oa Historia - Afrikanernasionalisme en Engels : 'n kortstondige beleidsafwyking en die agtergrond daarvan

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Afrikaner nationalism and English: a brief policy deviation and its background. Afrikaner nationalism -of which the Nationalist Party was the most important exponent -has an impeccable record in one respect. During the reign of that party the language rights of the English-speaking population were never curtailed; neither was it the policy of the party as opposition party to do so. An exception occurred in the early 1940's. A few organisations such as the Ossewa-Brandwag were in favour of Afrikaans as first official language (and English as second language). In 1942 the Nationalist Party announced a draft constitution for a future republic. The language provision in the draft read that as Afrikaans was the language of the original white inhabitants of the country, it would be the first official language. English was regarded as a second or supplementary official language which would be treated on a basis of equality and would enjoy equal freedom, rights and privileges with the official language in all situations where such treatment was deemed by the state authority to be in the best interests of the state and its citizens. This article was criticized by the most important N.P. mouthpiece, Die Burger, as well as Die Volksblad and Die Oosterlig, because it would be tantamount to injustice to the English-speaking sector. Within a few months the proposed language provision was repudiated by the party leader, Dr. D.F. Malan, and Transvaal leader, Mr. J.G. Strijdom. The article sketches the pro-Republican activities of the period, the pronouncements about official languages and the political and language background against which these pronouncements should be evaluated.

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