Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Netherlands

The Dutch only established a permanent trading post in South Africa in 1652. The Portuguese had touched the other end of the old world first for Europeans, but moved further around and up Africa to Mozambique. 1652 was just 4 years after the end of the Eighty Year War the Dutch had fought for independence. The War started in 1568 with tensions around the group of Seventeen Provinces acting too independently of the Spanish Habsburg Empire. The Empire was also responding to the Reformation with an inquisition led Counter-Reformation, in an attempt to regain religious uniformity. 

Many who left to form part of the heart of the Afrikaans Community in South Africa came from the Netherlands, fleeing religious persecution. The rest were already there. The indigenous community, like in Spanish America mixed with the new comers. Boer means farmer in Dutch. Originally Afrikaans was referred to derogatively as 'Kitchen Dutch' because it adopted words from the local Khoisan, Bantu languages, Portuguese, German and Malay. It is the first language of 76% of the population with mixed descent. It was only in 1875 that a group formed the Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaanders (Society for Real Afrikaners) and published grammars, materials and histories to formalise the language. 

After the Anglo-Boer war, feeling beaten and belittled, generations of hatred for the English and desire for independence formed the bitter heart that led to Apartheid. This fed off a global trend towards Nationalism and Self-Determination. Afrikaans became one of the tools of a new, separate, identity. It didn't end well. A language born in a melting pot lost its way becoming a symbol of division. Ironically too, the country the Afrikaners fled has a global reputation for social tolerance.

Dark Green - 80-100% first language Afrikaans

No comments: