Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

Afrikaners in post-apartheid South Africa: Inward migration and enclave nationalism

Christi van der Westhuizen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3351 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3351 | © 2016 Christi van der Westhuizen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 February 2016 | Published: 26 August 2016

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Christi van der Westhuizen, Department of Sociology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

South Africa’s transition to democracy coincided and interlinked with massive global shifts, including the fall of communism and the rise of western capitalist triumphalism. Late capitalism operates through paradoxical global-local dynamics, both universalising identities and expanding local particularities. The erstwhile hegemonic identity of apartheid, ‘the Afrikaner’, was a product of Afrikaner nationalism. Like other identities, it was spatially organised, with Afrikaner nationalism projecting its imagined community (‘the volk’) onto a national territory (‘white South Africa’). The study traces the neo-nationalist spatial permutations of ‘the Afrikaner’, following Massey’s (2005) understanding of space as (1) political, (2) produced through interrelations ranging from the global to micro intimacies, (3) potentially a sphere for heterogeneous co-existence, and (4) continuously created. Research is presented that shows a neo-nationalist revival of ethnic privileges in a defensive version of Hall’s ‘return to the local’ (1997a). Although Afrikaner nationalism’s territorial claims to a nation state were defeated, neo-nationalist remnants reclaim a purchase on white Afrikaans identities, albeit in shrunken territories. This phenomenon is, here, called Afrikaner enclave nationalism. Drawing on a global revamping of race as a category of social subjugation, a strategy is deployed that is here called ‘inward migration’. These dynamics produce a privatised micro-apartheid in sites ranging from homes, to commercial and religious enterprises, to suburbs. Virtual white spaces in the form of Afrikaans media products serve as extensions of these whitened locales. The lynchpin holding it all together is the heteronormative, middle-class family, with consumption the primary mode of the generation of its white comfort zones.

Keywords

Postapartheid South Africa; space; Afrikaner identity; postnationalism; race; class; gender; sexuality; consumption

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1. Hijacking Subaltern’s history (broken bodies, broken voices): Decolonial critique of ‘Subaltern whiteness’ in South Africa
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