Review Article

Liberating possibilities of a new identity: A review of Christi van der Westhuizen’s Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa

Tanya van Wyk
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 4 | a5220 | DOI: | © 2018 Tanya Van Wyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 August 2018 | Published: 11 September 2018

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Tanya van Wyk, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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In this article, Christi van der Westhuizen’s sociopolitical contribution in her publication, Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa, is reviewed. In light of the official end of apartheid in 1994, South Africans are attempting to define a new identity. Van der Westhuizen’s publication focusses on how the identity of white Afrikaans women, as both the oppressor and the oppressed, influences and contributes to the endeavour of a search for new identity. In deconstructing and re-imagining new identity, Van der Westhuizen deconstructs the ‘supporting scaffolding’ of Afrikaner identity and examines the impact of white patriarchal hegemony that silences the voice of women, sexual minorities and black consciousness. The review concludes with the emphasis on the transformative role of shame, that is, the willingness to expose the false sense of goodness that we had of ourselves, as pointed out by Van der Westhuizen. In this regard, the recognition of the intersectionality of people’s experiences becomes a key aspect of the endeavour of a search for new identity.


Identity; postapartheid; panopticon; heternormativity; feminist; race; nationalism


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