November 30, 2009

Population of the Boer Nation.

The Boer population is estimated at around 1.5 million out of a total White Afrikaans or Afrikaner population of about 3.5 million. This article from about 5 years ago lists this number. The fact that the Boer population is the smaller segment of the White Afrikaans population demonstrates that the Boers are marginalized under any umbrella macro designation [ like Afrikaner ] referring to White Afrikaans speakers in general & as such any attempts the actual Boer people make from time to time to find self determination is often erroneously even maliciously labeled as an "extremist" segment of a non existent monolithic population which was a technique started with the Maritz Rebellion of 1914 [ ie: it was a Boer movement not an Afrikaner one ] & continued up to the present. Just imagine the obvious absurdity of asserting that Canadians are "extremist" for exercising [ or even seeking to pursue ] self determination outside of the context of the bulk of the North American population.

July 17, 2009

The Cape Frontier: birth place of the Boer Nation.

The Boer people are often presumed to be "Europeans" & are also often conflated with the Cape Dutch Afrikaners but in fact the Boer people were not born in Europe nor were they born among the Cape Dutch but in fact the Boer people were born on the Cape frontier. When a number of the poorest members of the Caucasian folks at the Cape began to trek northward & eastward during the late 1600s & all throughout the 1700s they became the earliest migrating pastoralists who left the towns of Cape Town / Stellenbosch / Franschhoek & Paarl & were soon called Trekboers named after their nomadic & pastoral lifestyle they adopted in order to survive on the harsh Cape frontier. The Cape frontier consisted of everything to the north & Paarl & to east of Stellenbosch right up to the Brak & Sundays Rivers. The Boers developed their own language on the frontier which historians have classified as Eastern Border Afrikaans or Cape Frontier Afrikaans. Further evidence of where the Boer people germinated. The Cape frontier was the crucible which created the Boer Nation. The town of Swellendam which was established in 1745 was the first town the Dutch East India Co. set up within the Cape frontier in an attempt at controlling the Boers & this town would be one of the first Boer Republics established in 1795 when a number of the frontier Boers declared republics & rebelled against the Dutch power.

March 7, 2009

Generals but not Boer Generals.

During the discourse on South African history it is often asserted [ erroneously ] that Boer Generals ran South Africa from the time it was created until the late 1940s but this is a total canard because those asserting such have simply just not looked into the background of the so called "Boer" Generals. Louis Botha was a Boer but both JBM Hertzog & Jan Smuts were not Boers as they were not from the Boer communities but were from the Cape Dutch community of the Western Cape long before they moved into the then Boer Republics & later fought as Generals on the Boer side. A lot of different nationalities from around the world fought on the side of the Boer Republics but this does not then mean that they were "Boer" combatants. This is an important point because as they were both part of the Cape Dutch people: they brought THEIR worldview to the table when in power & not that of the conquered & subjugated Boers. Louis Botha was the only actual Boer General who ever ran South Africa - though he too did so on behalf of the British & Cape Dutch power.

Verwoerd was not a Friend of the Boer Nation.

The following is the video version of the previous post.

During an interview with the Right Perspective radio program: Theuns Cloete of Boervolk Radio noted that the Dutch born architect of the Separate Development phase of the Apartheid laws: Hendrik Verwoerd was not a friend of the Boer Nation as he was interested in amalgamating the region under an economic sphere & scuppered the restoration of the Boer Republics.

The Boers Were Not Racial Imperialists.

During the course of the 20th cent a number of mythologies were promoted recasting the humble insular Boers as neo-imperialists driven by a racial based worldview when in fact the Boers were always anti-imperial [ hence the root of their republicanism ] & were often in alliances with other local tribes or groups. While many Boers of the era could be considered to have had paternalistic racial views they were far from the racial chauvinists in the western sense as sometimes depicted. The following is a relevant excerpt from Colonial South Africa & the Origins of the Racial Order.

