The mind of South Africa

The mind of South Africa

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The mind of South Africa

The writer, Allister Sparks talks about the complicated culture of the then apartheid South Africa, a country that is living in the claws of inequality and unfair treatment among the layers of its society. Allister (1990) takes us through the mind of the Afrikaner people and how their twisted way of thinking has brought forth a segregated society in South Africa. The Afrikaner settlers (a minority group in South Africa that is composed of the descendants’ of the Dutch settlers, German and other Boer tribes and speaks the Afrikaan) imposes a classification of individuals based on the color of skin and the race. The minority whites’ make the indigenous black population live like foreigners in their own country making them carry badges and passes as second-class citizens. The interesting part about this is that the inequality is legally justified.

The life of an Afrikaner male is as simplistic as it is complicated. This means that, an Afrikaner man will find it easy to live within the confines that the society allows him (which is much more compared to the other races) while at the same time, the segregation that exists within his rule limits to a great degree his ability to choose. The “freedom” that the Afrikaner male seems to enjoy is actually as limited as it is for the African, although it is self-imposed for the former.

The relationship between the Afrikaner male and the other races is in the worst form. This is clearly shown by the classification of people; where African indigenous population has been reduced to second-class citizens while the white minority enjoys all the privileges. The democracy smokescreen that they have put in place is actually a lie that is aimed at consolidating their control over the blacks with limited resistance. The brutal nature of the Afrikaner is seen in the bloody conflicts beginning in the early eighties to late eighties where thousands of Africans were killed in the crackdown against activism.

The gender relationship depends on the people with whom the Afrikaner male is interacting with. For fellow Afrikaner women, the relationship was cordial and followed the normal courtship and friendship procedures. On the other hand, the interaction with the native African population was prohibited within the social circles, and it was seen as a form of deviance on his part. In the event there was contact, the Afrikaner took the dominant place and the “other” perceived the relationship as a duty not a choice.

According to Allister Sparks, apartheid created a negative personality in almost all Afrikaner population because they lived in fear of domination by the black populations. Therefore, they saw apartheid as a necessity for their survival. This led them to become brutes in the aim of consolidating their hold on the South African resources. As Allister (1990) argues, the Afrikaner mentality where they cannot respect the people who are ready to forgive after such inhuman treatment is in itself self-defeating and greatly flawed. The doctrine of supremacy, which was instilled in the minds of Afrikaner people is much more self destructive and morally weak.

Apartheid helped the Afrikaner population remain in power throughout the struggle. It made infiltration almost impossible for the black population and security after the collapse of their rule. Apartheid made it possible for the white populations acquire the status of gods by having many things at their disposal and free labor almost close to slavery.


Sparks, A. H. (1990). The mind of South Africa. London: Heinemann.

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