Image: Afrikaner Nationalism

Afrikaner Nationalism

Afrikaner Nationalism, movement started in the late 1800s based on the idea that the Afrikaners, or Boers, of South Africa were a chosen people. It was promoted by S(tephen) J(acobus) Du Toit, founder of the Afrikaner Bond, an extremist anti-British organization, who created an Afrikaner nationalist mythology in his newspaper "Die Afrikaanse Patriot." Afrikaner nationalism and anti-British sentiment were further stimulated when the British defeated the Afrikaners in the Boer War in 1902 and by the strong distaste for the main promoters of British rule in South Africa, Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain and mining mogul and statesman Cecil Rhodes.

In 1907 the Afrikaners in the Transvaal

In 1907 the Afrikaners in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State were granted self-government. Between 1910 and 1939, the problem of race segregation in South Africa led to a divide between Afrikaners and the British. During World War I (1914-1918) some Afrikaners rebelled because the government of Prime Minister Louis Botha was prepared to assist the British. From 1924 to 1933 the National Party under the leadership of Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog promoted the policy of bilingualism in English and Afrikaans (the language of the Afrikaners). In 1925 a constitutional amendment replaced Dutch with Afrikaans as an official language which opened up the civil service to Afrikaners. By 1938 Afrikaner nationalism had established strong ties with the Dutch Reformed Church, was opposed to any mixing of the races, and stood for Afrikaner solidarity in the face of British influence.

The events of World War II (1939-1945)

The events of World War II (1939-1945) split the Afrikaner community, many of whom opposed supporting Britain and discovered affinities with the racial policies of the Nazis. Balthazar Johannes Vorster, a future prime minister (1966-1978), was imprisoned in the early years of the war because of his overt Nazi sympathies. In 1948 the National Party under Daniel Francois Malan won a convincing victory fought on the issue of the separation of the races and immediately implemented the policy of racial segregation known as apartheid, designed to ensure the political and social superiority of whites over nonwhites. The final step in the segregation of the races was taken in 1951 with the creation of the first bantustan, a separate homeland for black South Africans ( "see "Bantustans). Afrikaner nationalism grew until 1978 when mounting internal and external pressures led to the recognition that Afrikaner nationalism could not suppress African nationalism and that power had to be shared. The apartheid system was finally dismantled in 1992 by the Afrikaner President F. W. de Klerk.

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