Ripple of Hope

American Newspaper Coverage

  1. Bobby Kennedy: a Political Safari
  2. Kennedy Gets Book On Apartheid, Gives One on U.S. Negroes
  3. Kennedy Denounces Apartheid as Evil
  4. Sen. Kennedy In South Africa Hits Policies
  5. Kennedy Foresees Crises for S. Africa
  6. Kennedy Sees Luthuli and Finds Him 'Impressive'
  7. S. African Crowds Cheer Kennedy On Last Day of Visit
  8. Kennedy's Warns On Racial Issue
  9. Kennedy's Trek
Thursday, June 9, 1966

S. African Crowds Cheer Kennedy On Last Day of Visit

By Adam Kellett-Long

     Johannesburg, June 8--Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D.N.Y.) was greeted by wildly cheering crowds of whites, Africans and Indians today and drew thunderous applause for a major address on the last day of his visit.
     “Where men can be deprived because their skin is black, in the fullness of time others will be deprived because their skin is white,” Kennedy told 1,200 students in his speech at Witwatersrand University.
Kennedy was carried on the shoulders of the students after making his strong plea for racial equality. Several thousand other persons, including many students from the Afrikaans University at Pretoria, heard the speech outside the hall over loudspeakers.
     Kennedy called for an end to the bitterness between English-speaking students and their Afrikaans counterparts and urged them to work together to move South Africa toward racial equality.
     The audience burst into loud applause when Kennedy criticized white South Africans who say Africa is too primitive to develop and that its people are not ready for freedom and self-government.
     “Those who say these things should look to the history of every part and parcel of the human race,” he declared. “It was not the black man of Africa who invented or used poison gas and the atomic bomb, who sent six million men, women and children to the gas ovens and used their bodies as fertilizer.”
Earlier in the day one of the friendly crowds that greeted him wherever he went forced him onto the roof of a car in the middle of Johannesburg.
     He made a short speech calling for friendship between the United States and South Africa and an end to all forms of discrimination, then clung to the roof as the car inched its way out of the crowd where he was able to dismount.
Behind the cheering was heard the occasional shout of “Yankee Go Home.”
Kennedy started the day with a flight to Stanger, 30 miles from Durban, where he and his wife Ethel talked with African leader Albert Luthuli, 65, a Nobel Peace Prize holder now restricted to his farm under South Africa’s “Suppression of Communism” act.
     [Kennedy told reporters Luthuli is “distressed, concerned and saddened that the black man in South Africa does not have the same future and opportunities as the white man.” Associated Press reported.
     [Kennedy summed up Luthuli’s feeling of resignation and inability to pursue his old cause in behalf of the African people: “He feels the only change for the better will be brought about by God and that alone can improve the situation.’] After his return to Johannesburg Kennedy made a two hour tour of the Soweto African district –a kind of Johannesburg Harlem — during which he was mobbed by thousands of cheering residents.
     After Soweto he returned to the U.S. Consulate to meet labor leaders and was on his way from there to a reception organized by the South African Bar Council when the second large crowd engulfed him in rush-hour traffic.