ANTHONY EGAN and RUPERT TAYLOR
As the spotlight of international interest in ethnic conflict moves from one part of the globe to another in the early part of the twenty-first century, it tends to focus only fleetingly on South Africa. It is easy to forget that as recently as the 1990s South Africa was rarely out of its glare. The struggle for a new democratic political order that then reached its climax had simmered on for decades, with the rulers of the old South African regime having given a new word to the English language: apartheid. 1
Apartheid represented a pernicious system of differentiation and domination; it was a system in which a privileged white minority-representing under a fifth of the total population-held sway over a disenfranchised black majority. For many years, under the old order, the promotion and defence of an ethnoterritorial agenda was central to the white minority rule of the National Party (NP)-first in informing the development of apartheid, then in charting an evolutionary consociational power-sharing reform agenda in the 1980s, and finally in influencing the NP's negotiating position on constitutional structures and mechanisms for a new South Africa. This chapter critically traces these developments, and highlights the circumstances associated with the failure of the National Party's strategy.
At the heart of apartheid thinking was a group-based philosophy of Afrikaner nationalism, rooted in Calvinism and German Romanticism, which viewed South Africa as a deeply divided society in which the existence of different ethnic groups 'was a God-given reality'. 2 As differing ethnic groups were seen to lack common cultural attributes, it was argued that 'separate development' had to be pursued, so as to reduce the potential for ethnic group contact and friction. 'Separate development', it came to be realized, could be implemented not only in terms of territorial considerations but also in broader terms of consociational