De arte 55 'Savagery and civilisation': race as a signifier of difference in
Afrikaner nationalist art - April 1997
Liese van der Watt
Throughout twentieth-century Afrikaner 
accounts of their frontier history, the `benefits' of Western civilisation - introduced into the `dark' interior of South Africa by their ancestors, the Voortrekkers - were celebrated and acclaimed. At every possible volksfees, on commemorative days and in nationalistic literature the settler history of the Afrikaners was vividly invoked by way of simplistic tropes of savagery and civilisation. In this rhetoric, the Day of the Covenant and the Battle of Blood River stood central, not only because these events convinced Afrikaners that they were a people chosen by God to live in a Promised Land, but also because they served as proof of the triumph of `civilisation' over the `evil' forces of nature. This particular version of the history of the Voortrekkers was gradually institutionalised as official Afrikaner history and was reproduced as an authoritative record of the past - the marble frieze inside the Voortrekker Monument and the Voortrekker tapestries in the Voortrekker Monument Museum being the most important visual exponents of this account.
In broad terms this article will consider the ways in which visual culture was used to legitimise official Afrikaner history. More specifically, the focus will fall on the ways in which an ideology of visual difference was developed in order to contrast the virtue of the Afrikaners' predecessors, the Voortrekkers, with that of their perceived enemies, which from the 1930s onwards was seen to be embodied especially, though not exclusively, by 'non-white' people. In this process, ways of depicting `whiteness' as opposed to `blackness' were institutionalised and, by consequence, the concept of race came to be seen as a stable, obvious and 'natural' category rather than an invented and historically constructed one.
The development of this visual paradigm of Afrikaner history was shaped by various factors and should be seen against the background of the rise of Afrikaner Nationalism in the first half of the 20th century and especially in the 30s and 40s - a subject which has been examined by authors such as Dunbar Moodie (1975) and Dan O'Meara (1983). While O'Meara focuses on the years 1934-1948 and explains the rise of Afrikaner Nationalism in terms of a change in the balance of class relations, Moodie casts his net somewhat wider and seeks the roots of what he terms `the Afrikaner civil religion' in the 19th and 20th century. In Moodie's view, this `civil religion' refers to a faith in the uniqueness and predestination of the Afrikaner which was implanted in pupils at school before and during the apartheid era and yearly reaffirmed through volksfeeste and religious rituals like the Day of the Covenant. Writing in 1975, Moodie (1975:21) notes that
This civil ritual provides the civil faith with positive content. It unites Afrikaners in their sense of unique identity and destiny, inspiring the faithful, converting the sceptical, and ever reminding them of their sacred separation from English and Black Africans ... . Most Afrikaners believed that they belonged to an elect people, most believed that at some time in the future ... God would give them another republic ... .
While the origins of and conceptions about this civil religion have recently been the centre of much discussion, 
what is of central importance for this article is Moodie's contention (1975:21) that the main themes of the civil religion formed part of the `emotional identity' of the ordinary Afrikaner in the first half of the 20th century.
One of the earliest figures to assist in the articulation of what was to become the `civil religion', was Gustav Preller (1875-1943) - that great cultural entrepreneur of Afrikaner history. It was mainly due to his efforts that the story of the Voortrekkers was so widely disseminated in the popular consciousness of the Afrikaners. Preller devoted his whole life to reconstruct the history of these emigrants by publishing edited diaries of Voortrekker men (Piet Retief 1908, Dagboek van Louis Trichardt 1917, Andries Pretorius 1940) and researching and reassembling the Great Trek from the flotsam and jetsam of correspondences and oral accounts of people who took part in the Trek. 
In his representation of indigenous black people, Preller set a precedent for later depictions of black-white contact, focusing, with few exceptions, on the conflict that these encounters entailed. In Preller's accounts black people were consistently portrayed as savage and brutal and were contrasted with the supposed `innocence' of the Voortrekkers. Isabel Hofmeyr, in a study on Gustav Preller, notes that he constructed texts that `appealed to a popular memory of violence and bloodshed' (1988:534) in order to emphasise the savagery of native people. She writes:
... much of [Preller's] work generally met with wide acclaim precisely because it popularised violence. Virtually all Preller's texts read as an inventory of atrocities which eventually calcify into a set of almost legendary codes: the battered baby skulls, the dead women, the drifting feathers, the skinning alive and so on. All these shorthand images in turn acquire the status of implicit historical explanation and justification. 
