Critical Criminology

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 285–299 | Cite as

Enemies and Citizens of the State: Die Boeremag as the Face of Postapartheid Otherness

  • Kathryn HenneEmail author


This examination is a case study analysis of the Mail & Guardian’s news coverage surrounding the ongoing trial of members of the separatist group, die Boeremag. The 22 defendants stand accused of treason and 41 other criminal charges for the 2002 bombings of Soweto and conspiring to establish an independent Boer state. Utilizing a race critical lens, this analysis looks at these news representations of Afrikaner nationalists to glean insight into how law, race and racism can imbricate public understandings crime, specifically, in this case, domestic terrorism. It draws attention to the ways in which this fundamentalist group emerges as a repugnant Other and interrogates their roles within the “imagined” postapartheid South African community, the newspaper’s target audience. After explicating these dynamics, the paper concludes with a discussion of how this case study relates to practical dilemmas that stem from the utopian ideologies of reconciliation and nonracialism.


Restorative Justice Hate Crime News Coverage White Nation White Voter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Althusser, L. (2001 [1971]). Lenin and philosophy and other essays. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  3. Barak, G. (1988). Newsmaking criminology: Reflections on the media, intellectuals, and crime. Justice Quarterly, 5(4), 565–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benjamin, W. (1979). Critique of violence. In Reflections: Essays, aphorisms, autobiographical writings (pp. 277–300). New York: Schocken.Google Scholar
  5. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. (2009). Wave of township protests hits South Africa.
  6. Chanock, M. (2000). The making of South African legal culture 1902–1936: Fear, favour and prejudice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, S., & Young, J. (Eds.). (1973). The manufacture of news: Social problems, deviance, and mass media. London: Constable.Google Scholar
  8. Comaroff, J., & Comaroff, J. (2004). Criminal obsessions, after Foucault: Postcoloniality, policing, and the metaphysics of disorder. Critical Inquiry, 30(4), 800–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cover, R. (1995). Violence and the word. In M. Minow, M. Ryan, & A. Sarat (Eds.), Narrative, violence, and the law: The essays of Robert Cover (pp. 203–237). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  10. Feldman, A. (1991). Formations of violence: The narrative of the body and political terror in Northern Ireland. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M. (2003). Society must be defended: Lectures at the Collège de France 1975–1976. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  13. Gear, S. (2007). Behind the bars of masculinity: Male rape and homophobia in and about South African prisons. Sexualities, 10(2), 209–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibson, J. L., & Gouws, A. (1999). Truth and reconciliation in South Africa: Attributions of blame and struggle over apartheid. The American Political Science Review, 93(3), 501–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldberg, D. T., & Essed, P. (2002). Introduction: From racial demarcations to multiple identifications. In P. Essed & D. T. Goldberg (Eds.), Race critical theories: Text and context (pp. 1–11). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Goyer, K. C. (2003). HIV/AIDS in prison: Problems, policies and potential. Available at
  17. Hajjar, L. (2004). Chaos as utopia: International criminal prosecutions as a challenge to state power. Studies in Law, Politics and Society, 31, 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall, S., Critcher, C., Jefferson, T., Clarke, J., & Roberts, B. (1978). Policing the crisis: Mugging, the state, and law and order. New York: Holmes & Meier.Google Scholar
  19. Hamm, M. (2007). Terrorism as crime: From Oklahoma City to Al-Qaeda and beyond. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Harding, S. (1991). Representing fundamentalism: The problem of the repugnant cultural Other. Social Research, 58(2), 573–593.Google Scholar
  21. Human Rights Watch. (1997). South Africa: Violence against women and the medico-legal system.
  22. Jewkes, R., Sikweyiya, Y., Morrell, R., & Dunkle, K. (2009). Understanding men’s health and use of violence: Interface of rape and HIV in South Africa.
  23. Joubert, P. (2004). For the love of God, county and volk: An in-depth look at Afrikaner extremism.
  24. Mamdani, M. (2004). Good Muslim, bad Muslim: America, the cold war, and the roots of terror. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  25. Marx, A. W. (1998). Making race and nation: A comparison of the United States, South Africa, and Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. McClintock, A. (1995). Imperial leather: Race, gender and sexuality in the colonial context. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Perry, B. (2001). In the name of hate: Understanding hate crimes. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Ran-Rubin, M. (2008). Keeping the peace: A tale of murder and morality in postapartheid South Africa. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 31(2), 243–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schmitt, C. (2001 [1933]). State, movement, people. Trans. S. Draghici. Alexandria, VA: Plutarch Press.Google Scholar
  30. Schönteich, M., & Boshoff, H. (2003). ‘Volk’ faith and fatherland: The security threat posed by the white right.
  31. Thompson, L. (2001). A history of South Africa. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (1998). Truth and reconciliation report of South Africa. Cape Town: Juta.Google Scholar
  33. Willoughby-Herard, T. (2007). South Africa’s poor whites and whiteness studies: Afrikaner ethnicity, scientific racism, and white misery. New Political Science, 29(4), 479–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wilson, R. A. (2001). The politics of truth and reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the postapartheid state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wood, K. (2005). Contextualizing group rape in post-apartheid South Africa. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 7(4), 303–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Law and SocietyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations