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Baasskap ([ˈbɑːskap]) was an Afrikaans term that featured heavily in the South African political phraseology during apartheid. The word may be translated literally as "boss-ship" or "boss-hood" and was often used in a similar context as the English-language terms "domination" or "white supremacy".[1]

In the political context, baaskap was evoked as a reference to the social, political and economic domination of South Africa by its minority white population.[2][3]

Proponents of baasskap constituted the largest faction of apartheid ideologues in the National Party and state institutions. They applied racial segregation in a systematic way to "preserve racial purity" and to ensure that economic and political spheres were dominated by Afrikaners. However, proponents of baasskap were not necessarily opposed to black South African participation in the economy if black labour was controlled in a way that preserved the economic domination of Afrikaners.[4]

Prominent proponents of baasskap included both 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 black South Africans in contrast to supporters of baasskap who wanted white domination but 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. ^ Miller, Jamie (2016). An African Volk: The Apartheid Regime and Its Search for Survival. ISBN 9780190274832.
  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