Afrikaners are a Southern African ethnic group descended from
predominantly Dutch settlers first arriving in the 17th and 18th
centuries. They traditionally dominated South Africa's agriculture
and politics prior to 1994. Afrikaans, South Africa's third-most
widely spoken home language, is the mother tongue of
most Cape Coloureds. It evolved from the Dutch vernacular
of South Holland, incorporating words brought from the Dutch East
Indies (now Indonesia) and
Madagascar by slaves.
up approximately 5.2% of the total South African population based on
the number of white South Africans who speak
Afrikaans as a first
language in the South African National Census of 2011.
The arrival of Portuguese explorer
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama at
Calicut in 1498
opened a gateway of free access to Asia from
Western Europe around the
Cape of Good Hope; however, it also necessitated the founding and
safeguarding of trade stations in the East. Very rapidly one
European power followed another, all eager to trade along this route.
The Portuguese landed in
Mossel Bay in 1500, explored
Table Bay two
years later, and by 1510 had started raiding inland. Shortly
Dutch Republic sent merchant vessels to India, and in
1602 founded the
Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie
Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India
Company; VOC). As the volume of traffic rounding the Cape
increased, the Company recognised its natural harbour as an ideal
watering point for the long voyage around Africa to the Orient and
established a victualling station there in 1652. VOC officials did
not favour the permanent settlement of Europeans in their trading
empire, although during the 140 years of Dutch rule many VOC servants
retired or were discharged and remained as private citizens.
Furthermore, the exigencies of supplying local garrisons and passing
fleets compelled the administration to confer free status upon
employees and oblige them to become independent farmers.
Encouraged by the success of this experiment, the Company extended
free passage from 1685 to 1707 for Hollanders wishing to settle at the
Cape. In 1688 it sponsored the immigration of 200 French Huguenot
refugees forced into exile by the Edict of Fontainebleau. The
terms under which the Huguenots agreed to immigrate were the same
offered to other VOC subjects, including free passage and requisite
farm equipment on credit. Prior attempts at cultivating vineyards or
exploiting olive groves for fruit had been unsuccessful, and it was
Huguenot colonists accustomed to Mediterranean agriculture
could succeed where the Dutch had failed. They were augmented by
VOC soldiers returning from Asia, predominantly
Germans channeled into
Amsterdam by the Company's extensive recruitment network and thence
overseas. Despite their diverse nationalities, the colonists
used a common language and adopted similar attitudes towards
politics. The attributes they shared came to serve as a basis for
the evolution of
Afrikaner identity and consciousness.
Afrikaner nationalism has taken the form of political parties and
secret societies such as the Broederbond in the twentieth century. In
1914 the National Party was formed to promote
interests and sever South Africa's ties to the United Kingdom. Rising
to prominence by winning the 1948 general elections, it has also been
noted for enforcing a harsh policy of racial segregation (apartheid)
while simultaneously declaring
South Africa a republic and withdrawing
from the British Commonwealth.
2.1 1691 estimates
2.2 1754 estimates
2.3 1806 estimates
2.4 1960 Census
2.5 1985 Census
2.6 2001 Census
2.7 2011 Census
3.1 Early settlement and colonisation
Boer War diaspora
3.2.3 South West Africa
5 Black Afrikaners
6 Modern history
6.2 Post-apartheid era
Afrikaner diaspora and emigration
7.2 Global presence
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
The term "Afrikaner" presently denotes the politically, culturally and
socially dominant group among white South Africans, or the
Afrikaans-speaking population of Dutch origin—although their
original progenitors also included smaller numbers of Flemish, French
Huguenot, and German immigrants. Historically, the terms "burgher"
and "Boer" have both been used to describe white
Afrikaans speakers as
a group; neither is particularly objectionable but
Afrikaner has been
considered a more appropriate term. The term was in common usage in
Boer republics and the
Cape Colony by the late nineteenth
century. At one time, burghers merely denoted Cape Dutch, settlers
who were influential in the administration, able to participate in
urban affairs, and did so regularly.
