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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.48 n.3 Pretoria  2008


Waardes as kultuuraspek van die Afrikaner


Values as a cultural aspect of the Afrikaner



J P van der Merwe

Departement Antropologie, Universiteit van die Vrystaat, Bloemfontein




Die toewysing van 'n spesifieke kultuur of kulturele kenmerke aan 'n groep ten einde dit te kan identifiseer, is 'n algemene verskynsel in die antropologie. Die kern, in kort, van waaroor dit gaan, is dat identiteit en 'n spesifieke kultuurgroep se eiesoortige kultuur gewoonlik komplementerend teenoor mekaar staan. Ofskoon antropoloë verskil oor die aard en betekenis van kultuur en kultuurgrense, verteenwoordig die idee dat kultuur en identiteit gebaseer is op en geïntegreer word deur gedeelde, fundamentele waardes, 'n algemene antropologiese aanname. In aansluiting hierby word waardes dan ook in hierdie artikel gebruik as die invalshoek om die Afrikaner se kultuur en identiteit te belig binne 'n pre-1994-konteks asook 'n post-1994-konteks. Dit bring in die eerste plek mee dat die begrip "waardes", asook die koppeling daarvan aan kultuur en identiteit, bespreek sal word.
Die herstrukturering en transformasie van die breër Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing, plus die onafwendbare een-en-twintigste-eeuse kragte van globalisering en postmodernisme, het inderdaad die era van nihilisme vir die Afrikaner laat aanbreek en sy meesterwaarde onder druk geplaas. De Klerk (1979:115) se opmerking: "As die Christelike verwerp, verwater of verdring word, bedreig dit die kern van die Afrikaner se lewensopvatting ", is bewaarheid. Die impak van die disintegrasie van die Afrikaner se meesterwaarde is oral duidelik sigbaar. Hierdie disintegrasie van die Afrikaner se meesterwaarde, asook die gepaardgaande verandering in die Afrikaner se waarde-oordeel in 'n postapartheid en geglobaliseerde Suid-Afrika, word vervolgens in hierdie artikel beskryf.

Trefwoorde: Waardes, kultuur, narratiewe, antropologie, Afrikaners, post-apartheid, Suid-Afrika, Afrikaner identiteit, meesterwaarde, transformasie


The concept of "value" (waarde, wert, valeur, etcetera) is as old as human thought itself, and probably comprises the most important point of dispute in the recognition of anthropology as a science pertaining, inter alia, to "values".
Joubert (1984:114) states that, in the philosophy of science in general, the concept of "values" is used to refer to ideal, preferred qualities, or the criteria for practising science. Examples of such values include truth, logic, empiricity and objectivity, amongst others. In the philosophy of history, values refer to notions that are applied in the interpretation of historical events (Degenaar 1984b:12). Political values, on the other hand, are measures and ideals that accommodate the application of politics (Slabbert 1999:53-54). Legislative values are normative principles in law-making (Degenaar 1984b:14), while religious values are ideas regarding what is "supposed to be", originating from a transcendental world-view, that describe the correct disposition and conduct towards other persons, as prescribed by a god (Joubert 1984:115).
The above-mentioned definitions indicate that values are commonly defined either in terms of specific disciplinary contexts, or in general terms. For example, Degenaar (1984b:24) defines values as principles; Joubert (1984:119) defines them with reference to interpersonal conduct and relationships; while Rokeach (1969:124) characterises a value as: "A type of belief, centrally located within one's total belief system, about how one ought to or ought not to behave, or about some end-state of existence worth or not worth attaining".
The question pertaining to the character and intent of values can be traced far back in the history of philosophical thought. According to Degenaar (1984b:28), Socrates was the first theoretician to make a meaningful contribution in terms of providing a definition of values. He placed particular emphasis on the objectivity and totality of ethical values. Plato's "idea hierarchy" culminates in his theories regarding good (ethical) and attractive (aesthetic) values (Dreyer 1975:31). In the "form hierarchy" of Aristotle, aesthetic values are grounded in cosmic reality, which is why values have a strong cosmological character in his world-view (Dreyer 1975:96). In contrast to Aristotle, Kant transfers values from the cosmic to the personal sphere. That which is good, is subjected to the reasonable will of man. It is therefore also only the good will that is good in itself (Bach 1975:66-72). To Kant, aesthetics is a matter of reasonable judgement, and not a matter of enjoyment of emotion. Appreciation of aesthetics does not necessarily imply knowledge of the character thereof, but "...comes about when there is a general harmony between the powers of the human mind and the form and features of the thing whose beauty we take [it upon] ourselves to grasp" (Bach 1975:75).
For P. J. Coertze (1979:33), values are the most directional element in a culture - he makes no mention of values within the context of the individual (personality) or the social system. According to him, a value system is one of fifteen universal aspects of culture. Thus, it is clear that, in Coertze's (1979:32) opinion, values are to be viewed as a cultural feature that is linked to the cognitive processes of a human being, and which is connected to his/her attempts to ensure a happy existence for him-/herself. Values develop through cohabitation, cooperation, joint suffering and striving, and gradually mature to form a conventional system.
Coertze (1979:34) also differentiates between truth and logical values (logos), moral or ethical values (ethos), pleasing or aesthetic values (aesthesis) and useful or pragmatic values. The first category is linked to the factual and logical evaluation of the phenomena of reality. As soon as a person starts to evaluate these phenomena, he/she is building a personal value system (Coertze 1979:34).
The nature of truth values is categorised in terms of incidences according to a factual or logical evaluation; the grading of phenomena and categories according to proposed evaluations; the connection of the status of phenomena and categories of phenomena according to gradation; and the presence of behaviour patterns with regard to categories of phenomena in relation to order of status.
Moral and ethical values relate to the evaluation of conscious and popular behaviour, particularly with regard to the appraisal of such behaviour as good or bad, right or wrong. The value-judgements made in this regard are based on the substance and nature of the behaviour, and not necessarily on the behaviour itself. Coertze (1979:37) maintains that what is considered by an ethnos to be right and good - or not right and good - does not comprise a given norm, but depends on the judgement, insight and knowledge of preceding generations, conveyed as a cultural heritage. The ethical norm is thus secured by the supposed truth thereof.
Concerning aesthetic or attractive values, Coertze (1979:38) differentiates between the judgement of attractive values in "primitive" cultures, and the application of such judgement in modern cultures. He points out that, under the conventional cultural conditions that are characteristic of so-called primitive cultures, a stronger attachment to the particular culture -and thus greater stereotyping of aesthetic behaviour - is found.
The attribution of a specific culture or cultural characteristics to a group, in order to identify that group, is a common phenomenon in anthropology. In summary, the crux of the matter at issue here, is that identity is a distinctive aspect of the cultural domain, and that culture is essential for the reproduction of identity. Although anthropologists differ regarding the nature and meaning of culture and cultural boundaries, the notion that culture and identity are based on and integrated in shared, fundamental values represents a general anthropological assumption. Further to this, values are also used in this article as the point of departure in an attempt to shed light on the culture and identity of Afrikaners within the pre-1994 context, as well as in the post-1994 context. Thus, in the first place, the concept of "values", as well as the ways in which this concept links up with culture and identity, will be discussed.
The restructuring and transformation of the broader South African society, and the inevitable effects of the forces of globalisation and post-modernism of the twenty-first century, have indeed heralded the advent of the era of nihilism for the Afrikaners, and placed their dominant value under pressure. De Klerk's (1979:115) remark that, if everything associated with Christianity is rejected, watered down or pushed aside, the core of the Afrikaner's outlook on life will be endangered, has been verified. The impact of the disintegration of the Afrikaner's dominant value is clearly visible on all sides. This disintegration, as well as the concomitant change in the Afrikaner's judgement of values in a post-apartheid and globalised South Africa, will be discussed.

