Letter: Feuding, fading Afrikaners; touching moment on screen; and all South Africa's children

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The Independent Online
Sir: The rise and fall of the Afrikaners is more easily explained than in Robert Jackson's account ('Great Trek of the good Afrikaner', 2 May). It was not a Utopian dream of social engineering in the form of apartheid that drove them for 40 years, and then turned into a nightmare from which 'embourgeoisement' at last awoke them. Their central drive was 'national unity', born of the wounded pride felt by the post-Boer War generation. This was, for example, the theme of D. F. Malan's autobiography (1959), which does not even mention apartheid, a clever- sounding technique for keeping the blacks down, imposed by an outsider, H. F. Verwoerd.

The new generation has indeed moved from volkseenheid (national unity) back to broedertwis (internal feuding) now that the Boer War and British domination have receded into the distant past. It follows that the preservation of an exclusive Afrikaner nation is no longer a motive for dominating the blacks.

The Afrikaners took South Africa over from those of British stock in 1948. It is the Africans' turn. Let us hope they can run it without the racially repressive policies of their two predecessors.

Yours faithfully,


London, SW7