I have just completed historian Hermann Giliomee’s latest book “The Last Afrikaner Leaders”. Giliomee focuses only on a few apartheid leaders HF Verwoerd, JB Vorster, PW Botha, FW de Klerk and opposition politician Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert. I can imagine that the book would be criticised for not being critical enough of the champions of grand apartheid and for only focusing on these 5 individuals.
That said, what struck me is that until the sudden termination of FW De Klerk’s participation in the Government of National unity in 1996, the country has not seen one strong Afrikaner political leader. This was a nation that produced some of history’s strongest political leaders and yet despite the demise of the National Party, today there is a total dearth of Afrikaans speaking political leaders. So where have all the Afrikaner political trailblazers gone? My conclusion is that, like the diaspora Jewish community, Afrikaans speaking leaders today have gone into business, law, medicine, accounting, arts, professions and major corporations. One only needs to look at the up and coming business entrepreneurs to see young, bright, smart Afrikaans leadership in all facets of life outside parliamentary politics. Is my assessment accurate?