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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Friend of the native?': James Sivewright and the Cape liberal tradition
Author:Wilburn, KennethISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
About person:James Sivewright (1848-1916)
Abstract:For various humanitarian, religious, and material reasons, nineteenth-century Cape liberals of South Africa were renowned for progressive views on African rights. Typically, historians have excluded James Sivewright (1848-1916), who advanced communications technology, industry, politics and diplomacy in South Africa from 1878 to 1898, from the Cape liberal tradition. This article examines the historiography of the Cape liberal tradition, its relationship to Marxist historiography of South Africa, and Sivewright's notorious life in South Africa and Scotland, arguing that this poorly understood Scot should be placed in the liberal company of both his old friend, John X. Merriman, and his personally hostile colleague, James Rose Innes. It examines the political actions of powerful Cape liberals in comparative perspective during the apex of their shared political careers within three areas of contention regarding African rights: the Masters and Servants Act Amendment Bill (1890), the Cape Franchise and Ballot Act (1892), and the Glen Grey Act (1894), Rhodes's 'Native Bill for Africa'. Sivewright's life in South Africa is also explored more generally in comparative perspective with Scots in major parts of the British Empire, arguing that Sivewright not only deserves to be included as a progressive within the Cape liberal tradition, he also belongs among global Scots who made significant contributions to the creation and maintenance of the British Empire. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]