Key concepts: Values, culture, narratives, anthropology, Afrikaners, post-apartheid, South Africa, Afrikaner identity, grand narrative, transformation


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1 Desnieteenstaande die problematiek in die daarstelling van definisies, veral binne 'n postmodernistiese konteks, is daar tog besluit om in hierdie artikel van die standpunt uit te gaan dat die Afrikaner 'n blanke groep met 'n eie kultuur is. Afrikaners is waarskynlik een van die mees resente voorbeelde van etnogenese. Verteenwoordigers van verskillende volke uit Europa is in 'n bepaalde konteks, binne 'n bepaalde lokaliteit saamgevoeg en het 'n eie identiteit ontwikkel. Die rol van die lokaliteit (die suidpunt van Afrika) is in die geval van die Afrikaners van besondere belang en het 'n belangrike bydrae tot die Afrikaner se identiteit gelewer.
2 Op 27 April 1994 het Suid-Afrika 'n volwaardige demokratiese staat geword, en kan hierdie gemelde datum tereg gesien word as die einde van die Apartheidsera. Gedurende die Apartheidsera het blanke Afrikaners oor alle mag beskik en het hulle ook talle wette ingestel wat diskriminerend was teenoor anderskleurige Suid-Afrikaners. Volgens Slabbert (1999:49-51) het daar tot en met 1990 'n amptelike Afrikaner-identiteit bestaan, wat grootliks bepaal is deur 'n meesternarratief wat gekonstrueer is rondom kerklidmaatskap, verbintenis tot politieke mag en partylidmaatskap, en lidmaatskap van kultuurorganisasies soos die Broederbond. Die verlies van hierdie amptelike identiteit ná 1994 het die Afrikaner, volgens skrywers soos Vosloo (Die Burger 28 Januarie 2005:12) en Roodt (, gemarginaliseer en in 'n bestaanskrisis gedompel. In hierdie verband word daarop gewys dat die Afrikaners se emosionele en intellektuele bande met die Afrikaanse kultuur, kerke, politiek en die Afrikaanse taal besig is om te verander, selfs te verskraal, en dat hulle toenemend 'n nuwe, kosmopolitaanse identiteit en leefwyse nastreef.



Jan Petrus van der Merwe is 'n doktorale student in Antropologie aan die Universiteit van die Vrystaat. Die tema van sy doktorale studie is: Afrikaners in Postapartheid Suid-Afrika - 'n Antropologiese perspektief. Verder doen hy ook gereeld, op 'n deeltydse basis, navorsing vir die Universiteit van die Vrystaat, vir IIASIA (International Institute School for Institutes for Administration - kyk, die Afrikanerbond, en vir die African National Congress. Jan is verder 'n voltydse Raadslid in die Mangaung Plaaslike Munisipaliteit, waar hy verantwoordelik is vir Ekonomiese Ontwikkeling, Toerisme en Landelike Ontwikkeling. Jan is in 2004 deur die Europese Unie versoek om as waarnemer op te tree in die Britse Algemene verkiesing.

Jan Petrus van der Merwe is a doctoral student at the University of the Free State, Department of Anthropology. The theme of his study is: Afrikaners in Post-Apartheid South Africa - An anthropological perspective. On a part time basis Jan is doing research for The University of the Free State, for IIASA (International Institute School for Institutes for Administration - see, for the African National Congress and for the Afrikanerbond. Jan is a full time councillor for the Mangaung Local Municipality for the portfolio of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. Jan was invited by the European Union during 2004 to be an observer during the British General Elections.

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