‘With non-Europeans on all sides of me, I become thoroughly irritable and a feeling of dislike for them is engendered … friction is inevitable whenever there is mixing of the races, but when we are segregated life is smooth and harmonious’. Thus wrote a woman to the local provincial authorities in 1960 in a plea to enforce spatial segregation in Cape Town.
For 46 years, the South African state’s apartheid policies governed the ways in which its subjects went about their daily lives. Notions of race, as well as of class and gender, impacted how they could and should feel about themselves, their surroundings, and about others.
This book examines the relation between emotions and everyday life in apartheid South Africa. Emotionally charged encounters were bound to arise from both the formal and informal measures that restricted interracial love and sex, segregated recreational space and, in some instances, encouraged people to ‘pass’ as belonging to a different racial category than the one the state had assigned them.
Drawing on cultural theories of the history of emotions, the book discusses how emotions worked to reflect, consolidate, and challenge the supposedly enduring discourses and practices that were characteristic of apartheid-era social formations.
JAGGER ANDERSEN KIRKBY is a historian based at Lund University, Sweden. Sentiments of Segregation is his doctoral dissertation.