This contribution does not intend to look at the historical origins of the Afrikaans language. Nor does it intend to grapple with the various theories which have been advanced in this regard. The concern here is the racial image of the “creolized” or “corrupted” (to use Pannevis’ coinage) Dutch, which was spoken during the nineteenth century and from which modern Afrikaans emerged. In a sense we are concerned with an aspect of Cape Afrikaans — a variant of Afrikaans — which is regarded as the oldest and which is confined to the Western Cape region. Nevertheless, this creolized DutchThe concept “creolized Dutch” for Afrikaans prior to the standardization of the language is used. In this regard 1 concur with Hans Den Besten that there was a Creole stage through which Afrikaans evolved. See H. Den Besten, ‘From Khoekhoe Foreignertalk via Hottentot Dutch to Afrikaans: The Creation of a Novel Grammar’, in M. Putz and R. Dirven, ed., Wheels within Wheels (Amsterdam, 1988). seems to have been widely spoken in the rural districts of the Cape Colony, but appeared to have been resisted by the more cultured Christians and upper classes in the mother city. In any case, this creolized Dutch was a dialect which had to be reckoned with, and was deemed absolutely necessary for any traveller desiring to explore the interior of the country. W.J. Burchell, Travels in the interior of Southern Africa, vol. 1 (London, 1953).
As to the origin of this creolized Dutch, and hence Afrikaans, it suffices to note that I am in agreement with Ronnie Belcher. R. Belcher, ‘Afrikaans en Kommunikasie oor die Kleurgrens’ in H. en L. Du Plessis, eds., Afrikaans en Taalpolitiek (Pretoria, 1987), 17. I, therefore, like him hold the view that Afrikaans is the result of communication across the colour line in the early history of South Africa. This process probably started immediately after the discovery of the sea route around the Cape by the PortugueseH. Den Besten, ‘Double Negation and the Genesis of Afrikaans’ in P. Muysken and N. Smith, eds.. Substrata versus Creole Workshop (Philadelphia, 1986), 186., but was greatly accelerated with the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck and the slaves; and the establishment of the Cape of Good Hope from 1652 onwards.
The Dutch, when they arrived at the Cape, found the country in possession of the San and the Khoi, whose languages and cultures were unacceptable to the Europeans. Changes in the language of the Khoi, the coastal people, had already occurred as a result of their contact with the Portuguese. Further changes in the languages of the indigenous people were to occur when the Dutch set about to impose their Dutch language upon them. The Dutch language appears to have been easily acquired by the indigenous people, though the Europeans never managed to acquire the clicking speech of the San and the Khoi. H. Elfers, The Englishman’s Guide to the speedy and easy acquirement of Cape Dutch (Cape Town, 1908), 3.
At about the same time, when the Dutch were linguistically subjecting the Khoi, they also imported slaves from Africa and South-East Asia. The very diversity of origin of the slaves suggests a diversity of languages. It is known, for instance, that among the South-East Asian slaves alone, there existed at least seven main languages and fourteen dialects; let alone the variety of possible Portuguese Creoles which might have been spoken by the African slaves. A. Davids. ‘Words the Cape slaves made: A socio-hislorical-linguistic study’. South African Journal of Linguistics, 8,1 (Feb. 1990), 1-24.
These slaves, too, were forced to speak the dominant Dutch. However, in such a polyglot society where the economic progress of the Dutch masters was dependent on communication with their servants, changes in the Dutch language were bound to have occurred.
These changes resulted from a fairly complicated linguistic process, the details of which are not relevant to this discussion. What, however, needs to be noted, is that in this process the Dutch of the colonists never passed through a pidgin stage. Their spoken Dutch, according to Den BestenH. Den Besten, ‘Einfuhrung in Geschichte und des Afrikaans by Edith Raidt’, Journal of Pidgin and Creole, 2,1 (1987)., changed from European Dutch via Cape Dutch and Early Afrikaans into Modern Afrikaans. A pidgin stage, however, existed for the Khoi and the slaves, while they were learning their Dutch masters’ tongue; and it was this pidgin which influenced the creolization of the Dutch spoken by the colonists.
