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Sarah Duff Reviews My Children Have Faces by Carol Campbell

My Children Have FacesVerdict: stick

In 1874, F.W. Reitz, an expert on agriculture, advised the government of the Cape Colony that the best way of ensuring that the Cape’s economy remained firmly in white hands, was to remove white boys from the countryside:

What we want is to get the lads away for two or three years from the unobservant, listless existence of a back-country farm, and to train them where all their faculties will be awakened and kept awake.

Other colonial commentators, who argued that hard roads, railways, telegraph poles, and electrification would bring civilisation to the countryside, echoed Reitz’s description of the colony’s vast rural interior as a place of backwardness and ignorance.

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