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Baasskap

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Baasskap

Baasskap was a concept that was heavily promoted during Apartheid South Africa mainly by radical Afrikaners and the ruling National Party in order to arouse negative sentiments against black South Africans. The term literally translates from Afrikaans to English as "boss-ship", but a more applicable transliteration is "domination", which is reflective of the idea that "the white man must always be boss".

The term occurs in a letter published in the August 1984 issue of Sechaba—and excerpted by Immanuel Wallerstein in his essay titled "The Construction of Peoplehood." Signed by some PG, the relevant part of the letter reads as follows: "We have got to move on from the term 'so-called Coloured' in a positive way. People are now saying that we have the choice of what we will be called, and most, in the spirit of the nation in the making, opt for 'South African'. The debate can take many forms, but not a reverting to acceptance of the Baasskap term. If one really needs a sub-identity to that of being a South AFrican, maybe through popular debate the question could be sorted out." (Wallerstein, Immanuel. "The Construction of Peoplehood" in the book titled Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities, Verso: London & New York, 1991, p. 74).


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