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Buren at a commemoration ceremony in 1938

As Boers (from afrikaans : Boere , literally farmers ), in their language Afrikaners , German spelling deviating from Afrikaaner , Afrikaander or Afrikander , outdated Cape Dutch or White Africans , the Afrikaans- speaking inhabitants of European descent from South Africa and Namibia have been called since the end of the 18th century . The word "African" for the population of European descent in the Cape Colony is attributed to the later Prime Minister James Barry Munnick Hertzog , who in 1891 wrote an essay on questions of nation building in the Cape Colony.

The term Africans is also used for a sub-tribe of the Orlam people living in the Cape region , which was named after their chief Jager Afrikaner .

Origin and Distribution

The Boers descend from the mostly Dutch , but also German- and French-speaking settlers who settled in the colony of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) on the Cape of Good Hope since 1652 . Since the annexation of the Cape Colony by the British at the beginning of the 19th century, some of the Boers moved inland and founded the Boer republics Natalia , Transvaal and Orange Free State as well as other short-lived republics. While Natalia became a British colony in the middle of the 19th century, the latter two lost their independence only in the Second Boer War 1899-1902. Parts of the Boer population were interned in camps for which the term concentration camps (literally: " concentration camps ") was used for the first time . Others fled north-west through what is now Botswana and Namibia to Angola (so-called Dorsland trekkers ).

The Boers were mainly arable farmers and cattle breeders until 1945. Many of them are Calvinists . Their almost four hundred year old roots in Africa are expressed in the self-designation as African . In contrast to the British, the relationship to a European mother country (in this case the Netherlands) had already been lost in the 19th century, despite the continued close linguistic relationship.

The Boers have been represented by the Vryheidsfront Plus as a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization since 2008 .

History of the Boers

17th to 19th century

Voortrekker (illustration around 1909)

In 1647 the Dutch ship Nieuw Haarlem was shipwrecked on Table Bay , and a temporary settlement was built for a year. Jan van Riebeeck founded Cape Town in 1652 as a fortified supply station for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Some former employees of the VOC settled as settlers in 1657. In the period that followed, the Dutch, Germans and French in particular immigrated to the country. In 1659 the first clashes between the white settlers (the term Boers had not yet been coined) and the San . On April 13, 1688, the ship Voorschotten reached Cape Town. On board were Huguenot families who had turned their backs on France because of their religious persecution under Louis XIV . They also introduced viticulture to the region. Dutch women were brought to Cape Town in 1679 to make up for the surplus of men.

In 1743 there were already 4,000 Boers living in and around Cape Town. Many of them pushed further and further inland as semi-nomadic ranchers. In 1779 the first clashes between Buren and Xhosa took place on the Groot Visrivier ( Great Fish River , today Eastern Cape Province ). This marked the beginning of the first of a total of eight border wars that lasted a century. In 1795 the Boers rebelled against the VOC and proclaimed a first Boer republic in Graaff-Reinet . After a brief French occupation, the British annexed the Cape Colony (Cape Town and the surrounding area), in which around 20,000 whites and 26,000 blacks and slaves lived. The first settlers moved inland. In 1803 the Cape Colony was returned to the Netherlands ( Batavian Republic ). In 1806 the British occupied the Cape Colony again. In 1814 they officially annexed Cape Town; the Cape Colony became the British Crown Colony .

In 1833 the British abolished slavery . 59,000 slaves were freed, but this hardly changed their social status. They continued to be exploited as cheap labor by Boers and British alike. As a result, more and more Boers emigrated from the colony and lost their economic base. From 1835 to 1845 the Great Trek led around 20,000 Boers to the areas beyond the Oranje and Vaal rivers . Reasons for this were, in addition to the abolition of slavery, the rejection of the English official language and the British legal system. The Voortrekker , the Boers who took part in the Great Trek, had previously made up around 20% of the Cape colony's population of European descent.

On December 16, 1838, after the battle on the Blood River against the Zulu , the Boers founded the Boer Republic of Natalia , followed in 1842 by the Orange Free State . The Boer republics of Winburg-Potchefstroom , Zoutpansberg , Utrecht and Lydenburg were established by 1844 . Under President Marthinus Pretorius , these four republics united to form the South African Republic with the capital Pretoria until 1860 . Racial segregation laws were enshrined in its constitution for the first time . In 1852 England officially recognized the republic at the Sand River Convention .

In 1853 the British Cape Colony received a constitution and limited autonomy: the right to vote was linked to income and thus indirectly to ethnic origin. In 1877 the Transvaal was annexed by the British. This triggered the Boer uprising in 1880/81, which is also known as the First Boer War . It ended in 1881 with the Peace of Pretoria and the independence of the South African Republic, although the British were given a say in foreign policy. From 1883 to 1902 Paulus "Ohm" Krüger was President of the Transvaal. In the British Cape Colony, Cecil Rhodes ruled as Prime Minister from 1890 to 1896 . He prepared the conquest of the Boer states.

Wars and apartheid

Boer Command in the Second Boer War

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, various “treks” from Buren, more than 2000 people in total, were Dorsland trekkers through the Kalahari to Angola . The first groups settled in Humpata ; some families moved on to the central highlands of Angola. They formed an extremely closed community that was inaccessible to innovation and which became impoverished over the decades. At various points in time, most of them returned to what is now Namibia and South Africa, where they were initially isolated as "Angolaburen", but then integrated.

