The Volksmoeder Myth: A Modern Finishing School for the Afrikaans Christian Woman
Tuliza Sindi, Muhammad Dawjee
19 - The Act of Service
Etiquette, as a collectively agreed upon set of performances, is closely related to architecture in how it prescribes spatial use.
The etiquette of the Victorian era was primarily a moral framework that translated virtue into a set of behaviors (Hartley 2011). In similar fashion, Afrikaner etiquette was founded on Christian values: President Paul Kruger, the personification of ‘Afrikanerdom’, claimed never to have read any book apart from the Bible (Meredith 2007:76).
The target audience of this study is the Afrikaans Christian Woman (ACW). Lauwrens and Mans (2013:45) write that the construction of an ‘ideal Christian-Afrikaans woman’ stems simultaneously from Afrikaner Nationalist, and Christian constructions of the ideal woman. Patriarchal expectations of contemporary Christian Afrikaans femininity result in the continued subjugation of the members of this group.
The project uses architecture to orchestrate liberating spatial uses that reveal and question the inherited etiquettes of the ACW in the historically subjugating and male-dominated public domain. Church Square in Pretoria forms the historical underpinning of this domain and is the site of the proposal.
Architecture here is explored as a means to train social assassins – individuals who disrupt inherited etiquettes - and is proposed as a curriculum for a modern Finishing School for Afrikaans Christian girls in Pretoria, titled, “The Boerenooi Etiquette Manual”.