Technology Beyond History: Re-Workings of Afrikaner Identity on the Internet. - Ethnologies

Technology Beyond History: Re-Workings of Afrikaner Identity on the Internet.

By Ethnologies

  • Release Date - Published: 2000-01-01
  • Book Genre: Social Science
  • Author: Ethnologies
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Technology Beyond History: Re-Workings of Afrikaner Identity on the Internet. Ethnologies read online review & book description:

A substantial literature on the creation of an Afrikaner identity demonstrates the importance of the ideological use of history in South Africa in the pre-apartheid and apartheid periods. But Afrikaner identity has been reworked in the late 20th century. Scholars have demonstrated the significant role history played in the development of the National Party (victorious in the general election of 1948), and how that party represented itself as a vehicle for the restitution of Afrikaner rights against the perceived injustices of British/English speaking capitalism (Moodie 1978; O'Meara 1983). A particular version of history continued to sustain Afrikaner nationalist values for some time after 1948 (Thompson 1985). However, the nationalistic portrayal of Afrikaners as struggling pioneers and victims of British greed and militarism, or, increasingly, as victims of foolish English liberalism that could not deal effectively with relationships between the races(2), faltered in the later 1980s and its credibility was eventually destroyed. But the manipulation of history in the service of remaking Afrikaner identities is still a potent issue, and the Internet has become a prime location for contesting these identities. A close analysis of one Internet text, "Who Are The Boers? The Truth At Last" by Arthur Kemp (1995), explores the reinterpretation and reinvention of Afrikaner identity on the Internet, in the context of the changing political and economic conditions of South Africa following its transition to democracy. One of the important aspects of the transition in South Africa inaugurated by the first democratic general election in 1994 is the perception by many white people (who were the only truly enfranchised group in the apartheid period) that they have been pushed into a fringe group. These individuals blame corruption and nepotism, affirmative action, land restitution, attacks on white farmers by black assailants, and falling standards brought about by integrated education and escalating crime on the present government, epitomised by its black leaders. For some white observers, these developments appear to confirm predictions of the swart gevaar(3), the paranoid belief, propagated by the National Party and some of its predecessors, that blacks would swamp the cities, and that anarchy would be the result. This ideology originated in the 1920s and was effective in aiding the campaign that brought the National Party (and thus apartheid) to power. A fringe group of heirs to swart gevaar paranoia call themselves "Boers" and feel that they have been sold out by Afrikaners which, atone level is ironic since the Afrikaner identity has always been extolled as divinely ordained and divinely favoured in Afrikaner Nationalist propaganda. The paper seeks to understand this apparently paradoxical distinction between "Boers" and Afrikaners.

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