If your father founded Orania, an Afrikaner town where no black people live, and your grandfather was pro-Apartheid, navigating democratic South Africa could be a challenge – especially if you are an incoming Member of Parliament.
This is a reality that has befallen Dr Wynand Boshoff, a grandson of Hendrik Verwoerd the architecture of Apartheid. He is set to take up a seat in South Africa’s parliament under the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus).
The party won 414 864 votes in the 8 May elections, securing 10 seats in the National Assembly.
Speaking on POWER Perspective on Wednesday, Dr Boshoff says he is not irritated with being compared to his grandfather.
“It surprises me a little bit that people compare me to my grandfather [Hendrik Verwoerd] because Dr Verwoerd died 53 years ago. I didn’t even know him and I wasn’t born when he was killed.”
He says reading about the death of his grandfather was a little bit of a surprise for him as an 11-year-old.
“I was confronted with the idea that people dance in the streets in other countries because he [Verwoerd] was killed. It was a little bit of a negative surprise for me at the age of 11 years. I got used to it very much.”
He says he was well aware of the different perspectives people held of his grandfather.
“It could be imagined by people that I have grown up with a one-sided kind of view on him and that I only regard him as a hero.
“Some people think he was a good leader and others think he was an evil person,” he points out.
In 1991 Boshoff’s father, Carel Boshoff Snr, founded Orania an Afrikaner enclave for the self-determination of the group in a multicultural and racial South Africa.
He says he was never raised to believe “we should not have contact with black people,” says Dr Boshoff.