Afrikaner Identity: From Anticolonial Struggle Through Hegemonic Nationalism to Disempowered Minority


Louw, P. Eric


Eric Louw’s career spanned universities in both South Africa and Australia. Prior to that, he was a journalist at the Pretoria News and also ran an NGO engaged in development work in South Africa. Louw has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town and at the University of South Africa and has served on the editorial boards of four academic journals. His publications in the fields of political communication and South African politics include 12 books, over 60 journal articles and over 40 book chapters. Dr. Louw’s books include Decolonization and White Africans: The ‘Winds of Change,’ Resistance, and Beyond (Academica Press) as well as Roots of the Pax Americana, The Rise, Fall and Legacy of Apartheid, and New Voices Over the Air: The Transformation of the South African Broadcasting Corporation in a Changing South Africa.

Afrikaners have long been portrayed as the villains of South Africa’s apartheid state. Because they were such intensely vilified pariahs, many Americans and Europeans remain intrigued by Afrikaners as a vestige of white nationalism living in Africa who nevertheless peacefully transferred political power to South Africa’s black majority. Afrikaner Identity tells the longer story of the Afrikaners, starting with the emergence of an accidental Dutch colony at Cape Town in the seventeenth century, and explores how these people came to see themselves distinctly as Afrikaners (“Africans”) and why this identity assumed the shape that it did over time. Further, the book unpacks the complex interactions between the emergent identity of “Afrikaner-ness” and the slaves they imported from Asia, Cape-based Khoisan clans, British settlers, and (later) the tribes of the African interior. Eric Louw explains how 150 years of Afrikaner conflict with British imperialism played a pivotal role in shaping Afrikaner identity and also gave rise to the phenomenon of Afrikaner nationalism. Louw also tells how Afrikaner migration modified the community’s identity as it came into contact with black Africans. This encounter not only shaped the future of Southern Africa but also influenced how Afrikaners came to view themselves as they faced the new challenges of British hegemony, the Boer War, and the rise of Afrikaner nationalism over the first half of the twentieth century, a process that eventually replaced British power with Afrikaner hegemony and imposed apartheid, in part to deconstruct the British-made state of South Africa. Afrikaner Identity concludes with the transition to black-majority rule since 1994 and Afrikaners’ new role as a politically disempowered white minority with new challenges to their identity.

History, Political Science, Africa, British Empire, Colonialism, Nationalism, Imperialism, Migration, Post-Colonialism, African Studies, Decolonization, Identity Politics, Apartheid, Afrikaner Studies, South Africa
Release Date: 
March 20, 2024
9781680533415 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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