The Afrikaner Broederbond (AB), meaning ‘league of Afrikaner Brothers’ was a secretive organisation, established in 1918, with the aim of furthering Afrikaner nationalism and Afrikaner interests. Membership was very exclusive, they were selected personally, and had to be male, white, Afrikaner schooled and regular church-goers. It is widely recognised that the AB played a crucial role in the growth in Afrikaner nationalism, the mere fact that all white prime ministers that preceded Malan (himself included) were members shows their immense influence in 20th century South African politics, playing a large part in opposition to the government. It essentially acted as a ‘think tank’ of the most prominent Afrikaners. The South African prime minister, JBM Hertzog, declared in November 1935 that “there is no doubt that the secret Broederbond is nothing more than the HNP operating secretly underground, and the HNP is nothing more than the secret Afrikaner Broederbond operating in public.”
A major strategy of the AB’s was to ensure that Afrikaners, or the ‘right man’ was being promoted to a position of power (over say, a white Brit) by wielding their influence, to gain control of school committees, school boards, church councils and boards of directors, this consolidated their influence on a local and national level. Louise du Plessis argues that the Broederbond gained significant influence when “large numbers of teachers joined it,” not only were their numbers strengthened by the new influx of members, teachers would play an instrumental role in shaping the minds of impressionable adolescents, furthering the Broederbond’s cause. Giliomee however, has argued that “opponents of the Broederbond have attributed an importance to the organisation that is out of proportion” , and this may be true to an extent, however it is thought the Broederbond did act to a fair extent as the masterminds of the Afrikaner Nationalism Movement leading up to 1948. Giliomee- calls Afrikaner nationalism “the gradual awakening of ethnic consciousness” . Sped along by the Broederbond.