Monday, March 26, 2012

The Boers Documented as a Distinct Nation.

The Boers are a distinct people / nation from the bulk of the Afrikaner population.

Quote: [ More and more Boers followed the pioneers into the interior where conditions suited them so well that they experienced a minor population explosion and formed the nucleus of a new nation. They were as nomadic as the Hottentots, or as the antelope they hunted. Trekking for them became a way of life. ]


The distinct nature of the Boers from the bulk of the Afrikaners was noted in Chapter One of: The Great Trek by Oliver Ransford with the above quote. Now if the Boers are supposedly part of the "same" nation as the Cape Dutch then one would expect that Cape Town would be the "nucleus" of this nation. The fact that the Trekboers of the Cape frontiers became / formed the "nucleus of a new nation" & also had "a population explosion" DEMONSTRATES that the Boers are a distinct people / group from the Cape Dutch whom the Boers moved away from starting 150 years before the Great Trek.

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. The westerners followed the Trek with interest and probably with a good deal of sympathy, but they certainly did not see the trekkers as the saviours of some mystical Afrikaner ‘nation’.]

From: Professor Wallace Mills. The Great Trek.

The Boers themselves recognized themselves as distinct from the Cape Dutch population.

Quote: [ This is a history of the Afrikaner peoples... The book highlights the distinctions between the settled bourgeois Afrikaner of the urbanized western Cape and the traditional Boer farmer of the plateau and examines the tensions within the Afrikaner community as well as its historically troubled relations with others, including Africans, Cape Coloreds and European powers. ]

From: The Afrikaners: an historical interpretation. Godfrey Hugh Lancelot Le May.

Notice how it states Afrikaner peoples plural thereby dispelling the erroneous notion of "one Afrikaner Nation" as a particular anti-Boer propagandist liked to assert in the past despite the on ground reality of the situation. That particular individual had a grand old time attacking myself over the basic points & observations made in the above excerpted quote. Quite a lot of folks have long since stressed that there are two distinct Caucasian Afrikaans speaking groups. To deny this is to consign Boer self determination to oblivion as it automatically shifts the demographic weight against the Boer segment & vests it within the hands of the those descended from the Cape Dutch population.

Quote: [ What divided the two segments of the Afrikaner people was a difference in culture between the relatively sophisticated Cape Dutchman, literate, urbanized and in touch with Europe, and the rough-hewed Boer. ]

From: Page 33. The Afrikaners: an historical interpretation. By Godfrey Hugh Lancelot Le May.

Of course it should be noted that the notion of an Afrikaner people was started by a few Cape Dutch intellectuals [ & curiously two Dutch individuals! ] in the late 19th cent at a time when the Boers were long since independent within their hard won Boer Republics. Curiously the movement on the part of the Cape Dutch to establish [ or rather to propagate the notion of ] a pan White Afrikaans based Afrikaner people only started after the discovery of gold & diamonds within the Boer Republics. Coincidence? Not likely as there was hardly any interest in the Boer people nor of the notion of any sort of pan White Afrikaans speaking monolithic [ sic ] entity called "Afrikaner" prior. The Cape Dutch were among those who ridiculed the Boers for wanting to escape British imperialism during the era of the Great Trek.

Quote: [ In speaking of an emerging Afrikaner political consciousness we must be careful not to ignore the social differences and economic cleavages existing among the late eighteenth century White population at the Cape. From the outset Afrikaner political thinking was not the unified product of an undifferentiated group consciousness, but tended to reflect the social differences and economic cleavages which existed within the settler community at large. The most obvious differences were between the settled colonists of the south western Cape enjoying an established community life, and the isolated cattle farmers of the interior. Politically the dominant group was the former: a small, fairly prosperous bourgeoisie, consisting of top government officials (some born at the Cape), the monopolists and entrepreneurs of Cape Town, and a few wealthy wine and wheat farmers who lived on large farms resembling feudal manors, employed white foremen and owned many slaves. ]

From: Page 4 & 5. Afrikaner Political Thought: 1780-1850. By André Du Toit, Hermann Buhr Giliomee.

Quote: [ The term Afrikaner for White[people]s was first used early in the eighteenth century, but it had to vie with designations like burgher, Christian, Dutchmen and Boer. For the period 1652 to approximately 1875 this book mostly uses burgher for a White person who spoke Dutch or Afrikaans; for the history after 1875 it employs the term Afrikaner, although it was not until the mid twentieth century that the term was reserved for white Afrikaans speakers. ]

From: The Afrikaners: biography of a people. By Hermann Buhr Giliomee.

