Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home Education in Africa Go to database home

bibliographic database

Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:F.J. du Toit Spies, Afrikaner Nationalism and 'Volksgeskiedenis' at the University of Pretoria
Author:Mouton, F.A.
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic term:South Africa
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
About person:François Jacobus du Toit Spies (1912-1998)ISNI
Abstract:In spite of his reticence and habit of avoiding public debates and controversy, F.J. du Toit Spies (1912-1998), born in the Orange Free State (South Africa), played a significant role in emancipating the University of Pretoria's (UP) history department from the stultification of 'volksgeskiedenis'. Spies studied history in The Netherlands during the period of World War II. He returned to South Africa in 1946. In the same year, he applied for a history post at UP and was appointed. In the 1930s, UP had become a 'volksuniversiteit': the role of the university was to serve the Afrikaner 'volk'. 'Volksgeskiedenis', with its focus on the struggle against British imperialism, was seen as central to legitimizing the 'volk's' cause. At the time of his appointment, Spies was regarded as a 'true' Afrikaner. However, having lived under German rule also made Spies more critical of his fellow Afrikaners. Having witnessed the barbarism of fascism, he could not accept their admiration of Nazi Germany. In 1970 Spies was appointed head of the Department of History at UP. Anxious about the increasing isolation of Afrikaner historiography - which remained wedded to the nationalistic and political history of the 1930s and 1940s and the view that history had to be of service to the 'volk' - Spies gradually moved the department away from 'volksgeskiedenis'. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]