In this article I investigate the relationship between Afrikaner nationalism, apartheid and
philosophy in the context of the intellectual history of the University of the Free State.
I show how two philosophers that were respectively associated with the Department
of Political Science and the Department of Philosophy, H J Strauss (1912-1995) and
E A Venter (1914-1968), drew on the philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd to justify
separate development. I argue that their interpretation does not simply amount to a
wilful misunderstanding of Dooyeweerd, but rather that the foundational moment of
Dooyeweerd’s philosophy involves an interpretive violence that accommodates this