Do you think that there are still any tensions between English and Afrikaans speaking white South Africans?

I ask because of my personal experience, growing up with an Afrikaans father and an English mother. My maternal grandmother showed much antipathy towards this, but eventually and unceremoniously declared that my father, "a lawyer and therefore 'not Afrikaans' (pronounced Affri-kanes), and she would think of him as an 'honoury Englishman" (my grandmother referred to England as home, despite never having been there etc).

At any rate, in order to appease her, none of my dad's family spoke Afrikaans to me, and if I spoke to my dad in Afrikaans, the usual response was 'don't cause kak.'

For my part, I tried deliberately to Anglicize my pronunciation of Afrikaans words, so as (in my mind) to appease my grandmother, who frequently said, "that poor girl, she has inherited the weakness of the Afrikaner blood, so excitable and emotional" (translation, she cries at funerals).

Anyways, my grandmother is long dead and I am sad that I did not stand up to these prejudices as a child. Apart from that though, I think children with one English and one Afrikaans parent are in a much better position, as I hardly ever hear prejudice expressed. - That said, I do move in liberal circles, so my experience may not be representative.

Do you think there is still tension between these groups or do you think it is best regaled to the history books? Have you experienced or witnessed this personally?

Sorry to moan on, just thought I needed to provide a background to the question, otherwise it would seem a bit odd and out of place.

Thanks to all who answer.


@Odie, yes, you have answered perfectly! I am interested in hearing people's stories more than anything else, so yours is exactly the type of answer I was looking for.

Update 2:

@Just Me- Yes, she was terribly prejudiced. I wish I had your retort when I was a child!

Update 3:

@Cakes - Yes my parents have told me about the tensions between NP supporters and UP and PP supporters. Interestingly, even today who your parents and even your grandparents voted for comes up among young people quite often. I can honestly say that my parents voted for the Progressive Party, and that my parents voted for the Progressive Party (later the PFP) and that my grandparents voted for the United Party and later for the Progressive Party (well, my maternal grandfather voted for Alan Paton's Liberal Party until it was banned).

I do not understand, however, how EVERYONES' parents voted PFP and yet the Nats still got in power! People get very defensive about the whole thing.

Update 4:

@Dirk- Yes indeedo. I once narrated a story in a 3rd year socio class on race, and explained to my lecturer that parents, being typical bleeding-heart white liberals, would drive my brother and I around Indian and coloured areas (we were 5 and 3) and explain how evil the Group Areas Act was. When we got our first black neighbours, however, my mother went on for weeks about how, "they mustn't think that they're living in a bleedy khaya." Moreover, after our boerbul went missing, my dad decided that they had killed it because it used to bark at them. Lol. Anyway, bottom line is, every white person in the class acted horrified and said that their parents had never and would never, voice objections to having black neighbours. I am sure the vast majority were lying but I felt so embarrassed.

6 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I am Afrikaans and, unless I am just oblivious. I have never experienced any tension between Afrikaans and English speaking white people, and I grew up in a small town. Even now that I am live in Johannesburg, it is something that I have never encountered. At my workplace, most of my colleagues are English speaking. No tension here. I must say, however, that when I speak or deal with fellow Afrikaans people, especially work-related, they tend to be more helpful than English people. I, however, do not treat English speaking white people any different. That would be just silly!

    Your grandmother seems to have been very prejudiced. Excitable and emotional? That seems to be in everyone's blood.

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  • 9 years ago

    I reckon that that may still be the case in the dorpies. But, a lot of the "warring" was due to political differences. I remember, as a child, how the supporters of the old National Party absolutely loathed the United Party supporters, and vice versa. A lot of fighting went on at the schools, too.

    With a totally different political climate and lifestyles being changed due to technology in the way of television and internet, even the staunchest Afrikaners and stiff-upper-lipped English speakers are able to see eye to eye with each other.

    My gran was also an absolute "Englishwoman" who had never set a foot in England. !! And from my father´s side, the family was already pretty mixed with french and german origins and generous portions of english and dutch. They were very well "integrated" at the beginning of the 20th century already!

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I don't think there is any tension. As you mentioned, there were political differences in the past, but these days most white people tend to have the same political affiliation.

    My parents voted NP, and my guess is the rest are lying, just like in Germany nobody seemed to know where all the Nazis went after the war...

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  • Odie
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    Its funny that you asked this question now. I recently went on a business trip with 3 Afrikaans men and one other English man, like myself, even though I have a Portuguese background. Anyways, what I noticed was that the Broederbond is still very much alive and kicking. There is definitely still a clique. When I started putting all the business connections together it became obvious that the Afrikaans unjustifiably favoured Afrikaans providers over any other. Some of the suppliers were far inferior and most were just middle men but they always got the contracts passed their way. Oh and Lazy does not even begin to describe them.

    I am not sure if this answers your question but in short I think there is still tensions however they are less obvious and open about them.

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  • Skyli
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    Somewhat, Afrikaners like to stick together.

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  • 9 years ago

    It still exists but i think most white people would agree we've got bigger problems these days, theres so few already without cutting that number in half.

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