PUBLIC SCHOOL BOYS AS AFRICAN SALESMEN

Every South African newspaper contains advertisements for travelling representatives and with the cry of Buy British a field of unlimited possibility is open to the English Public School Boy and well educated and adventurous Britons of both sexes.

Britishers abroad are full of British sentiment – a travelling representative of an agricultural machinery firm will often do a large amount of business simply because he was at Christchurch. He will meet hundreds of Public School fellows in a country like Rhodesia or Kenya and an evening spent laughing over Bluecoat scraps with those who jeered at their uniform might nett him a tractor sale.

British-built Vickers tractors in the early 1920s

British-built Vickers tractors in the early 1920s were equipped with a sunshade
for export to Australia

His host will probably introduce him to Rugby men – to Winchester chaps – to a stray from Eton or Harrow – and all will give him orders.

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Unlike the American trained salesman, he will endeavour to arouse clannish instincts rather than make direct appeals to business considerations. He will feel that he is a member of the British Diplomatic Corps and that his mission is to show the world that British workmanship is worth more than glaring advertisements – that a few pounds more or less in buying a car or tractor don’t matter when such a purchase is a help to Blighty.

Let us take direct instances. I myself found that service with the 9th Division gave me a standing with every Scotsman in the district I was working for an agricultural implement firm. My lines were British implements of undoubted excellence, but travellers far more experienced than myself were busy selling American implements at cheaper rates than my firm could consider.

At one farm I was offered accommodation for the night but told that I hadn’t a chance of pushing the tractor my employers were handling. I left the subject of agricultural machinery and remarked that my hosts’ accents gave me a memory of South Uist. I wasn’t allowed to leave for two days. Sold a tractor, a windmill and some hundred feet of piping – was introduced to a dozen Highland folk and tipped as to their requirements.

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Comparing notes with a fellow traveller I found that he had secured orders amounting to thousands of pounds solely because he had met a man who like himself had been at the Merchant Taylor’s School.

Salesmanship and Journalism are kindred spirits. In both human appeal is irresistible and there are few unsophisticated folk left these days and a man knows that no trashy article can possibly survive the strain of competition.

Ten travellers may work a district with the same type of article – one will place all the orders he can deal with and nine will fail – why simply because the successful traveller is of the people with whom he is dealing.

By AN EX-COMMERCIAL TRAVELLER
21st October 1930
Valley Farm
P.O. Brooklyn
Pretoria
South Africa

BALANCING ONE’S DIET

An article published in the Rand Daily Mail, South Africa circa 1930s.

Every stockman handling valuable animals requires to know something about food values. The subject is a fascinating one and a student instinctively compares the haphazard treatment accorded human stomachs with the carefully worked out feeding methods used in feeding animals.

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Human bodies need very much the same essentials as do those of animals. Protein, carbohydrates, fats, mineral salts and water are required by both and wrongful proportions immediately cause harmful reactions. Instinct guides us roughly to the food our bodies need but a little knowledge is of far greater help than instinct if we would get the utmost value in the cheapest way.

An average man requires about three and a half ounces (100grams) of Protein, 1 pound (450grams) of Carbohydrates, an ounce of mineral salts (28grams) and two ounces of fat (57grams) to maintain himself in a healthy condition. If a manual worker, he requires more food than one engaged in a sedentary occupation. Old people require less and children more than middle-aged and young, women, less than men.

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One often hears and knows of small men with remarkably large powers of food consumption. In such cases, there can be no doubt that the small man’s body or diet is deficient in some essential – in the majority of cases a mineral salt.

Most ills to which mankind is subject are digestive or bodily disorders caused by wrong dieting. Meals consist of too much of one element, too little of another resulting in the over-accumulation of waste matter, non-renewal of tissue and a general choking and fouling of the system. Again it might be that deficiency of fat, of protein or of mineral salts is responsible for upsetting the functioning of the digestive organs.

A meal of oatmeal with sugar, eggs, milk, bread and butter is an example of a well-balanced feed. The salts and protein are present in the eggs, oatmeal and milk, the carbohydrates in the sugar and bread; the fat in the butter and milk. Cheese and bread make an excellent combination for cheese is the most valuable concentrated foodstuff man knows and ordinary bread is almost pure carbohydrates.