Boers often referred to the
settled European farmers or nomadic cattle herders. During the
Batavian Republic, "burgher" was popularised among Dutch communities
both at home and abroad as a popular revolutionary form of address, or
citizen. In South Africa, it remained in use as late as the Second
The first recorded instance of a colonist identifying as an
"Afrikaner" occurred in March 1707, during a disturbance in
Stellenbosch. When the magistrate, Johannes Starrenburg, ordered
an unruly crowd to desist, a white teenager named Hendrik Biebouw
retorted, "Ik ben een Afrikaander - al slaat de landdrost mij dood, of
al zetten hij mij in de tronk, ik zal, nog wil niet zwijgen!" ("I am
an African - even if the magistrate were to beat me to death, or put
me in jail, I shall not be, nor will I stay, silent!"). Biebouw
was flogged for his insolence and later banished to Jakarta.:22 It
is believed that "Afrikaner" in question initially indicated Cape
Coloureds or other groups claiming mixed ancestry. Biebouw himself had
numerous half-caste siblings and may have identified with Coloureds
socially. However, this defiant secession from Dutch law and
sovereignty was a leap towards defining another consciousness for
white South Africa, suggesting for the first time a group
identification with the
Cape Colony rather than any ancestral homeland
Increase of European families in the Cape by year
1657 - 1675
1675 - 1700
1700 - 1725
1725 - 1750
1750 - 1775
1775 - 1795
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company (VOC) initially had no intention of
planting a permanent European settlement at the Cape of Good Hope;
until 1657 it devoted as little attention as possible to the
development or administration of the Dutch Cape Colony. From the
VOC's perspective, there was little financial incentive to regard the
region as anything more than the site of a strategic victualing
centre. Furthermore, the Cape was unpopular among VOC employees,
who regarded it as a barren and insignificant outpost with little
opportunity for advancement.
A small number of longtime VOC employees who had been instrumental in
the colony's founding and its first five years of existence, however,
expressed interest in applying for grants of land, with the objective
of retiring at the Cape as farmers. In time they came to form a
class of "vrijlieden", also known as "vrijburgers" (free citizens),
former VOC employees who stayed in Dutch territories overseas after
serving their contracts. The "vrijburgers" were to be of Dutch
birth (although exceptions were made for some Germans), married, 'of
good character', and had to undertake to spend at least twenty years
in Southern Africa. In March 1657, when the first "vrijburgers"
started receiving their farms, the white population of the Cape was
only about 134. Although the soil and climate in
Cape Town were
suitable for farming, willing immigrants remained in short supply and
included a number of orphans, refugees, and foreigners accordingly.
From 1688 onward the Cape attracted some French Huguenots, most of
them refugees from the protracted conflict between Protestants and
Catholics in France.
South Africa's white population in 1691 has been described as the
Afrikaner "parent stock", as no significant effort was made to secure
more colonist families after the dawn of the 18th century, and a
Afrikaners are descended from progenitors who arrived
prior to 1700 in general and the late 1600s in particular.
Although some two-thirds of this figure were Dutch-speaking
Hollanders, there were at least 150 Huguenots and a nearly equal
Low German speakers. Also represented in smaller numbers
were Swedes, Danes, and Belgians.
White population in the Dutch Cape Colony, 1691
Note - Figures do not include expatriate soldiers, sailors, or
servants of the Company.
In 1754, Cape governor
Ryk Tulbagh conducted a census of his
non-indigenous subjects. White vrijburgers, now outnumbered by slaves
imported from West Africa, Mozambique,
Madagascar and the Dutch East
Indies, only totaled about 6,000.
Following the defeat and collapse of the
Dutch Republic during Joseph
Souham's Flanders Campaign,
William V, Prince of Orange
William V, Prince of Orange escaped to the
United Kingdom and appealed to the British to occupy his colonial
possessions until he was restored. Holland's administration was never
effectively reestablished; upon a new outbreak of hostilities with
France expeditionary forces led by Sir David Baird, 1st Baronet
finally imposed British rule for good when they defeated Cape governor
Jan Willem Janssens
Jan Willem Janssens in 1806.
