Opposition and closure

Photo:A picture of the Cape Town Partners, taken in 1952, only two years before the South Africa branches closed

A picture of the Cape Town Partners, taken in 1952, only two years before the South Africa branches closed

By Jonathan Blatchford

Difficult political climate forces closure

Throughout the Partnership’s time in South Africa, there was opposition to its presence from those in South Africa and those at home in England. Doubts at home came from those who recognised from afar the steadily deteriorating political system in South Africa, and wondered why the Partnership wanted to co-operate with a system that had begun to maliciously segregate its community along racial lines from 1948. Opposition from within South Africa came from those airing decidedly anti-British sentiments. As international condemnation grew louder, and anti-British feeling threatened to boil over, the Partnership was left with little choice but to pull out of South Africa, which was achieved by 1954. Given the decades of turmoil soon to follow in South Africa, this was undoubtedly a good choice.

So, what drove Spedan Lewis to trial three Partnership branches in South Africa? Undoubtedly, he was driven solely on the belief that such the trial could work. As he stated in the Gazette of the 2nd April 1949:

‘Money is not made by saying No. It may be kept by saying No but is only made by saying Yes. When you are in real doubt whether to say Yes or No to something that will be well within your strength, even if it goes quite wrong, then it is generally better to say Yes’.

This page was added by Jonathan Blatchford on 11/08/2014.