UP paper on whiteness and Afrikaners receives wide media coverage

Posted on November 27, 2015

Professor Christi van der Westhuizen, who is based at the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender at the University of Pretoria (UP), was invited by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) to speak on ‘White power today’ at a roundtable event on 5 November 2015. MISTRA endeavours to combine research, academic development, strategic reflection and intellectual discourse in order to provide platforms for dialogue and forge partnerships for intellectual exploration. It aims to bolster our country’s fledgling democracy, and to push the boundaries of limited expectation in respect of our fractured history. The topic for this particular roundtable event was ‘Whiteness, Afrikaans, Afrikaners: addressing post-apartheid legacies, privileges and burdens’.

The event was convened by MISTRA in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. It followed MISTRA’s Nation Formation and Social Cohesion (NFSC) Report that was released in August 2014. One of the gaps identified in the NFSC report was ‘the missing voice of whites’ and this served as a starting point for the conversation. Special emphasis was placed on deconstructing ‘whiteness’ through critical race theory. The roundtable had two aims, namely to update South African thinking on the construction of whiteness and to highlight developments in the Afrikaans-speaking community.

The paper presented by Prof Van der Westhuizen featured her latest research since the release of her book White power and the rise and fall of the National Party. During her presentation, she sketched current material conditions before identifying three post-apartheid permutations in Afrikaner identity and providing a brief analysis of each. The paper was well received and has since drawn extensive coverage in major newspapers such as the Sunday Times, Rapport, Beeld, City Press and Die Burger. The SABC radio station, Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) conducted an interview with Prof Van der Westhuizen and Prof Hein Willemse, from the Department of Afrikaans at UP, on the subject of ‘Whiteness, Afrikaans, and Afrikaners’ (a podcast of the interview is available for download below). 


Click on the links below to access the original media articles and podcast:

An edited version of Prof Van der Westhuizen’s paper was published in the Sunday Times of 15 November 2015. Read it online here or download a PDF version here.

Download the Beeld column here.

Download the RSG podcast here.

City Press/News24

Beeld and Die Burger



- Author Ansa Heyl

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