In a cramped, cluttered shop on a double land highway leading north from here, Elbie Denyschen sells lawn furniture.Sitting on one of his chairs, the blond Afrikaner tells a visitor that although he was "taught apartheid all the way" he is "not a hater of blacks. I need the black man and he needs me."
But lately, Denyschen, 50, has been upset by the large number of blacks using parks in the white areas of Pretoria.
"When I pass a park that there's not a single white and it's crowded with blacks, then I know there must be something wrong somewhere," said Denyschen who is a member of the Pretoria City Council.
More than 7,000 whites in Pretoria support Denschen's position enough to have signed his petition asking the council to close the parks to blacks. They have been open to them for seven years.
The council opened the parks under pressure from the central government when Pretoria was hosting an international sporting event.
Denyschen's campaign is part of a right-wing backlash against Prime Minister Pieter W. Botha, viewed as too liberal for many whites. It will be very difficult for Botha to lean on the council to keep its parks open without aggrevating further this right-wing faction.
The furniture salesman estimates that about 20 of the city's 30 councilors will vote with him to close the parks early next year. One councilor has suggested paving the parks to discourage blacks from using them.
"The last three years there have been such a lot of black people penetrating Pretoria by day from 9 o'clock in the morning until 4 in the afternoon," said Denyschen in heavily accented English. "If you to to Pretoria central park at Church Square you'll find them lying there -- especially this time of day. There's no room for whites; they play dice, they gamble, they drink, they play cards," he said.
When asked why whites could not mix with blacks in the parks, Denyschen replied, "Hell, lady, never in your life . . . I was brought up that way, I was taught apartheid all the way."
Sharing facilities "is not the policy of the government, it will never be, never be," he added.
Actually, however, since the government pledged several years ago to remove "hurtful and unnecessary discrimination," it has been official policy to share facilities between blacks and whites when practical and necessary.
With the government's decision to accept the permanence in urban areas of a few million urban blacks, there will be more pressure for this Jim Crow-type segregation to wither.
But three years after Foreign Minister Pik Botha urged his followers to accept such changes by saying he was "not prepared to die for an apartheid sign in a lift [elevator]," this so-called "petty apartheid" in public facilities remains the rule rather than the exception.
Segregation in public places is decreed by the Separate Amenities Act of 1953. The government has told local authorities they may decide which facilities they want to open to all races. Not surprisingly, few have been opened.
For privately owned establishments, the government has set up a system of permits that gives proprietors exemption from the act. Thus, separation remains the rule, multiracialism the exception.
Many businessaman hate the permit system because of its cumbersome and time-consuming red tape, at the end of which permission is often refused. A restaurateur was refused a permit because he had flounted the law by serving blacks illegally without a permit. Kevin Hyson, head of a chain of movie theaters, said he annually applies for a permit to admit all races to his cinemas and annually is turned down -- no reason given.
Even with a permit, there are often "bizarre, humiliating and unnecessary" restrictions on hotels who want to serve blacks, according th Nigel Matthews, head of the Holiday Inn chain here.
For example, blacks visiting a hotel may not drink there unless they have a meal or are a resident. Even if a guest, a balck cannot dance in the hotel disco. Even with a permit, the management cannot give more than 10 percent of its beds to nonwhites at any one time and drinking glasses used by blacks must be kept on separate shelves and dried with separate towels, Matthews said.
Blacks object ot the permit system on principle. "We are not supposed to creep toward facilities and check whether they are open or not before we go in," said an editorial in a black newspaper.
The removal of Jim Crow segregation elicits a ho-hum response from many blacks either because their political aspirations go far beyond such issues or because their pocketbooks do not allow them to use the desegregated establishments.
"Whites think of our numbers and some phobia runs through them, but we'll never flood white areas. Even without apartheid, people naturally separate themselves," said Colin Nxumalo, a black reporter.
Johannesburg is by far the most cosmopolitan city in South Africa. Here blacks can use the parks, libraries and playhouses. But they must ride all-black buses, commute in all-black train coaches, use separate toilets and hospitals, enter most liquor stores through a separate door and buy at a separate counter. They cannot use any of the swimming pools nor can they go to any theaters.
At Jan Smuts International Airport, toilets and restaurants are integrated in the international terminal but segregated in the domestic section.
Only 10 of the city's hotels can accommodate blacks and of Johannesburg's hundreds of restaurants, only 11 have permits to serve all races, according to government figures. Many restaurants without permits will often serve blacks if they are brought in by a white. But as this reporter was once told, "if anyone complains, [about your guest] I'll have to ask you to leave."
Denyschen's solution is to build more facilities for blacks in their own neighborhoods.
"If i need a swimming bath [pool] I suppose they need one too; if I need tarred roads, I suppose they do too." he said. "If they are happy in their townships, we'll have less trouble in South Africa . . . So let's give it to them, a decent stove, toilet, bed.
"Unfortunately, we whites kept too much for ourselves and never looked after the black men to help them. But it's time now to help these people. They need our help."
Even if the money and political will were there to supply black townships with more facilities, the segregation reaches far beyond just restaurants and swimming pools. Most of the country's coastline is still divided into separate beaches for whites, blacks, Coloreds and Indians. An Indian who tried to book a hut on a hiking trail in northern Transvaal was told it was for "whites only."
"They tell me there's a beautiful sight on that trail," he said quietly. "They call it God's window."