Afrikaans

History of Afrikaans as a language

By the end of the 18th century, the almost 26 000 – strong slave population of the Cape exceeded that of the Dutch speaking free burghers. This had a profound impact on the development of social relations in South Africa. Of the 63 000 slaves who were imported to the Cape before 1808, most of them came from East Africa, Madagascar, India and Indonesia, representing one of the broadest cultural mixes of any slave society. This diversity initially worked against the establishment of a unified group identity, but eventually led to a Creolised culture that among other things, played a major role in the development of the Afrikaans language.

Cape Town drew its population from Africa, Asia and Europe. Traces of all 3 continents are in the genes, language, culture, religion and cuisine of South Africa’s coloured people.

Proximity also meant a huge degree of convergence between owner and slave culture. The creolised version of Dutch eventually became Afrikaans.

Meaning of “Creolised” language: A language formed by a mixture of two languages and learned by later generations as their native tongue.

Afrikaans also developed as a lingua franca (trading language).

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