There are two ways to deal with the legacy of Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd. The first is to treat him as the villain of apartheid, the evil mastermind of a crime against humanity. He is the perfect scapegoat; the deranged pseudoscientist who studied in Nazi Germany and wrote propaganda for the National Party as newspaper editor. The second is to look beyond this mythical figure into the real man, to see why in some respects he was even worse, and how his legacy remains in policies followed by the current governing party — how it is not necessary for organisations such as Afriforum to revive the past in its documentary on Verwoerd, as it is being done by the ANC. Afriforum put Verwoerd back into the news with a section of hagiography in a documentary on land reform, in which he was described as a misunderstood philosopher with benevolent intentions. The first thing most people fail to understand about Verwoerd was that he started his political career as a dictator. As minister of native ...

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