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Every individual’s diet should be considered from the maintenance and productive sides. So much fuel is required to maintain health so much to create the necessary energy to do his work. To ensure proper assimilation of vital elements meals must be sufficiently appetizing to enable them to be eaten with relish.

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When however excess fuel has been loaded the body demands that it be used or got rid of. Long walks or any extra exercise will consume the surplus but neglect will always result in some disorder of mind and body.

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The importance of the various salts needed by the body is seldom sufficiently emphasised. Lime, common salt, iron, phosphorous, sulphuric acid, chlorine and magnesia are vital to the human and animal body and cheese, milk, eggs, pulses, fresh fruit and green vegetables are the chief suppliers.

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We all know how often cod liver oil, Parrish’s food and various manufactured foods are ordered by doctors for children and invalids. In many cases, they are given as being more economical and easier than attempting to reorganise a diet.

Parrish

Often neglect of properly balanced food has so strained or impaired the digestive organs that only concentrated foods can be given.

B.M.Leffler,
Valley Farm,
P.O.Brooklyn
Pretoria,
South Africa

 

 

The Soldier Returns to What? Part 2

Continued…..

Few men or women today look upon the Party System in Parliament as being anything but a vast waste of National time and money. So little is done in Parliament to make homes attractive and happy, so little is done to fill stomachs and provide clothing, boots and shoes for the children.

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There is so much interest in academics, so little sense of responsibility regarding the pressing problems of Health and Welfare. Surely it is infinitely more important that a young South African should be well clothed, well fed, and well housed than that he be taught in his home language. There are two languages in general use amongst European descended South Africans.

Then let every school in the Union be compelled to teach in both languages and if necessary keep the children an extra couple of years in school; but feed them properly, clothe them properly, house them properly, discipline them properly and teach them proper manners. Teach them truth and honour; the first essentials to the building of a nation.

Image result for children and school south africa 1920s

There are roads to be built, afforestation to be encouraged by Private Owners and a multitude of social welfare problems to be tackled. There is easily work for a generation in purging our whole social and economic system and making it a clean wholesome scientific one.

Today few trust anybody or anything because there is obviously so much scandalous getting jobs for pals, so much waste of Public Funds, so many getting high positions and pay with obviously so few qualifications. If it wasn’t so, half the Union’s population wouldn’t be living below the Breadline.

Above portrays the Hewitt Family. The two images below are both of slums: the left  is of present day Africa, the right is of early 20th century NYC.

Above portrays the Hewitt Family. The two images below are both of slums:
the left is of present-day Africa, the right is of early 20th century NYC

Why not have a competent commission begin at the top and work down through all paid National, Provincial, Municipal and District Government employees and decide what posts could be abolished and what new ones created to increase efficiency; whether the holder of a post is competent, and whether he is earning his money or whether he would be better off somewhere else or retired.

Why not have a certain day set aside in Parliament to discuss racialistic questions on a non-party basis? Why not give the Speaker of the House power to confine members’ speeches strictly to matters in the National interest and taboo any speech calculated to provoke antagonism between sections of the Nation.

Baleke Mbete Teacher, member of SASO and the ANC, head of the Medu Arts Ensemble (Gaborone), Member of COSAW, Secretary General of the ANCWL, Speaker of the National Parliament, poet

We are all in South Africa to make comfortable happy homes; just as Up North, South Africans; White, Coloured and Black put everything into smashing the Germans and the Italians.

The Governor-General’s Fund is a source of eternal irritation to the soldier. Every soldier detests the idea of exposing his family life to committees of well-meaning but often wholly unsuitable townsmen. A magistrate, clergyman, doctor and a lawyer would be a logical committee to decide who requires assistance and in what form.

In the army today one of the commonest phrases is “What a racket” when discussing politics, the Governor-General’s Fund and a score of other national activities and enterprises.