At the onset of Cape Town's annexation to the British Empire, the
Afrikaners numbered 26,720 - or 36% of the colony's
White population in the British Cape Colony, 1806
Scandinavian, Belgian, other
Note - Figures do not include expatriate soldiers or officials from
other British possessions.
The South African census of 1960 was the final census undertaken in
the Union of South Africa. Ethno-linguistic status of some 15,994,181
South African citizens was projected by various sources through
sampling language, religion and race. At least 1.6 million South
Africans represented white
Afrikaans speakers, or 10% of the total
population. They also constituted 9.3% of the population in
neighbouring South West Africa.
According to the South African census of 1985, there were 2,581,080
Afrikaans speakers then residing in the country, or about 9.4%
of the total population.
South African National Census of 2001
South African National Census of 2001 was the first census
conducted in post-apartheid South Africa. It was calculated on 9
October and reported a population of 2,576,184 white Afrikaans
speakers. The census noted that
Afrikaners represented the eighth
largest ethnic group in the country, or 5.7% of the total
Main article: Distribution of white South Africans
Afrikaans versus English as home language of white
Afrikaners make up approximately 58% of South Africa's white
population, based on language used in the home. English speakers - an
ethnically diverse group - account for closer to 37%. As in Canada
or the United States, most modern European immigrants elect to learn
English and are likelier to identify with those descended from British
colonials of the nineteenth century. Aside from coastal pockets in
Eastern Cape and
KwaZulu-Natal they remain heavily outnumbered by
Afrikaners among white South Africans by province
As of 2011[update],
Afrikaners make up approximately 5.2% of the total
South African population based on the number of white South Africans
Afrikaans as a first language in the South African National
Census of 2011.
Early settlement and colonisation
Dutch Empire and Dutch Cape Colony
Painting of the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck
Afrikaner communities in
South Africa were formed at the
Cape of Good Hope, mainly through the introduction of Dutch colonists,
Huguenot refugees and erstwhile servants of the Dutch East
India Company. During the early colonial period,
generally known as "Christians", "colonists", "emigrants", or
ingezeetenen ("inhabitants"). Their concept of being rooted in
Africa—as opposed to the Company's expatriate officialdom—did not
find widespread expression until the late eighteenth century.
It is to the ambitions of Prince
Henry the Navigator
Henry the Navigator that historians
attribute the discovery of the Cape as a settling ground for
Europeans. In 1424 Henry and
Fernando de Castro besieged the Canary
Islands, under the impression that they might be of use to further
Portuguese expeditions around Africa's coast. Although this
attempt was unsuccessful, Portugal's continued interest in the
continent made possible the later voyages of
Bartholomew Diaz in 1487
Vasco de Gama
Vasco de Gama ten years later. Diaz made known to the world a
"Cape of Storms", rechristened "Good Hope" by John II. As it was
desirable to take formal possession of this territory the Portuguese
erected a stone cross in Algoa Bay. Da Gama and his successors,
however, did not take kindly to the notion, especially following a
skirmish with the
Khoikhoi in 1497, when one of his admirals was
After the British
East India Company
East India Company was founded in 1599, London
merchants began to take advantage of the route to India by the Cape.
James Lancaster, who had visited
Robben Island some years earlier,
Table Bay in 1601. By 1614 the British had planted a
penal colony on the site, and in 1621 two Englishmen claimed Table Bay
on behalf of King James I, but this action was not ratified. They
eventually settled on
Saint Helena as an alternative port of
Due to the value of the spice trade between Europe and their outposts
in the East Indies, Dutch ships began to call sporadically at the Cape
in search of provisions after 1598. In 1601 a Captain Paul van
Corniden came ashore at St. Sebastion's Bay near Overberg. He
discovered a small inlet which he named Vleesch Bay, after the cattle
trade, and another Visch Bay after the abundance of fish. Not long
Joris van Spilbergen reported catching penguins
and sheep on Robben Island.