    Throughout the subsequent decades, it was (very anti-humanitarian) British settlers, and not Boers, who developed a rhetoric of racial and cultural superiority to justify ongoing imperial subversion of the Xhosa. Boers increasingly resented this imperial militarization of the frontier districts, proved unwilling military conscripts, and even on occasion showed some fellow feelings towards the African Chiefdoms. Certainly when new frontiers of imperial aggression were opened up north of the Orange during the brief period of British rule there at mid century, Boer and Sotho were to throw in their lot together quite openly at crucial junctures against the British presence.

    But the Trek cannot be said to have been motivated by a desire to conquer and subjugate. If anything, as that prominent (Boer) frontiersman born and bred, Andries Stockenström, pointed out, Boers were indifferent, if not hostile, to the acquisitive machinations of British settlers and rogue governors bent on military expansion. As Stockenström wrote, ' The theory which makes the black irreclaimable savages, fir only to be exterminated, like the wolves, was not of Boer origin' - implying ( correctly ) that explicitly racist notions about the Xhosa and other African peoples were a British innovation.

    The predominant ideology of the colonial frontier was thus decidedly predicated on the ideal of racial exclusiveness. But this did not imply that subjugation of the great mass of African farming peoples encountered beyond the Khoisan frontiers was either a practical possibility or even a desired ideal. This is were the earlier liberal interpretation breaks down. The power, the desire, the need to impose racial supremacy on a sub continental scale at the level of the state and its institutions was an impulse that had other origins at other historical junctures. White supremacy as a total system of hegemony and subjugation grew from the centers of power - meaning (in the main) centers of imperial power - outwards, and not the other way round. It was not on isolated frontiers that such an ideal took root.

From the author Timothy Keegan. Chapter: Dutch Beginnings: pages 35 & 36.

This salient fact contradicts the erroneous assertion often made that the Boers were somehow responsible for the institutionalization of racial policies which later emerged under the British controlled macro State of South Africa which in fact marginalized the actual Boer people in the process as they were now just a minority section of the general macro White population.

Racism of Boers was Paternalistic not Chauvinistic.

Westerners have often erroneously presumed that the Boers are racial chauvinists [ due mainly from the decades long propaganda of their British & other enemies ] when in fact they are not. This was even pointed out by non other than a left leaning Afrikaans blogger named Wessels at his Mhambi blog of which one of his articles on the topic is re-posted below. The paternalistic racism of some Boers is not in the same league as the harsh chauvinistic form of Western racism which often gets overlooked in the West.

    December 23, 2006.

    Myths and misunderstandings: South African white racism.

    Mhambi is regularly struck at how the British (and probably most Westerners) misunderstand South Africa racism. I just started a new job, and over a boozy Chistmas lunch, a new colleague told me of his lovely visit to South African shores.

    He had a lovely time but was gob smacked when he visited Sun City, playing a round of Golf on the famous course. It was not the fact that there are real crocodiles in the water hazards that shocked him. It was a sign "No caddies past this point" - on the border of a crocodile infested pit.

    For a start he did not use a caddie, that smacking too much of white-michief-type colonialism. In South Africa caddies are almost exclusively black. But the sign left him incredulous. "How could this racist sign still be up there, a few years after apartheid ended??" he asked me, clearly exasperated.

    Mhambi gave a well practised sheepish laugh. What to say? First off, I was not sure he and I saw it the same way. I certainly was not shocked.

    I deduced that he must think that white golf players send their caddies into crocodile infested pits to fetch their racist bwanas balls - hence the sign. And then he said as much. "How racist is that?!!" he asked rhetorically.

    I laughed even more, now my embarrassment was tinged with sadness.

    To me one could detect signs of racism in the sign, but of a different ilk to the one that had just been spotted and caused such disgust.

    The sign was directed at caddies, and not players who commanded them. The caddies were not mere automatons with no power to decide where they could go.

    In fact, the caddies probably scour the golf course on their own for abandoned balls, to sell them at a discount to players.

    They have a reckless disregard for the dangers of this particular course - hence the sign. That's how I saw it, and I'm pretty sure I'm right. But I kept this to myself.

    But my colleague can just not imagine that a caddie would want to try and get a ball in such a dangerous place.

