SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1933. Volume 4. Number 5.
Africa Speaks to New Zealanders... — Foreign Students in N.Z
Africa Speaks to New Zealanders...
Foreign Students in N.Z.
After being in New Zealand three years, carefully studying conditions affecting foreign students, I find it necessary to write something about the question of foreign students in New Zealand.
On writing on the above subject, I would ask readers of this article not to regard me one who is not appreciative or unmindful of the kindness and hospitality extended by a number of people in New Zealand to foreign students, including myself. Personalty, I take off my hat to a number of people in New Zealand who have shown unbounded kindness to a number of foreign students. I am writing this article because I have found that there are certain misunderstandings regarding foreign students with the man in the street, and with some people in the University Colleges, which need to be corrected. If these misunderstandings are not Corrected, they will result in an unnecessary unfriendly attitude towards foreign students.
Further, foreign students visiting this Dominion will leave with unpleasant impressions of certain New Zealanders.
When I left South Africa, I was specially asked both by Europeans and non-Europeans, to make a careful study of the conditions affecting foreign students in New Zealand, in order that in future some of our students might come to New Zealand and Australia, instead of all going to the Universities in Great Britain and in America.
While I value the high standard of education to be obtained in this Dominion and would like many of my home students to avail themselves of it, at present I would hesitate to advise African students to come to New Zealand.
In a number of countries at present there is a move for an interchange of students, both black and white. Two African students are now studying in America. One is doing post-graduate work and theological studies in Columbia, New York. The other student is doing music studies. At present two scholarships have been offered for two African students to go to Switzerland and Germany.
The object of this interchange of students is to enable students of one country to get knowledge about life and conditions in other countries. Also to help to break down the mistaken ideas that many people in one country have about people in other countries. When the Springboks football team from South Africa visited Scotland last year, one lady would not believe that they came from Africa. This lady's idea of people from Africa was that they should have spears and assegais.
One day I was going to the Medical School from Knox College. At the bridge near the gardens I met a mother going with a little girl. The little girl said. "Stop, black man. you have not washed; I will give you a piece of soap."
I laughed, and requested my young friend to bring me a scrubbing-brush, and the little girl was very much amused.
In addition to interchanged students, there are students who visit other countries for further studies or for general experience. Of African students now studying abroad I may mention Dr. T. K. Bokwe, M.B., Ch.B., now House Surgeon in London; Mrs. Mohume Morake. M.A., B.Sc.; A. Ferreira, M.A. Columbia, New York; Miss M. Kay. B.A. (S.A.), Diploma in Education (Bristol); Mr. Z. K. Matthews. B.A., LL.B.; Mr. Maxeke, and others in English Universities.
In New Zealand one meets a number of people who fear that foreign students might remain in New Zealand after completing their course and take up professions in this Dominion. One regrets very much that even in the University Colleges there are certain individuals among staff and students who are not free from this fear. In part, this fear is due to the fact that a number of people in New Zealand are afraid of Oriental immigration, and thus there has come about the confusion of two different things— immigration, and visits for educational purposes.
My object is to clear this fear and to make an appeal for a broader outlook regarding the question of foreign students in New Zealand.
A number of foreign students who are now studying in New Zealand are here with the support of their home Governments. These students are looking forward to tilling up occupations in their respective countries. Some are here for Agriculture and Medicine, and will be getting Government appointments on their return home. Others are here for the other professions, and are looking forward to page 7 their return to their home countries. I have met a number of foreign students in the North and South Islands, and, as far as I know, not one of them intends remaining in New Zealand.
Foreign students are in New Zealand for the purpose of getting education and culture with which to serve their countrymen. New Zealanders, therefore, should count it joy that a small country like New Zealand should be able to train men and women to serve thousands of people in China, Japan, India, Germany, Australia, and Africa, and in other countries.
Foreign students are of economic and educational value in a country. They spend money, which helps citizens of that country, and also contribute to the education of the people about other countries.
As far as African students are concerned, more particularly Bantu students. New Zealanders need have no fear, as African students have many more openings awaiting them in their country than there are in New Zealand.
Firstly, the following statement was recently published by the Missionary Body of Africa. This report said that, roughly, there is about one well-qualified physician for every million of the population in Africa. For the Southern parts of Africa it is said that there is a demand for 900 doctors at present. Infant mortality ranges from 250 to 750 per 1,000.
Secondly, there are many other openings requiring qualified Africans. When I left South Africa I was offered two appointments in the Civil Service, and one as Health Inspector in a native township in Johannesburg. For thirty-one years my father has been a director of Native Labour over 30,000 natives at the Gold Mines, Crown Mines, Johannesburg, and in Modderbee. These mines and many others are in demand of qualified Africans.