Infobox Ethnic group
group = Afrikaner people

caption = Andries Pretorius· Jan Smuts· Petrus Jacobus Joubert
pop = approx. 3.4 millionFact|date=September 2008
regions = *flagcountry|South Africa - 2.5-3 million Fact|date=September 2008
*flagcountry|Namibia - 60-100,000
*flagcountry|United Kingdom ?
*flagcountry|Netherlands ?
*flagcountry|New Zealand ?
*flagcountry|Argentina - 4,000 (1982)lower| []
languages = Afrikaans
religions = Protestant (Calvinist Reformed churches), small Catholic minority [ [ Geskiedenis Katolieke Afrikaners] ]
related = Dutch, Flemish, Frisians; Germans, French, Scots, English; Cape Coloureds, Basters
The term Afrikaner people refers to white, Afrikaans-speaking people who have been established in Southern Africa since the 17th century and are mainly of northwestern European descent.


Related ethno-linguistic groups

The Afrikaner people are descended from northwestern 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). While the original settlers came mainly from the Netherlands, their numbers were also swelled later by French and German religious refugees. It is commonly thought their ancestors were primarily Dutch Calvinists, with smaller numbers of Frisians, Germans and French Huguenots, Flemish and Walloons. They lost their Dutch citizenship when the Prince of Orange acquiesced to British occupation and control of the Cape Colony in 1795.

However some scholars differ about the progenitors of the Afrikaners saying that may be a common misconception that they descended mostly from Dutch immigrants in South Africa. Dr. J.A. Heese has pointed out that the German genes are far more prevalent although there seems to be a more or less equal amount of Dutch and German blood in the Afrikaner. This is explained by the fact that the first Dutch immigrants had many children (daughters) who later married many different Germans (from the German Lowlands near the Netherlands) recruited by die Dutch East-Indian Company. The result is that there are many more different Afrikaans surnames of German origin than of Dutch in the South African Afikaans speaking group of European origin. (Dr. Heese quoted by C. Pama on pp. 17-18 of Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaamboek, published 1983 by Human & Rousseau Publishers, Cape Town, etc. ISBN 0 7981 1618 8.)

The original intention of the Dutch who first settled at the Cape in 1652 was to establish a geographically-limited refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company; originally, they were not interested in founding a permanent settlement. The arrival in 1688 of some French Huguenots who had escaped Roman Catholic religious persecution added new blood and increased the settlers' numbers. Some of the colonists from other parts of Europe (e.g. Scandinavia, and Scotland) were later also incorporated into what today comprises Afrikaners, along with a few descendents of early European unions with slaves of mainly Indian and Malay descent and the local Khoi people. Later, Afrikaners were at pains to deny these unions and the likely presence of non-European ancestors in the family trees of many of them.

The first person on record as referring to himself as an "Afrikaner" was Hendrik Biebouw, who, in March 1707, stated that he was an Afrikaner and did not want to leave Africa. Biebouw meant by this claim to resist his expulsion from the Cape Colony, as ordered by the magistrate of Stellenbosch. Hermann Giliomee, "The Afrikaners: Biography of a People", University of Virginia Press, 2003 ] The term is intended to indicate a first loyalty and a sense of belonging to the territory of modern South Africa, rather than to any ancestral homeland in Europe.

Some Afrikaans-speakers of frontier Boer / trekker descent refer to themselves as 'Boere-Afrikaners'. 'Boer' literally means 'farmer' in Dutch (Afrikaans), but the precise meaning of this word inside South Africa can be ambiguous and tends to shift, depending on context and the way in which the word is said. Before the former white government transferred power to the newly-elected black majority government, Anti-apartheid activists within South Africa referred to the police force (who had to enforce apartheid legislation) as "Boere." A political slogan of that era urged "Kill the Boer, kill the farmer." [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Row over South Africa funeral ] ]


Various Afrikaner migrations had a strong impact on the formation and contents of the modern Afrikaner ethnicity. For example, the series of mass migrations from the Cape colony just before the middle of the 19th century was a major contribution. Defining events of this era include the Great Trek and the Battle of Blood River.

