n Historia - Afrikaner socio-theological discourse in the early twentieth century : war and mission in J. F. Naudé and J. du Plessis




The lives and works of two formative and controversial Afrikaner Christian leaders, Jozua Francois Naudé, and Johannes du Plessis, are considered in this article and evaluated according to the themes of war and mission. Both had public careers in the years spanning both the Anglo-Boer War and the First World War. Both men were significant in terms of the emerging Afrikaner nationalist discourse; Naudé especially so, with much of his own life choices marked by nationalist aspirations. Du Plessis presents a rather more complex, even ambiguous picture. He was controversial enough to be considered by some historians of South African Christianity as representative of an alternative Afrikaner Christian discourse that would eventually challenge the normative neo-Calvinist nationalism espoused by the religious establishment. Their contributions during the different war years are assessed here and while it is clearly evident that J.F. Naudé was an ardent defender of the Boer cause as well as being a supporter of the 1914 Boer Rebellion during the First World War, du Plessis on the other hand seems to have had a more fluid understanding of nationalism, that started out staunchly pro-Boer, but would later acquire more inclusive perspectives.

Die lewe en die werke van twee formatiewe en omstrede Afrikaner Christelike leiers, Jozua Francois Naudé, en Johannes du Plessis word in hierdie artikel bespreek na aanleiding van die temas van oorlog en sending. Albei se openbare loopbane het gestrek oor 'n tydperk wat beide die Anglo-Boereoorlog en die Eerste Wêreldoorlog beslaan het. Albei figure is belangrik in terme van die opkomende Afrikaner nasionalistiese diskoers, veral Naudé, aangesien baie van sy eie lewenskeuses gekenmerk is deur nasionalistiese aspirasies. Du Plessis bied 'n meer komplekse, selfs dubbelsinnige prentjie. Hy was omstrede genoeg om deur sommige Suid-Afrikaanse kerkgeskiedkundiges beskou te word as 'n verteenwoordiger van 'n alternatiewe Afrikaner Christelike diskoers wat uiteindelik die normatiewe neo-Calvinistiese nasionalisme van die religieuse hoofstroom sou uitdaag. Hul bydraes tydens die verskillende tydperke van oorlog word hier beoordeel en dit is duidelik dat J.F. Naudé 'n vurige deelnemer in die Boere se vroeëre stryd was, sowel as 'n ondersteuner van die Boere-Rebellie tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. Du Plessis daarenteen het blykbaar 'n meer soepele verstaan van nasionalisme gehad. Aanvanlike was hy 'n stoere pro-Boere apologeet, maar later het hy 'n meer inklusiewe perspektief gehuldig.


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