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Title:Die enigma van Hendrik Verwoerd: 'n akademikus in die politiek
Author:Giliomee, HermannISNI
Periodical:New contree: a journal of historical and human sciences for Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
black education
biographies (form)
About person:Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (1901-1966)ISNI
Abstract:Hendrik Verwoerd, one of the main architects of 'Bantu education' and the idea of independent Bantu homelands, is one of the most controversial politicians in South Africa. Hailed and almost venerated by his supporters, he was seen by Albert Luthuli and other African nationalists as the architect of their 'calamity'. In popular journalism he has been likened to Adolf Hitler and Robert Mugabe. Yet Verwoerd was no conventional racist. Recent research has shown that as a Stellenbosch lecturer he rejected the theory that some races were genetically and biologically superior to others. When he went abroad he was not attracted to Nazi thinking but by the idea of American social scientists who advocated 'social engineering' to avoid future conflicts. His main aim in introducing Bantu education in 1954 was to expand mass education on a primary level and to deflect black job aspirations from the cities to the homelands. His plan to impose a rigid form of apartheid was ultimately thwarted by high economic growth and much more rapid black population growth than had been anticipated. Ref., sum. in English, text in Afrikaans. [Journal abstract]