Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Relevance of a Distinction.

The Boer people are often lumped in with the mass of Afrikaners which does a disservice to the Boers & marginalizes them because this often causes the Boers to then be dismissed as not being "within the mainstream" just because they are & have historically been the smaller segment of the macro Afrikaner population. The accusations leveled against the Boers for not being "within the mainstream of Afrikaner thought" therefore are a ridiculous & manipulative device because of course the Boers can never as a people be within the "mainstream of Afrikaner thought" when they are outnumbered within the Afrikaner designation. But the accusation of course is that the Boers are somehow radical or "extreme" for simply existing as Boers & not wanting to be assimilated into the Afrikaners or for even perusing self determination. Therefore the just & centuries long struggle for Boer independence & self determination is often dismissed as a radical or "fringe" pursuit - even when most Boers might happen to be in support of such - simply because the mass of Afrikaners [ who are often against independence ] is used against them to imply that their [ Boer ] goals are not "legitimate" or have the popular / mass "support" that they often do particularly within the Boerevolk. When the Afrikaner establishment dismisses the Boers as a "fringe" group it is rather tantamount to the Quebecois dismissing the Acadians as a "fringe" group just because they are smaller in number in relation to the Quebecois. The distinction of the Boers from the Afrikaners is relevant because historians often ascribe the actions of the Afrikaners to the Boers & vice versa as can be seen in the following excerpt from: After Apartheid: The Solution for South Africa on page 19.

THE HISTORY OF THE AFRIKANERS is the history of a people's struggle to free themselves from government interference so that they might live according to their own values. But this heritage of individualism and the pursuit of freedom has been largely forgotten. [ 1 ]

In the course of the twentieth century, the Afrikaner nation [ 2 ] has become inextricably linked with the concept of the paternalistic state and powerful central government. Now the Afrikaners have taken on the role of interventionist and it is the blacks who are fighting for their rights. Ironically, these rights represent much the same freedoms for which the Afrikaners [ 3 ] formerly shed their blood.

The time has come for Afrikaners to rediscover the true principles of democracy and limited government that were held so dear by the Voortrekker and his forebears, [ 4 ] because these are the only principles on which a system can be built that will offer freedom to all South Africans regardless of race.

The above text is a classic example of how the Boers are often confused with Afrikaners & how the authors in question never seem to quite figure out that the Boers were & are a distinct entity from the bulk of the Afrikaners [ a generic term which just means "African" ] who lived a totally different history to that of the Boer Nation.

Personal notes on the excerpted text.

1. Not forgotten by the actual Boer people who were often still struggling for freedom.

2. This was not a nation as such but rather simply a macro White language based coalition.

3. This was the Boers' struggle as the Cape Dutch Afrikaners made no such attempts & were often pro Colonial.

4. But of course most Afrikaners do not share this legacy of independence & limited government etc. as this was the legacy of the Boer people who were dominated by the Afrikaners during the 20th cent & whom never fully abandoned their old libertarian principles but were often scuppered by the Afrikaner establishment from exercising them & were prevented from re-establishing their Boer Republics.

The following video of an excerpt from The Right Perspective radio program notes how this distinction is often overlooked as Peter the Newsguy even plainly states & rightly notes that the Afrikaners conquered the Boers after the Anglo-Boer War. The blogger Uncle Cracker once erroneously insinuated that the Boers won the Anglo-Boer War within an article on another blog based purely on the fact that Afrikaans speakers soon inherited the macro State of South Africa after the conclusion of the war thus playing into the confusion on the issue BUT he totally overlooked the fact that it was not the Boers who inherited this new macro State but in fact the Cape Dutch descended Afrikaners because the Boers were marginalized as a people within the artificial Afrikaner designation.

Therefore there was & is still a relevance to this distinction.

7 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

This piece is both correct and incorrect. It mentions that the Boers were conquered by the Afrikaners after the Boer war.

This is the truth, but many, many, many people that fought in the Boer war referred to themselves as both Afrikaners and Boers. Evidence of this is still available in the form of transcripts of speeches made by Boer leaders. The distinction that is being made today between Afrikaners and Boers did not exist at the time of the Boer war.

It started shortly after the Boer war.
Yet the fact that the (Broederbonders) conquered the Boers after the Boer war is true.

WHY, you ask????

Simple, the farms of the Boers that fought in the Boer war were dispossessed by the British after the Boer war and these farms were given to those Boers/Afrikaners that were loyal to the British during the Boer war.

Thus you had the effect that the Boers who took part in the war to fight for their freedom were poverty stricken and the traitors were handsomely rewarded for their cowardice by having the British grant them the farms of the previously advantaged Boers.

It makes sense, doesn't it?
The truth normally does.

So after the Boer war, you had all these farmers(Boers) WITHOUT farms.
These people were dirt poor and drifted to the towns where they looked for employment. Most of them found employment in the British owned mines.

