A Soil Conservation Safari: Hugh Bennett's 1944 Visit to South Africa
Environment and History
Hugh Bennett, then Chief of the United States Soil Conservation Service, paid a two-month official visit to South Africa in 1944. His visit threw into relief many of the country's social and political cleavages, not least the administrative division between the Department of Agriculture, responsible for soil conservation on white-owned farms, and the Department of Native Affairs, responsible for soil conservation in so-called 'native areas'. The latter were paid scant attention in the itinerary, and Bennett himself appeared reluctant to acknowledge how any national soil conservation effort would be compromised by the racially segregated socio-political context in which it occurred.