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The Afrikaans word for Nation, derived from the Dutch "natie". The term Volk, derived from the Dutch and German word Nation, was long also used in a similar sense (as well as some related concepts from the German).

However, in Afrikaans the word Nasie has long had specific meaning and strong emotive qualities, notably so in certain periods of the history (e.g. 1880-1961), when the Afrikaans-speaking white population of the country (see Afrikaners) were striving towards a sense of nationhood and a control over their destiny. For a long while thus it was broadly defined as a grouping of people who share a common history, language and ethnic origin, and usually govern themselves or strive for it.

This definition was an important political concept and would become one of the underlying principles that led to the evolution of Apartheid.

Under the new, far more complex ethnic, linguistic and historic circumstances of the "New South Africa" of 1994, this definition is being challenged on a number of fronts, and in fact the country itself is faced with the dilemma of striving for a unified country, or "nation", and re-defining the notion of nationhood per se.


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