The mass migrations collectively known as the Great Trek were pivotal for the construction of Afrikaner ethnic identity, as it led to the creation of a number of Boer states that were independent of British colonial oversight.

In the 1830s and 1840s, an estimated 12,000 Voortrekkers migrated to the future Northern Cape, Natal and Orange Free State provinces. A variety of factors motivated them, including the desire to escape British rule. The Trek split the white Afrikaans-speaking settlers into two groups: the Trekboers (later called 'Voortrekkers') and the 'Cape Dutch', as they were called by British settlers. These distinctions also overlapped with economic differences, as the Trekkers generally had fewer material resources than those who remained behind.

Important as the Trek was to the formation of Afrikaner ethnic identity, so were the running conflicts with various indigenous groups along the way. None are considered more central to the project of constituting Afrikaner identity than those against the Zulu in what today is KwaZulu-Natal.

The Trekkers who entered Natal discovered that the land they wanted to settle fell under the authority of the Zulu chief Dingane ka Senzangakhona. Large-scale hostilities erupted between Zulus and Trekkers after a land treaty delegation under Piet Retief was massacred by Dingane on February 6, 1838. After the execution, 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 Xhosa along the eastern Cape frontier had refrained from harming women and children. On December 16, 1838 a 470-strong force of Andries Pretorius confronted about 10,000 Zulu at prepared positions. [ [ Battle of Blood River - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] The Boers reputedly suffered 3 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' guns and cannons gave them an obvious technological advantage over the Zulus' traditional weaponry of short stabbing spears, throwing spears, fighting sticks, cattle-hide shields and the occasional captured guns.

However, the Boers attributed their victory to a vow they had made to God before the battle: if victorious, they and future generations would commemorate the day as a Sabbath. Thus 16 December was celebrated by Afrikaners as a public holiday, colloquially (and ironically) called "Dingane's Day". After 1952, the holiday was officially known as Day of the Covenant, changed in 1980 to Day of the Vow (Mackenzie 1999:69). The outcome of the Battle of Blood River functioned to support the notion of divine favor for the Boer exodus and as an indication of Boer superiority over indigenous populations. Dingane's actions were reinterpreted as proving the inherent treachery of the indigenes.Fact|date=June 2008

Boer republics

After the defeat of the Zulu forces and the recovery of the treaty between Dingane and Retief, the Voortrekkers proclaimed the Natalia Republic. This Boer state was annexed by British forces in 1843.

Due to the return of British rule, emphasis moved from occupying lands in Natal, east of the Drakensberg mountains, to the north-west of them and onto the highveld (steppes) of the Transvaal and Transorangia (Transoranje), which were lightly occupied due to the devastation of the Mfecane. Some trekkers ventured far beyond the present day borders of South Africa, north as far as present day Zambia and Angola, also reaching the Portuguese colony of Delagoa Bay, later Lourenço Marques and now called Maputo, capital of Mozambique.

Most notable was the Dorsland Trek or "Thirst Land Trek" initiated by Gert Alberts in the 1870s when the first trek departed from Pretoria via the arid Kalahari Desert to Rietfontein on the eastern border of the present day Namibia. Over a period of five years and after a heart breaking odyssey of thirst and malaria, these Trekkers arrived and settled on the fertile Humpata Highlands in southwestern Angola at the invitation of the Portuguese colonial rulers of the day. Over the years, many more Treks from Pretoria to Humpata followed. The reason for the Thirst Land Trek was assumed by historians to be that the British Empire was coming too close for the Afrikaners' liking with the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley, the same reason the Boers had left the Cape Colony in the first place. Gert Alberts, the leader of the first Trek, however, once said that it was merely Wanderlust" that spurred the first group to pack their wagons and to head for the unknown, in search of new horizons.

