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
Tuesday June 7, 1966

Kennedy Denounces Apartheid as Evil
By Reuters

CAPETOWN, South Africa, June 6--Senator Robert F. Kennedy branded apartheid tonight as one of the evils of the world.
     Mr. Kennedy, a New York Democrat, listed as other evils discrimination in New York, serfdom in Peru, starvation in India, mass slaughter in Indonesia and the jailing of intellectuals in the Soviet Union.
     “These are differing evils. But they are the common works of man,” he said. Mr. Kennedy addressed the multiracial National Union of South African Students at the University of Cape Town. The students had invited him to South Africa.
Many observers believed his address to be the most important by a visitor to South Africa, where apartheid, the rigid separation of the races, is official policy, since Harold Macmillan, then Prime Minister of Britain, spoke in 1960.
     Mr. Macmillan condemned apartheid, saying that the Government's policy was out of step with the rest of the world, and he warned South Africa of “the wind of change” sweeping the African continent.
     Earlier, the Senator had a 20-minute meeting with Ian Robertson, 21-year-old president of the student group, who had been barred from attending any meetings under the Suppression of Communism Act. Mr. Kennedy told Mr. Robertson he was sorry about the position the student was in and he hoped things would soon turn out all right, informed sources said.
     A spokesman for the Senator said that at the meeting, held at Mr. Robertson's home, Mr. Kennedy presented to him a copy of President Kennedy's book “Profiles in Courage.”
     Observers said that Mr. Kennedy's speech, while dignified in tone and avoiding harsh criticism of apartheid, was an impassioned plea for an end to societies based on racial differences and would almost certainly anger the South African Government and its supporters.
     “The enlargement of liberty for human beings,” Mr. Kennedy declared, “must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society.”
     Mr. Kennedy was given a thunderous 5-minute ovation after his 40-minute speech. He was also cheered after he told the students he had visited Mr. Robertson.
     Mr. Kennedy spoke on the student union's annual Day of Affirmation of academic freedom. His visit has been officially ignored by Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd's Government.

Overflow Crowds Hear Speech

     It was estimated that about 18,000 persons, including 7,000 students, jammed the university building to hear the address.
     John Daniel, vice president of the student group, proposed a toast of thanks to Mr. Kennedy after the speech. He said he was deeply ashamed of his Government's attitude toward the visit.
     In his speech, Mr. Kennedy hit back at South African newspaper critics who said he was a “liberal” helping to promote Communist policies. Mr. Kennedy said the way to oppose Communism was “not to imitate its dictatorship.”
     This was considered an oblique reference to South Africa's security laws, which include the powers of banning and detention without trial.