Author(s) Falkof, Nicky
Year 2013
Title A “Bloody Epidemic”: Whiteness and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa
Published in Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3
Pages 307-325
DOI 10.1080/17533171.2013.812866
Link [1]
Abstract During the last years of the apartheid state, white South Africa was gripped by a so-called epidemic of family murder. This article examines the body of contemporary press responses to these killings to analyze the persistent assumption made by newspaper and magazine writers that the family murderer was necessarily white, male, Afrikaans, and conservative, and to think about what white family murder meant within the late apartheid imaginary. The explicit performativity of whiteness in South Africa, the injunctions attendant upon white privilege, and the difference between reactions to these deaths and the way in which “black-on-black violence” was conceptualized are combined to illustrate how the understanding of family murder as a primarily white phenomenon reflected South African modalities of race, most particularly of how the idea of whiteness operated in the late apartheid context and how it related to national understandings of violence.
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