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Tema 1

Christopher Saunders

University of Cape Town

REFLECTIONS ON SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORIOGRAPHY: APARTHEID AND ITS LEGACY

This paper will consider the impact of apartheid on South African historical writing, and argue that that impact was greater than has been acknowledged. The ways in which some Afrikaner historians wrote in defense of apartheid will first be explored, then the different forms of opposition which apartheid provoked. From the 1960s liberal Africanist writers sought to make the history of the country the history of all its people; from the 1970s radical historians challenged both apartheid and capitalism. While we can now look back on all this from a post-apartheid perspective, the legacy of apartheid on our historical writing remains, as will be shown. The paper is, then, an essay on the political uses of history, and the costs involved.