In 1648, Dutch sailors Leendert Jansz and Nicholas Proot had been
Table Bay and marooned for five months until picked up
by a returning ship. During this period they established friendly
relations with the locals, who sold them sheep, cattle, and
vegetables. Both men presented a report advocating the Table valley as
a fort and garden for the East India fleets.
We say, therefore, that the Honourable Company, by the formation of a
fort or redoubt, and also of a garden of such size as may be
practicable or necessary at the above-mentioned Cabo de Boa Esperanza,
upon a suitable spot in Table Valley, stationing there according to
your pleasure sixty to seventy as well soldiers as sailors, and a few
persons acquainted with gardening and horticulture, could raise, as
well for the ships and people bound to India as for those returning
thence, many kinds of fruit, as will hereafter be more particularly
Excerpt from Jansz and Proot's report.
Under recommendation from Jan van Riebeeck, the
Heeren XVII authorised
the establishment of a fort at the Cape, and this the more hurriedly
to preempt any further imperial maneuvers by Britain, France or
Portugal. Van Riebeeck, his family and seventy to eighty VOC
personnel arrived there on 6 April 1652 after a journey of three and a
half months. Their immediate task was the establishment of some
gardens, "taking for this purpose all the best and richest ground";
following this they were instructed to conduct a survey to determine
the best pastureland for the grazing of cattle. By 15 May they had
nearly completed construction on the Castle of Good Hope, which was to
be an easily defensible victualing station serving Dutch ships plying
the Indian Ocean. Dutch sailors appreciated the mild climate at
the Cape, which allowed them to recuperate from their protracted
periods of service in the tropical humidity of Southeast Asia. VOC
fleets bearing cargo from the Orient anchored in the Cape for a month,
usually from March or April, when they were resupplied with water and
provisions prior to completing their return voyage to the
In extent the new refreshment post was to be kept as confined as
possible to reduce administrative expense. Residents would
associate amiably with the natives for the sake of livestock trade,
but otherwise keep to themselves and their task of becoming
self-sufficient. As the VOC's primary goal was merchant
enterprise, particularly its shipping network traversing the Atlantic
and Indian Oceans between the
Netherlands and various ports in Asia,
most of its territories consisted of coastal forts, factories, and
isolated trading posts dependent entirely on indigenous host
states. The exercise of Dutch sovereignty, as well the large scale
settlement of Dutch colonists, was therefore extremely limited at
these sites. During the VOC's history only two primary exceptions
to the rule emerged: the
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies and the Cape of Good Hope,
through the formation of a large class of "vrijlieden", or
"vrijburgers" (free citizens).
The VOC operated under a strict corporate hierarchy which allowed it
to formally assign classifications to those whom it determined fell
within its legal purview. Most Europeans within the VOC's
registration and identification system were denoted either as Company
employees or vrijburgers. The legal classifications imposed upon
every individual in the Company possessions determined their position
in society and conferred restraints upon their actions. VOC
ordinances made a clear distinction between the "bonded" period of
service, and the period of "freedom" that began once an employment
contract ended. In order to ensure former employees could be
distinguished from workers still in the service of the Company, it was
decided to provide them a "letter of freedom", a licence known as a
vrijbrief. European employees were repatriated to the Netherlands
upon the termination of their contract, unless they successfully
applied for a vrijbrief, in which they were charged a small fee and
registered as vrijburgers in a Company record known collectively as
the vrijboeken. Fairly strict conditions were levied on those who
aspired to become vrijburgers at the Cape of Good Hope. They had to be
married Dutch citizens who were regarded as being "of good character"
by the VOC and committed to at least twenty years' residence in South
Africa. Reflecting the multi-national nature of the workforce of
the early modern trading companies, some foreigners, particularly
Germans, were open to consideration as well. If their application
for vrijburger status was successful, the Company granted them plots
of farmland of thirteen and a half morgen, which were tax exempt for
twelve years. They were also loaned tools and seeds. The
extent of their farming activities, however, remained heavily
regulated: for example, the vrijburgers were ordered to focus on the
cultivation of grain. Each year their harvest was to be sold
exclusively to the VOC at fixed prices. They were forbidden from
growing tobacco, producing vegetables for any purpose other than
personal consumption, or purchasing cattle from the native
rates which differed from those set by the VOC. With time, these
restrictions and other attempts by the VOC to control the settlers
resulted in successive generations of vrijburgers and their
descendants becoming increasingly localised in their loyalties and
national identity and hostile towards the colonial government.
