SPEECH GIVEN BY
A.D.HARVEY AT THE LAUNCH OF THE
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is difficult to be able say with certainty where the true origins of the Springbok Club lie. There is definitely a continuous thread going all the way back to several grass-roots patriotic movements existing in the Durban area during the late 1970s, though it could even be argued that the actual ancestry of the organisation begun with a tour of Rhodesia undertaken by five then young pro-Rhodesian British patriots in 1976.
One thing is for certain however, and that is that many of those actively involved with these Durban-based patriotic organisations subsequently became instrumental in the establishment of the Springbok Club "in exile" - and that the majority of them were English-speaking South Africans rather than Afrikaners, with a significantly high proportion who were actually born in the UK who had emigrated to Southern Africa because they supported the Rhodesian and South African causes.
organisations involved included the Save Rhodesia Campaign, the South
Africa First Campaign, the National Forum and the Voters' Policy
Association, and of course in those days of the late 1970s the main focus
of attention was in supporting the Rhodesian struggle (and of course events in
Zimbabwe over the past few years have confirmed how absolutely accurate our
warnings were all those years ago!). With the fall of
S.A.Patriot survived the collapse of
the WRC, and indeed grew and prospered over the following decade, obtaining
much internal publicity and the support of many of the patriotic parties and
collapse of the White Rhino Club the National Forum carried on
holding the banner for a while, until it too went into demise during the
mid-1980s. It was then decided that a new organisational side of operations
should be founded via S.A.Patriot, so in early 1985 the Patriotic
Forum was launched - neatly combining facets from the names of both S.A.Patriot
and the National Forum. Significantly the first person to speak on the Patriotic
Forum platform was Alan Gresham, one of the five young pro-Rhodesian
British patriots who toured
Increasingly during the late 1980s the sell-out policies of P.W.Botha and F.W.de Klerk were having a detrimental effect upon South African society however. Many of those involved with S.A.Patriot and the Patriotic Forum were suffering personal financial hardship due to "Affirmative Action" policies and the consequent lack of employment opportunities, and the movement as a whole suffered as a result, as financial support simply started to dry up. Many closely involved with the organisation therefore eventually came to the conclusion that because of the apparent imminent fall of South Africa there was no longer any hope either for themselves personally or for the movement in South Africa itself, so decided to relocate back to the UK, where not only would employment be more plentiful, but it would also provide a more secure base to continue the struggle "in exile".
John Samuel was
the first to make such a move, and together with Kevin Puttock (now sadly
deceased) he founded the Rhodesian Forum in
Others of us
moved back to the
This financial support was alas not on-going, so in order to produce a second edition of S.A.Patriot-in-Exile it became necessary to hold a fund-raising function. Initially we were unsure under what name to hold this event, but eventually one of our British supporters, Kelvin Sanderson, suggested that we resurrect the title of the White Rhino Club (thus proving what a worldwide impact this organisation had had all those years previously), and so the White Rhino Club Mark II was born!
The WRC rapidly
became the organisational side of S.A.Patriot-in-Exile, but in June 1993
an absolute disaster struck. One of the British subscribers to the magazine who
had made contact with us was a certain Mark Cotterill from Torquay. We knew
very little about him, but he seemed to be a sincere and dedicated supporter of
our cause, and when he invited us to go down to
Although the WRC
soldiered on for a while, the aftermath of the
Club rapidly started to make a name for itself, and at its first meeting,
which was addressed by Martin Schonteich (a stalwart from the Patriotic
I feel that at this juncture, before going describing the successes and developments of the Springbok Club, it will be a good idea to detail the three basic aims and objectives of the organisation as laid out in the constitution:-
i) To bring together those Southern Africans living in exile and others who support the aims and objectives of the organisation on a regular social and informative basis.
ii) To inform those of a similar background still living on the African continent of our support for their rights and liberties, and our concern for the current dangers which they may be facing.
iii) To lobby
the powers that be in the outside world concerning the anarchic state of
I think it is quite clear therefore where our true sympathies lie, and if there is any ambiguity in anyone's mind then the presence of the real South African flag on our logo should leave no-one in any doubts! In a nutshell our policy can be summed up in one sentence: "We want our countries back, and believe this can now only come about by the re-establishment of civilised European rule throughout the African continent."
you something about the great successes of the Springbok Club to date
(and there are many), I feel that in order for this to be an honest appraisal I
must also tell you of some problems which we have faced. There have actually
been three, all of which I am happy to say have been successfully overcome.