The Second Boer War of Great Britain against the South African Republic and the Orange Free State took place from 1899 to 1902. After the initial successes of the Boer generals Smuts , Botha and Hertzog , the Boers lost the war against the militarily superior British. Their ruthless behavior (including interning family members in concentration camps ) forced the Boers to give up. In the Treaty of Vereeniging (1902), the Boer republics lost their independence, and Dutch was allowed to be used in schools and before courts. In 1907 Great Britain granted self-government to the former Boer republics and in 1910 the Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State formed the South African Union as a Dominion in the British Empire ; Only whites and some wealthy non-whites were eligible to vote. In 1925, Afrikaans became the second official language in the South African Union alongside English .

With the approaching Second World War, numerous Boers opposed the government under Jan Smuts, who had spoken out in favor of supporting the Allies . The “cultural organization” Ossewabrandwag (OB; German for example: “Ochsenwagen-Brandwache”), established in February 1939, united up to a third of all Boers who showed sympathy for the German Reich and National Socialism after the experience of the Second Boer War . The paramilitary wing of the OB, Stormjaers ("Sturmjäger") attacked South African soldiers of the Union Defense Force and carried out numerous attacks on the infrastructure of the South African Union. Many supporters of the OB were interned until the end of the war. Most of the OB's supporters were taken in by the Boer-dominated Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP), which split off from the ruling party in 1935 as the Gesuiwerde Nasionale Party .

After the election victory of the HNP (later: National Party or National Party), it institutionalized and reinforced the previous latent racial segregation and discrimination ( apartheid ) from 1948 . In the following period the white South Africans (mostly Boers) dominated the political and economic life in the country and the Afrikaans language was of great importance. The clandestine Boer organization Afrikaner Broederbond exerted great influence. However, the regime soon came under international pressure, and in 1994 the rule of the National Party ended with the first general, free elections .

After the end of apartheid

In 1990 a small group of Boers adhering to earlier social concepts bought Orania in order to live there according to the ideas of the people's state even after the end of apartheid . The African resistance movement pursued similar goals and committed terrorist acts. The Vryheidsfront ("Freedom Front ") was formed as a political party of radical Boers , which later merged with other parties to form the Vryheidsfront Plus . After the end of “old South Africa”, Boers, like other whites, emigrated by the thousands from South Africa. Burian parishes are particularly found in Great Britain , Australia, and New Zealand . The Georgian government is trying to bring Boers to Georgia . The aim is to modernize Georgian agriculture with their support. All Boers who decide to emigrate to Georgia get a Georgian passport quickly and unbureaucratically and are offered tax-reduced land for sale.

In 2006 the organization AfriForum was founded, which sees itself as representing the interests of the Boers and, according to its own information, has around 220,000 members (as of 2019).

See also


  • Johannes Paul : Germans, Boers and English in South West Africa. Accompanying word to a map of nationalities of Europeans in South West Africa. In: Koloniale Rundschau. Issue 9/10, 1931. (online)
  • George McCall Theal : History of the Emigrant Boers in South Africa. The Wanderings and Wars of the Emigrant Farmers from Their Leaving the Cape Colony to the Acknowledgment of Their Independence by Great Britain. Swan Sunshine, London 1888. (PDF; 26.5 MB)
  • George McCall Theal : History of South Africa Swan Sunshine, London
  • Volume 1. 1486-1691. 1888 (PDF; 11.7 MB)
  • Volume 2. 1691-1795. 1888 (PDF; 10.6 MB)
  • Volume 3. 1795-1834. 1888 (PDF; 13.1 MB)
  • Volume 4. The Republics and Native Territories from 1854 to 1872. 1900. (archive version)
  • Volume 5. From 1873 to 1884, Twelve Eventful Years, with Continuation of the History of Galekaland, Tembuland, Pondoland, and Bethshuanaland until the Annexation of those Territories to the Cape Colony, and of Zululand until its Annexation to Natal . 1919 Volume 1 (PDF; 19.3 MB) , Volume 2 (PDF; 15.4 MB)

Web links

Commons : Buren  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Bure  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Herman Giliomee: The Afrikaners. 'n biography. Table Mountain, Cape Town 2004, ISBN 0-624-04181-6 .
  2. Ulrich Ender: Afrikaaner, Afrikaander and Afrikander. In: Namibiana Book Depot. November 6, 2014, accessed January 11, 2019 .
  3. Christoph Marx : Under the sign of the ox wagon. The radical Afrikaaner nationalism in South Africa and the history of the Ossewabrandwag. (Studies on African History, Volume 22), Münster 1998, ISBN 3-8258-3907-9 , p. V ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  4. ^ Mark Mathabane: Kaffir Boy - An Autobiography - The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa. Free Press, 1998, ISBN 0-684-84828-7 .
  5. Christoph Marx: Afrikaaner-Nationalismus , 1998, p. 95 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  6. UNPO African brochure (PDF; 605 kB)
  7. Jan C. Visagie: Voortrekkerstamouers 1835-1845, Protea Boekhuis, Pretoria, 2010. pp. 14-15, ISBN 978-1869193720
  8. ^ G. Clarence-Smith: The thirstland trekkers in Angola - Some reflections on a frontier society. (English, PDF file; 2.5 MB)
  9. Petrus Johannes van der Merwe: Ons Halfeeu in Angola (1880-1928). Afrikaanse Pers-Boekhandel, Johannesburg 1951.
  10. ^ Nicolas Stassen: The Boers in Angola, 1928–1975 Protea Boekhuis, Pretoria 2011
  11. ^ Géraldine Schwarz, Alexandre Ifi: Georgia: Afrikaaners neue Land. (No longer available online.) In: arte TV. May 21, 2011, archived from the original on October 13, 2014 ; accessed on October 8, 2014 .
  12. Marlene Halser : The panic button. The daily newspaper from 29./30. June 2019, pp. 20–22.