“Europeans only” : Europa als Leitbild, Vorbild und Zerrbild in Südafrika, 1948 bis 2008

Über den europäischen Einfluss auf die Apartheidszustände in Südafrika berichtet der Essener Historiker Christoph Marx in seinem Beitrag.

The heterogeneous population of South Africa during different periods developed very diverging images of Europe. Whereas the majority of the population took European democracy as the lodestar of their fight for citizenship and equality, many white inhabitants of South Africa had an ambivalent relationship to the continent of their origin. English-speaking whites looked to Britain as their “home”. Afrikaners, who began settling in South Africa in 1652, saw Europe or certain European countries less as a place to which they felt tied by bounds of loyalty and nostalgia. They rather regarded Europe as the place of origin of a superior European civilisation. Afrikaners in particular had an ambivalent relationship to Europe, since the political aim foremost on the agenda of Afrikaner nationalist organisations was independence from the British Empire and the repudiation of democracy and political institutions they regarded as alien. This made many of them amenable to right-wing movements in Europe during the interwar years, which witnessed the emergence of antiparliamentarian organisations in South Africa too. During the apartheid years, South African politicians defended their policy of racial segregation as a defence of European civilisation. They saw themselves as an outpost of Europe in Africa and part of the struggle for retaining European values against communism, which was equated with and racialised as “Asian”. After the end of apartheid in 1994, cultural Africanism developed an ideology of authenticity (Ubuntu) which was formulated as the opposite of despicable “Western” values. On the other hand, the African National Congress held on to western political institutions, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. The goal of an African Union as propagated by South African president Thabo Mbeki has similarities with the European Unification process, but the deficit of democratic institutions in many African states may prevent the success of an African Renaissance.

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Marx, C., 2009. “Europeans only”: Europa als Leitbild, Vorbild und Zerrbild in Südafrika, 1948 bis 2008. Geschichtswissenschaft - Europa: Geschichte und Kultur. https://doi.org/10.17185/duepublico/73853
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