It was thus not long before a medium of communication, which retained Dutch as its dominant component, but with elements drawn from the language of the Khoi, the slaves and other non-Dutch settlers, came into existence at the Cape of Good Hope. This medium of communication was intelligible to both master and servant, and soon became known as “Cape Dutch”. By the beginning of the twentieth century “Cape Dutch”, as it evolved more rapidly towards Modern Afrikaans, became generally known as the “Taal”. Elfers, Englishman’s Guide, 4.
This “Taal“, although appropriated by its white speakers to become the cornerstone of Afrikaner Nationalism from the second decade of the twentieth century, was not always positively viewed by whites. To them it was still very much a Creole — a kitchen language with no literary value. Hence in 1903, the grammarian W. S. Logeman, commenting on this language, said : “Cape Dutch is not a language, it is a patois”. Cape Archives (hereinafter CA), South African Bound Pamphlets (hereinafter SABP), 1903, W.S. Logeman, ‘Cape Dutch’, South African Associauon of Science. Even the “patois” label was already established in the mid-1870sCape Argus, 13 Sept. 1877.
At a lecture, delivered at the South African Public Library on 29 April 1882, the colonial linguist, Dr. Theophilus Hahn, not only used this label, but indicated that, although this Cape Dutch patois was “phonetically Teutonic, it is psychologically essentially a Hottentot idiom”. He said further:
“It can hardly be expected that the descendants of the Malayo-Polynesian slaves and Hottentot servants, who originally spoke an agglutinative tongue, will have any improving influence on an inflecting language”.SABP, 1882, T. Hahn, ‘On the Science of Language and its study, with special reference to South Africa’.
From his general remarks it would appear that he regarded Cape Dutch as being too simple a language with no literary future. Dr. Theophilus Hahn saw Cape Dutch as essentially the language of the people of colour who were resident at the Cape. This language was transmitted by them to whites on isolated farms and those white children they served as “nurses and ayahs”. Cape Argus, 13 Sept. 1877.
This notion of Cape Dutch as essentially an uncultured patois, seems to have been a popular one during the last decades of the nineteenth century. It contributed considerably to Afrikaans ultimately acquiring the derogatory nicknames of “kombuistaal” and “Hotnotstaal”, but it also reveals the negative race relations which prevailed in the mother city during the last century. Afrikaans, in nineteenth century Cape Town, was seen as a “coloured” language. Elfers, EngUshman’s Guide, 6. It is this “coloured” image of Afrikaans which this essay is about.
Who spoke the creolized Dutch?
It would appear, from the numerous accounts of the early nineteenth century travellers in the Cape Colony, that an interesting form of creolized Dutch was spoken in the country areas of the Cape Colony; and that it was necessary for them to have some knowledge of this “corrupt” Cape Dutch dialect for effective communication with the rural inhabitants. Some of these writers even detected differences in the “Dutch” spoken by the farmers and that of the Khoi; and found it necessary to acquire a knowledge of both. Burchell, Travels.
While we have some idea of the Dutch dialects spoken in the country areas, Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa vol. 1 (Cape Town, 1970), 87 (hereinafter SESA). there seems to be no clarity as to the nature of the Dutch spoken in Cape Town. The available evidence, pertaining to the nature of the spoken Dutch in the mother city, seems to be contradictory. The dominant impression created is that there was a difference in the nature of the Dutch spoken by the slaves, the Khoi and the Free Blacks, and that spoken by the white colonists, who shared a common environment in the mother city.
Cape Town in the nineteenth century was the cultural centre of the Cape Colony. Here the influence of the Dutch newspapers and closer contact with ancestral Holland, through regular visitors, could have had a constraining influence on the language of the cultured Christians and upper classes, preventing it fro m deviating fro m the standard norm.
