Afrikaner Nationalism Essay For Students in English

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Assuring and preserving Afrikaner interests was the primary objective of the National Party (NP) when it was elected to power in South Africa in 1948. After the 1961 Constitution, which stripped black South Africans of their voting rights, the National Party maintained its control over South Africa through outright Apartheid.

Hostility and violence were common during the Apartheid period. Anti-Apartheid movements in South Africa lobbied for international sanctions against the Afrikaner government following the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, which resulted in the deaths of 69 black protestors (South African History Online).

Apartheid was not adequately representing the interests of Afrikaners, according to many Afrikaners who questioned the NP’s commitment to maintaining it. South Africans refer to themselves as Afrikaners both ethnically and politically. Boers, which means ‘farmers,’ were also referred to as Afrikaners until the late 1950s.

Afrikaner Nationalism Essay Full Essay

Although they have different connotations, these terms are somewhat interchangeable. The National Party represented all South African interests prior to Apartheid as a party opposing British imperialism. Therefore, nationalists sought complete independence from Britain not just politically (White), but also economically (Autarky) and culturally (Davenport).

Afro-African, black, colored, and Indian were the four main ethnic groups in South Africa during this time period. At the time, the ruling class was made up of white people who spoke Afrikaans: they claimed blacks and coloreds were brought over for work involuntarily during settler-colonialism, so they did not have a history or culture. Therefore, Afrikaner nationalism served as a preservationist ideology (Davenport) for the white heritage.

South African History

Increasing participation of Indian people in government and politics indicates that Afrikaner nationalism is becoming more inclusive as Indians are recognized as South Africans.

During Apartheid, white South Africans spoke Afrikaans, a language derived from Dutch. As an official language of South Africa, Afrikaner has become an increasingly common term to describe both an ethnic group and its language.

The Afrikaans language was developed by the poor white population as an alternative to the standard Dutch language. Afrikaans was not taught to black speakers during Apartheid, which resulted in it being renamed Afrikaner instead of Afrikaans.

The Het Volk party (Norden) was founded by D.F. Malan as a coalition among Afrikaner parties, such as the Afrikaner bond and Het Volk. The United Party (UP) was formed by J.B.M. Hertzog in 1939 after he broke away from his more liberal wing to form three consecutive NP governments from 1924 to 1939.

Black South Africans were lobbied successfully for more rights during this period by the opposition United Party, which eliminated racial segregation into separate spheres of influence known as Grand Apartheid, which meant whites could control what blacks did in their segregated neighborhoods (Norden).

National Party

South Africans were classified into racial groups based on their appearance and socio-economic status under the Population Registration Act enacted by the NP after defeating the United Party in 1994. In order to build a strong base of support for its political party, the NP joined forces with the Afrikanerbond and Het Volk.

It was founded in 1918 to address inferiority complexes created by British imperialism (Norden) among Afrikaners by “ruling and protecting” them. It was exclusively white people who joined the Afrikaner bond since they were only interested in shared interests: language, culture, and political independence from the British.

Afrikaans was officially recognized as one of the official languages of South Africa in 1925 by the Afrikaner bond, which established the Afrikaanse Taal-en Kultuurvereniging. Also, the NP began supporting cultural activities such as concerts and youth groups in order to bring Afrikaners under one banner (Hankins) and mobilize them into a cultural community.

There were factions within the National Party that were based on socioeconomic class differences, rather than being a monolithic body: some members recognized that they needed more grassroots support to win the 1948 elections.

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Afrikaner Nation

By promoting Christian nationalism to South Africans, the National Party encouraged citizens to respect rather than fear their differences, thus gaining votes from Afrikaners (Norden). The ideology could be considered racist since no equality was recognized between races; rather, it advocated controlling the region assigned to blacks without integrating them into other groups.

As a result of Apartheid, black and white residents were segregated politically and economically. Because whites could afford better housing, schools, and travel opportunities, segregation became an institutionalized socioeconomic system that favored rich whites (Norden).

By gaining the Afrikaner population vote in 1948, the National Party slowly came to power despite early opposition to Apartheid. They officially established Apartheid one year after winning the election, as a federal law allowing white South Africans to participate in political representation without the right to vote (Hankins).

In the 1950s, under Prime Minister Dr. NP, this harsh form of social control was implemented. By replacing English with Afrikaans in schools and government offices, Hendrik Verwoerd paved the way for the development of an Afrikaner culture where white people celebrated their differences rather than hid them (Norden).

