The Rise Of The New Communities

A Bastaard

Along the northern and eastern frontier people of mixed origin lived alongside and sometimes among the frontier burghers. They referred to themselves as Bastaards, not to denote illegitimacy, but to point to their status as ‘more civilised’ people, more attached to Christianity than the Khoikhoi or slaves. This picture shows ‘Le Bastaard’ in T. Arbousset and F. Doumas’s Relation d’un Voyage d’ Exploration, Paris 1842.

In the course of the eighteenth century new communities – defined by race, religion and culture, and differential access to land and power – began to emerge. In the almost complete absence of the written word, they lacked the prophets or scribes who could ‘imagine’ a new community and exhort followers to pursue a particular mission. They were tied together as a community through the spoken word.

Among the communities in the colony who began to crystallise in the eighteenth century were the ‘Bastaards’, Muslims and Afrikaners. Along the northern and eastern frontier, people of mixed origins lived alongside and sometimes among the frontier burghers. They were commonly called ‘Baster’ or by the Dutch word ‘Bastaard’, which referred to the offspring of liaisons between Europeans, slaves and Khoikhoi, but also to subordinate blacks who could speak Dutch and ride and shoot.

Bastaards

The muslim community

Afrikaners

The rise of Afrikaans

Patriots and a founding myth

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