"Getting in Dutch vice president of Women's Enfranchisement League, Mrs MacFadyen, we have to educate women in South Africa slowly" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: F.S. Malan 1000/1
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday April 1909
Address FromEastbergholt, Tamboer's Kloof Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Address To
Who ToFrancois Stephanus ('FS') Malan
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National English Literary Museum (NELM) for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. This letter has been dated by reference to content. Schreiner stayed at Eastbergholt in Cape Town for part of April 1909.
1 Cap
2 Eastburgholt
3 Tamboer's Kloof Road
4 Tamboer's Kloof
5 Cape Town
7 Wednesday
9 Dear Friend
11 Please return me that little paper I brought you. I only wished you to
12see that I too have had my dreams of a United South Africa; a South
13Africa Federated into one great collection of Free State: & in which
14we who had suffered so terribly & taught by our suffering would
15withhold freedom & justice from some of our fellow South Africans,
16irrespective of race or colour or creed. In those long months when I
17live in one little empty room with a stretcher & a box as its only
18furniture, & 36 natives set to guard me at my doors & windows night &
19day, when I was only allowed out to fetch my water from the fountain
20at certain hours, & when I used to see not only English women but
21Dutch women walking free, hanging on the arms often, of English
22officers; in all that awful loneliness & darkness the thought that
23came to comfort me was that out of all this, would arise in us who
24suffered a love not only of freedom for ourselves but for all our
25fellows. If we have not learnt that, then indeed we have learnt
28 Has it ever struck you, Malan, that the day will come when we shall
29need the love & devotion of the black & coloured man; just as the day
30will come & come soon when England & the "Empire" will need the
31loyalty & love of ^white^ South Africans. To-day is our hour to win
32their love & confidence. My dear friend, draw yourself sometimes apart
33from the noise & greed of the political world about you, & look at
34these matters by the light of that deeper spiritual instinct that is
35within you.
37 Your friend
38 Olive Schreiner
The 'little paper' referred to is 'Views on closer union', a lengthy article published in the Transvaal Leader on 21 December 1908 and the Cape Times on 22 December 1908 (p.9); it appeared as a short book in 1909.