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'The past is never dead. It’s not even past …' - William Faulkner
'History precedes me and my reflection; that I belong to history before I belong to myself.' - Hans-George Gadamer, German philosopher [i]
'What cannot be contained, mourned, and worked through in one generation is transmitted, for the most part unconsciously, as affect, mission, and task to the next generation…the fate of repression and dissociation is enactment.' - Psycho-analyst Howard Stein [ii]

Afrikaners, my people, have long been accused of being the sole originators and engineers of Apartheid, one of the most disreputable associations in world history. Yet the accusers have not taken the trouble to understand the historical and psychological genesis of Apartheid. This book is about the psychohistory of the Afrikaner, but it is also a study of the manner in general in which any nation enacts its trauma. My aim or hope is to aid in an understanding of the reasons for Afrikaner enactment.

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Lizzie van Zyl



Transmission of Trauma

A British smear campaign
againts the Afrikaners...

Scorched Earth

On Forgiveness...

Moral Reasoning

Brief Biography of a 'quite
civilized Afrikaner'






The psychological keystone for their enactment was humiliation and unprocessed mourning. This was preceded by a century of British humiliation preceding the Anglo Boer War (ABW) commencing with British arrival in the Cape Colony in 1795, compounded by the trauma experienced during the Groot Trek (Trekking away from the British) - the unprocessed grief for the losses suffered in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), and the extreme poverty and humiliation that followed afterwards. This led to a fierce nationalism as re-enactment, finding its final expression in Apartheid. My aim is not to justify Apartheid, but to shed light on the historical events and psychological impacts that arguably made it inevitable.

The trauma of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and its devastating aftermath generated a powerful fear for Afrikaner survival as a people. Apartheid was a way of muting this fear and assuaging the pain of their humiliation. In the process they wound up doing a great deal of harm to their fellow black African brothers and sisters; transforming themselves from the humiliated to the humiliator. This is the central theme of the book.

[i] German Philosopher George Gadamer: Ricoeur, Paul; Hermeneutics & the Human Sciences. p. 68
[ii] Fromm, M. Gerard (ed), Lost in Transmission : Studies of Trauma Across Generations, [Kindle, Version: 5.2.8: Ch.10, p.1]

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