n Historia - The politics of emotion, knowledge and identity
Knowledge in the Blood : Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past, J.D. Jansen : book review

Volume 56, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



"Afrikaner, ?" The former prime minister of the Union of South Africa, D.F. Malan, asked this question during the inauguration of the Voortrekker Monument on 16 December 1949. "Where are you going?" This question was seen by the prolific historian, F.A. van Jaarsveld, as central to the understanding of Afrikaner identity, for the answer is shaped by the made during times of crisis. The consequences of these choices shape how people react to a crisis and this inevitably becomes part and parcel of identity. If we follow this line of thinking, and agree with Hermann Giliomee that apartheid was a radical survival plan, a choice born in a time of crisis, then Afrikaner identity is inescapably linked to apartheid. Consequently, in a world which has proclaimed apartheid to be a crime against humanity, the question raised by Malan remains crucial to many who still call themselves "Afrikaners".

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