    The Sun City golf course management and myself could. But for him, it was easy to imagine whitey golfers sending powerless caddies to their deaths.

    Does this misunderstanding tell us anything more profound?

    Yes. White South African racism, and in particular Afrikaans racism is of a paternalistic kind: It's a - our blacks that we can't trust to look after themselves - kind of racism. That is the racism this signs speaks of, and it is often mistaken for another more BNP / National Front / Klu Klux Clan - Western kind of racism.

    Does it matter? Of course. Any lawyer will tell you that the intention of an offender is essential in determining the severity of the crime.

Article found at this link. From: the Mhambi blog.

The Dialect of the Boers was Removed.

The dialect of Afrikaans as developed by the Boers has not been in official use since the early part of the 20th cent due to the fact that it was removed from the public sphere around 1921 including from the Parliament. Theuns Cloete of Boerevolk Radio noted this during an interview with The Right Perspective shortwave / internet radio program in December of 2007. Historians have classified the dialect spoken by the Boers as Eastern Border Afrikaans which was named after the eastern Cape region where the Boers & this dialect of Afrikaans developed. It is also interesting to note that the Boers did not give the name Afrikaans to the general / macro lingua franca language of the general southern western African region as the term Afrikaans was originally given to this language [ of which there are numerous dialects & spoken by numerous groups ] by the Cape Dutch intellectuals [ who started the propagation of the term Afrikaner stemming from the laguage ] of 1875 who started a language rights movement in order to get the language official recognition as a distinct language at a time when most of the Boers were independent in their internationally recognized Boer Republics & only ever referred to their Afrikaans dialect as "die taal" [ the language ] or Boeretaal. Update: A number of Boers today even call their dialect Boeraans since Afrikaans is the name of a general language with numerous dialects spoken by a diverse array of groups & the largest segment of White Afrikaans speakers are those from the Cape Dutch. 

This further demonstrates a difference in dialect with that as spoken by the Cape Dutch of the Western Cape. This article from the Times on the Boer Diaspora living in Argentina - who have been there since 1903 descendets of Bitterenders who did not want to live under British domination - notes that the Boers there speak an "older form of Afrikaans" when in fact the correct interpretation is that they speak the unadulterated Boer version as their language was unaffected by the political changes taking place in the then new macro State of South Africa which was inherited by the more numerous Cape Dutch & the consequent predominance of their Afrikaans dialect.

Westerners often have a one dimensional view of Afrikaans & often even view it as a colonial export when in fact the language is a homegrown product of many diverse influences which took shape entirely on African soil when the various people brought there by the VOC from Europe & Asia [ who were brought as slaves ] developed a lingua franca out of necessity in order to communicate among themselves. While Afrikaans did develop from the High Dutch dialect [ not form Netherlands Dutch ] spoken by the Germanic peoples of northern Europe [ mainly in modern day Germany & Denmark ] who were sent to the Cape as servants of the VOC: strong influences from Malay / Portuguese / French / German & Khoi have shaped it into a distinct language of its own with a number of various dialects some of which have died out. There are 3 main dialects of Afrikaans. West Cape Afrikaans spoken in the Western Cape / Northern Cape Afrikaans - of which Orange River Afrikaans is a part of - spoken by the Griquas & the remaining Khoisan people / Eastern Cape Afrikaans spoken by the Boers of the eastern Cape frontier & their descendents. The Boer dialect of Afrikaans has not quite disappeared but was overshadowed by the Cape Dutch originated dialect.

January 5, 2009

The Boers Are Not Afrikaners.

This gets complicated but the Boer people are in fact a distinct cultural group who are not part of the bulk of those who were labeled Afrikaners despite the fact that the Boers were among the first to be considered African before the descendents of the Cape Dutch took the term Afrikaner for themselves then later forced the Boers into this term to the detriment of their unique identity which was formed on the Cape frontiers away from the Cape Dutch / Afrikaners. While a number of modern Boers also often refer to themselves as Afrikaners & often justify it by noting that its definition is: African - the problem with this term is that it marginalizes the Boers & puts them under the domination of the more dominant Cape Dutch descended Afrikaners. The term Afrikaner obscures the fact that the Boerevolk are a distinct & independent nation which gets marginalized when lumping them in with those who are not part of their particular nation.

