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The Myth of White Genocide in South Africa


An ongoing racial and economic crisis in a republic that reflects our own

The popularity of white nationalism is not limited to predominantly white countries, and in South Africa, a country upheld as a model of racial reconciliation, white anxiety has coalesced around the notion that white farmers are being systematically murdered for their land. In our March issue, James Pogue travels to South Africa to investigate why this narrative is particularly enticing for white nationalists around the world, and galling for the millions of landless, poor black South Africans. “Personally, I had come to South Africa with a sense of despair,” Pogue writes, “bringing with me a question about whether it was possible that the only real answers left to the issue of whiteness were exactly the options presented by Roche and his racist allies: a choice between a power-obsessed vision of innate white superiority, which I would never share, or a kind of permanent self-loathing and apology for sins of the past, which I did not think was very workable as a politics.”

In this episode, web editor Violet Lucca talks with Pogue, author of Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West, about how South Africa has failed to disentangle race and class after apartheid.

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August 2020

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