promotion of Empire: The Victoria League, 1901-1914", The Historical Journal, 45, 3, pp 569-599         [ Links ]
59 See http://www grandlodge co za/glsahist html
60 Pretoria News, 22 September 1914, "The War"
61 Natal District (English) Grand Master, D Sanders, in Cooper, The Freemasons, pp 126, 130
62. Cape Times, 13 August 1914, "Ready to serve the empire"; Pretoria News, 31 August 1914, Editorial; Pretoria News, 22 September 1914, "The war"
63 Natal Mercury, 24 November 1914
64. Pretoria News, 4 May 1915, "SOE"; Pretoria News, 1 July 1918, "Sons of England active service list"
65 Pretoria News, 5 August 1915, "South African Scottish"
66 J Hyslop, "Cape Town Highlanders, Transvaal Scottish: Military 'Scottishness' and Social Power in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century South Africa", unpublished paper, British World conference, University of Cape Town, 2002         [ Links ]
67 P K A Digby, Pyramids and poppies: the 1st SA Infantry Brigade in Lybia, France and Flanders, 1915-1919 (Ashanti, Rivonia, 1993), p 19;         [ Links ] N Orpen, The Cape Town Highlanders, 1885-1970 (Cape Town Highlanders, Cape Town, 1970), p 81         [ Links ]
68 Cooper, The Freemasons, p 127
69 Cooper, The Freemasons, p 126
70 See http://www raobgle org uk/history/ambulances htm; Pretoria News, 8 November 1915, Editorial
71 For Canada, see P Buckner, "The Long Goodbye: English Canadians and the British World", in P Buckner and R D Francis, Rediscovering the British World (Calgary University Press, Calgary, 2005), pp 196-197
72 NASA, TAB, GG 9/41/121, Loyal message from the Grand Lodge of the Sons of England, 1918; The Overseas Club saw a similar increase, see Pretoria News, 24 May 1916, "The Overseas Club"
73 Of the Union's small white male population of military age of about 360 000, over 100 000, mostly English-speaking, had served in South African or British units Of these 8 551 had been killed while a further 10 399 were wounded Lambert, "Britishness, South Africanness and the 1st World War", p 297
74 Pretoria News, 14 July 1939, "Annual Laying of Wreaths" See also Official Year Book of the Union of South Africa ..., 24, 1948 (Government Printer, Pretoria, 1949-1950), p 233
75 Pretoria News, 17 May 1939, "Ex-servicemen's register"
76 Buckner, "The Long Goodbye", pp 196-200; "British and proud of it! Returned Sailors', Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia", in J Arnold (ed), Out of Empire: the British Dominion of Australia (Mandarin, Melbourne, 1993), pp 73-78         [ Links ]
77 CA Evenden, Old soldiers never die: the story of Moth 0 (No publisher, Durban, 1952)         [ Links ]
78 Pretoria News, 18 December 1939, "Pretoria MOTH Notes"
79 Pretoria News, 14 July 1939, "Annual Laying of Wreaths"; Pretoria News, 17 July 1939, "Delville Wood Day in Pretoria" None were as grandiose as the bronze and granite memorial erected in Toronto to those members of the Canadian Sons of England who fell in the War -see http://www cdli ca/monuments/on/tsons htm
80 Pretoria News, 4 April 1939, "Tribute to Work of BESL"
81 See NASA, TAB, GG 3/5034, The President, BESL to the Governor General, 11 November 1930
82 For a discussion of the Society, see K Fedorowich, "Anglicization and the Politicization of British Immigration to South Africa, 1899-1929", Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 19, 2, pp 226-246         [ Links ]
83 H Saker, The South African flag controversy, 1925-1928 (Oxford University Press, Cape Town, 1980), pp 35, 113;         [ Links ] P Thompson, Natalians First: Separatism in South Africa, 1909-1961 (Southern, Johannesburg, 1990), pp 32, 41         [ Links ]
84 Thompson, Natalians First, p 33
85 Royal Archives, Windsor Castle, King George V Archive [with appreciation for the gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen for the use of this and other material from the Royal Archives], FF3/ATH, Hertzog to Athlone, 6 July 1926; Thompson, Natalians First, p 33
