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Afrikaners (including the Boer subgroup) are an ethnic group descended from Dutch settlers and other ethnic groups living in Southern Africa whose native tongue is Afrikaans; a Germanic language developed in Africa which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch. In South Africa, they constitute approximately 5% of the total population.
The term Afrikaner as used in the 20th and 21st century refers to a specific South African ethnic group that is Afrikaans-speaking, i.e. those of the larger Cape Dutch origin and of the smaller Boer origin, who are descended from European settlers who first arrived in the Cape of Good Hope during the period of administration (1652 – 1795) by the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC).
The Dutch who first settled at the Cape in 1652 established a geographically limited refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company; originally, the Company was not interested in establishing a permanent settlement. However, in order to ensure the viability of the refreshment station, some employees of the Company were freed from their contracts (so-called vrijburgers or free citizens) and allowed to farm. Over time, the boundaries of the colony expanded. The arrival in 1688 of some French Huguenot refugees, who had fled to the Dutch colony to escape Roman Catholic religious persecution following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, increased the number of settlers. Some of the later colonists, such as German missionaries in the employ of the Company, and settlers from other parts of Europe (e.g. Scandinavia, Ireland and Scotland) were also incorporated into what became the Boers (Farmers) and Cape Dutch.
Many of the children born to European fathers, who had settled at the Cape in the 1650-1670s, had slave mothers: "three-quarters of children born to slave mothers had white fathers, during the first 20 years of European settlement".
The first person recorded to have identified himself as an Afrikaner was Hendrik Biebouw, who, in March 1707, stated, "ik ben een Afrikaander" ("I am an African"). Biebouw was resisting his expulsion from the Cape Colony, as ordered by the magistrate of Stellenbosch. He was banished and sent to Batavia.:22 The term shows the individual's first loyalty and a sense of belonging to the territory of modern South Africa, rather than to any ancestral homeland in Europe. In January 1902, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used the word Africanders in referring to the Dutch settler expansion northwards from the Cape.
The pastoral Afrikaans-speakers who developed on the Cape frontier were called Boers (boer is the Dutch word for farmer). They have often been considered a slightly separate people from the Afrikaners,. The Boers of Trekboer descent who developed on the Cape frontier from the late 17th century are an anthropologically distinct group from the Afrikaners who developed in the southwestern Cape region who were often known as the Cape Dutch. It was only in 1910, with the creation of the Union of South Africa that the word Afrikaner came to widespread use to refer to both the Boer and Cape Dutch mainly because they spoke different dialects of the same Afrikaans language.[dubious ] As a direct result of the Union, the majority Cape Dutch culturally assimilated the minority Boer people of the Transvaal and Orange Free State, adopting a lot of the traditions and values of the Boer people within a new Afrikaner nationalism
The mass migrations under British rule collectively known as the Great Trek proved pivotal for the preservation of Boer ethnic identity. The Boers founded a number of self-governing states that were independent of British colonial oversight.
In the 1830s and 1840s, an estimated 10,000 Boers, later referred to as Voortrekkers or "First Movers", migrated to the future Northern Cape, Natal, Orange Free State, and Transvaal/Northern Interior provinces. They wanted to escape British rule and to preserve their religious conservatism. The Trek resulted in a cultural split between the Voortrekkers, later known as the Boers, and the Cape Afrikaners. These distinctions overlapped with economic differences, as the Trekkers generally had fewer material resources on the frontier than those who remained behind. During the Anglo-Boer War of 1899–1902, a number of Cape Afrikaners assisted the British in fighting against the Boers due to their long historical pro-colonial outlook.
As important as the Trek was to the formation of Boer ethnic identity, so were the running conflicts with various indigenous groups along the way. One conflict central to the construction of Boer identity occurred with the Zulu in the area of present-day KwaZulu-Natal.
The Boers who entered Natal discovered that the land they wanted came under the authority of the Zulu chief Dingane ka Senzangakhona, who ruled that part of what subsequently became KwaZulu-Natal. The British had a small port colony (the future Durban) there but were unable to seize the whole of area from the war-ready Zulus, and only kept to the Port of Natal. The Boers found the land safe from the British and sent an un-armed Boer land treaty delegation under Piet Retief on 6 February 1838, to negotiate with the Zulu King. The negotiations went well and a contract between Retief and Dingane was signed.