For more than 50 years, these hardy Boers played a pivotal role in helping the Portuguese to open up the hinterland of Angola for trade and hunting. Boer settlers from Humpata also helped the Portuguese subdue warlike indigenous black tribes where necessary. However, relations between the Boers and the Portuguese slowly deteriorated as the Portuguese tried to convert these deeply Protestant Christians to Catholicism. The Portuguese also prohibited them from using their home language – Afrikaans – in the local schools. For a short period, a splinter group of these Boers settled in the Otavi Highlands in Northern Trans Gariep - later known as German Southwest Africa and today as Namibia – and declared their own independent Republic of Upingtonia. This small independent state did not last long, as none of the large colonial powers wanted to acknowledge the small republic's sovereignty. In time, most of these Boers eventually returned to Humpata.

During World War I, German Southwest Africa fell into the hands of the Union of South Africa. South Africa was granted an unlimited "C" Mandate by the League of Nations to administer the country as a fifth province. In an effort to populate Southwest Africa as it was hence known, the South African Government invited the Angola Boers to resettle there. Most of the Angola Boers accepted the offer, while some returned to South Africa proper. A small group stayed behind in Angola. Today the offspring of the Thirst Land Trek and the Angola Boers form the backbone of all sectors of the Namibian economy.

The Boers created independent states in what is now South Africa: de Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the South African Republic) and the Orange Free State. The British also annexed these territories, which led to the two Boer Wars: The First Boer War (1880-1881) and the Second Boer War (1899 – 1902) – also called the South African War, which ended with the inclusion of the Boer areas in the British colonies. The Boers won the first war, retaining their independence, but lost the second, due mainly to the British's employing scorched earth tactics and their extensive use of concentration camps. An estimated 27,000 Boer civilians (mainly children under sixteen) died in the camps from hunger and disease. This was 15 percent of the Boer population of the republics. About 15,000 Bantu civilians died in separate concentration camps, also erected by the British forces, but owing to poor records this number may be much larger.

Following the British annexation of the Boer republics, the creation of the Union of South Africa (1910) went some way towards blurring the division between the British settlers and the Afrikaners.

Boer War diaspora

After the second Anglo-Boer War, a Boer diaspora occurred, following a smaller exodus in the 1890s to Mashonaland and Matabeleland (today Zimbabwe), concentrated at the town of Enkeldoorn (Du Toit 1998:47). Starting in 1902 a large group emigrated to the Patagonia region of Argentina. [cite news |title=Don’t cry for me Orania |url= |publisher=The Times |location=South Africa |date=2008-02-05 |accessdate=2008-02-05] Another group emigrated to British-ruled Kenya, from where most returned to South Africa during the 1930s. A third group under the leadership of General Ben Viljoen emigrated to the north of Mexico and to 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) and even Angola (where smaller and larger groups settled on the Bihe and the Humpata plateaus, respectively; Du Toit 1998:45).

A relatively large group of Boers settled in Kenya during the first decade of the 20th century. Brian du Toit indicates that the first wave of migrants comprised single families, followed by larger multiple family treks (Du Toit 1998:57). Some must have arrived in 1904 already, when a newspaper photograph identifies a tent town for "some of the early settlers from South Africa" on what today is 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). Arnoldi had visited Van Breda and his two brothers in 1905. Jannie De Beer's family already resided at Athi River, while Ignatius Gouws resided at Solai (Du Toit 1998:45,62).

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 Lourenco Marques (then 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 (Du Toit 1998:61). Sources disagree about whether Janse van Rensburg received guarantees for land from the Governor, Sir James Hayes Sadler (Du Toit 1998:62).

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 boat SS Windhuk from Lourenco Marques to Mombasa, from where they boarded a train for Nairobi. The party travelled by five trains to Nakuru. [ van Rensburg trek leader to Kenya ] ]

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 stricter cash requirements imposed on migrants by the British secretary of state (then Lord Crewe). The granting of self-government to the former Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State in 1906 and 1907, respectively, also contributed. Yet a trickle of individual trekker families continued to migrate into the 1950s (Du Toit 1998:63).

