“Skep julle kommando’s in reddingslaers om! Een vir almal, almal vir elkeen!”: Die Ossewa-Brandwag se maatskaplike beleid van Sosiale Volksorg, 1943-1952
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Established as an organisation with the aim to influence all aspects of Afrikaner life, the Ossewa-Brandwag (OB) made an impact on the lives of thousands of Afrikaners between 1939 and 1954. At the very start the movement set out to be solely a male enterprise. However, because of the intense emotional feelings and nationalist sentiments created by the 1938 Centenary Celebrations of the Great Trek, women showed great enthusiasm for the OB. This compelled leadership to ensure them a place in the organisation. Thousands of women would eventually take part in all the activities of the movement – from fundraising to political resistance. One of the activities where women excelled was in taking the lead in the many charitable endeavours of the OB referred to as “volksorg” (social care of the nation). No published study exists on the role of women in “volksorg” after the reorganisation of the OB in 1943. This article aims to describe the place and role of women in OB-centred charitable work encapsulated in the concept “volksorg”. Attention is given to the official goals and activities of the “Ossewa-Brandwag Vroue Volksorg Vertakking” (Women’s “Volksorg” Branch) and the movement’s singular interpretation of the “social”. Contemporaries’ understanding of sexual difference is explained through emphasising the distribution of labour according to the norms of gender. In this way the article aims to shed light on how the gender order was shaped by contemporaries’ determinist interpretation of sex.