After the signing, Dingane's forces surprised and killed the members of the delegation; a large-scale massacre of the Boers followed. Zulu impis (regiments) attacked Boer encampments in the Drakensberg foothills at what was later called Blaauwkrans and Weenen, killing women and children along with men. (By contrast, in earlier conflicts the Trekkers had experienced along the eastern Cape frontier, the Xhosa had refrained from harming women and children.)
The Transvaal Republic sent a commando brigade of 470 men to help the settlers. On 16 December 1838, a 470-strong force under the command of Andries Pretorius confronted about 10,000 Zulus at the prepared positions. The Boers suffered three injuries without any fatalities. Due to the blood of 3,000 slain Zulus that stained the Ncome River, the conflict afterwards became known as the Battle of Blood River.
The Boers celebrated 16 December as a public holiday, colloquially called Dingane's Day. After 1952, the holiday was officially named Day of the Covenant, changed to Day of the Vow in 1980 (Mackenzie 1999:69)[clarification needed] and to Day of Reconciliation in 1994. The Boers saw their victory at the Battle of Blood River as evidence that they had found divine favour for their exodus from British rule.
After defeating the Zulu and the recovery of the treaty between Dingane and Retief, the Voortrekkers proclaimed the Boer state of the Natalia Republic. Soon afterward, in 1843, Britain annexed this territory and the Boers who were not warriors vacated.
Due to the return of British rule, Boers fled to the frontiers to the north-west of the Drakensberg mountains, and onto the highveld of the Transvaal and Transoranje. These areas were mostly unoccupied due to conflicts in the course of the genocide Mfecane wars of the Zulus on the local Basuthu population who used it as summer grazing for their cattle. Some Boers ventured far beyond the present-day borders of South Africa, north as far as present-day Zambia and Angola. Others reached the Portuguese colony of Delagoa Bay, later called Lourenço Marques and subsequently Maputo – the capital of Mozambique.
The Boers created sovereign states in what is now South Africa: de Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the South African Republic) and the Orange Free State were the most prominent and lasted the longest.
The discovery of goldfields awakened British interest in the Boer republics.
When the British annexed these territories, the two Boer Wars resulted: The First Boer War (1880–1881) and the Second Boer War (1899–1902). The Boers won the first war and regained their independence temporarily. The second ended with British victory and annexation of the Boer areas into the British colonies. The British employed scorched-earth tactics and held many Boers in concentration camps as a means to separate the Boer Guerilla's from their source of shelter, food and supply. The strategy worked effectively but an estimated 27,000 Boer civilians (mainly women and children under sixteen) died in these camps from hunger and disease. This was 15 percent of the Boer population of the republics.
In the 1890s, some Boers moved to Mashonaland and Matabeleland (today Zimbabwe), where they were concentrated at the town of Enkeldoorn, now Chivhu. After the second Boer War, more Boers left South Africa. Starting in 1902 a large group emigrated to the Patagonia region of Argentina (most notably to the towns of Comodoro Rivadavia and Sarmiento). Another group emigrated to British-ruled Kenya, from where most returned to South Africa during the 1930s as a result of warfare there amongst indigenous people. A third group, under the leadership of General Ben Viljoen, emigrated to Chihuahua in northern Mexico and to states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas in the south-western USA. Others migrated to other parts of Africa, including German East Africa (present day Tanzania, mostly near Arusha).
A quite significant number of Afrikaners went as "Thirstland Trekkers" to Angola, where a large group settled on the Huíla Plateau, in Humpata, and smaller groups on the Central Highlands. They constituted a closed community which rejected integration as well as innovation, became impoverished in the course of several decades, and returned to South West Africa and South Africa in waves.
A relatively large group of Boers settled in Kenya. The first wave of migrants consisted of individual families, followed by larger multiple-family treks. Some had arrived by 1904, as documented by the caption of a newspaper photograph noting a tent town for "some of the early settlers from South Africa" on what became the campus of the University of Nairobi. Probably the first to arrive was W.J. Van Breda (1903), followed by John de Waal and Frans Arnoldi at Nakuru (1906). Jannie De Beer's family resided at Athi River, while Ignatius Gouws resided at Solai.
