with almost four times the area ofnFrance, presents really nothing but antwo-dimensional picture, without anyndepth, any culture, any search for identitynin a truly plural situation.nYet there are many other realitiesndown there to focus on, chief amongnthem the Afrikaaners’ tormentedncultural consciousness — and consequentntragic failure to lift the weight ofntheir loneliness. The burden of thentragic situation is borne entirely by thenAfrikaaners, who cannot hide it behindnthe opulent banks and corporations ofnJohannesburg, the luxury hotels ofnDurban’s Indian oceanfront, or thenelegant residences of the Cape peninsula.nTry to imagine in American termsnwhat happened to the Boers in the lastncentury and a half. Suppose thatnaround 1840 the British had reoccupiednthis country, settling on the eastnand west coasts with cultural and commercialninterests tying them to GreatnBritain. Imagine further that Americans,nstill a rather small “tribe,” hadnwithdrawn to the Midwest (Ohio, Illinois,nIowa) to form another republicnand to develop their own strongnidentity, hostile to the two coasts. Nownthis identity would have two flaws —nbut at this point let us abandon thenAmerican simile and return to SouthnAfrica: one flaw resulted from thenGreat Trek of 1838 to the interiornwhich isolated the Boers from thenoutside world, leaving them in thenposition of a “white tribe,” with theirnBible as a cultural and political reference,nand the laager mentality as theirngeneral strategy. A century later, whennSouth Africa, now under Afrikaanernleadership, seceded from the Britishncrown and Gommonwealth, this mentalitynhad become South Africa contranmundum. From the 1950’s to then1990’s, that is between the Britishnquasi-colonization and a rapid Americanization,nthe increasingly dominantnAfrikaaners had neither the time nornthe intention to adapt their sturdynnative consciousness to the rules of thenmodern game. They never elaboratedna common language with the Anglophones,nfrom which a genuinenwhite culture could have arisen. ThenEnglish had their mother-country andnthe entire English-speaking world asntheir cultural home; the Afrikaaners, onnthe other hand, felt compelled ton8/CHRONICLESnremain focused on the Calvinistic,nPuritanical, Netherlandish church,nwhich became a kind of protectiventribal cult, and never permitted thenrelaxation so important for the soul andnits sensibilities to create a cultural milieu.nThe second flaw in the Afrikaanernidentity, otherwise so boisterously asserted,nis nostalgia for black culturenwith its more relaxed, less inhibitednsense of identity. I go as far as to saynthat while English-speaking SouthnAfricans remained aloof to, ornmerely intrigued by, black culture —narchitecture, music, dance, painting,ncommunal rites — Afrikaaners havenseen in it something more genuine andnearthy-spiritual than their own coldnapproach to the “nocturnal” side ofnexistence. While teaching at variousntimes in South Africa, I used to havenlong conversations with Afrikaanerncolleagues — among them the ReverendnWillem de Klerk, the president’snolder brother—who could not hide anyearning for some kind of fusion withnthe blacks. A cultural fusion, of course,nbut these men were at the same timenaware that a political mixing wouldnthen be inevitable — and they acquiescednin it. Letters kept reaching menlong afterwards, into the 1980’s, tryingnto convince me — or rather, to convincenthemselves — that a cultural fusingnof the two “tribes” (white andnblack) would not have to bring with it anunitary political system. I disagreed.nI believe that among other thingsnwhat is happening in South Africa nownis an expression of the policy of culturalnnostalgia manifested by the Afrikaaners.nBecause of outside sanctionsnthey feel more isolated than they didnin the time of the undiluted laager.nThe English-speaking wodd, the U.S.nnow included, has proved more aliennthan ever — indeed an enemy. Thenopening can only be eff^ected in thendirection of the blacks. President denKlerk’s policy—behind which I detectnhis verligte (“enlightened,” liberal)nbrother’s hand, the great influence onnthe president since their father, thentough Boer senator, died — does notnaim at multiracialism, a completelyndestructive solution in South Africa; itnis a policy based on the Afrikaanernintellectuals’ feeling of cultural incompletenessnand hope against hope thatnthey and the blacks can build a valid,nnngenuinely neo-African civilization andnculture. Through peace with the blacksnthey hope to find an access to the spiritnof the land that they have only sharednphysically with them. It should benadded that this yearning is not sharednby the bulk of the Afrikaaners who arenstill rooted in farms and small towns.nThey are, and probably will remain, innthe laager; the intellectuals are ofncourse urban products, and their numbernhas increased considerably in thenlast two decades. Willem de Klerk is inna way their mouthpiece; Frederick denKlerk is their — somewhat reluctant —npartner.nI knew very well one of these typicallyndivided souls. The novelist (strictlynin English) Stuart Gloete, a mannfrom an old Afrikaaner family, a cavalrynofficer in 1914 in the British army,nEnglish to the core yet a bitter Boernwho saw his people fight the uphillnbatfle of nation-building, and run tonthe ground by Anglo-American liberalism.nThere have been many people likenCloete among the Afrikaaners. At annunbridgeable distance both from thenBritish and from the blacks, they havenproved too few to shoulder the burdennof their perhaps imperial vocation, thenholding together of a multitude ofnraces. The Anglophones certainly didnnot help; but the main cause of thisnfailure was the Afrikaaners’ inability toncreate a genuine local culture beyondnthe lovely Boer building style, the folknmusic and dance, the imitation-nAmerican universities.nIt may be impossible for Americannintellectuals to understand this failure.nThey were never isolated from Europe,nthe East Goast being a bridgenover the ocean; their ancestors all butnexterminated the autochthonous populationn(which the Boers never did) andnits culture; and their background isnpurely urban. But even so it may benmore interesting for them to reflectnupon the South African cultural failurenand the resulting tragedy, than to benexclusively preoccupied by the singlenissue of apartheid.n— Thomas MolnarnW H E N IAS (the institute for AdvancednStudy), the research center thatntakes pride in having housed Einstein,ntold the National Endowment for thenHumanities last December to take itsn