Jewish Culture in South Africa


With the likely provocative subhead of “Where Women are More Advanced than Men,” the page 10 article wouldn’t pass political correctness standards today.

From the lead paragraph, with stereotypical depictions of Africans, to the repeated patronization of women throughout, the article is a relic of a bygone era — even if it was meant to be a positive look at South Africa.

Writer Joseph Brainan briefly profiles some Jewish authors, including Sarah Gertrude Millin, “the foremost African authoress” who was hoping for a lecture tour of the United States.

“I’d like to see with my own eyes the land of [Walt] Whitman, prohibition, Upton Sinclair, [Massachusetts Gov. Alvan] Fuller, Aimee McPherson, Sinclair Lewis and Ludwig Lewisohn. Contrasts always attract me. And Jewish America must be a seething kettle I’d like to dip my fingers in,” Millin said.

Millin — who wrote nearly 20 novels — certainly did like contrasts: Whitman was a poet, while Sinclair was a muckraking journalist and Fuller was prominent because his tenure coincided with the infamous Sacco and Vanzetti case. Meantime, McPherson was a Pentecostal preacher who founded the Foursquare Church, Lewis was a prominent novelist and Lewisohn was a critic of American Jewish assimilation and a founding faculty member of Brandeis University.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here