In This Review

Heart of Whiteness: Afrikaners Face Black Rule in the New South Africa
Heart of Whiteness: Afrikaners Face Black Rule in the New South Africa
By June Goodwin and Ben Schiff
Scribner, 1995, 415 pp

After South Africa's Afrikaans-speaking minority took power in 1948, their leaders brooked little dissent from within the Afrikaner community, manipulating careers, fortunes, beliefs, and reputations through the Broederbond, a secret society dedicated to the perpetuation of Afrikaner power. Ultimately the ruling National Party's control of black dissent eroded, and so did its ability to prevent the fracturing of Afrikaner political opinion. Now the party clings to a mere fragment of its former power, and Afrikaners who once believed in its race policies face a deep existential crisis. Based on extensive interviews, this lively book analyzes this crisis in nuanced, fascinating, and often humorous detail. Thematic sections focus on Afrikaans culture, language, and religion, the past and putative future of the Broederbond, and the angst within the only partially reformed security forces of the old regime. The facts and opinions that come to light are mixed with much speculation, gossip, and misinformation; the authors' intent, however, is less to lead readers to specific conclusions than to take them on an informative journey through unexplored political terrain, and in this they admirably succeed.