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Baasskap was a concept referring to white supremacy in South Africa which was used during apartheid. The word literally translates from Afrikaans to English as "boss-ship", but a more applicable translation is "domination", or "white supremacy"[1] and it referred to the domination by white Afrikaners of South Africa.[2][3]

Proponents of baasskap (who constituted the largest faction of apartheid ideologues in the National Party, and state institutions) applied segregation in a systematic way, in order to preserve racial purity, and to allow for the domination of Afrikaners in the economic and political spheres. However, proponents of baasskap were not opposed to black South African participation in the economy, as long as black labour was controlled in a manner that preserved the economic domination of Afrikaners.[4]

Prominent proponents of baasskap included J.G. Strydom, Prime Minister from 1954 to 1958, and C.R. Swart, Minister of Justice.[4] Hendrik Verwoerd had sympathy for the "purist" faction of apartheid ideologues, which opposed economic integration of Africans (in contrast to supporters of baasskap who were more concerned with white domination in an integrated economy).[4] Nonetheless, Verwoerd provided the hitherto crude concept of baasskap with a veneer of intellectual respectability.[2]


  1. ^ Mathabane, Mark (10 November 2002). "The Threat That Apartheid Left Behind". Washington Post – via
  2. ^ a b "Verwoerd and his policies appalled me". News 24.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c T. Kuperus (7 April 1999). State, Civil Society and Apartheid in South Africa: An Examination of Dutch Reformed Church-State Relations. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-0-230-37373-0.

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of baasskap at Wiktionary