A mandatory identification card was also issued by the NP to blacks at all times. Due to the lack of a valid permit, they were prohibited from leaving their designated region.

A system of social control was designed to control the black movement by white police officers, causing natives to be afraid of traveling into areas that were assigned to other races (Norden). As a result of Nelson Mandela’s refusal to submit to minority rule by whites, his ANC became involved in resistance movements against Apartheid.

Through the creation of bantustans, the nationalist movement maintained Africa’s poverty and prevented its emancipation. Despite living in a poor region of the country, southern Africa people had to pay taxes to the white government (Norden) because bantustans were lands specifically reserved for black citizens.

As part of the NP’s policies, blacks were also required to carry identity cards. In this way, police were able to monitor their movement and arrest them if they entered another race’s designated area. “Security forces” took control of townships where blacks protested unfair government treatment and were arrested or killed.

Besides being denied representation in Parliament, black citizens received significantly fewer educational and medical services than whites (Hankins). Nelson Mandela became the first president of a fully democratic South Africa in 1994 after the NP ruled apartheid-era South Africa from 1948 to 1994.

A majority of NP members were Afrikaners who believed that British imperialism had “ruined” their country after World War II due to British imperialism (Walsh). Also, the National Party used ‘Christian Nationalism’ to win Afrikaner people votes by claiming that God created the world’s races and must therefore be respected rather than feared (Norden).

Nevertheless, this ideology could be viewed as racist since it did not recognize equality between races; it merely argued that blacks should remain independent within their assigned regions rather than integrate with others. Due to the NP’s complete control over Parliament, black Citizens were not oblivious to apartheid’s unfairness but were powerless to address it.

As a result of British imperialism after the first world war, Afrikaners overwhelmingly supported the National Party. This party sought to create a separate culture where whites would have sole responsibility for government. Architect of apartheid Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd promoted intense segregation between blacks and whites during his Prime Ministership between 1948 and 1952.

The Nordics believed that differences should be embraced rather than feared because there are irreconcilable differences in which one group will always dominate. Although Hankins suggested black citizens remain in their bantustans rather than integrating with other cultures (Hankins), he failed to recognize these ‘irreconcilable’ groups as equals.

In addition to requiring blacks to carry identity cards, the NP passed laws to make them do so. The police were able to monitor their movements more easily as a result. If caught crossing into an area designated for another race, they were arrested.

Nelson Mandela was elected as South Africa’s first black president (Norden) on April 27th, 1994, marking the end of apartheid. In his speech after becoming president, Mandela explicitly stated that he had no intention of disparaging Afrikaners. He instead sought to enhance the positive aspects while reforming “the less desirable aspects of Afrikaner history” (Hendricks).

When it came to apartheid’s sins, he advocated Truth and Reconciliation rather than retribution, allowing all sides to discuss what happened without fear of punishment or retaliation.

Mandela, who helped create the new ANC government after losing the election, did not dissolve the NP but rather promoted reconciliation between Afrikaners and non-Afrikaners by bringing Afrikaner culture and traditions to the forefront of racial reconciliation.

Despite their ethnicities, South Africans were able to watch rugby games together because the sport became a unifying factor for the nation. The black Citizens who played sports watched television, and read newspapers without fear of persecution were Nelson Mandela’s hope for them (Norden).

Apartheid was abolished in 1948, but Afrikaners were not fully eliminated. While the interracial sport does not necessarily mean the NP is no longer ruling the country, it does bring hope for future South African generations to be able to reconcile with their past rather than live in fear.

South African blacks are less likely to perceive whites as oppressors because they are more involved in Afrikaner culture. Once Mandela is out of office, it will be easier to achieve peace between blacks and whites. Aiming to build better relationships between races is more important now than ever before, as Nelson Mandela will retire on June 16th, 1999.

Under Nelson Mandela’s administration, Afrikaners once again felt comfortable with their status in society because the white government was brought into the 21st century. President Jacob Zuma is almost certain to be reelected to South Africa’s top job in 2009 as the leader of the ANC (Norden).


Since the NP had a plurality of power based on support from Afrikaner voters, they were able to retain control over Parliament until they lost their election; thus, whites were worried that voting for another party would lead to more power for blacks, which would lead to a loss of white privilege due to affirmative action programs if they voted for another party.

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