Preller's popularisation of violence was effective as a strategy to convince early Afrikaners of their right to the land, paid for by their predecessors, the Voortrekkers, in blood and sweat.
Initially, the British were also depicted as the perpetrators of violence as the inauguration of the Vrouemonument (or Women's Memorial) in 1913 testifies - a monument built in commemoration of the women and children who died in British concentration camps during the South African war. By 1938, during the centenary year of the original ox-wagon trek, both English speakers and blacks were identified as historical enemies and therefore perceived to be contemporary threats in the drive towards volkseenheid and a future republic. In his famous oration on 16 December 1938 at Blood River, Dr Malan referred to the fast growing cities of South Africa as the 'new Blood River' where Afrikaners now had to `battle' not in the veld, but on the labour market. 
References to the threat which English-speakers posed to volkseenheid were gradually eclipsed by a growing obsession with race. Apartheid and the entrenchment thereof, which was synonymous with the triumph of the National Party in 1948, was emphatically asserted in 1949 when the inauguration of the Voortrekker Monument became a huge political event organised to honour the triumph in Africa of white civilisation and Christianity. The design and symbolism of the Voortrekker Monument, the official programme of the 1949 inauguration, as well as the ceremony and the speeches delivered at the inauguration, boast some of the most blatant instances of racism that ever occurred in the apartheid era. In the interpretation of the architecture, in the printed programme, and in the public orations, apartheid was preached and practised. The newly elected National Party used this opportunity to validate its apartheid policies by making a simplistic equation between Christianity, civilisation and the survival of the white race. The recurring theme of the Voortrekkers as `God's Chosen People' who paid for the land with their lives, used in 1938 to emphasise the virtue of the Afrikaner volk's ancestors, was now developed to justify the racial policies of the new government as being a God-given responsibility.
In the 1949 inaugurational programme of the Voortrekker Monument, Gerard Moerdyk, architect of the Voortrekker Monument, wrote a lengthy treatise on the meaning and symbolism of the Monument, a piece of writing which reveals his - and by implication his employers' - preoccupation with race. Moerdyk places the whole structure of the Monument with its adornments in the context of what he terms the `great civilising deed' of the Voortrekkers, namely the `settling and securing of a white civilisation in the interior of South Africa' (Moerdyk 1949:45). Suffice it to name but a few examples: according to Moerdyk the Van Wouw statue of a Voortrekker woman with two children at the entrance to the Monument is said to symbolise white South Africa as a whole, while the black wildebeest in the wall on either side of this statue symbolise the ever-present dangers threatening white civilisation in South Africa. Above the main entrance, the head of a buffalo guards as a symbol of defence against all inimical elements from the outside, while a laager of 64 wagons carved out of synthetic granite symbolically wards off, as Moerdyk (1949:45) put it, `everything which clashes with the Voortrekker's beliefs and ideals, from this altar of the Afrikaner'. It is interesting to note that some of the most explicit references to Afrikaner ownership of the land are somewhat toned down in later official guides to the Monument. In the 1949 programme Moerdyk speaks of the intention to make South Africa a witmansland (literally `a land of white people') while in a 1954 guide this reference is omitted, possibly because the 1949 text was too explicitly racist.
This idea of South Africa as witmansland was a prominent theme of the 1952 tercentenary Van Riebeeck festivals. These festivals emphasised the presumed blessings of white settlement in South Africa while banishing all 'non-whites' to the fringes of a hegemonic and white rendition of the South African past. Despite the fact that the icon of Van Riebeeck held special significance for the Afrikaners in the formation of their volk, the celebrations were specifically extended to include white English-speakers as well. As such, it revealed a very significant shift in the political composition of South Africa: while in 1938 at the centenary celebrations Afrikaners were trying to define themselves in opposition to all foreign forces which included English-speakers, by 1952 they were much more concerned with locating power in the hands of white South Africa as a whole and therefore welcomed English-speakers into their laager. As Rassool and Witz (1993:449) have noted in their study of these festivals:
The tenuous electoral victory of 1948, coupled with the limited framework of political support afforded by Afrikaner nationalism, required the power base of the state to be broadened. This meant promoting an accompanying wider white settler nationalism, whose right to rule stemmed from its self-proclaimed role as the bearer of `civilisation', a role which started with its colonial occupation in 1652.
In this process, the Van Riebeeck icon was appropriated
to establish a dichotomy in South Africa between `civilisation' and economic progress, on the one hand, and `primitiveness' and social backwardness, on the other (Rassool & Witz 1993:455).