Around March 1657, Rijcklof van Goens, a senior VOC officer appointed
as commissioner to the fledgling Dutch Cape Colony, ordered Jan van
Riebeeck to help more employees succeed as vriburgers so the Company
could save on their wages. Although an overwhelming majority of
the vrijburgers were farmers, some also stated their intention to seek
employment as farm managers, fishermen, wagon-makers, tailors, or
hunters. A ship's carpenter was granted a tract of forest, from
which he was permitted to sell timber, and one miller from Holland
opened his own water-operated corn mill, the first of its kind in
Southern Africa. The colony initially did not do well, and many of
the discouraged vrijburgers returned to VOC service or sought passage
back to the
Netherlands to pursue other opportunities. Vegetable
gardens were frequently destroyed by storms, and cattle lost in raids
by the Khoikhoi, who were known to the Dutch as Hottentots. There
was also an unskilled labour shortage, which the VOC later resolved by
importing slaves from Angola, Madagascar, and the East Indies.
In 1662 van Riebeeck was succeeded by
Zacharias Wagenaer as governor
of the Cape. Wagenaer was somewhat aloof towards the vrijburgers, whom
he dismissed as "sodden, lazy, clumsy louts...since they do not pay
proper attention to the [slaves] lent to them, or to their work in the
fields, nor to their animals, for that reason seem wedded to the low
level and cannot rid themselves of their debts". When Wagenaer
arrived, he observed that many of the unmarried vrijburgers were
beginning to cohabit with their slaves, with the result that 75% of
children born to Cape slaves at the time had a Dutch father.
Wagenaer's response was to sponsor the immigration of Dutch women to
the colony as potential wives for the settlers. Upon the outbreak
of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, Wagenaer was perturbed by the British
New Amsterdam and attacks on other Dutch outposts in the
Americas and on the west African coast. He increased the Cape
garrison by about 300 troops and replaced the original earthen
fortifications of the
Castle of Good Hope
Castle of Good Hope with new ones of stone.
In 1672 there were 300 VOC officials, employees, soldiers and sailors
at the Cape, compared to only about 64 vrijburgers, 39 of whom were
married, with 65 children. By 1687 the number had increased to
about 254 vrijburgers, of whom 77 were married, with 231 children.
Simon van der Stel, who was appointed governor of the Cape in 1679,
reversed the VOC's earlier policy of keeping the colony limited to the
confines of the Cape peninsula itself and encouraged Dutch settlement
further abroad, resulting in the founding of Stellenbosch. Van der
Stel persuaded 30 vrijburgers to settle in
Stellenbosch and a few
years afterwards the town received its own municipal administration
and school. The VOC was persuaded to seek more prospective
European immigrants for the Cape after local officials noted that the
cost of maintaining gardens to provision passing ships could be
eliminated by outsourcing to a greater number of vrijburgers.
Furthermore, the size of the Cape garrison could be reduced if there
were many colonists capable of being called up for militia service as
Following the passage of the Edict of Fontainebleau, the Netherlands
served as a major destination for French
Huguenot refugees fleeing
persecution at home. In April 1688, the VOC agreed to sponsor the
resettlement of over 100 Huguenots at the Cape. Between 1689 and
1707 they were augmented by additional numbers of Dutch settlers
sponsored by the VOC with grants of land and free passage to
The pastoral Afrikaans-speakers who developed on the Cape frontier
Boers (boer is the Dutch word for farmer). They have often
been considered a slightly separate people from the Cape Dutch.
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. As a direct result of the Union, a
number of the traditions and values of the
Boer minority were
assimilated within a militant new
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
Voortrekkers or "First Movers", migrated to the future Northern
Orange Free State
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.
