1887

n Historia - Our South African (Afrikaner) heraldic heritage - a mythical creation?

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Abstract

<b>Ons Suid-Afrikaanse (Afrikaner-) Heraldiese Erfenis - 'n Mitiese Skepping?</b> <br>Hierdie artikel poog om vas te stel in watter mate 'ons' Suid-Afrikaanse Afrikaanse heraldiese erfenis voldoen aan die aanvaarde historiese beoordeling van bewysmateriaal. Daar bestaan 'n wanpersepsie onder die breë publiek dat dit wat in boeke staan, geldig en eg moet wees, nie omdat dit waar is nie, maar omdat hulle glo dat dit &lt;I&gt;behoort&lt;/I&gt; te wees. Die behoefte aan erfenis of agtergrond blyk besonder sterk te wees en dit is waarskynlik dat die publiek en die heraldies-oningeligtes nie net meegedoen het aan die misleiding en mitologie nie, maar dat hulle ook aktief bygedra het tot die verwarring. Dit kom voor asof die meeste plaaslike skrywers wat hulle hand gedurende die twintigste eeu aan heraldiek geslaan het, entoesiastiese amateurs was met weinig, indien enige, formele opleiding in heraldiek, geskiedenis, die regte of wetenskap. Wetens of onwetens het talle plaaslike skrywers bygedra tot die mitologie dat elke familie 'n wapen het en dat dit terugdateer na vroeëre tye. <I>Caveat emptor&lt;/I&gt; - Daar word in die artikel aangedui dat 'ons' heraldiese erfenis in 'n groot mate 'n mitiese skepping is. Erfenis moet nie met geskiedenis verwar word nie. Geskiedenis wil oortuig deur waarheid, en verwerp valsheid. Erfenis oordryf en ignoreer, skep en vergeet goedsmoeds, en floreer op onkunde en foute. Tyd en nawete verander geskiedenis weliswaar ook. Maar historici se hersiening moet konformeer tot aanvaarde voorkeur aan bewyse. Erfenis word meer buigsaam aangepas. Historici ignoreer op professionele risiko die hele korpus van kennis oor die verlede wat erfenis argeloos kan oortree.

This article is an attempt to establish to what extent 'our' SA Afrikaans heraldic heritage conforms to the accepted historical tenets of evidence. There is a mistaken perception amongst the general public that if something is in print it must be valid and authentic, not because it &lt;I&gt;is&lt;/I&gt; true but because they believe it &lt;I&gt;ought&lt;/I&gt; to be. The need for heritage or background seems to be particularly strong and it seems likely that the public and heraldically ignorant have not only been party to the deception or mythology, but they have also actively contributed to the confusion. It seems that most local writers who dabbled in heraldry during the twentieth century were enthusiastic amateurs with little if any formal training in heraldry, history, the law or science. Wittingly or unwittingly, many local writers have contributed to the mythology that every family has a coat of arms and this dates back to earlier times. <I>Caveat emptor&lt;/I&gt; - in the article it is shown that much of 'our' heraldic heritage is a mythical creation. Heritage should not be confused with history. History seeks to convince by truth, and succumbs to falsehood. Heritage exaggerates and omits, candidly invents and frankly forgets, and thrives on ignorance and error. Time and hindsight alter history, too. But historians' revisions must conform [to] accepted tenets of evidence. Heritage is more flexibly emended. Historians ignore at professional peril the whole corpus of past knowledge that heritage can airily transgress.

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/content/hist/49/1/EJC38140
2004-05-01
2016-12-03
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