This dichotomy was strikingly portrayed by way of a moving pageant at the opening of the festival. 
To symbolise the harmonious relationship between the two principle white races in the country, one float in this procession depicted the incident in 1837 when William Rowland Thompson, an English merchant, gave a Bible to the Voortrekker leader Jacobus Uys. In stark contrast to the floats depicting the history of white occupation of South Africa was a single float representing `another' Africa, significantly entitled `Darkest Africa'. 
It is this sentiment of Africa and her inhabitants as `dark', `unknown' and `uncivilised' that has typified visual representations of entrenched Afrikaner history. What follows is an assessment of the ways in which the dichotomy between white `civilisation' and black `savagery' is sustained in Afrikaner Nationalist art with specific reference to two narrative examples of that history. Firstly, the marble frieze in the `Hall of Heroes' inside the Voortrekker Monument, inaugurated in 1949 and consisting of 27 panels which charts the Voortrekkers' Great Trek from their exodus from the Cape Colony in 1835, to the Sand River Convention in 1852 where the independence of the Transvaal was recognised by Britain. The second example is the Voortrekker tapestry, today in the Voortrekker Monument Museum outside the Monument. These tapestries consist of 15 panels which were commissioned by the women of the Vrou- en Moederbeweging (ATKV) in 1952, designed by the artist W H Coetzer and executed by eight women between 1952 and 1960. 
This frieze, too, focuses on the Voortrekkers' Great Trek from the Cape Colony, culminating in the Blood River massacre and concluding with a symbolic panel.
PROGRESS AND PRIMITIVISM
While both the marble frieze and the tapestries focus on the Great Trek, it is interesting to note that they relate this trek in somewhat differing terms. While in the marble frieze the emphasis is very much on interracial conflict and violence with many representations of black people, it would seem that this kind of scene is circumscribed and indeed limited in the tapestries. Only three out of 15 tapestry panels depict explicit conflicts between black and white (Vegkop, Bloukrans and Blood River) while the rest of the panels focus much more on treklife in general with fewer representations of black people. In contrast to this, in the marble frieze one is very much left with an impression of marauding blacks with emphasis placed on the depiction of violence and instruments of violence. While this difference in emphasis can probably be attributed to the fact that the marble frieze was intended to highlight the military and political spheres of the trek, and the tapestries the cultural aspects of trek life, I want to argue that the tapestries further also propose a view of the trek which, in line with the 1952 Van Riebeeck festivals - the year in which they were commissioned - is really a narrative of European settlement in South Africa. 
For this reason Western conceptions of progress -- and not only violence as one might expect - is an important marker of difference between black and white - especially, but not exclusively, in the tapestries. The idea of progress was, of course, a convincing tactic used to justify the Voortrekkers' penetration and appropriation of the interior. In the foreword to a book edited by William HüTruettner dealing with the retrospective documentation of Western expansion in America - entitled The West as America. Reinterpreting images of the frontier, 1820-1920 (1991) - Elizabeth Broun (1991:viii) notes that
progress provided a natural analogue to the seemingly endless march of restless settlers who moved from a less-than-perfect present toward a Promised Land of abundance ... The artists who portrayed westward expansion [between 1820 and 1920 in America] would have us believe that homesteaders went west not only for 160 acres to farm but for the larger purposes of taming the wilderness, Christianizing the savages, or spreading the gospel of democracy and freedom.
Despite the differences between the American and South African frontier history, the notion of progress is used with great effect also in the local examples. A simple but very effective way in which it is conveyed in both the marble and tapestry panels, first of all, is through the employment of the frieze format which places the narration of the Voortrekkers' history within a linear sequence of time and space, and directs the viewer to `read' the panels from left to right. For Truettner, in his The West as America ..., this linear frieze format is linked with progress in a very concrete way. He writes:
The predictability of the [narrative] sequence is revealing. One is led from great moment to great moment, literally across the continent, in a march demonstrating the progress of America as a free and independent people and as a nation accumulating innumerable resources (Truettner 1991:68).
In a similar manner the Voortrekkers' physical journey depicted from one panel to the next, simultaneously charts their progress away from subjugation in the Cape (panel 1 of both friezes) to the climax of victory at Blood River (in the case of the tapestries) and of independence at the Sand River Convention (in the case of the marble frieze).
