why didn't South Africa do a better job to attract European immigrants after WW2 and subsequently?

the question is predicated on the observation that in 1994 the white population was around 5 million, so presumably back in 1946 it was even less. So while the country was big on the map, the actual number of people they considered true citizens seems to have been pretty small throughout their history as a white nation.

So why didn’t they do a better job attracting immigrants? For instance, immediately after the war European economy was pretty messed up (especially in Germany and maybe Italy) and there were all sorts of refugees floating around for various reasons. And for the less optimistic folks, maybe there were also fears of Communist victory in elections in France and Italy and/or war with Russia. So why didn’t the government of SA capitalize on all this and import a few millions more people?

Or let’s take Britain in 1970s. The country was so deeply economically and politically messed up that reputedly some officers considered a coup against the Labor government on account of alleged Communist subversion. So why didn’t they have a big emigration from England to South Africa at that time?

WAG. Afrikaaner Nationalism. Would be a bit put offing for British and Irish people.

The whole Apartheid policy would have put off a lot of British immigrants, both for its offensive nature, and the likelihood of trouble in the future as the black and coloured majority threw off its chains and (perhaps) took its revenge on the white minority. Canada and Australia would have been more congenial and safer.

On a personal note, when my mother finished college in the 1930s, she looked at where she could emigrate to from England. Between Canada, South Africa and Australia, she chose Australia. I think that in her case it was to get as far away from home as possible.

I don’t think South Africa was an attractive prospect to most Britons back then. To many people, including myself, it seemed certain that any transition to majority rule would be involuntary, long drawn-out and bloody. Miraculously it wasn’t (a huge tribute to the oppressed majority and its leaders) but that didn’t look likely at the time.

It depends on what you mean by “back then”. My grandmother immigrated from Britain to South Africa shortly after World War 2, mostly to escape a bleak postwar landscape. South Africa was I’m sure far less appealing for immigration by a white person in the 70s when signs of unrest were far more prominent.

Yes, I was specifically replying to the OP’s “let’s take Britain in the 70s”. I should have made that clearer. Before the 60s South Africa would have seemed a very attractive prospect, especially given the bleak Britain of the immediate post-war years.

There were also a lot of better alternatives. The USA and Australia were relaxing requirements, especially with “war orphans,” and the families would could care for them were much better off in the USA.

As long as places like the USA and Canada would take immigrants, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa had a lot going against them. It was simply too far. Even now it is too far. It’s an 18 hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, not exactly a place where, even the rich can go for just a weekend.

Africa was unique also for disease factors. Unlike places in the New World where the natives were wiped out by European disease the opposite happened in Africa. It was the African diseases that were wiping out the Europeans.

This explains why only a few areas south of the Sahara such as, Rhodesia, South Africa and the highlands of Kenya attracted any white settlement.

But distance was most likely the key factor. As long as one could immigrate to the US or Canada, South Africa would be way down on the list.

Nitpick: it’s 13 to 14 hours.

But Australia was attracting migrants from Britain and from the rest of Europe from 1945 onwards, in spite of the distance, and partly because it was strongly encouraging (white) immigration.

That, plus the fact the population is 90% black. Not a good place for anti-racists or racists.

Did South Africa make any kind of push for Dutch migrants? The Netherlands after WWII was an even bleaker place than Britain from what I’ve heard.

The apartheid government only really started making a concerted push for foreign white immigration towards the end of apartheid. For example I went to school with kids who had emigrated from Argentina and Italy, as long as you where white, racist and had a technical skill the government needed you would be let in.

There was also a large influx of english speaking whites who fled the demise of white rule in Zimbabwe, they’re easy to spot because they still refer to Rhodesia and generally have no interest in speaking or understanding Afrikaans.

A key issue in apartheid is that while non-whites had no political power they were still the foundation of the economy. So the government was not so concerned with white immigration, since only so many managers were needed, but relied on black migration to and from the mines to keep the economy going.