Giliomee admits that the term Afrikaner was not reserved for White Afrikaans speakers until the mid 20th cent. Furthermore he omits mentioning the fact that the Boers are a specific people who are descended from the Trekboers. A term he curiously & tellingly does not mention - at least not here. He obviously hopes that by using clever tricks as he did in the first sentence quoted above that he can distract & gloss over the more significant bifurcation which occurred circa 1700 which gave birth to the Boer people leaving behind the Cape Dutch: who were the ones who appropriated & popularized the term Afrikaner to describe themselves before they co-opted & Colonized the Boer Nation.

Quote: [ The Boers had a tradition of trekking. Boer society was born on the frontiers of white settlement and on the outskirts of civilization. As members of a frontier society they always had a hinterland, open spaces to conquer, territory to occupy. Their ancestors had moved away from the limiting confines of Cape society to settle the eastern frontier. In time this location became too restricted, and individuals and families moved north across the Orange River. ]

From: The Boers in East Africa: Ethnicity and Identity. Brian M. Du Toit. Page 1.

Quote: [ The Boer was born in isolation on the veld and out of the turmoil and danger of the expanding frontier. ]

From: The Last Trek: A Study of the Boer People and the Afrikaner Nation. Sheila Patterson. Page 278

Quote: [ The Dutch Church in the Cape offered no blessing to those who trekked. The Church was part of the establishment and gave its support to the government of the day even if it was British. Between the [ Ron edit: Harrison insipidly uses the incorrect term Boer when he was talking about the Cape Dutch in this instance ] who lived comfortably on their fertile farms in the Western Cape and the restless frontiersmen [ Ron edit: ie the Boers ] five hundred miles away to the east there were already differences. The trek would make them even greater. ]

From: The White Tribe of Africa. David Harrison. Page 15.

This was the only hint of the Boers being distinct from the Cape Dutch from Harrison as he went on to parrot Afrikaner Broederbond propaganda which conflated the two or simply neglected the historical record. Even Giliomee admits that the term Boer was only ever used to describe the folks of the Cape frontier.

Quote: [ In March 1901, just as Kitchener's troops begin to bring tens-of-thousands of "refugees" into the camps, Liberal members of Parliament C.P Scott and John Ellis took up the attack on the camp system and first used the term "concentration camp." [Hansard XC, March 1 1901]. Secretary for war Brodrick replied that the camps were "voluntary" and that inmates went as refugees (which was in some cases true, but not most). Pakenham describes the events in South Africa and this moment: in order to break the stalemate K. initiated plans to "flush out guerrillas in a series of sytematic drives, organized like a sporting shoot, with success defined in a weekly 'bag' of killed, captured and wounded, and to sweep the country bare of everything that could give sustenance to the guerrillas, including women and children. . . . It was the clearance of civilians - uprooting a whole nation that would come to dominate the last phase of the war." Brodrick cabled K for information on March 18; K replied by cable on March 22. ]


Note that the Boers are viewed as "the whole nation" in & of itself & as such apart from the Afrikaners of Cape Dutch origin. This is explicit evidence that the Boers are a nation unto themselves. Remember: if all the Boers were to be killed off - there would still be Afrikaners since the Cape Dutch / Afrikaner population of the Western Cape would still be intact. The Boers were not even formally labeled as Afrikaners until well into the 1930s after the Cape Dutch Afrikaners had begun ascending to power.



Now another very important point to consider is that the Boers had cut their ties to Europe while the Cape Dutch were still connected with Europe. This fact demonstrates the inherent different natures & political outlooks of the two distinct Caucasian Afrikaans speaking peoples which manifests itself to this very day with Boer descendents being far more interested in political independence compared to the status quo outlook of the Cape Dutch descendents who are loyal to established powers & are thus conditioned to work within the dispensation.

Quote: [ the trekkers by the end of the eighteenth century had succeeded in establishing themselves in a territory which was larger than France. Already as a people they were moulded into a remarkably uniform pattern; they had developed the taal into a new language, Afrikaans, which was a simplified version of the High Dutch spoken by their forebears but with added words of German, Portuguese and Bantu origin; they had quite cut off their ties with Europe and were tending to do so with their seat of government at the Cape. The officials there, attempting to reassert their authority in the distant districts, appointed magistrates to Swellendam and Graaff Reinet, but this only increased the tension between the frontiersmen and the Company's servants at the capital. ]

From: The Great Trek. Oliver Ransford. Chapter 1.

The author Sidney Robbins also notes that the Boers had cut all ties / broke their connection to Europe in his book: The Devil's Annexe on page 59.

