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The Boere Volk



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Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State, Transvaal which are together known as the Boer Republics, and to a lesser extent Natal. Their primary motivations for leaving the Cape were to escape British rule and extract themselves from the constant border wars between the British imperial government and the native tribes on the eastern frontier.

Boers are a distinct group of the larger Afrikaner nation.

The Trekboers, as they were originally known, were mainly of Dutch origin and included Calvinists, such as Flemish and Frisian Calvinists, as well as French Huguenot and German and British protestants who first arrived in the Cape of Good Hope during the period of its administration (1652 – 1795) by the Dutch East India Company Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC. Lesser migrations of Scandinavians, Portuguese, Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, Poles, Scots, English, Jews, Russians and Irish immigrants also contributed to this ethnic mix.For more information on history before the Great Trek

Those Trekboers who trekked into and occupied the eastern Cape were semi-nomadic. A significant number in the eastern Cape frontier later became Grensboere ("border farmers") who were the direct ancestors of the Voortrekkers. The Voortrekkers were those Boers (mainly from the eastern Cape) who left the Cape en masse in a series of large scale migrations later called the Great Trek beginning in 1835 as a result of British colonialism and constant border wars. When used in a historical context, the term Boer may refer to an inhabitant of the Boer Republics as well as those who were cultural Boers.


The desire to wander, known as trekgees, was a notable characteristic of the Boers. It figured prominently in the late 17th century when the Trekboers began to inhabit the northern and eastern Cape frontiers, again during the Great Trek when the Voortrekkers left the eastern Cape en masse, as well as after the major republics were established during the Thirstland Trek. When one such trekker was asked why he has emigrated he explained, "a drifting spirit was in our hearts, and we ourselves could not understand it. We just sold our farms and set out north-westwards to find a new home."A rustic characteristic and tradition was developed quite early on as Boer society was born on the frontiers of white settlement and on the outskirts of civilization.The Boers had cut their ties to Europe as they emerged from the Trekboer group.The separation and declaration of the republics were made out of necessity rather than a personal choice. The Dutch were unwilling to protect the people they abandoned at the Cape of Good Hope.

The Boer quest for independence manifested in a tradition of declaring republics, which predates the arrival of the British; when the British arrived, Boer republics had already been declared and were in rebellion from the VOC (Dutch East India Company).The Boers of the frontier were known for their independent spirit, resourcefulness, hardiness, and self-sufficiency, whose political notions verged on anarchy but had begun to be influenced by republicanism. Most of the men were also skilled with the use of guns as they would hunt and also were able to protect their families with them.


The Boer nation is mainly descended from Dutch, German and French Huguenots, who migrated to South Africa during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. The Boer nation has revealed a distinct Calvinist culture and the majority of Boers today are still members of a Reformed Church. The Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk was the national Church of the South African Republic (1852–1902). The "Orange" in Orange Free State (1854–1902) was named after the Protestant House of Orange in the Netherlands.The Calvinist influence remains in that some fundamental Calvinist doctrines such as unconditional predestination and divine providence remains present in much of Boer culture, who see their role in society as abiding by the national laws and accepting calamity and hardship as part of their Christian duty.A small number of Boers may also be members of Baptist, Pentecostal or Lutheran Churches.


During recent times, mainly during the apartheid reform and post-1994 eras, many more white Afrikaans-speaking people, mainly with "conservative" political views and of Trekboer and Voortrekker descent, have preferred to be called "Boers" or Boere-Afrikaners, rather than "Afrikaners". They feel that there were many people of Voortrekker descent who were not co-opted or assimilated into what they see as the Cape-based Afrikaner identity which began emerging after the Second Anglo-Boer War and the subsequent establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910. Certain Boer nationalists have asserted that they do not consider themselves a right-wing element of the political spectrum.

They contend that the Boers of the South African Republic (ZAR) and Orange Free State republics were recognized as a separate people or cultural group under international law by the Sand River Convention which created the South African Republic in 1852, the Bloemfontein Convention (which created the Orange Free State Republic in 1854), the Pretoria Convention which re-established the independence of the South African Republic 1881), the London Convention which granted the full independence to the South African Republic in 1884 and the Vereeniging Peace Treaty, which formally ended the Second Anglo-Boer War on 31 May 1902. Others contend, however, that these treaties dealt only with agreements between governmental entities and do not imply the recognition of a Boer cultural identity per se.