A combination of factors spurred Boer migration on. Some, like Janse van Rensburg and Cloete, had collaborated with the British, or had surrendered during the Boer War (Du Toit 1998:63). These "joiners" and "hensoppers" 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 (Du Toit 1999:45).One of the best known Boer settlements in the British East Africa Protectorate was 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 [ [,9171,748005,00.html In Kenya Colony - TIME ] ] .

outh West Africa

With the onset of the First World War, the Union of South Africa was asked by the Allied forces to attack the German territory of South West Africa, resulting in the South-West Africa Campaign. 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 Afrikaners, who had little love or respect for Britain, objected to the use of the “children from the concentration camps” to attack the Afrikaner-friendly Germans, resulting in the Maritz Rebellion of 1914, which was quickly quelled by the government forces.

Some Afrikaners subsequently moved to South West Africa, which was administrated by South Africa, until its independence in 1990, after which the country was named Namibia.


A tiny group of Afrikaners has settled in the town of Orania, with the ultimate goal of founding a Volkstaat through a process of Afrikaner demographic consolidation. Some Afrikaners feel that their language and culture face a serious threat in post-apartheid South Africa, due to the relatively small population of Afrikaners, the dominance of the English language and their lack of political power. They also fear a repeat of the events in Zimbabwe and many post-colonial one-party dictatorships, especially from the more 'radical' elements within the ruling African National Congress.

Modern history

Apartheid era

In South Africa, the black majority was excluded from equal participation in the affairs of the State and country (except for the homelands of Qwaqwa, Zululand, Ciskei, Transkei, Venda, and Bophuthatswana which were nominally self governed) until 1994. Apartheid laws were first enacted by the British controlled government when the Pass Laws were passed in 1923. The status quo was maintained and restrictions on non-whites' social and political freedoms further tightened when Afrikaner-led political parties gained control of government since 1948.

The South African referendum, 1992 was held on 17 March 1992. In it, South Africans were asked to vote in the last tricameral election held under the apartheid system, in which the Coloured and Indian population groups could also vote, to determine whether or not they supported the negotiated reforms begun by then State President F.W. de Klerk two years earlier. The result of the election was a large victory for the "yes" side. Election analysts however reported that support to dismantle Apartheid among the Afrikaners was actually slightly higher than among English speakers. Countrystudies [ Toward Democracy] ] This assertion is questionable given that statistical analysis published by the [ Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation] (CSVR) has shown that Afrikaners supported apartheid policies to a greater extent than English-speakers from the 1970s to the 1990s. ( [ Between Acknowledgement and Ignorance:How white South Africans have dealt with the apartheid past] )

Post-Apartheid era

In post-apartheid South Africa there has been a tendency within South Africa to describe the mixed race ("coloured") population of South Africa, most of whom speak Afrikaans as their first language, as Afrikaners or 'coloured Afrikaners'. However the Afrikaans-speakers of mixed race in South Africa and Namibia usually refer to themselves as "kleurlinge" ('coloureds') and"bruinmense" ('brown people'). "Basters" ('of mixed race', literally ") is a term that was formerly common but is now rarely encountered due to its pejorative nature. Other non-white Afrikaans-speaking groups are the "Griqua", "Namaqua", and "Khoikhoi".

The switch from 'coloured' to 'Afrikaner' has seen some success despite the history of exclusion during the colonial and apartheid eras. However, many Afrikaans-speaking coloureds feel they have developed a separate identity from white Afrikaners due to the strict racial segregation policies of the apartheid years, and there are marked colloquial differences between the languages as spoken by whites and Cape coloureds. Some Afrikaans-speaking coloureds also practise the Islamic religion, due to their Malay roots.