The second wave of migrants is exemplified by Jan Janse van Rensburg's trek. Janse van Rensburg left the Transvaal on an exploratory trip to British East Africa in 1906 from Lourenço Marques (then Portuguese), Mozambique. Janse van Rensburg was inspired by an earlier Boer migrant, Abraham Joubert, who had moved to Nairobi from Arusha in 1906, along with others. When Joubert visited the Transvaal that year, Janse van Rensburg met with him. Sources disagree about whether Janse van Rensburg received guarantees for land from the Governor of the East Africa Protectorate, Sir James Hayes Sadler.
On his return to the Transvaal, Janse van Rensburg recruited about 280 people (comprising either 47 or 60 families) to accompany him to British East Africa. Most came from districts around Ermelo and Carolina. On 9 July 1908 Janse van Rensburg's party sailed in the chartered ship SS Windhuk from Lourenço Marques to Mombasa, from where they boarded a train for Nairobi. The party travelled by five trains to Nakuru.
In 1911 the last of the large trek groups departed for Kenya, when some 60 families from the Orange Free State boarded the SS Skramstad in Durban under leadership of C.J. Cloete. But migration dwindled, partly due to the British secretary of state's (then Lord Crewe) cash requirements for immigrants. When the British granted self-government to the former Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State in 1906 and 1907, respectively, the pressure for emigration decreased. A trickle of individual trekker families continued to migrate into the 1950s.
A combination of factors spurred on Boer migration. Some, like Janse van Rensburg and Cloete, had collaborated with the British, or had surrendered during the Boer War. These joiners and hensoppers ("hands-uppers") subsequently experienced hostility from other Boers. Many migrants were extremely poor and had subsisted on others' property. Collaborators tended to move to British East Africa, while those who had fought to the end (called bittereinders) initially preferred German West Africa.
One of the best known Boer settlements in the British East Africa Protectorate became established at Eldoret, in the south west of what became known as Kenya in 1920. By 1934 some 700 Boers lived here, near the Uganda border.
With the onset of the First World War in 1914, the Allies asked the Union of South Africa to attack the German territory of South West Africa, resulting in the South-West Africa Campaign (1914–1915). Armed forces under the leadership of General Louis Botha defeated the German forces, who were unable to put up much resistance to the overwhelming South African forces.
Many Boers, who had little love or respect for Britain, objected to the use of the "children from the concentration camps" to attack the anti-British Germans, resulting in the Maritz Rebellion of 1914, which was quickly quelled by the government forces.
Some Boers subsequently moved to South West Africa, which was administered by South Africa until its independence in 1990, after which the country adopted the name Namibia.
Afrikaners are descended from Dutch Calvinists, Germans and French Huguenots, Frisians and minor numbers of other Europeans. Based on his genealogical research in respect of the period from 1657 to 1867, Johannes Heese estimated an average ethnic admixture for Afrikaners of 35.5% Dutch, 34.4% German, 13.9% French, 7.2% non-European, 2.6% British, and 2.8% other European.:18 During the apartheid era, race classification was based on appearance and there were many borderline cases.
Approximately 100 non-white families who identify as Afrikaners live in the settlement of Onverwacht established in 1886 near the mining town of Cullinan. Members of the community descend from free slaves accompanying Voortrekkers who settled in the area.
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In South Africa, an Afrikaner minority party, the National Party, came to power in 1948 and enacted a series of segregationist laws favouring whites known as apartheid. These laws allowed for the systematic persecution of opposition leaders and attempted to enforce general white supremacy by classifying all South African inhabitants into racial groups. Non-white political participation was outlawed, black citizenship revoked, and the entire public sphere, including education, residential areas, medical care and common areas such as public transportation, beaches and amenities, was segregated.
Apartheid was officially ended in 1990 after widespread unrest, led by supporters of the United Democratic Front, Pan-African Congress, South African Communist Party and African National Congress and a long embargo against South Africa. The factual end to apartheid, however, is widely regarded as the election of 1994. After a long series of negotiations involving the apartheid government under President Frederik Willem de Klerk the ANC under Nelson Mandela, and other parties a democratic, multi-racial election was held, transitioning power from the National Party to the black African National Congress.
