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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499


NAICKER, Linda. The role of eugenics and religion in the construction of race in South Africa. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2012, vol.38, n.2, pp.1-7. ISSN 2412-4265.

It has been postulated that Christian Nationalism, an ideology inspired by Afrikaner Nationalism, was the most powerful influence with regard to racial segregation and the implementation of racially oppressive legislation in apartheid South Africa. This article examines the influences that advanced the legislation galvanising racism in South Africa with particular emphasis on the scientific and ideological reasoning that led to entrenched notions of racial division and racial hierarchy. Socially constructed bias masquerading under the guise of science, religious rhetoric and governmental legislation were fundamental to the production, maintenance and surveillance of the apartheid nation-state. The main aim of this article is to challenge the perception that Christian thinking, propagated by Afrikaner Nationalists, was the sole instigator in the proliferation and perpetuation of a racially entrenched nation. The study of eugenics, which has its origins in Britain, played a critical role in the development of social and political arrangements in South Africa, and fuelled the social and physiological reality of racism which was institutionalised, legalised and internalised under apartheid.

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