Recently, some liberal Afrikaans-speaking South Africans and Namibians have rejected the label 'Afrikaner', because of its negative connotations of racial and religious intolerance. Some use the neologism and racially neutral term "Afrikaanses" to refer to themselves as persons whose mother tongue is Afrikaans, disregarding the supposed – and hard to define – ethnic identity or apartheid-era racial categorisation.Fact|date=February 2007

While some conservative trekker and frontier descended Afrikaners still cherish the nametag "Boer", others view it as an obsolete and even pejorative term when used in an ethnic context.

Efforts are being made by a few 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 have joined white English-speakers in supporting South Africa's official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, indicating their acceptance of non-racism within a free enterprise economy.

Although Employment Equity legislation favours employment of Black (African, Indian and Coloured) South Africans and women over White males, the implementation has had little change on the actual employment ratios with the majority of management and skilled positions still held by White males (although some changes have occurred). Black Economic Empowerment legislation further favours ownership by Black South Africans as government tenders consider ownership, employment, training and social responsibility initiatives which empower Black South Africans as an 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 attributes this to the above legislation - over 350,000 Afrikaners may be classified as poor, with some research claiming that up to 150,000 are struggling for survival. [ [,,1691343,00.html Simon Wood meets the people who lost most when Mandela won in South Africa] ] [ [ South Africa - Poor Whites] ]

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 would also included non Afrikaner farmers of European ethnicity) is four times that of the general South African population. [cite web | url= | title=Over 1000 Boer Farmers In South Africa Have Been Murdered Since 1991 | publisher=Genocide Watch | accessdate=2005-12-31] . There are 40,000 white farmers in South Africa. Since 1994 close to two thousand farmers have been murdered in tens of thousands farm attacks in South Africa, many brutally tortured and/or raped. Some victims have been burned with smoothing irons or had boiling water poured down their throats.cite paper | author=Criminal Justice Monitor | title=Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Farm Attacks | date=2003-07-31 | url= | accessdate=2006-10-11]

Afrikaner diaspora and emigration

Within the past 20 years, there has been significant emigration of skilled "whites" from South Africa, obviously including skilled "white Afrikaners". There are thus currently large "white Afrikaans" communities in the UK and other developed nations. See human capital flight in South Africa for details.

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) awarded the Afrikaner people membership during its IX General Assembly on 16 – 17 May 2008 in Brussels, Belgium.

The UNPO is a democratic, international organization. Its members are indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and independent states or territories which lack representation internationally.

UNPO is dedicated to the five principles enshrined in its Covenant:

* The equal right to self-determination;
* Adherence to the internationally accepted human rights standards as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments;
* Adherence to the principles of democratic pluralism and rejection of totalitarianism and religious intolerance;
* Promotion of non-violence and the rejection of terrorism as an instrument of policy; and
* Protection of the natural environment.

This successful application for membership represents a formal acknowledgment by an international organisation of the fact the Afrikaner people have since 1994 become a stateless nation. The Freedom Front leader, dr. Pieter Mulder accepted membership of UNPO on behalf of the Afrikaner people. [ [ UNPO list of member states] ]

However not all Afrikaners feel this way. Some see South Africa as their fatherland, and that the democratically elected government appropriately represents them internationally. Some Afrikaners feel the ANC does not value their welfare and that their rights and liberties as described above are always second subject to those of the previously disadvantaged.



There were 133,324 speakers of Afrikaans in Namibia, forming 9.5% of the total national population, according to the 1991 census. Afrikaners are mostly found in Windhoek and in the Southern provinces.International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (2001) [ Population project] ]

Global presence

A significant number of Afrikaners have migrated to countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Argentina, and Mexico.

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 favourable exchange rate with the South African Rand (ZAR) also increases the attractiveness of international experience.



Predominantly Christian, the Calvinism of Afrikaners in South Africa developed in a different way from its European and American counterparts. This uniqueness is generally regarded as a direct result of geographical isolation and political and cultural estrangement, which shut out the influences of the Enlightenment. The cross-currents of change which arose within the Protestant cultures of Europe in response to the eighteenth century Enlightenment had minimal effect upon the development of religious thought among the Afrikaners.

