Land and the symbolism of land is an increasingly contentious issue within the political and cultural landscape of South Africa into the 21st century, more specifically contentious is the demographic distribution of land ownership. It is within this context that the question of the interaction of land and whiteness within Afrikaans-language films, as cultural products which formed part of the historical structure that informed the basis for entitlement to land, is addressed. This dissertation analyses the intersections of land and whiteness in selected Afrikaans-language films from 1961-1994 within the ideological framework of Afrikaner nationalism. The symbolic nature and position of land in its manifestation as the platteland within the framework of Afrikaner nationalism suggests that the use of landscapes within Afrikaans-language films could be analysed as more than a record of reality. These films formed part of an ever changing political and cultural landscape in which the platteland was given symbolic significance within an Afrikaner nationalist ideology and which informed an Afrikaner nationalist worldview and identity. Twelve Afrikaans-language films and their utilisation of the platteland as official and unofficial instances and expressions of Afrikaner nationalism are analysed as part of a canon of cultural products that created and sustained a mythological Afrikaner identity through poetry, literature and film. From the conclusion of this dissertation it is clear that the platteland maintained its cultural currency in a variety of ways. From the 1960s its positioned changed from an initial source of contemporaneous identity formulation to a historical source of heritage that justified specific values, ideas and notions of gender through its intersections with whiteness. Even within the changing political realities of the period analysed, the platteland was maintained as an ideological space that served as a connection between the Afrikaner and the land, emphasising the idolised pact between nation and nature. Within a contemporary context with the rise of neo-nationalism within the Afrikaner community an understanding of the ways in which the platteland and its relations to whiteness was historically used in film as a cultural product is crucial to be able to understand current notions of Afrikaner identity.
Dissertation (MHCS)--University of Pretoria, 2017.