Exactly one hundred years after the Anglo-Boer War, the Afrikaner people is once again facing a  crisis of survival.


100 years ago we were involved in a bitter military struggle to defend the independence of our two Boer republics.


After our defeat in that war, we rallied our people and spent much of the first part of the century rebuilding our nation and reinvigorating our language, our culture and our institutions.   During the second half of the century we strove to re-establish our right to rule ourselves in our own state but discovered that economic, demographic and political factors made it impossible for us to do so without inflicting injustice on the other peoples who share South Africa with us.   So, we embarked on the painful and arduous path of national transformation through which we brought justice and equality to all South Africans – but which inevitably led to our own disempowerment.  As far as I am aware we are the only people in history who has ever willingly made such a sacrifice.


Today, after this process, many of us are dispirited and dejected and many of our institutions appear to be fragmented and to lack direction:


We are worried about crime, declining standards, neglect of our language and culture and reverse racial discrimination in the guise of affirmative action.  We are confused and shocked by revelations – real, exaggerated or imagined – of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which have sought to depict us and all that we stood for during the past century as evil.


In short, one hundred years after the Anglo-Boer War, we are again involved in a struggle for national survival  – not this time to retain our political independence, but to see whether we, as the youngest people in the world, as a little  people, will be able to survive without our own state in a country in which we are but one of many minorities and in a globalised world with an increasingly  uniform and materialistic culture.


Perhaps we should ourselves ask whether it is important that we should survive as a people.


Would it not be easier for us to bow to what many people see as the inevitable; to send our children to English schools and to accept that for our grandchildren Afrikaans will be as remote as Celtic or Gaelic are to most modern Scots and Irishmen – a quaint memory of a forgotten past?


I vehemently reject this view.


I believe that the fact that we are Afrikaners – that we have our own unique culture and language – contributes a central and indispensable element of our individual identities.   In short, that we cannot be who we are without the culture and language on which we have been weaned.  I am also convinced that in an increasingly uniform world dominated by English-orientated entertainment and communication media, the special identity which we derive from our own unique culture will be of inestimable value.


The question is: how should we respond to the problems and realities of the new South Africa?


We can, if we choose, sit on the sidelines and criticise the many aspects of our country that deserve criticism.  We can withdraw behind our high walls and electric fences and dash from one security enclave to the next.  We can secure our financial positions overseas and educate our children for careers in other countries.


Or we can decide to leave our lagers and become actively engaged in addressing the many problems that confront us.


I believe that we should base our decision on the following seven propositions:


  1. This is the most beautiful and wonderful country in the world with one of the richest and most diverse cultural heritages.
  2. This is also our country, our roots here are deep. We are as much South Africans as anyone else.
  3. It is not necessary for a people to have its own territory or political independence to survive and even to flourish as a people.
  4. If we have the will to do so, we can maintain our unique cultural and linguistic identity as one of the communities of which our multicultural country is composed.
  5. We have made an enormous and indispensable contribution to the development of this country. We played an essential and positive role in the creation of the new South Africa and in ensuring that all South Africans would, at last, enjoy the equal rights and freedoms;
  6. We, as one of the communities of which South Africa is composed, are entitled to exactly the same rights; recognition and respect as any other South Africans or as any other South African community;
  7. We are utterly committed to being good and loyal South Africans. We accept that our destiny is inextricably bound up with the destiny of all our fellow South Africans and that we must work together to address our common problems.


I believe that



South Africa needs our talents and commitment.   We can create a better future for all our people by becoming engaged with other South Africans in addressing our common problems.   I should like to recommend the following practical steps:


We can help to preserve our cultural identity as Afrikaners



We can, as Afrikaners, be equally good South Africans, by taking the following steps:



I have made my decision.  I am, and shall always be, an Afrikaner and am completely committed to the promotion and maintenance of my language and culture.   At same time, I do not believe that this commitment detracts in any way from my ability to be an equally good and loyal South African – or indeed, an equally good citizen of the world.


I intend to make my own modest contribution by ensuring that the Foundation that I have established plays an active role in maintaining harmonious relations between all our communities:


I am convinced that if all of us become engaged in preserving our culture and in actively addressing the common problems that confront us as South Africans, we will make a success of the new South Africa that we all helped to create in 1994.


In this way, I am confident that we will survive our present crisis – just as we survived the crisis of the Anglo-Boer War a hundred years ago.   I believe that when the next century – and the next millennium – dawns, there will still be a strong and thriving Afrikaans community in South Africa , and that because of this, South Africa and the world will be better places.