Original Research

From the heart of the people and to the heart of the people’ Jan F.E. Celliers as the people’s poet

Ingrid Glorie
Literator | Vol 33, No 2 | a137 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v33i2.137 | © 2012 Ingrid Glorie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2012 | Published: 03 December 2012

About the author(s)

Ingrid Glorie, Universiteit Utrecht, Onderzoeksinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur; University of Free State, Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, South Africa, Netherlands


In this article, Afrikaner nationalism from the first decades of the 20th century is seen against the backdrop of European cultural nationalism. Comparison shows that particular features that have often been considered as unique to Afrikaner nationalism, like hero worship and the investment of nationalist discourse with religious connotations were widespread in 19th century Europe as well. Special attention is paid to the cult around the ‘people’s poet’, Jan F.E. Celliers. Through the veneration for his person and his work, the Afrikaners were drawn closer together as an imagined community. However, the meaning that was attributed to this iconic figure developed over time, in accordance with the changing needs of the Afrikaners as a nation.


Celliers; Cultural; Nationalism; Worship; Afrikaans


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