n Journal for Contemporary History - An ark without a flood : white South Africans' preparations for the end of white-ruled South Africa

Volume 39, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



"Doomsday prepping" has become a highly visible phenomenon in recent years following extensive media coverage on National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel. Although "preppers" currently inhabit South Africa, the run up to the 1994 election saw the white South African public "prepping" on an unprecedented scale. This article examines the origins of preparations made for this historic event, as well as measures taken by the white public to prepare themselves for every eventuality. While the rightwing in particular advocated preparing for what they believed would be a civil war, preparing was not limited to supporters of the rightwing, and a large number of white South Africans prepared for some kind of catastrophe. These possible eventualities range from possible power outages, water shortages and the disruption of food supply networks, to fears that whites would be exterminated as happened in the Belgian Congo, Mozambique and Angola and that the rightwing would start a civil war. In essence, however, prepping perhaps served a psychological function by establishing assurances in what was South Africa's most volatile period.

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