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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Certain destiny: the present obsession with 'apartheid' in South African history
Author:Waddy, Nicholas L.
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Geographic term:South Africa
National Party
United Party
Abstract:South African history has not yet been captured in all its complexity, because the presentist obsession with apartheid has subsumed almost all South African historiography, and it has prevented many histories of South Africa which lie outside the apartheid narrative from ever being written. Particularly, this is the case for the period 1945-1948. The author argues that the conventional interpretation of the Nationalist Party (NP) victory in the 1948 general elections as a turning point in South African history, politics and international relations, and as the beginning of the age of apartheid, is overstated. The period 1945-1948 was not a bridge or a transition phase, but a time of United Party (UP) dominance, and a time when the Nationalists were scrambling to inch themselves closer to respectability, let alone political power. It was also a time when the ideology of the South African political elite, and its rhetoric, were in flux, and the 'apartheid mentality' was being slowly formed, both among the Nationalists themselves, among future Nationalists, and even among the Nationalists' enemies. Most studies of 20th-century South African history, however, suggest that it was the agency of the NP that truly mattered in deciding the outcome of South African racial policy, and thus, of South African history. Notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans. [ASC Leiden abstract]