Quote: [ The majority of the Boers living in remote parts of the country, where established congregations or churches are an impossibility, it behooves every Boer to journey to the capital once a year to partake of communion. Pretoria then becomes the Mecca of all Boers, and the pretty little town is filled to overflowing with pilgrims and their "trekking" wagons and cattle. Those who live in remote parts of the country are obliged to start several weeks before the Nachtmaal in order to be there at the appointed time, and the whole journey to and fro in many instances requires six weeks' time. When they reach Pretoria they bivouac in the open square surrounding the old brick church in the centre of the town, and spend almost all their time in the church. It is one of the grandest scenes in South Africa to observe the pilgrims camping in the open square under the shade of the patriarchal church, which to them is the most sacred edifice in the world. ]

From: Oom Paul's People. Howard Hillegas. Published 1900. Chapter four.

The above excerpted post describes the Boers of the 19th cent. I have also long since come across a book called: Cecil Rhodes and the Cape Afrikaners pertaining mainly to the Cape Dutch population of the 19th cent. Comparing the two one will discover rather different outlooks as the Cape Dutch were very pro British & pro Colonial while the Boers on the other hand were anti-British [ stemming mainly from the Slagters Nek Rebellion & into the era of the Great Trek ] as they were very anti-Colonial & quite independence oriented. This is significant as the Cape Dutch population was [ & whose descendants are ] larger than the Boer population group of which both groups were lumped together in the 20th cent as part of an "official" coalition under the dispossessing Afrikaner designation. Therefore when folks assert that "the Afrikaners are from the Boers" they are perpetrating a mathematical impossibility as they are omitting the Cape Dutch population who are in fact the larger progenitors of the Afrikaner macro group.

The following is from Cecil Rhodes and the Cape Afrikaners by Mordechai Tamarkin from page 57.

Quote: [ T D Barry, an English-speaking Bondsman, assured Parliament that he 'had never heard a disloyal word uttered' in the Bond ad that he did not believe there were more than two or three Bondsmen who wished the British flag out of South Africa'. The Bechuanaland crisis, like the Transvaal one before it, rather than triggering disloyalty, was an occasion for Cape Afrikaners to restate their loyalty to Crown and Empire.

The jubilee year of Queen Victoria in 1887 offered Cape Afrikaners an outlet for amazing manifestations of love and loyalty, in town and country, in verse and prose. The Afrikaner Bond congress in its official address to the Queen gave the lead:

We the undersigned, representatives of the Afrikaner Bond of the Colony... wish to approach you with our heartiest and most sincere congratulations on this blessed occasion... We assure you humbly and respectfully [of] our true loyalty to your throne, and we feel proud that in the great British Empire there are not more loyal subjects than those we represent.

It was signed by 'the humblest, loving and most loyal subjects of Your most Blessed Majesty'. In Paarl, the capital of ' Afrikanerdom ', representatives of the Genootschap van Regte Afrikaners and the Afrikaner Bond were present at the local celebration with their flags, while the main speaker expressed his joy at the impressive presence of the burghers which proved Paarl's loyalty to the Queen. The local Dutch newspaper ran a special supplement including a long poem, full of praises for the Queen, by Oom Jan. Such celebrations were not restricted to major urban centers. A correspondent from Van Rhijndorp boasted that 'although our village is small and miserable we have demonstrated our loyalty to our honourable Queen Victoria'. A rural Bond branch in the east held a banquet on a farm. According to the correspondent , 'the house was beautifully decorated and the flag which during thousands of years [sic] withstood the blows of the storm flew merrily high, a striking proof of our Bondsmen loyalty'.

In 1887 Hofmeyr was a member of the Cape delegation to the first Colonial Conference held in London. In a proposal combining a mild preferential treatment for colonial produce with a scheme to finance imperial defense, Hofmeyr made the most important contribution to the idea of strengthening the imperial connection. ]


The Afrikaners - as a macro group under the mid 20th century definition of the term - are in fact mainly descended from the Cape Dutch while the Boer "segment" was co-opted only after the second Anglo-Boer War. Note also that capital of Afrikanerdom was noted as Paarl. Hundreds of miles away the Boer capital was noted at Pretoria. [ as well as other capitals like Bloemfontein etc. ] Further demonstrating the distinct nature of the Boer Nation.



10 Opinion(s):

Ron. said...

Now the point of this important post of quoted documentation is to demonstrate that the Boer people are distinct with their own particular history & that old Colonial tricks of lumping them in with the Cape Dutch by calling them Afrikaners simply dispossess them of their inherent right to self determination.