Efforts are being made by some Afrikaners to secure minority rights even though protection of minority rights is fundamental to the new 1996 post-apartheid Constitution of South Africa. These efforts include the Volkstaat movement. In contrast, a handful of Afrikaners have joined the ruling African National Congress party, which is overwhelmingly supported by South Africa's black majority. However, the vast majority of Afrikaners support South Africa's official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, indicating their acceptance of non-racism within a free enterprise economy, and in the spirit of people like Frederik van Zyl Slabbert who was the leader of the official opposition — the Progressive Federal Party — in the House of Assembly from 1979 to 1986.
Employment Equity legislation favours employment of black (African, Indian and Coloured) South Africans over white women and men. Black Economic Empowerment legislation further favours blacks as the government considers ownership, employment, training and social responsibility initiatives which empower black South Africans as important criteria when awarding tenders. However, private enterprise adheres to this legislation voluntarily. Some reports indicate a growing number of whites suffering poverty compared to the pre-apartheid years and attribute this to such laws — over 350,000 Afrikaners may be classified as poor, with some research claiming that up to 150,000 are struggling for survival. This combined with a wave of violent crime has led to vast numbers of Afrikaners and English-speaking South Africans leaving the country.
Genocide Watch has theorised that farm attacks constitute early warning signs of genocide against Afrikaners and has criticised the South African government for its inaction on the issue, pointing out that the murder rate for them ("ethno-European farmers" in their report, which also included non-Afrikaner farmers of European race) is four times that of the general South African population. There are 40,000 white farmers in South Africa. Since 1994 close to three thousand farmers have been murdered in thousands of farm attacks, with many being brutally tortured and/or raped. Some victims have been burned with smoothing irons or had boiling water poured down their throats.
Since 1994 there has been significant emigration of white people from South Africa. There are thus currently large Afrikaner and English-speaking South African communities in the UK and other developed countries. Between 1995 and 2005, more than one million South Africans have emigrated, citing violent and racially motivated black on white crime as the main reason. Farmers have emigrated to other parts of Africa to develop efficient commercial farming there.
There were 133,324 speakers of Afrikaans in Namibia, forming 9.5% of the total national population, according to the 1991 census. However the majority of these speakers come from the Coloured and Baster communities. Afrikaners are mostly found in Windhoek and in the Southern provinces.
A significant number of Afrikaners have migrated to countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.
A large number of young Afrikaners are taking advantage of working holiday visas made available by the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, as well as the Netherlands and Belgium, to gain work experience. The scheme under which UK working holiday visas were issued ended on 27 November 2008 and has been replaced by the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) visa. South Africa is unlikely to partake in this scheme.
As of 2011, Georgia is encouraging Afrikaner immigration to help kickstart the country's agriculture industry, which has declined significantly since the fall of communism.
Traditionally Christian, the Calvinism of Boers in South Africa developed in much the same way as the New England colonies in North America.[clarification needed] The original South African Boer republics were founded on the principles of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1985, 92% of Afrikaners were members of Reformed Churches. However, by 2013, this figure dropped to only 35%. In an online poll conducted by an Afrikaans Free State newspaper during August 2012, 65% of respondents claimed they attend church regularly, although based on other similar studies in traditionally religious communities, as well as the fact that particularly the older generations of those living the Free State and Northern Cape is probably slightly more conservative than most parts of the country, the true figure is likely to be much lower. Another online poll conducted in February 2013 by a newspaper revealed that just over 30% of Afrikaners read the Bible at home.
Although social conservatism remain prevalent in some communities, social attitudes have become increasingly liberal since the disestablishment of apartheid in the 90s, and in a 2013 poll nearly 30% of Afrikaners claimed to have "no problem" with homosexuality, while a further 18% said they were not opposed to it.