Firstly we have been subjected to quite a bit of cyber-terrorism. This has
tended to be childish and sporadic, and although it has generated a lot of
worries it hasn't had any lasting effects. As one of our supporters has stated
however: "by so doing our enemies are simply confirming how important and
effective we are becoming". Secondly there was the notorious "Yates
incident" of November 2000. In a nutshell none of our long-established
members wished to take on the position of Treasurer at the 2000 AGM, and only a
very new member named Bill Yates volunteered for the post. He proved totally
incapable however, and totally wrecked our
On now therefore to far happier matters. We have been very honoured and privileged to have had Mr. Peter Fisher as our Chairman ever since we were constituted. Peter is a tower of strength, and has proved to have a lot of very useful contacts!
We have constantly managed to attract a string of very high-profile guest speakers. These have included two peers of the realm (Lord Bellhaven and Stenton and the Earl of Burford), two former British M.P.'s (Neil Hamilton and Jacques Arnold), Dr. Ferdi Hartzenberg, the Leader of the Conservative Party of South Africa, and Andrew Roberts, the eminent historian.
We have achieved considerable Internet success. Our South African Exiles web-site has now attracted almost 24,000 hits, and has received high praise from several sources, and even attracted an article in the Mail & Guardian. Our Springbok Cyber Newsletter has now been in existence for four years and again is highly praised, with items often reproduced in printed publications. Our circulation list rises most months, and currently stands at 390.
We have become
closely identified with the real South African flag (much to the chagrin of our
enemies!), having in the past managed to obtain stocks both of actual flags and
lapel badges to retail - all of which have now been sold out! We have also entered
in to a beneficial arrangement with Covos-Day Books to retail several of
their titles in the
established some very close and beneficial links with a number of other organisations.
Most notable is our close liaison with the
A number of
organisations have approached us for support and assistance. Most prominent
among these has been the MDC Solidarity Campaign, and indeed several of
our members have regularly taken part in anti-Mugabe protests outside Zimbabwe
House. The Friends of Gibraltar Heritage Association has also approached
us for support, which of course we will eagerly be giving during the next few
months. More recently we've been approached for assistance by the Zimbabwe
Agricultural Welfare Trust and Ukkasie (an Afrikaans cultural
organisation in the
establishing a branch structure of the Springbok Club around the
In spite of problems with overseas co-ordinators, we have still have established structures of the organisation in Australia (where Adrian Alexander has taken over as our co-ordinator) and in the United States (where Dennis Duncan has recently been appointed). The South Africans Staying Alive organisation in Spain has now affiliated to us, and a supporter in France, Sebastien le Roux, is very keen to establish a structure of the Springbok Club there. In addition we have significant numbers of supporters in Canada, New Zealand, Scandinavia and the Low Countries, and are just waiting for someone to take the lead in each of these places.
As can be seen therefore, the Springbok Club has already done a lot in its short existence, and today's launch of the London Branch is yet another important step. More can and must be done however, but alas two commodities seem to be against us - time and money. With a circulation list as high as ours postage costs are always a constant problem, and in addition we really want to be able to produce a glossy recruitment brochure as soon as possible - as well as information cards and "stickers". S.A.Patriot-in-Exile remains a big worry of course, as we now haven't been able to afford to publish for almost three years, and many subscribers are quite naturally asking when they will be receiving their next editions. In addition we will really like to increase our stock of books, as well as obtaining fresh stocks of real South African flags to retail. Ideally, of course, we would like to be able to establish an office and to employ one or perhaps even more people full-time - after all if the ANC could do this during their years in exile then why can't we?
Even if you can't help us financially then merely by your attendance you are still being a great help, for there is nothing more demoralising than having a poor turnout when we welcome a high-profile guest speaker. As well as coming along yourselves, however, also let us know of any friends or other contacts who might be interested in our movement, for the larger our database then the more effective we will be able to be. In closing therefore let me thank you all for being here at the launch of the London Branch tonight. Even by your attendance you are doing your bit to help the forward advance of the Springbok Club.