Weenen massacre: Zulus killed hundreds of
Boer settlers (1838)
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
occurred with the Zulu in the area of present-day KwaZulu-Natal.
Boers who entered Natal discovered that the land they wanted came
under the authority of the Zulu King
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
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.)
A commando of 470 men arrived to help the settlers. On 16 December
Voortrekkers 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.
In present-day South Africa, 16 December remains a celebrated public
holiday, initially called "Dingane's Day". After 1952, the holiday was
officially named Day of the Covenant, changed to
Day of the Vow
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.
Boer guerrillas during the Second
After defeating the Zulu and the recovery of the treaty between
Dingane and Retief, the
Voortrekkers proclaimed the Natalia Republic.
In 1843, Britain annexed Natal and many
Boers trekked inwards again.
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
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.
Lizzie van Zyl, visited by
Emily Hobhouse in a British concentration
Boers created sovereign states in what is now South Africa: de
Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the South African Republic) and the
Orange Free State
Orange Free State were the most prominent and lasted the longest.
The discovery of goldfields awakened British interest in the Boer
republics, and the two
Boer Wars resulted: The First
(1880–1881) and the
Second Boer War
Second Boer War (1899–1902). The
Boers won the
first war and retained their independence. 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 commandos from
their source of shelter, food and supply. The strategy was employed
effectively but an estimated 27,000
Boers (mainly women and children
under sixteen) died in these camps from hunger and disease.
Boer War diaspora
See also: South African Argentine
In the 1890s, some
Boers trekked into Mashonaland, where they were
concentrated at the town of Enkeldoorn, now Chivhu. After the
Boer War, more
Boers left South Africa. Starting in 1902 to
1908 a large group of around 650 Afrikaners emigrated to the
Patagonia region of
Argentina (most notably to the towns of Comodoro
Rivadavia and Sarmiento), choosing to settle there due to its
similarity to the
Karoo region of South Africa.
Another group emigrated to British-ruled Kenya, from where most
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 significant number of
Afrikaners also went as "Dorsland Trekkers" to
Angola, where a large group settled on the Huíla Plateau, in Humpata,
and smaller communities 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
West Africa and
South Africa in waves.
Afrikaner diaspora in Africa and the world.
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
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, van Rensburg recruited about 280
Afrikaners (comprising either 47 or 60 families) to accompany him to
British East Africa. On 9 July 1908 his 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
In 1911 the last of the large trek groups departed for Kenya, when
some 60 families from the
Orange Free State
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
Afrikaners. 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 South 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.
South West Africa
Main articles: South
West Africa and White Namibians
With the onset of the
First World War
First World War in 1914, the Allies asked the
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.
Boer women and children in British concentration camps
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.
Boers subsequently moved to South West Africa, which was
South Africa until its independence in 1990, after
which the country adopted the name Namibia.
Scholars have traditionally considered
Afrikaners to be a homogeneous
population of Dutch ancestry, subject to a significant founder
effect. This simplistic viewpoint has been challenged by recent
studies suggesting multiple uncertainties regarding the genetic
composition of white South Africans at large and
Afrikaners are descended, to varying degrees, from Dutch, Frisian,
German and French
Huguenot immigrants, along with minor percentages of
other Europeans and indigenous African peoples. The first
mixed race marriage which took place in
Cape Town in 1664 was that of
Krotoa, a Khoi woman, and Peder Havgaard, a Danish surgeon. Krotoa and
Peder's descendants are the Pelzer, Kruger, Steenkamp and other
Afrikaner families. Although the
Cape Colony was administered and
initially settled by the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company (VOC), a number of
foreigners also boarded ships in the
Netherlands to settle there.
Their numbers can be easily reconstructed from censuses of the Cape
rather than passenger lists, taking into account VOC employees who
later returned to Europe. Some Europeans also arrived from
elsewhere in Holland's sphere, especially German soldiers being
discharged from colonial service. As a result, by 1691 over a
quarter of the white population of
South Africa was not ethnically
Dutch. The number of permanent settlers of both sexes and all ages,
according to figures available at the onset of British rule, numbered
26,720, of whom 50% were Dutch, 27% German, 17% French and 5.5%
other blood. This demographic breakdown of the community just
prior to the end of the Dutch administration has been used in many
subsequent studies to represent the ethnic makeup of modern
Afrikaners, a practise criticised by some academics such as Dr.
