Why was the national convention called in 1908?

Why was the national convention called in 1908?

The National Convention was a meeting of representatives of four British colonies of Transvaal, Cape Colony, Natal and Orange Free State to prepare for a closer union of South Africa.

The delegates first met in Durban from 12th October to 5th November 1908 and then between 23rd November 1908 to 2nd February 1909 in Cape Town.




Dr Leander Starr Jameson represented the British in the meeting while Botha, Smuts, Steyn and Dewet stood for the Boers.

Africans were not physically represented at this convention The racist white government in Rhodes sent representatives to act as observers in the convention.

Why was the national convention called in 1908?

  • To prepare South Africa for a closer union of the four colonies of Cape, Natal, Transvaal and Orange Free State.




  • To discuss the nature of voting rights in public elections. They wanted to make it clear about who should vote and who should be voted and who was not.
  • To decide on the nature of the constitution for the union of South Africa and draft it as well.
  • To end the hostilities between the British and the Boers. These hostilities begun as far back as the great trek and had been also shown in the first and second Anglo- Boer wars.
  • To improve on the economic relations between the British and the Boers. For example to discuss issues concerning inter – territorial railways.
  • Wanted to remove economic barriers to enable economic co- operation between white colonies in South Africa.
  • It was called to discuss issues of customs.
  • It was called to discuss the racial politics of South African.
  • To stop unhealthy trade competition among Boers and whites.




  • To fix the position of non- whites the union government
  • To determine the national language in south Africa
  • To determine the capital city of the union government.
  • To clearly define the leadership question; who rule and where.
  • To determine the type and nature of union government.

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