The illustrated children's Bible as cultural text in the construction of Afrikaner national identity
Thesis (MPhil(Visual Arts. Illustration))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
This thesis is a critical analysis of Afrikaans illustrated children’s Bibles as cultural texts in Afrikaner nationalist discourse. Christian Calvinism was a distinct signifier in Afrikaner nationalism and served as an instrument in the construction of Afrikaner national identity. I propose in this study that Afrikaans children’s Bibles encoded the principles of Afrikaner nationalism and were used as didactic tools for the configuration of an exclusive national consciousness. A potential pitfall in the analysis of Afrikaans children’s Bibles as nationalist texts is the fact that these books were translated from Dutch or English into Afrikaans. However, the act of translating the Bible, ‘the Word of God’, into Afrikaans served to confirm the ‘totem’ of Afrikaner Christian-Nationalism. The appropriation of the Bible re-contextualized the ‘Holy Scriptures’, placing them within the milieu of Afrikaner national identity and consciousness: language and religion thus became interrelated catalysts in the social construction of Afrikaner national consciousness. Finally, my own reinvention of the Afrikaans picture Bible – in opposition to conventional illustrated children’s Bibles – is put forward and discussed as a postmodern text that encodes a radically different post-Apartheid conception of identity.