n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - 'Uit die hart van die volk en tot die hart van die volk'
Jan F.E. Celliers als volksdichter : original research




Het Afrikaner nationalisme uit de eerste decaden van de twintigste eeuw was niet uniek. Het vertoonde sterke overeenkomst met het 19e-eeuwse Europese cultureel nationalisme. Typerend is de heldencultus rond Jan. F.E. Celliers. Kort na de Anglo-Boerenoorlog smeedde de verering van zijn leven en zijn werk de Afrikaners als verbeelde gemeenschap hechter aaneen. Naarmate de behoeften van de Afrikaners als volk veranderden, verschoof echter ook de betekenis die aan Celliers als iconische figuur werd toegeschreven.

In this article, Afrikaner nationalism from the first decades of the 20th century is seen against the backdrop of European cultural nationalism. Comparison shows that particular features that have often been considered as unique to Afrikaner nationalism, like hero worship and the investment of nationalist discourse with religious connotations were widespread in 19th century Europe as well. Special attention is paid to the cult around the 'people's poet', Jan F.E. Celliers. Through the veneration for his person and his work, the Afrikaners were drawn closer together as an imagined community. However, the meaning that was attributed to this iconic figure developed over time, in accordance with the changing needs of the Afrikaners as a nation.


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