Once the British realised that ex Boer war combatants were working in their mines, they vindictively decided to punish these Boers yet again and the British aggressively pursued the agenda of replacing the white Boer employees with blacks who would work for cheaper. I belief today it is called Affirmative action. The Smuts government shot and killed many Boers in the subsequent uprisings
that followed.

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT STARTED TO REFER TO THEMSELVES AS BOERS and these EX "farmers" started the distinction between Afrikaners and Boers that exist today.

Can you understand how and why they started to refer to themselves as "farmers" (BOERS) even though very few of them actually had any farms.

So effectively the Boers that fought in the war, were condemned to poverty and the traitors or "Joiners" as they were called by the Boers, were compensated with the material possessions and land of the Boer war combatants. These joiners are the creators of the Broederbonders etc. and true to their form they have remained traitors "joiners" to this day.

The truth is still known and although the truth is ever pretty, sometimes it deserves to be told.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon for the interesting history lesson.

Viking said...


Some interesting history there. But it was Chinese labourers who were imported to South Africa to work the mines wasn't it? At that time, employers were still discouraged from employing the natives. Open to correction if I'm wrong.

Ron. said...

Anon / African4: I appreciate your informative contribution - much of which I already know but while some Boer leaders might have also referred to themselves as Afrikaners too - one must remember that they used the term in a GEOGRAPHIC sense & not in the sense that they saw themselves as belonging to a monolithic White Afrikaans group. The frontier Boers were & saw themselves as different from the Cape Dutch [ 1 ] since at least the 1700s [ if not even earlier ] & the term Afrikaner was used to denote their connection or attachment with Africa. Remember also that the Cape Dutch did not start referring to themselves as Afrikaners until at least around 1875 when some of its members in Paarl [ which was on the frontier of the Cape Dutch / Afrikaner community ] began a language rights movement. All at at time when the Boers were speaking their OWN version of Afrikaans [ which historians later classified as Eastern Border Afrikaans ] which they only ever referred to as "die taal" or Boeretaal. Therefore the term Afrikaner was first used by the Cape Dutch as an offshoot of their attempts at recognizing the Afrikaans language of which various dialects were spoken by other groups in the region.

Also: the overtures of the Cape Afrikaans political party the Afrikaner Bond was rebuffed by the Boers of the republics. [ Noted on page 44 of The Anglo-Boer Wars by Michael Barthorp. ] Therefore there was a distinction recognized even back then but the fact that some Boer leaders also referred to themselves as Afrikaners complicates things only on the surface because the term Afrikaner just means African of which any established ethnic group in Africa could lay claim to.

Though it does appear that many Boers have been distancing themselves from the term Afrikaner due to the simple fact that it is controlled & dominated by the Cape Dutch faction. I disagree totally that the Boers only started referring to themselves as Boers after the Anglo-Boer War because this is refuted by the evidence & the history books of the 19th cent clearly refer to Boers & even Censorbugbear [ a former South Africa journalist ] has noted in the past that all of the voters of the republics referred to themselves as Boers & that President Paul Kruger only ever referred to himself as a Boer. Furthermore: soon after the war the Boers were no longer allowed to refer to themselves as Boers any longer in favour of being referred to only as Afrikaners. [ more at this link. ] Therefore the term Boer was actively suppressed by the Afrikaner establishment.

The term Boer might have been derived from "farmer" BUT [ & this is a very important but ] the term Boer soon transcended its original use as it was soon applied to all those who were born from the frontier class descended from the Trekboers regardless if they were farmers or from other professions. That is why a formally educated lawyer turned politician like President Marthinus Steyn of the OFS to the humblest un[formally]educated peasant farmer could & were all regarded as Boers. The term Boer refers to a specific cultural identity ethnic group.

Ron. said...

The fact remains that the Boers developed into a distinct cultural group at a time long before the Cape Dutch began to promote the Afrikaner designation.

Note from previous post.

1. The Great Trek. Professor Wallace Mills.

Quote: [ Trekboers certainly recognized the differences in language, religion, etc. between themselves and the British. They had certainly developed a way-of-life and a set of values that were distinctive, but they were also significantly different from people of Dutch descent in the western province areas of the Cape. The latter regarded the Trekboers as rather wild, semi-barbarous frontiersmen and the sense of common identity was limited and incomplete. ]

Ron. said...

Regardless if some Boers used or still use the term Afrikaner & Boer interchangeably the fact of the matter is that the descendents of the Trekboers were the one who were labeled & adopted the term Boer to describe themselves while the Cape Dutch [ as they were once called ] did not adopt a term for themselves en mass until they started calling themselves Afrikaners during the late 19th cent at a time when the Boers had LONG since established themselves as a distinct cultural group.

Ron. said...

This distinction was of course most pronounced when the Boers were speaking their own dialect of Afrikaans [ which was never called Afrikaans by them until they were all under Cape Dutch / Afrikaner influence after the war. ] & mainly independent in various republics beyond the Cape frontier.