1st Edition

Christian Nationalism and Anticommunism in Twentieth-Century South Africa

By Ruhan Fourie Copyright 2024

    This book investigates Afrikaner anticommunism in South Africa in the twentieth century, focusing on the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC).

    Following contemporary understandings of anticommunism as a fluid ideological stance, it demonstrates that the deeply held anticommunist convictions of ordinary twentieth-century Afrikaners is more than merely a natural result of global politics. It examines how the DRC, the institution with the widest reach and deepest influence in the everyday lives of Afrikaners, played a significant role in perpetuating an anticommunist imagination amongst twentieth-century Afrikaners. The text explores the critical role the DRC fulfilled in legitimising overt opposition to and suppression of ‘communism’ in all its perceived manifestations, including black dissent, whilst also creating an Afrikaner imagination in which the volk remained convinced of the ever- present communist threat, and of its own role as a bulwark against communism. The church’s moral standing in Afrikaner society also made it susceptible to right-wing opportunists gaining mainstream political clout, which this monograph also exposes and explains. It ultimately concludes that anticommunism functioned as a vehicle for nationalist unity (and uniformity), a paradigm for Afrikaner identity, and a legitimiser of the volk’s perceptions of its imagined moral high ground throughout the twentieth century.

    It will appeal to readers interested in anticommunism, Christian nationalism, right-wing networks, racism, and apartheid culture and society.

    Introduction  1. Establishing anticommunism: The DRC’s casting of socialism as the opponent of the volk, 1910–1939  2. The DRC, Antikom, and the rise of Afrikaner power, c. 1940–1959  3. Testing the anticommunist consensus: Antikom and the challenge of the far-right, 1960s  4. Mission Red: Decolonisation, missions, and the demise of Antikom, 1960s–1980s  5. Anticommunism and the end of apartheid: The not-so-grand finale of the DRC’s battle against communism, 1986–1994  Conclusion  Epilogue


    Ruhan Fourie is a postdoctoral fellow at the International Studies Group of the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.