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Thread: End of Era for Argentina's Afrikaners

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    End of Era for Argentina's Afrikaners

    Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina - Once they lived here in their thousands, but now only a handful of Afrikaans-speaking Boers remain in the windswept Patagonian coastal town of Comodoro Rivadavia and its hinterland.

    Between 1903 and 1909, up to 800 Boer families trekked by ship to this lonely spot on Argentina's east coast, about 1500km north of Tierra del Fuego.

    They had suffered badly in the 1899-1902 South African War. Some had lost family members in Kitchener's infamous concentration camps; others had their farmhouses destroyed by British troops.

    Most of the Boer men who shipped out to settle in South America, taking their wives and children with them, had fought in the war against Britain, the nation that had seized their former independent republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State. The Boers left because they had no desire to live under their conqueror's thumb.

    A century later, their numbers have dwindled. On Saturday, a small group of Afrikaans-speaking Argentines, descendants of the first Boers to set foot in South America, assembled in the town to greet newly appointed South African ambassador Tony Leon.

    The ambassador and his wife had travelled to Patagonia from the South African embassy in Buenos Aires, 1800km to the north, to meet the Boer descendants.

    "Speaking at the event, Juan Kruger, born in Argentina in 1947, told Sapa: "Ek glo nie jy sal meer as 20 Afrikaans-sprekende mense kry in die land [I don't believe you will find more than 20 Afrikaans-speaking people in the country]."

    Kruger was referring to those, like him, whose grandparents had come over at the beginning of the last century and still speak Afrikaans as a first language.

    It is a Patagonian paradox that the Afrikaners who helped turn Comodoro Rivadavia from a tiny settlement with few buildings into a large and noisy oil town, now number so few. Local legend says it was Boers drilling for water who made the first oil strike, in a region that currently supplies a considerable portion of Argentina's fuel needs.

    About a dozen Argentine Afrikaners, most in their fifties and sixties, gathered at a suburban house in Comodoro Rivadacia to speak to Leon. They served him tea and melktert, baked by Graciela Hammond, who learned the recipe from her mother, a Boer woman.

    Leon told them the South African embassy stood ready to help them.

    "If there is anything we can do for you, please let us know," he said. They handed him a commemorative book to sign. In it, he wrote: "Ek hoop dat hierdie gemeenskap, met sy erfenis en taal, sal in Argentinie oorleef [I hope that this community, and its heritage and language, will survive in Argentina]."

    The surnames of those present at the event could be found in any South African telephone directory: De Lange, Botha, Kruger, Norwal and Schlebusch, among others.

    Danie Botha, 67, whose daughter is a pharmacist in Comodoro Rivadavia, told Leon his forefathers had come to Argentina to escape the British.

    "You'll see no Afrikaners here who are well off. Other people who came here, such as the Portuguese and the Italians, they are wealthy. But the Afrikaners did not come here to make money, they came here to escape the English."

    He said the Afrikaner community in Argentina, which in 1909 had numbered about 800 families -- about three thousand people -- had made a "groot fout [big mistake]” in 1938, when many of its founders returned to South Africa, leaving their descendants behind.

    "Some of us never knew our grandparents," he said.

    Botha said he planned to visit South Africa for the first time in March next year.

    Sarah de Lange, who farms sheep on a 10,000-hectare farm granted to her grandfather by the Argentine government a century ago, told Sapa she made biltong.

    "Ek maak biltong van guanaco vleis [I make biltong from guanaco meat]," she said.

    The guanaco is a type of llama, about the size of a small horse, which runs wild in the region.

    De Lange said her biltong was quite different to beef biltong, but tasted good nonetheless.

    Jan Schlebusch, who was at the event with his wife Martha (nee Myburgh) and two of his three daughters, owns a sheep farm about 200km inland from Comodoro Rivadavia.

    Both daughters spoke Spanish, and neither understood more than a few words of Afrikaans, though Schlebusch said he was keen to have them visit South Africa.

    He himself had done so in 1990.

    Kruger said the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk in Comodoro Rivadavia had once had an Afrikaans dominee [minister], but he left in 1953, and a Spanish-speaking cleric had taken over.