Apart from this very concrete way in which progress is suggested, Western conceptions of material and economic wealth predictably signify another form of progress. In the very last panel of the tapestries, Symbolic résumé (1), modern high-rise buildings and houses are depicted and contrasted with the ox-wagons of the other panels. In addition, cultivated fields are to be seen in this panel, suggesting that order is imposed on an uncultivated nature-represented in the majority of the other panels. The prosperity which the Voortrekkers left behind in the Cape Colony, albeit under British rule, symbolised by the homestead and garden in panel 1 of the tapestries (2), is clearly regained in the last panel, symbolised by permanent structures which invoke associations of progress and permanent settling. Likewise, in the marble frieze, emphasis is placed on the erection of permanent structures-like the building of the Church of the Vow (panel 22). In addition, in both these friezes the Voortrekkers are frequently depicted in the vicinity of a variety of objects which denote Western civilisation and Voortrekker culture. In those panels depicting the exodus from the Cape Colony (3) (and also panel 1 of the marble frieze) household utensils, chairs, tables, books and Bibles, etc. feature prominently as emblems of the (Western) civilisation that the Voortrekkers are taking with them into the interior - a manifestation of which is found in panel 12 of the marble frieze where Retief and Dingane sign the treaty seated at a folding table (4).
While the Voortrekkers are making both material and spiritual progress, indigenous people are depicted as almost completely untouched by these developments and are therefore automatically relegated to a point more `primitive' than the Voortrekkers. Naked black people, or to be exact, naked black men (there are almost no representations of black women), with weapons and shields in their hands, are fixed in a stereotypical portrayal which excludes the possibility of any change or progress. Clothing (and the absence thereof) becomes a signifier of difference in these panels. Nudity symbolises savagery, clothing civilisation. Voortrekker women, especially, appear to be always in their Sunday best despite the most strenuous of actions. In the few panels where black people are depicted in Western attire, they are there clearly on the Voortrekkers' terms: in both The birthday (2) and The exodus (3) there are clothed black servants - although they are wearing distinctive triangular hats to signal their difference from the Trekkers. In another example, Family devotions (Plate 1), clothing is very directly used as a measure of spiritual progress - the only sanctioned spiritual progress being the conversion from paganism to Christianity. In this panel clothed black servants are invited to the family's devotions but not included in the central familial circle - they are pushed to the margins of this scene, standing in the background or squatting to the right of the table. Their position, not seated at the table, indicates the Voortrekkers' missionary role in matters of their faith, and indeed, of their lives.
The abundant references to churches and Bibles in both these friezes not only point to the supposed faith and piety of the Voortrekkers, but have also acted to remind Afrikaners of the Christian principles which have always unified their volk. In addition, within the framework of Calvinism - the variant of Christianity adhered to by most Afrikaners - this reference to the Christian faith became a rationale for Afrikaner appropriation and ownership of the land. In terms of the Calvinist doctrine of predestination it was believed that the Dutch/Afrikaner emigrants of the 1830s, the Voortrekkers, were God's Chosen people entrusted with the special task of christianising the `heathen' in the interior of South Africa. This was supposedly demonstrated to them at Blood River, where they entered into a collective covenant with God. 
A RHETORIC OF SUFFERING
In the context of this paradigm of predestination referred to in the previous section, the battle of Blood River symbolised the ultimate triumph of Christian civilisation over barbaric savagery. The visual depiction of this massacre forms part of what is almost a genre of battle scenes in official Afrikaner visual culture. These images of warfare constitute what I have termed a `rhetoric of suffering' and was most distinctively influenced by the writings of Gustav Preller, to whom I referred above. Within this rhetoric, as noted before, indigenous black people were always cast as brutal and portrayed as the aggressors, while the Trekkers were seen as innocent victims suffering black violence. In the marble frieze, scenes of black aggression and white defence are interspersed with a number of panels which portray the Voortrekkers as negotiators, emphasising their peaceful intentions. Consider, for instance, the presentation of a Bible by British settlers to the Voortrekkers (panel 2), the meeting with the Portuguese District Governor in Louren¦o Marques (panel 4), the negotiations with the Barolong chief Moroko (panel 8) and the negotiations with Dingane (panels 9 and 12). It would seem that the retrospective history of the Trek is constructed as one in which the Voortrekkers are repeatedly frustrated by black aggression in their honest attempts at peaceful settlement.