After the War, the last thing any sane man or woman wants is social upheaval, political exploitation of the soldier, Coloured and Native unrest or the spectre of Revolution. When the War ends however if tens of thousands of young, vigorous ex-Servicemen and women are not competently handled and promises to them are not fulfilled the threat to the state will be a real one.

The strikers were backed by Afrikaner commandos,
like this group manning a roadblock ©Museum Africa

Today the business of winning the War makes men amenable to rule and regulation but after the war, the business of winning the Peace must be run efficiently and without ‘Rackets’ or there is bound to be trouble.

The general tenor of speeches made today by responsible men shows that these contentions are realised, that there will be a necessity to disgorge on the part of the wealthy, that the soldier must not be allowed to fall into the hands of irresponsible leaders, that promises are easily made but often impossible of fulfilment.

(Note in pencil in the margin see Lawrence of Arabia.)

Why then do not the leaders of the people, the leaders appointed by the people put all they know into logical solving of problems instead of talking so much about them. Tackle the obvious and tackle it with enthusiasm and confidence and it is queer how often, how smoothly, and how quickly the problem turns out devoid of concrete difficulty.

The War has shown us how to achieve results, how to handle problems, how eagerly and efficiently South Africans respond to any decent lead. In peacetime, however, we are unfortunately too tolerant, too easy going, too desirous of avoiding trouble. It is terribly difficult to work up and sustain enthusiasm in South Africans in National matters. Each wants to live his own life in his own way.

Outside the professional politician, there is very little racialism really. It can be safely said that ninety-nine Afrikaans speaking South Africans in the country will help an Englishman or a Jew in distress. During this War, it is remarkable how in the country Ossewa Brandwag supporters have helped lone English women running the farms of their husbands on Service. In every department of the huge South African army, those of Dutch or Huguenot descent and those of British descent merge and if anything it is often difficult to know which is which. 

Fusion of the two European descended races has been going on for generations, is going on and always will go on until we are all South Africans. Why worry about it as it cannot be stopped. What we must worry about is how we’re going to have decent homes, good food, excellent clothing and the very best prospects for our sons and daughters. To secure this men must be chosen as executives for their ability and their trustworthiness. We have the men and they have the material.

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It does seem so ridiculous that there should be difficulty in absorbing South Africa’s present Army and War workers into civilian employment.

When one travels through the vast bushveld, up and down the long West and East coasts, when one sees the magnificent well-equipped harbours and thinks of the millions Up North beginning to become civilised one can’t but feel that’s a poor lot who can’t find lucrative employment for a quarter of a million White, Coloured and Black South Africans.

In the reconstruction cabinet, there should be at least one seaman. Nobody can have escaped being struck with the number of South Africans who are serving in the British Navy.

There are apparently hundreds of them – and South Africa itself is employing a really large number. Thousands of South Africans seem to be working in dockyards. It seems only logical if these should be represented in the Reconstruction Cabinet and full consideration is given to the profitability of building South African ships for coastal work and engaging in South American trade.

It has often been authoritatively stated that there are large markets for South African coal and railway material agricultural implements and the like from our Iron and Steelworks in South America and in the North. From Cape Town to Dakar and from Durban to Mogadisco seem natural South African coastal trade routes as well as from the Cape to South America.

If the Reconstruction Cabinet can only adopt General Staff methods and obtain the same parliamentary support there cannot be bounds to South African employment and prosperity. For the next two generations, we should be welcoming immigrants. Let us put away pretty things, abandon childish ideas and go forward as men to Peacetime Victory.

Mention of the Sea brings to mind several suggestions for interesting employment in establishing oyster beds, the resumption of the tinned Cape lobster and frozen lobster tail exports to France and the extension of the trade to French colonies, the revival of the old trade to Australia of smoked Cape Sole and the following up of former highly promising experimental shipments of fish to Billingsgate. What has often been strongly urged is the commercial development of our vast seaweed wealth.

Make South Africa a real tourist paradise and offer facilities for the exchange of Trade Missions. Related image

Take but one instance the avid reception by Canadians of South African canned pineapple. Our pines can be produced in unlimited quantity and the Union Trades Commissioner to Canada reports that at all we can send Canadians will buy.

