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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


BLIGNAUT, Charl. Doing gender is unavoidable: Women's participation in the core activities of the Ossewa-Brandwag, 1938-1943. Historia [online]. 2013, vol.58, n.2, pp.01-18. ISSN 2309-8392.

Afrikaner women played a major role in the Ossewa-Brandwag (OB) movement in South Africa from 1939 to 1954. Women participated in a range of activities as part of the OB Women's Division. As an organisation born out of nationalism, women's agency was highly influenced by the so-called volksmoeder (mother of the nation) ideal. In order to understand how normative concepts of gender, as embodied in the volksmoeder, influenced the agency of OB women, this article looks at how women, through their "doing" of gender, contributed to construing and establishing the volksmoeder as a normative and symbolic gender concept in the Ossewa-Brandwag. Thus, it aims to throw light on how contemporaries, who were members of the Ossewa-Brandwag, understood and used gender difference in their societal organisation. By focusing on the core activities of the OB Women's Division, the article observes how OB women were actively involved in "doing" gender. The aim of this study does not involve an analysis of the volksmoeder per se, but of the relation between the performativity of gender and the nature of the volksmoeder as gender construction in this particular case of OB women.

Keywords : Afrikaner women; volksmoeder; mother of the nation; Afrikaner nationalism; women's; history; gender history; women; gender; Ossewa-Brandwag; South African history.

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