This view of Afrikaner Calvinism implies that it is a purer expression of what Calvinism originally was, without the diluting effects of the Enlightenment. Particularly, this view implies that cultural development under the influence of Afrikaner civil religion is an illustration of the cultural implications of Calvinism.


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, English 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 replaced standard Dutch as one of the two official languages 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. They perceived that legalization of Afrikaans as an official language would only serve to isolate the Afrikaners, as they would be the only people in the world to speak Afrikaans. Steyn, who died before 1925, had been educated in Holland and England and was a worldly cosmopolitan figure. Today, Afrikaans is recognised as one of the eleven official languages of the new South Africa, and is widely accepted as an appropriate means of communication for a large number of South Africans.


Afrikaners have a long literary tradition, and have produced a number of notable novelists and poets, including Uys Krige, Elisabeth Eybers, Breyten Breytenbach, André Brink, and Athol Fugard.


Music is probably the most popular artform among Afrikaners. While the traditional "Boeremusiek" (Boer Music) and "Volkspele" (literally, People Games) folk dancing enjoyed popularity in the past, most Afrikaners today favour a variety of international genres and light popular Afrikaans music. 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, that is sung in the Afrikaans language. It is titled, "Kom Saam Met My", which is translated as "Come With Me".


Rugby union, 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.

"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 (President Paul Kruger) and RAND the monetary unit of South Africa. The Rand is associated with the area called Witwatersrand, "the ridge of white water" an important gold producing area.

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 Society) 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. Visit their web page on


The Freedom Front Plus is an Afrikaner ethnic political party in the Republican tradition, 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 to the small town of Orania. However, this party has only minority support among Afrikaners, with most supporting the Democratic Alliance.Fact|date=March 2007 as there is no proof providing evidence that the supporters of the DA are Afrikaners|date=March 2007


Differences of opinion about who qualifies as an Afrikaner arise from two opposing assumptions about the nature of ethnicity. A complicating factor is that ethnicity can be self-claimed, or can be ascribed by outsiders.

A first understanding of ethnicity is that it primarily describes relatively static inherent qualities that define exclusive groups based on common descent. Accordingly, individuals are born into distinct ethnic groups which share distinctive characteristics such as culture, religion, and language. From this perspective, one is born an Afrikaner, if one comes from a lineage of Afrikaners. Ethnicity is seen as a given.

A second assumption is that ethnicity comprises more fluid identity elements that create rather open-ended groups for particular purposes. Accordingly, ethnic groups form to meet particular needs, often to forge a superficial nationalistic unity out of rather disparate groups in order to gain material, social, or political advantages. From this viewpoint, ethnic groups exhibit great fluidity over time. Simply put, someone who is French can become an Afrikaner, for instance by learning the language and identifying with others who claim to be Afrikaners. In an extreme form, this argument leads to the conclusion that the commonalities within ethnic groups are largely imagined, and may in fact hide huge differences of dialect, religion, and historical experience. Proponents of this viewpoint may find it difficult to account for the stability of certain ethnic groups over time.

A commonly-understood--but seldom-mentioned--factor is that the definition of Afrikaner hinged on racial and linguistic components. While both were present from the start, the linguistic element received particular emphasis under British rule, and the racial element during apartheid. The project of forging an ethnic group arose among some non-British settlers who wanted to organize nationalistic opposition against the restrictive political oversight of first, their Dutch, and, later, their British rulers. Another purpose was to distinguish Afrikaans-speakers of European descent from indigenous groups (such as the Khoi) and slaves who may well have coined the language. Consequently, the meaning of "Afrikaner" was restricted to those who were both white and Afrikaans-speaking.