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What the Reconstruction Cabinet needs is reliable statistics as to the following:
What types of hospital and sanitoriums does the Union require?
For what number of Europeans, Coloureds and Natives?
Are existing Military establishments convertible to civilian needs?
How many Europeans and Natives can the mining industry absorb?
What number can Iron and Steelworks employ and how soon can the industry produce agricultural implements?
Will shipbuilding of coastal Steamers pay and what number could be absorbed in building and manning?
What has the fishing industry to offer?
Can a seaweed industry be established?

iscor

One imagines that many pages of questions could be written and it seems feasible that most would be answered satisfactorily to those seeking to place men and women in civilian employment.

We must retain an army and will very like build up a small efficient Navy. The Youth Brigade, the Physical Training Brigade can be carried on with and possibly the Kappie Commando be revived on the present Youth and Physical Training Brigades. The HMS Assegai establishment could be taken over and converted more to a merchant marine basis and that of the General Botha training school be extended.

We have the money, we have the material, the factories, the mines, the railways, harbours, trained personnel to achieve anything – Let’s get down to and do things.

Note in pencil: If we cannot satisfactorily solve our post-war problems, our victories over the Germans will have availed us nothing, and the men who died will have died for an illusion, not an ideal.

The Soldier Returns to What?

‘Fifty million Cash Customers’ was the caption of an article in the Textile Weekly at the time, when Manchester and Birmingham were reeling under the onslaught of Japan into the Truck markets of the world. Those fifty million customers are Africans up North and today thousands of South Africans know them and the roads to their homes.

Inside the Ishikawajima / Wolseley Fukugawa factory, things were... rudimentary...

Inside the Ishikawajima / Wolseley Fukugawa factory circa 1923, things were… rudimentary…

When the South African Iron and Steel Works turn from making cannon to making ploughs; when instead of munitions we produce thousands of miles of fencing, baling and other wire; when South African axes, hatchets, hoes, spades, and shovels and every manner of agricultural, mining, railroad and artisan requirements are being produced, then surely there will be employment enough for every South African and very many would gladly fare again North.

Diversifying: The company had previously made meters and transformers, but switched production to fuzes and 18-pounder shells in 1915
The company had previously made meters and transformers but switched production to fuzes and 18-pounder shells in 1915

Field Marshal Jan Smuts has promised a Reconstruction Ministry. Let us pray that it will be granted the powers of the Wartime general staff and it’s personnel be selected without fear or favour from the ranks of hard-headed businessmen.

Keep out the politicians and the theorists. Select it’s members as the general staff is selected – for the purpose of winning the Peace as the general staff was for winning the War.

Let us take stock of what we have and what we require. South Africa is a vast country with no great extremes of climate. A European can and does live healthily anywhere in the Union even if in some areas there is a need for malarial precautions.

In the Union, almost everything required by man or beast can be produced on a large scale. Almost every possible industry has been partially or well developed.

We have the biggest gold mining industry in the world iron, our Iron and Steel Works are already a great, rapidly expanding source of wealth and employment, and there appear hardly any limits to its sources of material or markets.

Almost all valuable base metals exist in commercial quantities and can be worked profitably. We are the source of the world’s greatest production of diamonds and our coal deposits are of excellent quality and quantity and already in full development.

Large rough diamond.
                                                            Diamond cutting comes to South Africa 1928

Surely the proposed Reconstruction Cabinet has the vast field of employment before it in mining and manufacturing the products of mining. Let the Reconstruction Cabinets call into consultation the Senior Officers of the Mines Brigade and of the South African Engineers. Put some of them into the Reconstruction Cabinet and there can be little doubt that as many Constructive ideas would come from them as the Destructive ones they now use against Rommel and his Italian Allies. Let us remember that in War the Mine’s Brigade and the Engineers are employed just as much on Constructive as Destructive work.

