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
June 10, 1966

Kennedy’s Warns On Racial Issue

Says South Africa could Be Explosive – Ends Visit
Special to The New York Times

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, June 9 – Senator Robert F. Kennedy said today that South Africa’s policy of racial division could make for an explosive situation. The New York Democrat arrived here after his visit to South Africa.
     Speaking to reporters at Nairobi airport in Kenya his first stop in independent black Africa, Mr. Kennedy was asked if he believed the situation in South Africa constituted a “threat to world peace.”
     The Senator frowned, thought the question over, then replied: “I wouldn’t use that expression to describe South Africa now. But unless there are changes – if the situation is allowed to continue – it could certainly be explosive.”
     An hour later Mr. Kennedy and his party changed to a charter flight to Dar es Salaam, this hot and humid capital on the Indian Ocean.

Thousands greet him

     Thousands were at the airport here to greet him and thousands more lined the road from the airport, even though it was well after dark and his visit was private, not official. The turnout was not surprising since the Kennedy name has become legendary in black Africa. But the reception Senator Kennedy got among whites in South Africa on his four-day visit there surprised even his most optimistic sides.
     In his South African tour he visited three cities, delivered four formal addresses, mostly to students at universities, and was pressed into making countless long, impromptu talks. He had been invited to South Africa by the National Union of South African Students, an English-speaking liberal group.
     He shook the hands of hundreds of well-wishers, was booed at and, in the segregated Soweto Township of Johannesburg, was cheered by enthusiastic black South Africans.

Won Respect

     Weeks before his arrival in South Africa the Government derided his private visit as “a publicity stunt” to further his Presidential ambitions. Today there was no more talk of publicity stunts, and even some of his bitterest critics conceded that he had handled himself discretely.
     In his speeches he spoke of racial brotherhood and repeatedly appealed for a dialogue between black and white and white and white. This last comment struck a sensitive chord in a land where the Afrikaans and the English-speaking South African liberals hardly communicate.
     But while he preached brotherhood, he did not cast judgement. The United States, he kept stressing, has “many long miles” to go in trying to make equality work.
     Sipping a glass of tomato juice while the jet taxied for take-off from Johannesburg this morning, Mr. Kennedy conceded that he had probably not changed the mind of anyone convinced that apartheid is proper.

Praise in Editorial

     But he seemed moved by an editorial in The Rand Daily Mail, South Africa’s only liberal anti-Government paper, which said that Mr. Kennedy’s “confident, unabashed idealism” was just what South Africa’s silent youth had been yearning to hear.
     Mr. Kennedy gave them a “clear and unequivocal endorsement” that made decent youngsters feel they were part and parcel of the continuing tradition of the western world and not, as they are so often told something alien, unwholesome, or worse,” the editorial said.
     “The effects of Senator Kennedy’s visit will be felt for a long time to come, it said. “He has stirred up ideas long in disuse. He has started new controversies among us and about us.”