Lagos Historical Review

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The Clash of Nationalisms and the Triumph of Liberalism in South Africa

A Adeleke


The racially demoniated socio-economic and political system that prevailed in South Africa before the abolition of apartheid in 1994 spawned two parallel nationalisms, Afrikaner nationalism and African nationalism. The the first was an ideology of domination and the second an ideology of liberation. The article analyzes the competition for dominance between these two racially motivated nationalisms. It argues that although Afrikaner nationalism gained initial dominance this was not sustainable on the long term since it was bound to come into confrontation with African nationalism. In the end, both Afrikaner and African nationalism had to give way to liberalism, which offered a means to reconcile the competing interests of all the races in South Africa.

Lagos Historical Review Vol. 7 2007: pp. 160-171
AJOL African Journals Online