oa Journal of Education - Looking to the future with the past in mind: confessions of an Afrikaner

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



According to Dent (1988), Rousseau�s political philosophy is based on a conception of the ideal society as comprising two mutually reciprocal dimensions, namely the political and the pre-political, or personal dimension. Rousseau believed that, although these two dimensions are interrelated, the personal level is more fundamental than the political level. In order for the superstructural dimension to be stable and legitimate, it has to rely on the personal, infrastructural dimension. Regarding social transformation, this means that, unless South African citizens have transformed at the inner, personal level, the new, transformed society will lack stability and legitimacy. In essence, this means that South Africans need to make certain crucial �mind-shifts�. In this article I intend to examine the process of transformation of the inner, personal self within the context of the changing South African political landscape. As a female white Afrikaner, who grew up in the heyday of Apartheid, I will also try to illuminate the complexity of such inner, personal developments and conversions by reflecting on some personal �emotional� migrations. I will discuss this with reference to the three distinct cognitive elements of emotions as asserted by Martha Nussbaum (2001), namely its object-intentionality, evaluative belief component, and its reference to the perception of personal well-being.

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