Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.
The reactions to Xingwana’s utterance (eg it is “an extreme verbal attack on the integrity of Afrikaners” and “a sign of religious intolerance”) suggest that Afrikaner men and religious doctrine are both above criticism. Given the widely promoted predilection for forgetting, we have forgotten that a particular interpretation of Calvinism underpinned the Christian nationalism that drove the project of apartheid. Moreover, as theologian Christina Landman has written, “local Calvinism was as sexist as it was racist” (see an excerpt from the article here). This local form of Calvinism, which still grips gender relations in Afrikaner families, dictates that “part of the salvation of the soul was the subordination of the female body to male rule, both in intimate spaces and the church”, as Landman finds. This explains resurgent collaborations between Afrikaner women and men to reinstall “the Afrikaner man” as “king and priest” of the household, as currently promoted in congregations such as Moreleta Park Dutch Reformed Church. While Xingwana is condemned, the same critics fall over their feet to defend white Afrikaner men — the group that benefited most from apartheid. Their manoeuvres dovetail nicely with Time’s efforts at deflecting culpability in the Pistorius case away from masculinity and onto blackness. Thus it is ensured that the hard questions are shut out: the questions about an entitled, damaged and damaging masculinity that seeks to claw back power through violence. – Christi van der Westhuizen on Thought LeaderBACK TO TOP