The Adoption of the OVS Vierkleur Flag.

The Orange Free State Vierkleur flag was adopted on Feb 23 1857 on the third anniversary of the Orange Free State Republic. The flag was designed in 1856 but was not adopted until 1857 due to conflicting proposals for the coat of arms. This flag served as the national flag of the Orange Free State until the conclusion of the second Anglo-Boer War. The red / white & blue horizontal tri colour flag in the canton recalls the tri colour which was used for the first Boer Republics at Swellendam & Graaff-Reinet in 1795 on the Cape frontier. The overall design of the OVS Vierkleur flag is loosely based on the national flag of the United States of America as the Constitutions of the two major Boer Republics were based on those of the United States & France. The Orange Free State Republic flag is notable within the popular De La Rey video noting the Bitterender phase of the second Anglo-Boer War.

The Adoption of the Natalia Republic Flag.

The Natalia Republic flag was adopted on December 24 1839. The Natalia Republic was a short lived Boer Republic established close to a year after the Battle at Ncome River. The Republic was later annexed by Britain in 1843 & most of the Boers there then trekked into the Transvaal & Transorangia where other Boers were establishing themselves. The first few minutes of the following video mentions this flag including a number of other 19th cent Boer Republican flags which are located in the Cenotaph Hall under the Heroes Hall at the Voortrekker Monument.

The above picture shows the Natalia Tri Colour at the Right.

The Adoption of the Vierkleur Flag.

The renown Transvaal Vierkleur flag of the old Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek - also called the Transvaal Republic - was adopted on this date Jan 6 1857. The same date as the birth of the ZAR itself which was then just composed out of the former Potchefstroom Republic joined with the Rustenburg district as the Zoutpansberg Republic & the Lydenburg Republic [ despite a prior agreement] were yet to join. Note: The Lydenburg Republic joined the ZAR in 1860 & the Zoutpansberg Republic joined the ZAR in 1863. Marthinus Pretorius [ the son of the famous Andries Pretorius & for which the later capital of the ZAR was named ] was sworn in as the first President of the ZAR on this date as well.

The Transvaal Vierkleur [ four colour ] flag was designed by a Dutch Reverend named Dirk van der Hoff & its red / white & blue horizontal tri colour motif recalls the first Boer Republican flag used at Swellendam & Graaff-Reinet in 1795 - during the time of the first Boer Republics - as well as the flag of van der Hoff's homeland of Holland. The ZAR Vierkleur flag was first raised at Potchefstroom. The Vierkleur was temporarily discontinued as the national flag of the ZAR from October 1874 until May of 1875 when Thomas Francois Burgers was President due to his dislike of the Vierkleur. The flag of the old Potchefstroom Republic was used instead during this brief time frame - but the Vierkleur was restored as the national flag of the ZAR by the Volksraad when President Burgers was abroad.

The Potchefstroom Republic flag was based on the Saltire flag used by the Voortrekkers who followed Hendrik Potgieter & was also used at the Winburg Republic as well as the later Zoutpansberg Republic. The main difference being that the Potchefstroom Republic flag [ as well as the one briefly used by the ZAR ] had a white border around the red saltire on the dark blue background thus adhering more to heraldic customs. This flag though was retained as the Presidential flag.

The Vierkleur flag was once again discontinued when Britain annexed the Transvaal Republic in 1877 but made a comeback again in 1880 when the local Boers rebelled against British rule thus starting the first Anglo-Boer War of which the Boers won & regained the independence of the ZAR in 1881 with the Pretoria Convention. Though Britain retained control of its foreign policy but that too later changed when the ZAR regained its full independence in 1884 with the signing of the London Convention.

