michael titlestad on the south african apocalypse


Michael Titlestad, ‘South African end times: Conceiving an apolcalyptic imaginary’, Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 51, 2 (2014).

The future of South Africa has most commonly been conceived as a prospective apocalyptic upheaval in which the nation fractures along race lines. This expectation preceded, but informed the rise of apartheid, and has accompanied its demise. This article argues that catastrophic prediction—the trope of a looming racial Armageddon—is like a worn coin: familiar currency so often spent. Nonetheless, we need to conceive how this particular political theology settled into our polity; why it has proved so adaptable (through and despite the “miraculous” transformation of 1994); and, how its tenacity—which is politically anodyne at best and fascist at worst—might be challenged. The article conceives of a study (comprising nine essays) which sets out to analyze aspects of this history of fear, without simply taking its existence and persistence for granted. Keywords: South African apocalypse, catastrophism, dystopia, political theology, white fear.

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