White Afrikaans women face a unique challenge
Both oppressor and oppressed, the potential for participation is strong
Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa – the title is enough to stop you in your tracks. When I heard author, social and political commentator and associate professor in sociology at the University of Pretoria Christi van der Westhuizen chat to Radio 702 host Eusebius McKaiser about this, her latest book, I was intrigued. How could I not be, as one of that species she describes as both oppressor (white) yet also oppressed (woman)? Chatting to her in Pretoria about this academic treatise, she explains that the book’s introduction was the toughest of the lot because she wanted to get all the theoretical stuff out of the way at the start. Indeed, if you read it slowly — even if like me you are not au fait with academic speak — you will get there.
Van der Westhuizen has a mind that grapples with life, and she had enough material given to her in her own life to ensure it would be worth grappling with. She grew up in a female-headed household in 1980s Bo...