Paradoxically, while the Voortrekkers are always portrayed as innocent victims provoked by black violence within this rhetoric of suffering, they often emerge as victors. In the battle of Vegkop (5) the Potgieter trek was attacked by 6 000 Matabeles (according to the guide accompanying the marble frieze) but the Voortrekkers nevertheless managed to repulse them, and in the subsequent battle against the Matabele at Kapain (panel 7 of marble frieze), Potgieter again emerges as victor. The murder of Piet Retief and his men (panel 13 of the marble frieze) and the murder at Bloukrans - depicted in both the tapestry (6) and the marble (7) friezes - are two of the few instances where the Voortrekkers are completely slain by `Dingane's hordes' (Kruger [s.a.]:15). The highlighting of these events in the construction of the Great Trek history, was, of course, a shrewd strategy to portray the subsequent Blood River massacre not as a revengeful act, but as one where justice would prevail at last.
It is in the depiction of the murder at Bloukrans (7) that codes of savagery and civilisation are exploited to best effect. Naked Zulu soldiers are depicted attacking Voortrekker women and children, capitalising on the contrast between savage brutality and ultimate innocence. However, while in the marble frieze the women are depicted as defenceless and overwhelmed by Zulus, the tapestry panel shows women actively resisting and fighting back (6) - in line with contemporary volksmoeder ideology. 
In the tapestry panel, Voortrekker women, clad in white nightclothes, are contrasted vividly with the dark, nude bodies of their attackers, suggesting that Coetzer, the artist of the tapestries, has drawn on the standard association of dark with bad and white with good. This is also true of the panel depicting the battle of Blood River (Plate 2), where black figures are depicted falling, their arms in the air indicating their complete defeat. The lanterns which the Voortrekkers purportedly hung around the outer sides of the wagons serve to emphasise their association with light. By extension, these lanterns become a symbol of the `civilising light' which the Voortrekkers carried into the dark interior of Africa -- a theme also depicted in the Symbolic résumé (1).
Interestingly, this depiction of the native as savage and barbaric is not necessarily typical of all retrospective frontier histories, even though it is often used as a strategy to highlight the peaceful intentions of the settlers. As Truettner has shown in his The West as America ... (referred to above) scenes of battles with the indigenous Indian people were played down or completely omitted from the earliest accounts of the frontier history of the USA for various reasons. Truettner (1991:155) writes that `[s]cenes of Indian life from the 1830s through the 1850s ... suggest that the intellectual concept of the Noble Savage still influenced painters of the American West'.
According to Truettner (1991:151), these painters drew
(particularly in the 1830s and 1840s) on an idealized Indian representing the 'natural' man conceived by whites as an alternative role model - the independent male who lived beyond the bounds of civilisation but who embodied wilderness `virtues'.
Barbara Melosh, in her book Engendering Culture (1991) which focuses on New Deal art and culture in America in the 1930s, notes that scenes of Indian-white violence were also explicitly suppressed in the 1930s in Section Art 
as Section administrators `expressed distaste for scenes of Indian-white warfare' (1991:41). By 1937, these objections were cast as a matter of policy and `Indian warfare [was vetoed] as part of a general antiwar ideology'(1991:41). 
By contrast, images of black-white conflict were hardly ever censored in accounts of Afrikaner frontier history. One exception was in 1916, when, as Isabel Hofmeyr reports, the Department of Native Affairs initially opposed the filming of Gustav Preller's script De Voortrekkers `on the grounds of the undesirability of any activities calculated to bring black and white in this country into even mimic armed conflict' (Hofmeyr 1988:521 quoting Department of Native Affairs to Preller, 8 July 1916), but this must surely be one of few such cases. Most other accounts of Afrikaner frontier history popularise black-white conflict (with the exception of the Van Riebeeck festivals where it was simply ignored). In fact, the central day in Afrikaner cultural life, the Day of the Vow, was intended precisely to remind the volk that their right to the land was `earned' through the numerous white sacrifices made in the course of black-white conflict. Given the policies of racial segregation that the National Party propagated in its run for power, it is clear that black people were seen as a serious threat to Afrikaner unity, purity and dominance. Reasons for the absence of the depiction of indigenous people as Noble Savages or romanticised, innocent `children of nature' are therefore not hard to find.
In conclusion, literary and visual depictions of Voortrekker history favoured a highly selective representation of the past, isolating specific events to convince contemporary Afrikaners of their rightful ownership of the land, paid for by their ancestors in blood and sweat. In all of this, and especially in visual representations, race was used as a clear signifier of difference to set up simple dichotomies (with few transgressions) between progress and primitivism, Christian and pagan, the chosen and the doomed, the civilised and the savage.