The Afrikaans language changed over time from the Dutch spoken by the first white settlers at the Cape. From the late 17th century, the form of Dutch spoken at the Cape developed differences, mostly in morphology but also in pronunciation and accent and, to a lesser extent, in syntax and vocabulary, from that of the Netherlands, although the languages are still similar enough to be mutually intelligible. Settlers who arrived speaking German and French soon shifted to using Dutch and later Afrikaans. The process of language change was influenced by the languages spoken by slaves, Khoikhoi and people of mixed descent, as well as by Cape Malay, Zulu, British and Portuguese. While the Dutch of the Netherlands remained the official language, the new dialect, often known as Cape Dutch, African Dutch, "kitchen Dutch", or taal (meaning "language" in Afrikaans) developed into a separate language by the 19th century, with much work done by the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners and other writers such as Cornelis Jacobus Langenhoven. In a 1925 act of Parliament, Afrikaans was given equal status with Dutch as one of the two official languages (English being the second) of the Union of South Africa. There was much objection to the attempt to legislate the creation of Afrikaans as a new language. Marthinus Steyn, a prominent jurist and politician, and others were vocal in their opposition. Today, Afrikaans is recognised as one of the eleven official languages of the new South Africa, and is the third largest mother tongue spoken in South Africa. In June 2013, the Department of Basic Education included Afrikaans as an African language to be compulsory for all pupils, according to a new policy.
Afrikaners have a long literary tradition, and have produced a number of notable novelists and poets, including Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee, Eugene Marais, Uys Krige, Elisabeth Eybers, Breyten Breytenbach, André Brink, C. J. Langenhoven and Etienne Leroux.
Music is probably the most popular art form among Afrikaners. While the traditional Boeremusiek ("Boer music") and Volkspele ("people games") folk dancing enjoyed popularity in the past, most Afrikaners today favour a variety of international genres and light popular Afrikaans music. American country and western music has enjoyed great popularity and has a strong following among many South Africans. Some also enjoy a social dance event called a sokkie. The South African rock band Seether has a hidden track on their album Karma and Effect titled Kom Saam Met My ("Come With Me"), sung in Afrikaans. There is also an underground rock music movement and bands like the controversial Fokofpolisiekar have a large following. The television Channel MK (channel) also supports local Afrikaans music and mainly screens videos from the Afrikaans Rock genre.
Rugby, cricket, and golf are generally considered to be the most popular sports among Afrikaners. Rugby in particular is considered one of the central pillars of the Afrikaner community. The Springboks won the 1995 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.
Boere-sport also played a very big role in the Afrikaner history. It consisted of a variety of sports like tug of war, three-legged races, jukskei, skilpadloop (tortoise walk) and other games.
The world's first ounce-denominated gold coin, the Krugerrand was struck at the South African Mint on the third of July 1967. The name Krugerrand was derived from Kruger (after President Paul Kruger) and the rand monetary unit of South Africa.
In April 2007, the South African Mint coined a collectors R1 gold coin commemorating the Afrikaner people as part of its cultural series, depicting the Great Trek across the Drakensberg mountains.
The Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) ("Afrikaans Language and Culture Association") is responsible for promoting the Afrikaans language and culture.
Die Voortrekkers is a youth movement for Afrikaners in South Africa and Namibia with a membership of over 10 000 active members to promote cultural values, maintaining norms and standards as Christians, and being accountable members of public society.
An estimated 82% of Afrikaners supported the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition party, in the 2009 general election, and this figure is estimated to have increased to over 85% in the 2011 municipal elections,.. The Democratic Alliance is a Liberal Party and a full member of Liberal International.
Smaller numbers are involved in nationalist or separatist political organisations. The Freedom Front Plus is an Afrikaner ethnic political party in the Republican tradition,[clarification needed] which lobbies for minority rights to be granted to all of the South African ethnic minorities. The Freedom Front Plus is also leading the Volkstaat initiative and is closely associated with the small town of Orania. Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder is currently Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the Cabinet of President Jacob Zuma.
Only approximately 3% of Afrikaans-speaking white South Africans vote for the ruling ANC, which favours the advancements of blacks. Some prominent Afrikaner ANC Cabinet Ministers include the Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom, the Minister of Tourism and former leader of the New National Party Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Andries Nel, Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation Gert Oosthuizen and former ANC Spokesman Carl Niehaus.
In an online poll of the Beeld newspaper during November 2012, in which nearly 11 000 Afrikaners participated, 42% described themselves as conservative and 36% as liberal.