From mining let us turn to the Industrial life. The Union’s population today is fast being drawn off the land not only to mining but to factory employment. Jam making, canning and drying fruit biscuit manufacturer, boot and clothing making, soap and scent production, tinning fish, – what industry isn’t in production in the Union? What isn’t, could be developed, given the trained personnel and the equipment.

furniture (1)

Furniture Industries founded in 1920

Where can the Union find profitable markets and who will search for them, transport to them, distribute in them? The answer is easy.

Up North is the market and commercial travellers, truck drivers, warehousemen, market agents, clerical staff are on hand now in the army. Where can goods in bulk be sent to? Why not to existing base and training camps up North?

There are of course other States to be considered, but if Trade Agreements can be made and our trading convoys and trains return loaded with their produce and we study and follow the commercial attitude of the United States to Canada no difficulty should exist.

Hermanus History Society

There’s certainly room for us all. Even the creation of a Great Central African Union of Rhodesia, Kenya, Uganda and Nyasaland, ought to be of incalculable benefit to the Union of South Africa in the Union of obtaining raw material to supplement her own resources and in supplying the North with manufactured goods and even in helping to industrialize the North.

We turn to Agriculture. To the Stockman and to the farmer; the greater the mining and industrial development the better his position. The farmer wants markets. There is hardly any product the Union farmer can’t produce on a commercial scale provided there are profitable markets for his produce and the markets exist.

 

When scarcely a newspaper issue is free of some report on malnutrition when statistics show a large percentage of South African whites, as well as Coloured and Natives,  are living without sufficient nourishing food something is radically wrong.

The position is made worse by the scandals of millions of pockets of oranges being destroyed, markets flooded with potatoes and fruit, lack of milk and egg producing foodstuffs.

We have the raw materials, the factories, the foodstuffs, the personnel to mine, produce, grow and manufacture. Why on earth should any man, woman or child in the Union not be properly fed, clothed and housed? Could any sane person visualise the South African Army being allowed to go short of food, clothing, equipment and housing? Why then should the civilian population?

There can only be one logical answer and that is that the people of South Africa in Peacetime are ruled and handled by the wrong people.

After this War, we must get down to Bread and Butter politics. We must “cut down the cackle and get down to the ‘osses.”  How are we to do it?

Only by every voter demanding a pledge from his or her parliamentary candidate that he will disassociate himself or herself from dreamland and pull his or her full weight in bettering the lot of people.

We want and must have more women in Parliament – women of the masses, women who have the interest of homes and children in their hearts. We must sweep away vested interests which lock up foodstuffs, clothing and housing.

Why should there not be a municipal market in every suburb? Every suburb has its Post Office and most certainly should have its Market Hall where wives and mothers could buy fresh fruit and vegetables sold in small lots by municipal auction direct from the producer.

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Johannesburg

Do away with that market abomination selling by ‘Balance‘. What housewife wants to be crushed and jostled by a crowd of middlemen only to find the auctioneer is letting the greater part of the produce go ‘in balance‘ lots to them.

In Wartime no problem is insurmountable. When war broke out the Union leaders did not sit down holding their heads in their hands wondering how to build an army, how to equip and staff one, how to arm it or how to use it? Government heads got down to real solid brain work and did what had to be done. Why not in Peacetime?

Immediately after the War, our leaders must get down to essentials for the welfare of the people. What the Reconstruction Cabinet is really faced with is the necessity for fully equipped and staffed hospitals to handle every invalid in the Union. The hospital staff and equipment of the military converted to civilian requirements would practically solve this question and provide for a fair percentage of ex-Servicemen and women requiring employment.

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Municipal suburban Market Halls could absorb quite a few working at present in Army Quartermaster’s stores, communal feeding the poor school children would find employment for quite a number.

The Police Force needs strengthening and really wherever one turns it seems that a few more men or women could be employed advantageously.

No matter how one’s brain twists it comes back to the fact that in Peace as in War profits must be controlled and limited and that profits must be earned. Exploitation of the credulity of the masses must be dealt with drastically. The buying and selling of stocks and shares must cease to be more speculation than investment.

Image result for johannesburg stock exchange 1920Johannesburg Stock Exchange 1920

to be continued…

By S/Sergeant B.M.Leffler