The History of Race Relations in South Africa
Davenport, T. R. H.
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Historians do not solve social problems. Indeed it is even possible that they may have a sordid professional interest in keeping them unsolved. They prefer the society which in the Chinese proverb ‘has been through interesting times’, rather than the lucky country which has no history at all. More seriously I believe that the function of historians is to be not so much that of direct social analysis as that of helping people to reflect; and the objects of that reflection are the unique situations which give a faithful expression, voice or texture to the events we are trying to understand. The history of race relations in South Africa is an enormous area; so instead of trying to cover the whole of it let us look at a few representative and illuminating situations, beginning with the story of Eva.