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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

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


MULLER, Retief. Afrikaner Reformed missionary enthusiasts and the Voortrekkers: with special reference to Dingaansdag/ Geloftedag and also the 1938 Eeufees. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2015, vol.41, n.3, pp.111-130. ISSN 2412-4265.

The missionary discourse in Afrikaner Reformed Christianity has been controversial, because it is implicated in the development of early apartheid policies, which were subsequently implemented by National Party governments. This article does not directly concern itself with apartheid, however, but rather with the ideological backdrop against which this policy developed, i.e. Afrikaner nationalism. Afrikaner nationalism was deeply informed by a mythological reconstruction of the Voortrekkers as ideal Afrikaners. For this reason, the 1938 ox-wagon centenary Trek was a formative occasion in Afrikaner, and consequently South African history. What role did the Afrikaner missionary/ evangelical discourse play within these celebrations and within commemorations of the Voortrekkers and Geloftedag more generally? With a particular focus on the early to middle twentieth century, this article demonstrates that missionary and evangelical co-optation of this discourse was indeed pronounced, at the centre of the political situation, but also containing an element of surprise and the potential for unexpected outcomes in at least a couple of cases.

Keywords : Afrikaner; Voortrekkers; nationalism; apartheid; Reformed missionary discourse; Dingaansdag; Geloftefees; 1938 Eeufees.

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