Changes in how "Afrikaner" is understood can clearly be traced through South African history in a way that incorporates elements of both static and fluid assumptions about ethnicity. During the 18th century the term was initially used by Dutch colonists to indicate their unique rootedness in Africa, even though they actually still spoke Dutch. The initial assumption of Dutch descent became irrelevant later when German and French settlers were incorporated into the 19th century definition. At this time the definition depended largely (but not completely) on uniting disparate settlers in opposition to British rule. The challenge was to forge an Afrikaner ethnic group from different economic classes and divergent levels of support for the British regime. What qualified one as belonging to an Afrikaner ethnic group varied somewhat according to historical period, Bullen, P: "The Rise and Decline of Afrikaner Ethnicism in the Twentieth Century" [] , 1990] .

While it may seem that the definition of "Afrikaner" is currently more problematic than before, such complexities were already present in colonial periods, as discussed below. Some have argued that the exclusive, racial overtones inherent in "Afrikaner" should be abandoned in favor of the linguistically more inclusive term, Afrikaanses.


The early Dutch colonists who claimed to be Afrikaners at the beginning of the 18th century did not constitute a distinct and new ethnic group. As first generation immigrants, they were culturally closer to their original ethnicities, (Dutch and later French and German). (Note that while the linguistic categories "Dutch", "French," and "German" are used as though they were homogeneous, they, too, comprised quite distinct dialects forged into unity through political and social projects, as indicated by the need to impose "Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands" in the Netherlands, for instance) see Dutch language. From the first assumption about ethnicity described above, this group over time formed a shared identity with a common language (Afrikaans), Protestant religious orientation, and cultural traits, distinct from--yet often borrowed from--their respective ancestors and British colonists. Yet while the early Afrikaners were largely Protestants, the Great Trek soon divided them into opposing religious factions. Economic differences existed which largely overlapped with regional variations between the western and eastern parts of the Cape colony, for instance.

;Cape Dutch:The colonists at the Cape who remained when others began to trek inland during the 1690s and into the 1700s and were generally more affluent than those who trekked eastwards. The Cape Dutch tended to be loyal or indifferent to the colonial powers and as such did not take part in the Great Trek.;Boers:Ideological and cultural divides emerged between the "Cape Dutch," Trekboers who migrated northwest, and Voortrekkers who moved northeast in the Great Trek. The term "Boer" (farmer) came to be applied to Afrikaners who settled along the eastern Cape frontier and the Republican Afrikanders who trekked inland during the Great Trek. While such distinctions are presently less pronounced, due to the free movement between all areas of the South Africa, regional dialects among Afrikaans-speakers remain.


Currently it is difficult to classify anyone as an Afrikaner – whether as ethnic or cultural group – based solely on a combination of language and race, just as it is difficult to classify someone as Anglo-African based solely on language (English) and race.

Even if a person is of obvious European descent and speaks Afrikaans as a first language, it is difficult to claim a genealogical link to the original Afrikaners of the Cape Colony due to intermarriage with other European settlersFact|date=February 2007, especially the large number of British descent, but also newer European immigrants including Italians, Portuguese and Germans, among others. A simple example of this would be a quite common occurrence of someone of British descent marrying someone of Afrikaner descent and raising their children in a bilingual home. Would these children be considered Anglo-African or Afrikaner?

The population of white or European Afrikaans first-language speakers are also far from homogenous with regard to religion, politics or cultural practices. The last census of 2001, reported a "white" population of 4.4 million, of which 2.5 million spoke Afrikaans as a first language and 1.4 million belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church (traditionally a church associated with Afrikaners, see Afrikaner Calvinism). From these numbers it is clear that a combination of factors have to be taken into account and these factors vary for each person as there is no one-to-one relationship between language, race, religion and ethnicity.