The Transvaal Vierkleur [ as well as the OVS Vierkleur pictured at right ] became a very
important symbol to the Boerevolk during the second Anglo-Boer War as a symbol of resistance to British Colonial oppression in which close to 50 % of the Boer child population died in the concentration camps. Due to those circumstances the flag has taken on added significance other than just an old Boer Republican flag & is still flown by many today representing a nation which was almost wiped out but flies as proof of the continued existence of the Boer Nation.

The Commemoration of the Vow in Perspective.

There are a few misconceptions in the West about the Day of the Vow & the battle which occurred at Ncome River. First one must remember that this battle did not occur in a vacuum as the Zulus of Dingaan first massacred the Boers including young children at Bloukrans & Saailaager after Dingaan killed Piet Retief & his delegation earlier. [1] The battle at Ncome River of December 16 is sometimes called a "massacre" but this is a rather odd term to employ when considering the fact that the local Boers were under attack therefore: what occurred was an act of war & if the Boers sat back & did nothing to defend themselves then they would have certainly been massacred themselves.

Those who commemorate this day are not commemorating the battle itself as much as they are commemorating the Vow they took prior for protection. When about 15 000 Zulus under Dingaan decided to attack the Boers numbering less than 500 camped [2] in Natal: there was no choice left to the Boers but to defend themselves.

This battle was even avoidable because Pretorius sent back some captured Zulus & told Dingaan that he was prepared to enter into negotiations [3] for peace with Dingaan if he were to restore the vacant land south of the Tugela River that he had intially offered to Piet Retief before killing him & his delegation then later the civilians at Bloukrans & Saailaager. The King's response was in the form of the now famous attack on December 16 at Ncome River.

The Great Boer Trek. From: Stephen Crane.

Quote: [ The church in Pietermaritzburg and the annual celebration of Dingaan's bear witness that they kept their pledge. They were not fighting for revenge. On three occasions the scouts brought in some captured Zulus, and Pretorius sent them back to Dingaan to say that if he would restore the land he had granted Retief he would enter into negotiations for peace. ]

Therefore: the battle at Ncome River MUST be viewed in proper context.

The point of the battle was not about "massacring" or "defeating" or conquering the proud Zulu nation. Because the Boers would have defended themselves in exactly the same way if they were being attacked by the British / German or Spanish power. Furthermore: the Boers allowed the Zulus to govern themselves in Zululand after the battle & entered into an alliance with the new Zulu King Mpande for quite some time afterwards. The Zulus were not conquered until the British came & conquered them in 1879. Long after the establishment of the major Boer Republics.

Remember also that the Boers & Zulus had reconciled & in 1840 exchanged rocks of peace in commemoration of this reconciliation. The Boers & the Zulus also later stacked rocks as a symbol of peace in 1866 at Ncome River.

Pieter Mulder noted this fact as well in an Address in Parliament. On Feb 16 2005.

Quote: [ Go and read about the relationship between the [ Boers ] and the Zulus in Natal. How, after the battle of Blood river in 1840 they handed rocks of peace to each other and in 1866 came together at Blood river and stacked rocks as a symbol of peace. How Cetswayo gave land to the Boers after they helped and protected him. The Republic of Vryheid dates from that period. ]

The Boers might have been settlers to this specific region [ in Natal ] but they were not settlers to Africa as the Boers are a homegrown / indigenous people who were formed on the Cape frontier [4] & who are a distinct entity even from the Afrikaans speakers of the Western Cape. [5] The Boers did not have an "unfair advantage" because of their weapons as they were greatly outnumbered by the Zulu warriors. It was indeed a miracle that they survived even with the crude rifles they had because one must remember that they were no where near as effective as modern day rifles. The Zulus chose to attack at a most bizarre time of day & as such miscalculated thereby giving the Boers a slight fair advantage. Fair because they still had to fight for their survival against staggering odds.

The Apartheid regime did not start the holiday of commemorating the Vow as the South African regime only STOLE / usurped & co-opted this date because the ZAR [ Transvaal Republic ] declared it a holiday back in 1865. Long before the rise of the Apartheid regime. After a time of waning commemoration of the date: the later future President Paul Kruger - as part of a Triumvirate government - restarted the commemoration of this date in 1880 when the Boers were fighting to regain their independence from Britain & when the ZAR was re-declared as an independent Boer Republic leading to the first Anglo-Boer War.

