South African Native Affairs Commission (SANAC) and associated items

Scope and Content

[Source – Chloe Rushovich for FHYA, 2023, using Cambridge University Library materials and materials provided by Sally Kent: The FHYA, in conjunction with the Royal Commonwealth Society collection at the Cambridge University Library, has digitised all of the volumes of Godfrey Lagden’s presentation copy of the South African Native Affairs Commission. These volumes were presented to the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) collection by Frances Audley Preston (née Lagden, 1888-1976), one of Godfrey Lagden’s daughters. Lagden had five children, three sons and two daughters. Frances was born in Basutoland in 1888 and died in Surrey in 1976. She was a member of the RCS between 1923 and 1971, having being initially proposed by her father. The SANAC volumes were initially identified for digitisation by the Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History, Saul Dubow, who has published on the history of segregation in South Africa. The SANAC volumes are important to South African history as they mark one of the earliest discussions of racial segregation and serve as a precursor to the Natives’ Land Act of 1913, the Natives’ Urban Areas Act of 1923, and, ultimately, the Group Areas Act of 1950. The commission, chaired by Sir Godfrey Lagden (1851-1934), later a vice-president of the Royal Colonial Institute (an earlier iteration of the RCS), took evidence from settlers and Africans across the four colonies, then known as The Cape (Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, parts of North West province), Transvaal (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West province, Gauteng, parts of KwaZulu-Natal), Natal (KwaZulu-Natal), and Orange River (Free State province), and across the territories then known as Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Bechuanaland (Botswana), and Basutoland (Lesotho) between 1903 and 1905. The commission was appointed by the British High Commissioner for South Africa, Alfred Milner, to examine and provide recommendations for ‘the Native question’. The volumes of evidence give some access to the African voice which is so often silent or simply absent in official documents. The report, published in February 1905, advocated, amongst other things, for territorial and political separation along racial grounds, the industrial and manual education (as opposed to literary education) of African peoples, and the importance of Christianity. The FHYA has also chosen to digitise and upload the catalogue cards, images of the filing cabinet in which the cards are housed, the accession register pages associated with the volumes, the RCS member book pages associated with the volumes, and images of the volumes in situ at the RCS. The Volumes are further split into parts to mitigate digital file size. A higher resolution, non-searchable version of the volumes is currently on the Cambridge University Digital Library.]



South African Native Affairs Commission (SANAC) and associated items

[ Source of title : Chloe Rushovich for FHYA, 2023, using Cambridge University Digital Library material ]

Material Designation

Textual record

Reproduction Conditions

Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND

Event Actor Event Type Event Date Event Description
Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) Online curation 2023 -



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