The supporters of these views feel that the Afrikaner designation or label was used from the 1930s onwards as a means of unifying politically at least the white Afrikaans speakers of the Western Cape with those of Trekboer and Voortrekker descent whose ancestors began migrating eastward during the late 17th century and throughout the 18th century and later northward during the Great Trek of the 1830s in the north of South Africa, where the Boer Republics were established:Since the Anglo-Boer war the term "Boervolk" was rarely used in the 20th century by the various regimes because of this attempt to assimilate the Boervolk with the Afrikaners. A portion of those who are the descendants of the Boerevolk have reasserted this designation.


The supporters of the "Boer" designation view the term "Afrikaner" as an artificial political label which usurped their history and culture, turning "Boer" achievements into "Afrikaner" achievements. They feel that the Western-Cape based Afrikaners  whose ancestors did not trek eastwards or northwards  took advantage of the republican Boers' destitution following the Anglo-Boer War and later attempted to assimilate the Boers into a new politically based cultural label as "Afrikaners".In contemporary South Africa and due to Broederbond propaganda, Boer and Afrikaner have been used interchangeably despite the fact that the Boers are the smaller segment within the Afrikaner designation as the Afrikaners of Cape Dutch origin are larger. Afrikaner directly translated means "African" and subsequently refers to all Afrikaans speaking people in Africa who have their origins in the Cape Colony founded by Jan Van Riebeeck. Boer is the specific ethnic group within the larger Afrikaans speaking population


Afrikaners including the Boer subgroup are an ethnic group in Southern Africa whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch, and a variety of other languages. They are descended from Dutch Calvinists, Germans and French Huguenots, also Frisians, English, and minor numbers of other Europeans and non-European female slaves. During the Apartheid era, race classification was based on appearance and there were many borderline cases.

South Africans of British descent are considered a separate ethnic group from Afrikaners, and their first language is English.


The pastoral Afrikaans-speakers who developed on the Cape frontier were called Boers (boer is the Dutch word for farmer). They have often been considered a slightly separate entity from the Afrikaners,. However, the Boers of Trekboer descent who developed on the Cape frontier from the late 17th century are an anthropologically distinct group from the Afrikaners who developed in the south western Cape region who were often known as the Cape Dutch.It was only in 1910, with the creation of the Union of South Africa that the word Afrikaner came to widespread use to refer to both the Boer and Cape Dutch mainly because they spoke the same Afrikaans language.As a direct result of the Union, the majority Cape Dutch culturally assimilated the minority Boer people of the Transvaal and Orange Free State adopting a lot of the traditions and values of the Boer people within a new Afrikaner Nationalism:

Rugby, cricket, and golf are generally considered to be the most popular sports among Afrikaners. Rugby in particular is considered one of the central pillars of the Afrikaner community. The Springboks won the 1995 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.

"Boere-sport" also played a very big role in the Afrikaner history. It consisted of a variety of sports like tug of war, three-legged races, jukskei, skilpadloop (tortoise walk) and other games.

Voortrekker leaders
  • Sarel Cilliers
  • Andries Hendrik Potgieter
  • Andries Pretorius
  • Piet Retief
Great trek
  • Racheltjie de Beer
  • Dirkie Uys
Participants in the Second Anglo-Boer War
  • Koos de la Rey, general and regarded as being one of the great military leaders of the Second Anglo-Boer War.
  • Danie Theron, soldier
  • Christiaan Rudolf de Wet, general
  • Siener van Rensburg, considered a prophet by some.
  • Louis Botha, first prime minister of South Africa (1910–1919) and former Boer general
  • Petrus Jacobus Joubert, general and cabinet member of the Transvaal Republic
  • Paul Kruger, president of the Transvaal Republic
  • Eugene Terre'Blanche, founder of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging
  • Fritz Joubert Duquesne, a Boer Captain known as the Black Panther, served in the Second Boer War. Captured in Mozambique, he escaped prison in Portugal and returned to South Africa as a British officer. In 1901, he was caught planning to sabotage strategic British installations in Cape Town and sentenced to life in prison; however, he escaped and was re-captured several times again throughout his life. In World War I, Duquesne spied for Germany, earning the Iron Cross for allegedly sinking the HMS Hampshire thereby killing Lord Kitchener in 1916. He also served as a Nazi spy in the United States and, in 1941, he was caught by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the largest espionage case in U.S. history: The Duquesne Spy Ring.



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