    This, he said, had been a big factor in the decline of the Afrikaans language in the region, because the children no longer needed to learn it in order to understand the preacher.

    Afrikaans speakers used to gather each year in the Sierra Chaira mountains to hold Boere sports, but this too had ceased. There were too few Afrikaans speakers left, Kruger explained.

    Dante Botha, a cousin of Danie Botha, said the original Boers had come to Argentina "because of pride". His grandfather, who had fought with De Wet against the British, had been one of them.

    Speaking in Spanish through an interpreter -- unlike his cousin, Dante speaks no Afrikaans -- he described the Argentine Afrikaners as "a very closed community".

    An account by travel writer Bruce Chatwin of the Boer community around Sarmiento, inland from Comodoro Rivadavia, is at one with Botha's description.

    "They lived in fear of the Lord, celebrated Dingaan's Day, and took oaths on the Dutch Reformed Bible. They did not marry outsiders and their daughters had to go to the kitchen if a Latin entered the house," Chatwin wrote in his 1975 book, 'In Patagonia'.

    According to a report in the Sunday Times ten years earlier, there was "more Afrikaans than Spanish" heard in the shops, bars and offices of Sarmiento.

    Almost fifty years later, the days of hearing Afrikaans spoken in Patagonia appear to be drawing to a close.

    Sixty-five year-old Carlo de Lange - whose father was a small boy when his grandparents arrived in Argentina in 1905, two years after British soldiers had burnt down their farmhouse - said he thought the Afrikaans language would soon become extinct in the region.

    "Na my geslag is daar nie meer Afrikaans nie [After my generation there will be no more Afrikaans]," he said. - Sapa
    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_i...5254224C907283

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    This is a very sad tale

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    "They did not marry outsiders and their daughters had to go to the kitchen if a Latin entered the house," Chatwin wrote
    It is sad that this fundamental decency would be interpreted as rude and impossible today. "So you consider me to be on the same level as the negro?", the foreigners complain. It has become compulsory to advance the destruction of one's own ethnic group for the benefit of outsiders.

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    The people of Afrikaner descent mentioned and quoted in the article have typical Afrikaner surnames, but most have Latin first names. The combination looks decidedly alien to me. Considering when they would have been born and christened ("Juan" Kruger in 1947 f.ex.), it seems to me the community assimilated more quickly than is indicated by the fact that the Afrikaner-descended Argentinian youth now speak only Spanish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormraaf View Post
    The people of Afrikaner descent mentioned and quoted in the article have typical Afrikaner surnames, but most have Latin first names. The combination looks decidedly alien to me. Considering when they would have been born and christened ("Juan" Kruger in 1947 f.ex.), it seems to me the community assimilated more quickly than is indicated by the fact that the Afrikaner-descended Argentinian youth now speak only Spanish.
    Good point. Carlo de Lange sounds very Spanish to me, and that's the name of a 65 year old - born in 1944. Like most small settlements it got swallowed up by it's host population.
    I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger.
    I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night.
    Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power!
    I AM BEOWULF!

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    I will stop just short of saying these Afrikaners are not Afrikaners anymore. This is a an excellent example of what is happening to the Afrikaner today as more and more of our folk leave the country as they do not want to live under black biased rule. The mingling of their blood with South Americans is a tragedy as their genes are lost to the Germanic world. A sign of things to come for sure...

    PS: Tony Leon is a jew and previous leader of the Democratic Alliance...
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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    Grimner, it's quite cruel of you to say so, you know.

    I always supported the Boer cause and still do, and I even know a (young) descendant from Afrikaner immigrants who may join the new group I'm building.

    Descendants of Germanic peoples in Argentina number at least 4 million, and you could add more if you consider some northern Frenchs and so on. But let's just stick to the 4 million figure. Boers as 1.5 million as I understand, so Argentine Germanics outnumber the Afrikaners by far.

    Look at this Argentine crowd from Crespo, Entre Rios: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo...tud_Crespo.jpg

    I do not mean to start a fight at all, and actually I may be one of the few Argentines concerned about the Boer genocide at all. It's just sad that people think that Argentina is like Brasil or Mexico.


