n South African Journal of Cultural History - Southerners and Afrikaners : the search for place and identity

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



Since 1994 Afrikaners have been engaged in the process of redefining their place and their role in the 'new South Africa'. In this process elements of their culture - among them cultural/historical symbols, music, historical events and personalities - have been utilised in the effort to forge a new understanding of Afrikaner identity to fit the radically changed circumstances in which they find themselves. The current Afrikaner experience of accommodation to new realities has its parallels with that of white southerners in the United States following the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865 and the end of segregation in the mid-20th century. Although there are clearly some significant differences, the similarities of how the two groups have used elements of their culture and history, and the responses of non-whites, are striking. In addition, the experience of southern accommodation may offer some insight into how the Afrikaners may adjust and adapt to the new South Africa.

Sedert 1994 is die Afrikaners besig om hulle plek en rol in die 'nuwe Suid-Afrika' te vind. In hierdie proses is elemente van hulle kultuur (soos kulturele en geskiedkundige simbole, musiek, geskiedkundige gebeurtenisse en persone) gebruik om 'n nuwe Afrikaneridentiteit te skep in hulle radikaal veranderende omstandighede. Die Afrikaner se huidige situasie waarin hy nuwe werklikhede moet aanvaar, toon ooreenkomste met die ondervinding van blanke suiderlinge in die Vereningde State nadat die Konfederasie in 1865 'n nederlaag gely het en die einde van segregasie in die middel van die 20ste eeu. Hoewel daar betekenisvolle verskille is, is die ooreenkomste tussen die twee groepe se gebruik van hulle kultuur en geskiedenis, asook die reaksie van die nie-blanke, treffend. Buitendien mag die ondervinding van Amerikaanse suiderlinge insig gee in hoe die Afrikaners hulle by die nuwe Suid-Afrika mag aanpas.

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