The date of the battle at Ncome River was always commemorated by the descendents of those who participated in the battle then later adopted as a public holiday in the ZAR but it was not politicized until the 20th cent when the Cape Dutch were using it as a tool to co-opt the Boers into their agenda as a British appointed surrogate ruling power of the macro State the British created with an act of legislation in the British Parliament [6] which robbed the Boers of their republics & forced them into an artificial macro State which lumped all of the region's diverse national groups under a single administration for the first time ever.

I should also point out that this was a battle which involved the Boers camped in Natal & not "Afrikaners" as the bulk of the yet to be named Afrikaners of the Western Cape had previously taunted the Boers with impending doom of their trek & with exactly the sort of scenario that they ultimately faced at Ncome River -only the Cape Dutch thought that the Boers would all die off. It is also interesting to note that not all Boers made the vow [7] for fear of the consequences should their descendents break the promise. It appears that a few Boers had some insight into what could happen if one were to later take lightly a vow made to God. Which in fact is what one did see among many about 150 years later.

While the Zulus did at times appear as a military threat again: it is important to remember that the Boers were on friendly terms with the Zulus of the Northern Natal & King Dinizulu gave a large part of northern Natal to the Boers as payment for services the Boers offered the King upon his request when he was facing trouble from a British backed Zulu segment creating disorder in his region. The Vryheid Republic of 1884 was later established there in a portion of northern Natal until its south eastern half was annexed by the British & its north western portion was absorbed into the ZAR. or Transvaal Republic. None other than Louis Botha - one of the founders of the Vryheid Republic & Boer General & Statesman & later British puppet Prime Minster - was life long friends with King Dinizulu & released him from prison after the latter was found guilty of participating in the Bambtha Rebellion.


1. The Bloukrans Massacre.

Quote: [ At about midnight on 16-17 February 1838 the Zulus began their assault on the Trekker encampments over a 9 km front along the Bloukrans River. The Zulus fell upon the sleeping Liebenbergs, Besters and de Beers near the confluence of the Umlaas River (also called the Little Murder Spruit) and the Bloukrantz Rivers. ]

2. The Battle of Blood River.

Quote: [ On the morning of the 16th December 1838, some fifteen thousand Zulu warriors charged the 460 Voortrekkers, and charged again, and again for a third time but were repulsed. ]

3. The Great Boer Trek. From: Stephen Crane.

Quote: [ The church in Pietermaritzburg and the annual celebration of Dingaan's bear witness that they kept their pledge. They were not fighting for revenge. On three occasions the scouts brought in some captured Zulus, and Pretorius sent them back to Dingaan to say that if he would restore the land he had granted Retief he would enter into negotiations for peace. ]

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

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

5. The Great Trek. Wallace Mills.

Quote: [ Trekboers certainly recognised the differences in language, religion, etc. between themselves and the British. They had certainly developed a way-of-life and a set of values that were distinctive, but they were also significantly different from people of Dutch descent in the western province areas of the Cape. The latter regarded the Trekboers as rather wild, semi-barbarous frontiersmen and the sense of common identity was limited and incomplete. ]

6. The Republic of South Africa Electoral System.

Quote: [ The South Africa Act passed by the British Parliament in 1909 merged the self-governing British colonies of the Cape, Natal, Orange River and the Transvaal into the Union of South Africa, a dominion within the British Commonwealth. ]

7. The Great Trek. Oliver Ransford. Chapter 9.

Quote: [ It is interesting to note that Alexander Biggar and the other Englishmen in the commando joined in making the vow, but that five Boers abstained for fear of God's vengeance on their descendants if in years to come they broke the promise. ]

Post Script. Due to the fact that this event is often not well understood in the West: it is often distorted & used to infer that the Boers were conquerors when in fact under Piet Retief: they had initially negotiated a peace treaty with Dingaan for the use of vacant land which he had already promised to the British prior.