Seminar: Post-apartheid Afrikaner politics in local and global perspective: The case of the Solidarity Movement

In contemporary South Africa, the Solidarity Movement claims to uphold and defend the interests of the white, Afrikaans-speaking minority in the context of majority rule. In the world’s most unequal country, Solidarity’s representation of Afrikaners – apartheid’s historical beneficiaries – as in need of special protection, is greeted with both enthusiasm and outrage.

This seminar investigates Solidarity’s discursive and organisational strategies as a window into post-apartheid politics and society. The Movement employs powerful yet highly selective historical and ideological narratives to legitimise itself as Afrikaners’ representative in contemporary South Africa, and to challenge and discredit black majority rule. Indeed, Solidarity overtly positions itself as a state-like structure offering protection and services to the ‘disadvantaged’ white minority, and has even ventured into performing this state-likeness internationally. Amid the loss of apartheid-era state patronage, the realities of ANC rule, and the changing relationship between states, capital and civil society in the neoliberal era, a section of South Africa’s white minority is therefore seeking to bolster its interests through civil society actions on a local, national and global front. These findings challenge existing understandings of social movements in South Africa, and reveal the political possibilities borne of the transition to majority rule in a neoliberal context.

Danelle van ZylDanelle van Zyl-Hermann is a postdoctoral research fellow at the International Studies Group, University of the Free State, South Africa. She studied at the universities of Stellenbosch, Tübingen, and Leiden, before reading for her PhD in History at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge scholar. As a social and cultural historian of South Africa, her specific research interests pertain to the politics of race and class, seen within the entanglement of structural forces, social formations and their cultural rendering. She is currently writing a monograph on white working-class responses to the dismantling of the racial state and the transition to majority rule in South Africa. Further information on her research

Date, time and location

13 October 2016
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 1A01 (first floor)