The whites of South Africa (roughly 5.5 million people out of a total population of 40 million) are only now getting used to being a minority. It is not just that until the last few years they had the political, economic, and military power that normally only majorities have but they actually felt that they were, if not exactly a majority, at least somehow more authentically South African than black or brown people could ever be. This feeling was perceptible in many different ways. Whites (even English-speaking whites) used to say things like “So-and-so’s a real South African—he loves rugby, boerewors, and speaking die taal,” a turn of phrase that made it clear that being a real South African involved conformity to a white Afrikaner stereotype.
Even relatively liberal whites sometimes slipped into such thought patterns. I can remember, in the political science department I used to teach in Durban, the departmental secretary, Miss X—a charming, int...
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