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Africa History & Anthropology 3: Oranje-Blanje-Blues: A shared history of the Netherlands and South Africa


Admission requirements

History students should have successfully completed their propaedeutic exam and both second-year BA-seminars, one of which in Algemene Geschiedenis.

Students of Afrikaanse Talen en Culturen should have successfully completed their propaedeutic exam and successfully completed their second year of study.


Since the establishment of the first Dutch outpost at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, the Netherlands and South Africa have been inextricably linked to each other through a shared history and an often contentious relationship which has a profound impact on both countries to this day.

This seminar seeks to explore that relationship from the first Dutch voyages past the Cape of Good Hope to the present.

The first part of this seminar will situate the linkages between South Africa and the Netherlands within a historical context. Topics that will be studied include:

  • The Dutch-East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope: from an outpost under Jan van Riebeeck to to a colony under Joachim van Plettenberg (1652-1785)

  • The Journeys of Robert Jacob Gordon; and the loss, return, and loss again of the Cape and Gen. Janssens (1780-1806)

  • The Boer Republics, the First Boer War, and the rediscovery of a shared kinship (1806-1886)

  • Boermanie and Hollanderhaat from the gold rush to the South African War (1886-1902)

  • Stamverwantskap, emigration, and celebration: The Netherlands and South Africa from the South African War up to the 1952 tercentenary (1902-1952)

The second part of the seminar will look at contemporary themes from the second half of the 20th century to the present, including such topics as:

  • Dutch pro- and anti-apartheid movements and Dutch resistance to apartheid

  • The legacy of South Africa in the Netherland and contemporary depictions and debates on South Africa in the Netherlands

  • The legacy of the Netherlands in South Africa, including the use of the Afrikaans language in South Africa, and the Netherlands in South Africa today

In addition to content, this seminar will make extensive use of primary sources and will serve as an introduction to the enormous wealth of South African collections in the Netherlands. Students will write a paper on the Netherlands in South Africa based on either a historical or contemporary topic of their choice based on discussion with the lecturer. The paper that students will write will be problem based and make extensive use of primary source materials.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

By the end of this course, the student can:
1) Conduct and execute academic research within a defined scope, including: a. organizing and using relatively large amounts of information b. identifying and selecting relevant literature
c. analyzing a scholarly debate
d. placing their own research within the context of a scholarly debate

2) Write a problem-based essay and give an oral presentation following the format defined in the Syllabus Themacolleges, including: a. using a realistic work schedule
b. formulating a realistic research question and subquestions
c. formulating a reasoned conclusion
d. giving and receiving feedback
e. responding to the instructions of the lecturer

3) Reflect on the primary sources on which the literature is based
4) Select and use primary sources in their own research
5) Analyze primary sources and place and interpret them in their historical context
6) Actively participate in class discussions

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

7) The student has knowledge of a specialization(s) to which the BA Seminar belongs; more specifically in the specialization General History, of the place of European history from 1500 in a global perspective; and especially in the specialization History of European Expansion and Globalization, of the emergence of global networks that bring about an ever increasing circulation of people, animals, crops, goods, and ideas, and the central role of European expansion from ca. 1500

8) The student has knowledge and understanding of the core concepts, research methods, and techniques of the specialization, with special attention; for the specialization General History for the study of primary sources and the relativity of nationally defined histories; and especially the track History of European Expansion and Globalization, for combining historiographic debates with empirical research on primary sources and/or linking separate historiographic traditions through innovative research

Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar

By the end of this course, the student has:
9) Knowledge of the historiography and historical anthropology of Africa
10) Knowledge of the historiography of the shared history of the Netherlands and South Africa; and South African archival, library, and museum collections in the Netherlands
11) Can identify primary sources, select sources, critique sources, and apply sources in an academic essay


The timetable is available on the Rooster BA Geschiedenis

Rooster BA Afrikaanse Talen en Culturen

Mode of instruction

Seminar (compulsory attendance)

This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, they are required to inform the lecturer beforehand. The lecturer will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated for through an additional assignment. If specific requirements apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, they will be excluded from the seminar.

Course load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

Seminars: 26 hours
Preparation for seminars: 50 hours
Writing a paper (including reading literature): 200 hours
Preparation for presentation: 4 hours

Assessment method


Written paper (ca. 7200 words, problem-based research using primary sources, including footnotes and a bibliography)
measured learning objectives: 1-5, 9-11

Oral presentation
measured learning objectives: 3-5, 9-11

measured learning objectives: 6, 9-10


Written paper: 70%
Oral presentation: 20%
Participation: 10%

The final grade for the course is established by the weighted average of assessments with the additional requirement that the written paper must receive at minimum a passing (sufficient) grade.


Written papers should be handed in on or before the given deadline


The written paper can be revised if graded as insufficient. Revisions should be completed on or before the given deadline


Blackboard will be used for:

  • general communication

  • submission of presentation materials

  • submission of written paper

Reading list

A reading list for this course will be provided in the syllabus.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in [English]( and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


François Janse van Rensburg, MA


Competency in English and Dutch.

Any previous knowledge of South African history, Dutch history, and the Afrikaans language is bonus but not required.