Folks who make the insipid accusation that this reality is "divisive" are either missing the point or simply cannot hold more than two thoughts at the same time because Boer identity has got nothing to do with divisiveness. The Cape Dutch descendents are not going to have hurt feelings if the Boers reassert their right to self determination as it simply does not affect them nor their status quo outlook.

The blanket promotion of the Afrikaner term though is divisive because it promotes an inherent division through the multi culturalist approach of lumping diverse peoples under a single umbrella thus causing friction. The promotion of a single Afrikaner people promotes an inherent & unbridgeable schism which is designed to be exploited akin to promoting the term American to describe Canadians as well as Canadians would be marginalized just as Boers are marginalized & stymied under the ambiguous Afrikaner designation.

Anonymous said...

An eloquent argument from history. An Afrikaner is a Cape Dutchman is an Afrikaner and a Boer is a Rebel is a Boer.

The problem is that the ascendant Cape Dutch usurped the proud history of the Boers as their own. This had the effect of conglomerating the smaller decidedly impoverished Boer nation under the macro banner of Afrikaner.

The other problem is the ANC in their hate speech sings kill the Boer when they mean to say kill the Boer and the Afrikaner.

What is the way forward for a minority people within a minority people to get self determination?

The OASE plan represents an area dominated by Boers in the South and by Afrikaners in the North. I think it is a viable plan and in the absence of a plan making any sense from a Boer perspective, one I think the Boer people should pursue. A federal system at the end of the day will ensure the autonomy of the Boer cantons while allowing them access to the Afrikaner capital and business acumen. A win win situation for both. Neither dominated by the other - simply estranged 'brothers' living in harmony.

As far as 'democrazy' goes the Swiss have pretty much perfected it. Everyone gets a say and at the level it matters - on the ground. Any one can stand for election and anyone can force a referendum if there is a law passed that is abhorrent provided enough support can be shown.

American style democracy would simply lead to the majority overwhelming the minority as has been the case since the English War.

However as a Boer I dare not even voice this opinion without being labelled a sell-out and an Afrikaner Bonder or Broederbonder. While I realise there is a modicum of bad blood going back to 1900 for the complete and utter lack of empathy shown the Boer cause by their brothers - is it not time to bury the hatchet?

Canton autonomy would protect the minorities and allow them to run their affairs without too much hassles from a small central government who's president would change from year to year as the continuity of governance and services is at a canton level not at a national level.

I think it would be rather pleasant...

Ron. said...

Not all the Cape Boers became Rebels [ though many did ] but otherwise you have a good grasp of the topic. I think the term "brother" might be a bit strong - more like estranged cousins at best - & the problem is that the Afrikaner leadership has not "buried the hatchet". You must remember that any animosity that the Boers might have for the Cape Dutch descendents is irrelevant because the problem stems from the reverse ie: Cape Dutch attitude towards the Boers & in particular the Afrikaner establishment's ongoing efforts at subverting Boer self determination. All in all your idea looks great on paper - but trying to get the Afrikaner establishment on board your plan for authentic Afrikaans autonomy will take a miracle as they are far too invested in the current arrangement & dispensation.

Anonymous said...

How would you decide today who is a Boer and who is an an Afrikaner, as this cannot be determined genetically?

Or is the answer whether you are liberal or conservative?

If this is the case then I belief that there are many Afrikaners that will still turn into Boers, as the country continuous to backslide.

Anonymous said...

Yes the Afrikaner and the Boers should have thought carefully about this pre 1994 when they allowed the Afrikaner Nat government to hand over their land to communist, terrorist and criminal ANC freedom struggle fighters. Sorry for you but now it is to late for tears. politically naive comes to mind.

Ron. said...

For one thing it is a distraction & a non sequitur to suggest that someone has to "decide" "who is a Boer" [ or who is an Afrikaner for that matter ] as those who identify as Boers can trace their roots back to the Trekboers which began to emerge about 325 years ago now - or to those who assimilated into the Boer people. The notion of who is an Afrikaner is somewhat more complicated as the therm Afrikaner is & has been historically ambiguous & represents just about any group who speaks a dialect of the Afrikaans language. Now about one third of the folks who are often arbitrarily described in academia or in the press as White Afrikaners are in fact Boers as they are of Boer descent.

Many of those Boer descendents have often always called themselves Boers throughout the 20th cent even though most were also conditioned to see themselves as "Afrikaners" as well. Therefore this debate can be nuanced as a lot of people in general often view [ erroneously ] the term Boer & Afrikaner as "interchangeable" but that could only be described as being applied among those Boer descendents who were conditioned as Afrikaners too because since the Cape Dutch have no Boer roots the notion that the term Boer is "interchangeable" with the term Afrikaner does a massive disservice to the bulk of the Afrikaners who are of course not descended from the Boers.