Based on his genealogical research of the period from 1657 to 1867,
Dr. Johannes Heese in his study Die Herkoms van die Afrikaners
estimated an average ethnic admixture for
Afrikaners of 35.5% Dutch,
34.4% German, 13.9% French, 7.2% non-European, 2.6% English, 2.8%
other European and 3.6% unknown.:18 Heese achieved this
conclusion by recording all the wedding dates and number of children
of each immigrant. He then divided the period between 1657 and 1867
into six thirty-year blocs, and working under the assumption that
earlier colonists contributed more to the gene pool, multiplied each
child's bloodline by 32, 16, 8, 4, 2 and 1 according to respective
period. Heese argued that previous studies wrongly classified some
German progenitors as Dutch, although for the purposes of his own
study he also reclassified a number of Scandinavian (especially
Danish) progenitors as "German". Drawing heavily on Christoffel
Coetzee de Villiers's Geslacht Register der Oude Kaapsche Familien,
George McCall Theal
George McCall Theal estimated an admixture of 67%
Dutch, with a nearly equal contribution of roughly 17% from the
Huguenots and Germans. Theal argued that most studies
suggesting a higher percentage of German ancestry among Afrikaners
wrongly counted as "German" all those who came from German-speaking
Swiss cantons and ignored the VOC's policy of recruiting settlers
Dutch diaspora living in the border regions of several
German states. He also pointed out the longstanding preponderance
of Dutch women in the colony, and the fact that most of the German
vrijburgers took Dutch wives.
The degree of intermixing among
Afrikaners may be attributed to the
unbalanced sex ratio which existed under Dutch governance. Only a
handful of VOC employees who sailed from the
Netherlands were allowed
to bring their families with them, and the Dutch never employed
European women in a full-time capacity. Between 1657 and 1806 no more
than 454 women arrived at the Cape, as compared to the 1,590 male
colonists. One of the most fundamental demographic consequences
was that white South African women, much like their counterparts in
colonial North America, began to marry much younger and consequently
bear more children than Western Europeans. Another was the
astonishingly high occurrence of inter-family marriages from the
matrilineal aspect. These were reinforced by the familial
interdependence of the Cape's credit and mortgage obligations.
Afrikaner families thus became larger in size, more interconnected,
and clannish than those of any other colonial establishment in the
world. Some of the more common
Afrikaner surnames include Botha,
Pretorius and van der Merwe. As in other cases where the
establishment of a population group has been propagated by many of the
same progenitors and their children,
Afrikaners have also experienced
a dramatic increase in the frequency of some otherwise rare
deleterious ailments, including Variegate porphyria.
Approximately 100 black 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 freed slaves
Voortrekkers who settled in the area.
Part of a series on
1948 general election
Coloured vote constitutional crisis
1956 Treason Trial
Church Street bombing
Trojan Horse Incident
Khotso House bombing
Cape Town peace march
Assassination of Chris Hani
Saint James Church massacre
Shell House massacre
State Security Council
P. W. Botha
F. W. de Klerk
D. F. Malan
H. F. Verwoerd
B. J. Vorster
Apartheid in popular culture
Cape Qualified Franchise
Rhodes Must Fall
South African Police
Music in the movement against apartheid
South Africa under apartheid
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
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
Frederik Willem de Klerk
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 African National
F. W. de Klerk
F. W. de Klerk and
Nelson Mandela shake hands in January 1992
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
Volkstaat movement. In contrast, a handful of Afrikaners
have joined the ruling
African National Congress
African National Congress party, which is
overwhelmingly supported by South Africa's black majority.
Employment Equity legislation favours employment of black (African,
Indian, Chinese and Coloured population groups, white women, disabled
people) South Africans over white 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.