    And yes, it's quite a sad story, but Argentine Afrikaneers are not gone and any Boer is welcome here. I know that the best is for them to stay and fight, but considering the child rapes and murders I don't think you can blame a father from trying to protect his family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    and I even know a (young) descendant from Afrikaner immigrants who may join the new group I'm building
    You could rather send him our way (provided he brings no Latin culture or blood with him) in order for his being descended from Afrikaner immigrants to retain some meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    Boers as 1.5 million as I understand,
    More like 2.7 million, to be correct, though the point is off-topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    so Argentine Germanics outnumber the Afrikaners by far.
    Relevance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    It's just sad that people think that Argentina is like Brasil or Mexico.
    Argentina is exactly like Brazil or Mexico in the sense that there are no Afrikaner communities in any of these countries today. Other than that, sure, knowing that Argentina is different in the sense that she houses mainly a recombination of European ethnicities, is good common knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    And yes, it's quite a sad story, but Argentine Afrikaneers are not gone and any Boer is welcome here.
    Argentine Afrikaners are gone, since those of Afrikaner descent no longer use Afrikaans to participate in Afrikaner culture, and any Boer, welcome as he may be in your country, would ensure the same fate for his bloodline if he were to integrate into Argentine society.

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    Even if they use their language less with time, they do have some influence on culture and if people notice that then the culture is not gone. For that matter many German-Argentines in their colonies barely speak German but I can assure you German culture is present on them.

    The Welsh are another example. They had probably the most important Germanic colony in Patagonia, and even if some young (or not) people don't speak Welsh they marked Argentine culture and they still exist.

    Although, now that I see it your way you may be right, but there's no way a community stays as closed as that in a different place that it's homeland.
    That doesn't mean they do not exist as a community anymore, they are just changed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    I always supported the Boer cause and still do, and I even know a (young) descendant from Afrikaner immigrants who may join the new group I'm building.
    Thank you for supporting our cause Alqua, the fact of the matter is that you used the words 'know a (young) descendant from Afrikaner immigrants' not I know a young Afrikaner, this is proof enough that even you do not consider them fully Afrikaner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    Descendants of Germanic peoples in Argentina number at least 4 million, and you could add more if you consider some northern Frenchs and so on. But let's just stick to the 4 million figure. Boers as 1.5 million as I understand, so Argentine Germanics outnumber the Afrikaners by far.
    Names like Dante and Carlo are a clear indication of the state of Afrikaner culture of these Afrikaner decedents. If the Afrikaners integrated into Argentine-German society it would have been slightly better IMO. However the fact of the matter if you take Afrika out of Afrikaner you are not left with much. Folk is more than blood. It is soil, association, education and even religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    I do not mean to start a fight at all, and actually I may be one of the few Argentines concerned about the Boer genocide at all. It's just sad that people think that Argentina is like Brasil or Mexico.
    I am glad that as an Argentine Germanic you view these Afrikaner descendants in a positive light. I had a lady friend at school whose grandfather was an Argentine German and immigrated to SA After the Anglo-Boer War and I can honestly say I never viewed her as anything other than Germanic. Her and her sisters appearance was Germanic indeed complete with fair complexion, blond hair and blue eyes, a rather wider mouth though I don't know if that is an un-Germanic trait. Many Nazi's would not have fled persecution to Argentina if it was a wholly un-Germanic land, I also understand that Argentina is probably the most civilized South-American land and that can be largely attributed to the German/Germanic influence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    The Welsh are another example. They had probably the most important Germanic colony in Patagonia, and even if some young (or not) people don't speak Welsh they marked Argentine culture and they still exist.
    The Welsh are Celtic, though one of my favourite Celtic peoples they have and will never be Germanic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alqua View Post
    Although, now that I see it your way you may be right, but there's no way a community stays as closed as that in a different place that it's homeland.
    That doesn't mean they do not exist as a community anymore, they are just changed.
    Changed indeed, not lost but removed from what they where, I will support them but blood and culture is enough for me to say that they cannot reintegrate into our dying race.
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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