The notion that the term Boer & Afrikaner are "interchangeable" thus erroneously implies that all of the Afrikaners are descended from the Boers when that assertion is of course mathematically impossible due to the Cape Dutch element of Afrikaner roots. One also cannot determine genetically who is a Serb or a Croat / or who is a Romanian or Moldovan / or who is a Quebecois or an Acadian [ though I am sure there might be slight genetic marker differences ] so to throw that into the pot is another non sequitur as it is not relevant to cultural realities & a massive distraction.

This topic transcends the political labels of "liberal versus conservative" as some liberal Boers identify as Boers & conservative Afrikaners identify as Afrikaners. Conservative Afrikaners tend to strive to work within the dispensation or to join a compromised political party whereas quite a lot of those Boers striving for self determination do not recognize the system as legal & advocate for their emancipation within their old republics which have been under occupation since the conclusion of the second Anglo-Boer War.

Another thing you have to remember is that the Cape Dutch descendents [ particularly the Afrikaner leadership ] do not want to be cut off from the resources found mainly within the old Boer Republics region. This is the main reason why they spend so much money AGAINST Boer self determination. Now the average Cape Dutch descended Afrikaner cannot "turn" into a Boer anymore than a Quebecois can turn into an Acadian or anymore than a Romanian can turn into a Moldovan but they are certainly welcome to assimilate into the Boers should some chose to but you will notice that most have no intention of "becoming Boers" or of joining the cause of Boer self determination.

Ron. said...

This is why it is so important for Boers to reclaim their identity because it naturally acts to get them to sidestep the inherent subversion of their aspirations that comes with identifying as an [ ambiguous ] Afrikaner. Identifying as an Afrikaner simply cedes executive decision making power over to the Cape Dutch descendents: most of whom will never identify with an authentic self determination struggle. This is not an attack on that population group but simply an acknowledgment of this reality & that one must navigate around them or distance one's self from their dominant status quo perspective. Those Boers who identify as Afrikaners as well must have Stockholm Syndrome as they are adopting the name & politics of their captors. Debating about who is what with this interjection of alleged confusion [ feigned or otherwise ] over Boer or folk based identity in general is just a distraction which is often used as a convenient excuse to deny a documented people their inherent right to self determination.

Ron. said...

The thing one has to take cognizance of is the fact that a particular group or folk cannot apply the principles of self determination if they are forced to be within a coalition with another group. Particularly when the other group is larger as the decisions & aspirations of the smaller group will be overshadowed & overruled by weight of numbers. This canton proposal looks promising if it can be authentically applied otherwise the Boers could find themselves back under Afrikaner domination.

Anonymous said...

I must be a Boer then... My forefather arrived in the Cape in 1697... By 1709 he had already trekked. Thereafter it was one move after the other in an attempt to stay ahead of encroaching government and associated oppression. By the time the "Trekkers" trekked we were already established way beyond the final frontiers of the Eastern Cape in the South Eastern Free State - long before it became a Boer Republic.

I think the Boer people tend to identify with "British Israelism" a lot more than the Afrikaner by considering themselves a chosen and unique people. They also tend to want to live as God instructed the Israelites - without a King or Government. Each man king in his own right of his "kingdom" (plaas) and ruler over his family. Any disputes were to be arbitrated by the "religious leaders" and elders of the nation.

I myself keep the Sabbath and not Sunday and do not celebrate pagan festivals of Ishtar and 'Christmas'... Attempting to live by "every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God".

You're right about the Afrikaner establishment though. I doubt they would ever go for the plan and would influence opinion against it as they have a very strong vested interest in the current regime. The Bible does say that the LOVE OF MONEY is the ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL... More so when you have a lot of it to loose.

Since after the Boer War and the Rebellion of 1914 (family in both) the "money power" has done everything possible to amalgamate the two nations (in word if not in deed) and severely oppress the Boers desire for self determination by writing it off as a "minority" desire. While it is a minority desire within the Afrikaner designation it is a MAJORITY desire amongst the Boers.

Thanks for the great job Ron. I'll keep "trolling" around to see what comes up next...

Ron. said...

Thanks Anon - you have a great understanding & it sounds like you are probably descended from the Trekboers who trekked across the Orange River long before the so called Voortrekkers did. Furthermore I noticed that you also disprove Mike Smith's erroneous but laughable contention that the Boers "cannot trace their roots" [ ? ] or prove that they are Boers. He was obviously throwing up a desperate last ditch argument in his notorious attempts at denying the existence of the Boer Nation.