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Listen: Christi van der Westhuizen discusses Sitting Pretty with Eusebius McKaiser

Sitting PrettyAt the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in 1994, newly elected president Nelson Mandela issued a clarion call to an unlikely group: white Afrikaans women, who during apartheid straddled the ambivalent position of being simultaneously oppressor and oppressed.

He conjured the memory of poet Ingrid Jonker as ‘both an Afrikaner and an African’ who ‘instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child’. More than two decades later, the question is: how have white Afrikaans women responded to the liberating possibilities of constitutional democracy?

With Afrikaner nationalism in disrepair, and official apartheid in demise, have they re-imagined themselves in opposition to colonial ideas of race, gender, sexuality and class?
 

This book explores this postapartheid identity through the concepts of ordentlikheid, as an ethnic form of respectability, and the volksmoeder, or mother of the nation, as enduring icon.

Christi van der Westhuizen is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pretoria.

Christi recently discussed deconstructing and dismantling Afrikaner female identity, trying to make sense of identities imposed upon her, the impact Ingrid Jonker’s poetry had on apartheid-era South Africa (and Nelson Mandela), and how whiteness and language was entrenched into South Africa with Eusebius McKaiser on 702. Listen here:

Book details

 

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