Contrary to popular impressions, racial ideology does not constitute the center of Afrikaner nationalism, according to Donald Akenson’s God’s Peoples: Covenant and Land in South Africa, Israel, and Ulster , a study of the modern afterlife of biblical covenant theology. Racial beliefs did not constitute the “central vaulting arch” of Afrikaner ideology but “merely one tetrahedron in a fairly compact geodesic dome.”

More central, he argues, was the drive for purity: “Afrikaners interpreted purity to include the need to keep alive the Afrkiaans language and the necessity of preserving the ‘true’ history of the Afrikaner people from generation to generation. That drive for cultural purity was directed at other white cultures - especially those derived from the British Isles - and was as important a part of the cultural grid as racism directed against nonwhites” (93).