Afrikaner diaspora and emigration
See also: Brain drain in South Africa
Afrikaner farmer in Georgia,
Caucasus region, 2011
Since 1994, there has been significant emigration of white people from
South Africa. There are thus currently large
English-speaking South African communities in the UK and other
developed countries. Between 1995-2005, more than one million South
Africans have emigrated overseas, citing violent and racially
motivated black on white crime as the main reason. Farmers have
emigrated to other parts of Africa (e.g. North Eastern Congo) 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
Afrikaners are mostly found in Windhoek
and in the Southern provinces and have a population of around 100,000
A significant number of
Afrikaners have migrated to Commonwealth
nations such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New
Zealand. Other popular destinations include the Netherlands, United
Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, as well as Brazil,
Argentina and Qatar.
A large number of young
Afrikaners are taking advantage of working
holiday visas made available by the United Kingdom, 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 has been excluded from the working holiday visa programme in
the UK, Belgium,
Netherlands and the rest of the EU.
As of 2011, Georgia is encouraging
Afrikaner immigration to assist in
reviving the country's agriculture industry, which has fallen on hard
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. Various national Christian events are widely
attended, the most recent was held by Angus Buchan in Bloemfontein
with over a million people, mostly
Main article: Afrikaans
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,
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
Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners
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
Afrikaans is offered at many universities outside of South Africa
including in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Russia and
See also: South African literature
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
C. J. Langenhoven and Etienne Leroux.
See also: South African protest music
Music is probably the most popular art form among Afrikaners. While
Boer music") and
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
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
Fokofpolisiekar have a large following. The television
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 national rugby
team, the Springboks, did not compete in the first two rugby world
cups in 1987 and 1991 because of anti-apartheid sporting boycotts of
South Africa but later on the Springboks won the 1995 and 2007 Rugby
Boere-sport also played a 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 3 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
Afrikaner people as part of its cultural series,
Great Trek across the
Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging
Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) ("
and Culture Association") is responsible for promoting the Afrikaans
language and culture.
Voortrekkers is a youth movement for
Afrikaners in South Africa
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.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2014)
An estimated 88% of
Afrikaners supported the Democratic Alliance, the
official opposition party, in the 2014 general election. The
Democratic Alliance is a Liberal Party and a full member of Liberal
Smaller numbers are involved in nationalist or separatist political
Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus is an
Afrikaner ethnic political
party which lobbies for minority rights to be granted to all of the
South African ethnic minorities. The
Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus is also
Volkstaat initiative and is closely associated with the
small town of Orania.
Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter
Mulder served as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries in the Cabinet of President
Jacob Zuma from 2009 to 2014.
Only approximately 2% of Afrikaans-speaking white South Africans vote
for the ruling ANC,. Some prominent
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. Although social conservatism
prevalent, social attitudes have become increasingly liberal since the
disestablishment of apartheid in the 1990s, and in a 2015 poll only
Afrikaners claimed to oppose abortion on demand while 46%
claimed to be opposed to Homosexualism.
South Africa portal
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Afrikaners.
Ethnic groups in Africa
Huguenots in South Africa
White South Africans
White Africans of European ancestry
^ a b Ethnologue
2011 Australian Census
2011 Australian Census records 5,079 Australian residents who
explicitly identify as
Afrikaner (that is, excluding those who
identified as "African" or "South African"), while 35,031 identified
^ The 2013
New Zealand census records 1,197
New Zealand residents who
explicitly identify as
Afrikaner (that is, excluding those who
identified as "African" or "South African"), while 27,387 identified
Afrikaners constitute nearly three million out of approximately 53
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(link) Contains details of prominent British and
Afrikaner people in
British Empire in Africa.
The Historical Heritage of The
South Africa – Poor Whites
Afrikaners of South Africa.
British Policies and
ATKV – Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging
Ethnic groups in South Africa
Khoi and San
Ethnic groups in Namibia
Bold denotes major ethnic groups.
Members of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
District of Columbia
Chittagong Hill Tracts
Hungarians in Transilvania