Throughout this article I use the term `Afrikaner' to refer to a mainstream group of people who, especially in the first half of this century (although by no means exclusively then) believed, supported and legitimised what can loosely be described as `Afrikaner Nationalist' principles.
This issue will be discussed below; see also note 10.
These oral histories were recorded and published between 1918 and 1938 in a series entitled Voortrekkermense (I-VI). See Hofmeyr (1987 & 1988) for an in-depth discussion of the role that Preller played in the identity formation of the Afrikaner volk.
Preller's depiction of Voortrekker innocence and black aggression depended in most cases on a great deal of inversion as Hofmeyr has illustrated with reference to Preller's narration of the `Makapansgat siege'. She writes: `Viewed against even a small range of extant and subsequent historical data, Preller's piece [about the Makapansgat siege] clearly involves an extraordinary degree of inversion, displacement and repression. It was of course the Boers who consistently transgressed codes of hospitality in the Transvaal as so many of the alternative versions of the story symbolically suggest'(1988:533).
See Pienaar (1964) for a full transcript of Malan's speech. See Grundlingh and Sapire (1989) for a detailed elaboration of the overall conception of the Great Trek in 1938.
A detailed discussion of this pageant and of the accompanying festival fair on the foreshore of Cape Town can be found respectively in Rassool and Witz (1993) and in Witz (1993).
Witz (1993) and Rassool and Witz (1993) also trace the considerable resistance which the Van Riebeeck festival evoked. The defiance campaign of the ANC against emerging apartheid legislation was launched on the significant date of 6 April 1952. In addition, the federal bodies affiliated to the Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM) organised political opposition to the festival which took the form of non-collaboration and the boycotting of the festival. S M Molema, in the opening address at the annual conference of the South African Indian Congress in 1952, eloquently expressed what was probably on the minds of many people. I quote from Rassool & Witz (1993:463): `Molema reminded the audience that "the dominant fact of South African history ... [was] that every monument of the white man perpetuates the memory of the annihilation of some black community". The Van Riebeeck festival, he insisted, was a "frenzy of self adulation (with whites) preparing to embrace each other and shake their bloody hands in commemoration of their three hundred years of rapine and bloodshed".' (Rassool & Witz quotes from Molema's `Opening address' of 25 January 1952 in Karis & Carter 1977 From protest to challenge, vol. II:477-480 and vol. IV:94-95).
See Van Der Watt (1996) for a history and critical assessment of these tapestries.
My thanks to Leslie Witz for making me aware of this shift in emphasis.
Historian André du Toit (1983, 1984) has shown that this belief concerning the Voortrekkers' predestination was only introduced retrospectively in the 20th century, and finds no evidence of the existence of such a belief in 19th century documents or in what was put forward by later historians as `evidence' for such a belief. In his 1983 article entitled `No Chosen People: The Myth of the Calvinist Origins of Afrikaner Nationalism and Racial Ideology', which focuses on the secondary literature in which references to this myth is found, Du Toit (1983:921) writes that `despite its pervasive presence in the literature, the content of the Calvinist paradigm of Afrikaner history has seldom been fully and explicitly articulated ... [i]ts provenance is simply assumed - and little documented'.
And, in a subsequent article dealing with the same issue, he writes that `[a] critical survey of the supposedly abundant evidence from primary sources regarding the Trekkers' and Trekboers' ideas on their calling and mission martialled by [F A] Van Jaarsveld soon reveals a remarkable position: very little, if any, hard evidence can be found worthy of serious consideration' (Du Toit 1984:61).
See Brink (1990), Kruger, L M (1991), and also Van Der Watt (1996, especially pp. 45-57) for a discussion of the concept of the volksmoeder ideal.
The Treasury Section of Fine Arts, or simply The Section, was established in 1934 under Roosevelt's New Deal. This fund awarded commissions to artists to embellish public buildings and the art works frequently dealt with the American frontier past.
It is interesting to note that local demand for scenes of traditional frontier violence did in a few cases lead to the inclusion of more violent imagery in Section Art (Melosh 1991:41-43). Melosh does not suggest any reasons for this demand for scenes of Indian-White warfare, but I would argue that the general public probably believed that this kind of scene was a more accurate rendering of their frontier past. For example, Melosh cites an example in which a disappointed historian from Greensboro, Georgia, petitioned repeatedly for a mural depicting a historical massacre scene associated with the town of Greensboro. The mural was eventually granted.
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