By Lauren Tipping
Presidential Address by SM Makgatho, South African Native National Congress
6 May 1919
Chiefs, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am glad to welcome you to this first Annual Conference of our Congress ever held in the dear old Cape Colony. As Mr. Pelem will remember, this is not the very first occasion on which our Congress was held on Cape soil, for, in 1914, I met him at the Kimberley Congress in Griqualand West; but this is really the first time that the South African Native National Congress ever assembled in what is known as the Colony proper; and we are looking forward to that far-famed hospitality for which the Komani River is noted.
Chiefs, ladies and gentlemen, many changes have taken place since we last met at Bethlehem. The Native Lands Act still operates as mercilessly in different parts of the Union, and as a result many native families are still working for white farmers only for their food. It will be remembered that, after the representations of this Congress and the pleadings of our Missionary and other friends, the Government has consented to postpone for a year enacting the Native Affairs Administration Bill, which was nothing but the confirmation and perpetuation of the harsh provisions of the Native Lands Act and all its sorrows.
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