86 Thompson, Natalians First, p 108.
87 Cooper, The Freemasons, p 153
88 Pretoria News, 17 December 1938, "SOE message to Dr Jansen"; Bickford-Smith (ed), Cape Town, p 79; Lambert, "An identity threatened", p 65
89 NASA, TAB, GG 1/52, 1924; 1/64, 1924; 1/116,136, 1924; 1/189, 1924; 1/81, 1924
90 In 1936, for example, Lady Clarendon was patroness of the Sons of England Womens' Association See NASA, TAB, GG 3/5306, Secretary, Sons of England Women's Association to HRH, the Duchess of Kent, 24 February 1936
91 NASA, TAB, GG 19/902, Minute, H L Smith to Governor-General, 1 December 1925
92 Cooper, The Freemasons, p 158
93 NASA, TAB, GG 3/5245, Secretary to the Governor General to Secretary to HRH, the Duchess of York, 14 June 1934 See also NASA, TAB, GG 19/1104, Secretary to the Governor-General to President, Navy League of South Africa, 25 September 1934
94 NASA, TAB, GG 19/1138, Secretary, Federated Caledonian Societies, to Governor General, 17 April 1937; Pretoria News, 2 November 1903, "Pretoria Caledonian Society"
95 NASA, TAB, GG 19/1138, Secretary, Guild of Loyal Women (Pretoria Branch) to Sir Patrick and Lady Duncan, 4 April 1937
96 NASA, TAB, GG 19/1268, Patronage; Mackenzie with Dalziel, The Scots in South Africa, p 247
97 See J Lambert, "An Identity Threatened: White English-Speaking South Africans, Britishness and Dominion South Africanism, 1934-1939", Kleio, 37, 2005, pp 50-70
98 Pretoria News, 5 August 1939, "Scotsmen and Afrikaners"
99. The Springbok: Official Organ of the British Empire Service League (SA), 22, 2, January 1940, p 3, Editorial; Pretoria News, 24 March 1939, "National Defence"; Pretoria News, 17 May 1939, "Ex-servicemen's Register"
100 Pretoria News, 18 December 1939, "Pretoria MOTH Notes"; Pretoria News, 4 March 1940, "Pretoria MOTH Notes"
101 See http://www regiments org/regiments/southafrica/volmil/inf/PretorHd htm
102 Bickford-Smith (ed), Cape Town, p 96
103 Pretoria News, 21 April 1943, "SOE War Work"
104 Pretoria News, 26 March 1940, "SOE Women's Auxiliary"
105 Pretoria News, 5 August 1939, "Scotsmen and Afrikaners", Pretoria News, 26 March 1940, "SOE Women's Auxiliary"
106 Pretoria News, 2 October 1944, Editorial
107 Pretoria News, 25 March 1941, "The Ban is not a Joke"
108 Buckner, The Long Goodbye, p 200
109 Roos, Ordinary Springboks, pp 179-183
110 Evenden, Old soldiers never die, p 269; Official Year Book of the Union of South Africa ..., 24, 1948 (Government Printer, Pretoria, 1949-1950), p 233
111 Pretoria News, 2 February 1946, "Scots Rally to the 'People of Britain' Funds"; UCTL, M and D, SoE Collection, B7, Good Hope Lodge regular meeting, 13 August 1948
112 Pretoria News, 26 September 1946, "Caledonians Want Scots Immigrants" For efforts by the 1820 Memorial Settlers Association to encourage immigration after the war, see Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa VI (Nasou, Cape Town, 1972), p 32
113 This was particularly the case with new organisations which were openly anti-nationalist such as the UNESSA The organisations' attacks on the position of the Governor General became increasingly bitter, particularly once it was announced that Swart would succeed Jansen NASA, TAB, GG 3/5869, Secretary to Governor General to National Secretary, UNESSA, 20 July 1959, National Secretary to HM The Queen, 11 December 1959
114 NASA, TAB, GG 23/806, President, Sons of England, to Governor General, 25 April 1955
115 NASA, TAB, GG 3/5869, National Secretary, UNESSA, to Minister of Defence, 15 May 1959; Defence Force Documentation Centre, Pretoria, Adjutant-General, AG 14, "Malan's Africa Corps"; Hyslop, "Cape Town Highlanders", p 18
116 Natal Mercury, 25 May 1957, "Empire Day Service at Queen Victoria's Statue"
117 Sunday Times, 31 August 1958, "A Story to Remember"
118 Cooper, The Freemasons, p 153
119 E Jenkins, "The changing fortunes of English in South Africa", SACEE News, 9, 1, January 2005, p 4
120 The Foundation has now been renamed the Grahamstown Foundation and remains English-speaking South Africa's main educational and cultural association - see www foundation org za
121 NASA, TAB, PM, 1/4/412, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Secret Organisations, RP 20/1965, p 3.
122 NASA, TAB, PM, 1/4/412, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Secret Organisations, RP 20/1965, p 12; http://www grandlodge co za/glsahist html; http://www freemasons-freemasonry com/freemasons apartheid html.
123 See http://www grand-lodge-south-africa netfirms com/grand-lodge htm
124 See http://www geocities com/capetowncallies/
125 Despite a number of attempts to make themselves more South African, the Sons of England were never able to gain the acceptance of their members of the need for change
126 For example, even those orphanages and children's homes which associations had maintained, began to close in the 1970s See UCTL, M and D, SoE Collection, B5 3, Magna Charta-Lord French Lodge, Report of the 78th session of the Grand Lodge, 10 September 1976
127 Nuttall, St Patrick's Church, p 11
128 Information received from Rose MacMillan, Lady President of the Federated Caledonian Society of Southern Africa, 16 March 2009
129 See http://www cmcda co za
130 See Rekord Oos, 28 Julie 2006, "Buffalo's donate money for charity", p 30
131 See Buchner, "The Long Goodbye", p 201; communication from Jim Davidson, Melbourne, 4 June 2006

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