n Journal for Contemporary History - 'n Terugkeer na die "veilige laer" : die politiek van regse blanke vrese, 1988-1989

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



In this article the politics of right-wing fears in the years 1988 and 1989 (i.e. on the cusp of the new political dispensation in South Africa) is analysed. Right-wing politics is compared with the tendency to move to the right in the governing National Party of the time, and contrasted with events in the black political arena; including increasing political unrest and concomitant violence, as well as black-on-black violence. The years 1988 and 1989 were indeed of great significance in the history of South Africa, with PW Botha's resignation as State President in 1989 paving the way for the watershed events of 1990 and the eventual establishment of a new political dispensation in the country. Issues that are addressed in the article also include the growing tension between the more moderate and more militant right-wing whites; the reasons why far-right whites became ever more militant; the ways in which black people were stereotyped by right-wing whites, and the growth in support for the Conservative Party. The role that fear played in election propaganda is discussed, with special reference to the 1989 "general" election; i.e. the last election in which black people were barred from taking part.

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