Quotes From PW Botha, Prime Minister of South Africa

P. W. Botha at a podium speaking before a crowd.

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"I never have the nagging doubt of wondering whether perhaps I am wrong."

President P. W. Botha, who served as the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984 and executive State President from 1984 to 1989, gave many memorable remarks about leading South Africa under the policies of apartheid that kept races segregated.

On Apartheid

"I am one of those who believe that there is no permanent home for even a section of the Bantu in the white area of South Africa, and the destiny of South Africa depends on this essential point. If the principle of permanent residence for the black man in the area of the white is accepted, then it is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it in this country."

"The people who are opposing the policy of apartheid have not the courage of their convictions. They do not marry non-Europeans."

"Because you could not translate the word apartheid into the more universal language of English, the wrong connotation was given to it."

"I am sick and tired of the hollow parrot-cry of 'apartheid!' I've said many times that the word 'apartheid' means good neighborliness."

On Race Relations

"You could not claim for yourself that which you were not prepared to grant others."

"The security and happiness of all minority groups in South Africa depends on the Afrikaner."

"Most blacks are happy, except those who have had other ideas pushed into their ears."

"If the principle of permanent residence for the black man in the area of the white is accepted, then it is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it in this country."

"I am not against the provision of the necessary medical assistance to colored and natives, because unless they receive that medical aid, they become a source of danger to the European community."

"The white people who came here lived at a very much higher standard than the indigenous peoples and with a very rich tradition, which they brought with them from Europe."

"Our history is responsible for the differences in the South African way of life."

Botha Quotes On Leading South Africa

"The free world wants to feed South Africa to the Red Crocodile [communism] to appease its hunger."

"The idea of an Afrikaner people as a cultural entity and religious group with a special language will be retained in South Africa as long as civilization stands."

"Half a century ago in this court, I was sworn in as the member of Parliament for George. And here I am today...I am not better than General De Wet. I am not better than President Steyn. Like them, I stand firm in my principles. I can do no different. So help me God."

"Adapt or die."

"I believe we are today crossing the Rubicon, Mr. Chairman. In South Africa, there can be no turning back. I have a manifesto for the future of our country and we must engage in positive action in the months and years that lie ahead."
From his National Party Congress Speech, 15 August 1985.

Sources

Crwys-Williams, Jennifer. "Penguin Dictionary of South African Quotations." Paperback, Penguin Global, August 12, 2009.

Krog, Antjie. "Country of My Skull." Hardcover, Crown, First Edition edition, February 22, 1999.

Lennox-Short, Alan. "A treasury of quotations." AD. Donker, 1991.

McGreal, Chris. "Brothers in arms — Israel's secret pact with Pretoria." The Guardian, February 7, 2006.

"PW Botha." South Africa Travel Online, 2017.

Van der Vat, Dan. "PW Botha." The Guardian, November 2006.