In 2004, South African journalist, Jani Allan, appeared as the guest on The Jeff Rense Show to a listenship of 17million. During the interview, Allan discussed the threats to the Afrikaners well-being in South Africa, particularly noting the South African farm attacks as well as poverty among Afrikaners. She went on to encourage Americans to sponsor Afrikaners' emigration to the US. Allan noted as the Afrikaners had roots in South Africa, dating back to 1650, they were trapped in South Africa. Unlike Anglo-Africans, Allan argued that emigration would be more difficult for Afrikaners. [cite web|url=| title=Whites are facing genocide, says Jani Allan| publisher=IOL| date =2006-06-04]

Even Afrikaner historian Hermann Giliomee described the classification – perhaps casually – as: (Afrikaans) "enige iemand wat lief is vir die land en wat lief is vir Afrikaans" (English: "anyone who loves the land and who loves Afrikaans"). Litnet, Onderhoud deur Gerrit Brand met Hermann Giliomee". [] ]

Another typical comment on the question of the supposed "Afrikaner" ethnic group from Harald Pakendorf an Afrikaans journalist: "To have a debate about Afrikaners seems almost absurd. Which Afrikaners? Who is an Afrikaner? Who will speak on their behalf? Hopefully, there will never be a debate about Afrikaners again. They are not separate enough from the rest of South Africa to be discussed as such." Mbeki, T. and Buthelezi, M. (1999), [ Report of the Government of the Republic of South Africa on the Question of the Afrikaners] , Speech delivered at the National Assembly, South Africa, retrieved 25 June 2006]

White nationalism

Another context for the current (in democratic South Africa post 1994) efforts to establish a clear and distinct ethnic group called "Afrikaner", is that of a small conservative group seeking self determination in the form of an independent country or territory which they call a Volkstaat. In order to be counted as a valid instances of ethnic nationalism, these groups must establish the existence of an easily identifiable and homogeneous ethnic group, because such a territory derives its legitimacy from the fact that it is a homeland for such an ethnic group.

Instances of ethnic nationalism which include a "white" race qualification or component is referred to as white nationalism. Such white nationalist groups often rely on controversial fields of study such as race science, population genetics and eugenics.

It is to this political background of an attempt at self determination that many descriptions or definitions of "Afrikaner" must be viewed. One example is the official newspaper of the right wing political party, the Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP), with the Afrikaans "Die Afrikaner" (English: "The Afrikaner"). It declares its goal as the "unashamed promotion of afrikaner nationalism". The modern context of Afrikaner nationalism for the term "Afrikaner" is therefore unquestionable. Basson J: "Die Afrikaner - mondstuk van die nasionalistiese Afrikaner", Strydpers Bpk, [] ]

ee also

* Afrikaner Calvinism
* Afrikaner cattle
* Anglo-Africans
* Afrikaner-Jews
* Huguenots in South Africa
* Whites in South Africa
* White people
* White Africans
* Settler colonialism
* Boers
* Cape Coloureds
* Cape Dutch
* Cape Malay
* Culture of South Africa
* List of notable Afrikaners


* Du Toit, Brian M. 1998. "The Boers in East Africa: Ethnicity and Identity." Westport, CT: Greenwood.
* Gilliomee, Hermann. 1989. "The Beginnings of Afrikaner Ethnic Consciousness, 1850 – 1915," in Leroy Vail (ed.) The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa. London/ Berkeley: Currey University of California Press, 1989. []
* Mackenzie, S.P. 1997. "Revolutionary Armies in the Modern Era: A Revisionist Approach." Routledge.
* Van der Watt, Liese. 1997. 'Savagery and civilisation': race as a signifier of difference in Afrikaner nationalist art, "De Arte" 55. []

External links

* [ South Africa - Poor Whites]
* [ South Africa: Poor whites are strangers in a new land]
* [ 2001 Digital Census Atlas]
* [ Afrikaner Nationalism Captures The State.]
* [ The Afrikaners of South Africa.]
* [ Afrique du Sud]
* [ mSN Encarta]
* [ Boer soldiers]
* [ British Policies and Afrikaner Discontent]
* [ The genetic heritage of one Afrikaner family]
* [ Afrikaans Wiki]
* [ ATKV - Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging]
* , by George Lacy (The North American Review / Volume 170, Issue 518, January 1900)
* [ Between Acknowledgement and Ignorance:How white South Africans have dealt with the apartheid past]

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