What evidence we have of the changes in the Dutch of the upper class white colonists comes from Scholtz, SESA, 87. Teenstra, M.D. Teenstra, De Vrugliten Mijner Werkzaamheden Gedurende Mijne Reize Over de Kaap Goede Hoope na Java en Over St Helena na de Nederlande (Amsterdam, 1830). and Swaving. Professor Scholtz expresses the opinion that already as early as 1775 “a language which deviated from Dutch was used by the well-to-do burgher circles in Cape Town as well”. Scholtz bases this opinion on a letter which a thirteen year old by the name of C. H. Persoon wrote from Amsterdam to his parents in Cape Town stating that the “Caaps krom spreeken” (Cape’s speech was incorrect).SESA, 87. This example of Persoon is the only one which relates directly to the speech of the upper class burghers in Cape Town; and one is tempted to say that one swallow does not make a summer. Conclusive statements like Edith Raidt’s “Persoon se opmerking lewer die bewys dat ook die beskaafde kringe in Kaapstad die ‘Kaaps- Hollands’ gepraat het“,E. Raidt, Afrikaans en sy Europese Verlede, ISO. must thus be very carefully considered.
Then again, Teenstra, who visited the Cape in 1823, observed that a ‘somewhat degenerate’ Dutch was spoken at the Cape of Good Hope. To give an idea of this “language with its main differences and its particular manners of speech and expressions”, which was “peculiar to the inhabitants of Cape Town and the rural area”, Teenstra, quoted in SchoUz, SESA. he created an interesting 300 word dialogue. This dialogue, which he sets in Caledon, is between a farmer and his wife; and includes a pidgin sentence spoken by their slave, November. Teenstra, De Vruchten. Though Teenstra’s dialogue remains important and interesting in the annals of the history of Afrikaans (simply because it is the first conscious attempt at Afrikaans writing) its setting in Caledon makes it difficult to be accepted as an example of the “Dutch” which was possibly spoken in Cape Town in 1825.
J. G. Swaving probably gives us the clearest divide of the people speaking the creolized Dutch in Cape Town in 1828. Swaving was an interpreter at the Cape Supreme Court, and as such, had contact with a wide-section of the people in Cape Town.SESA, 88. He claimed that he was acquainted with
“that kind of bastard Dutch which was spoken in this country by the farmers and slaves, as well as among the Hottentots and various other heathen races, and which is not entirely absent fro m the speech of even the most cultured among Christians and the upper classes of people”.
This “bastard Dutch” contained a number of Malay, Portuguese and Cape created words, but did not, to him, sound half as strange as the Dutch Creoles spoke in Barbary, Essequibo and Surinam.  SESA, 88.
Swaving’s observations are interesting. He confirms that the creolized Dutch was essentially the spoken language of the lower classes in Cape Town. The Khoi, the Free Blacks and the slaves together constituted the bulk of the lower class people in Cape Town in 1818. In that year the city’s population stood at 19 900, of which 7 400 were white, 573 Khoi, 19 033 Free Black and 8,272 slaves. SESA, 88. Swaving does not see a difference in the “Dutch” spoken by this lower class and the farmers; and became the first of the writers to suggest a class linguistic rather than a racial linguistic devide in the population at the Cape of Good Hope. The farmers were by most regarded to be part of the Colony’s lower class people. This is evident from Pannevis, who in 1873 pleaded for the translation of the Bible into the “corrupt Dutch” for the “banj a eenvoudige blanke en bruin mense wat in Zuid-Afrika woon“(many simple white and coloured people resident in South Africa). L.T. Du Plessis, ‘ ‘n Kritiese beskouing vandieindentifikasie van die Afrikaanse Taalbewegings en hulle funksies'(unpubiished M A thesis, University of the Orange Free State, 1983), 105.
It is also obvious from Swavings’ observation that the “most cultured among the Christian and upper classes” (who in Cape Town in the 1820s were exclusively white) had great difficulties in keeping their spoken language as pure as the High Dutch of Holland. And though the “bastard Dutch” of the lower class population was resisted, the speech of the upper class was not entirely free from influences from the creolized Dutch and English in their midst. Their effort to retain the purity of their Dutch after 1806 with the Second British Occupation, when English became the language of administration, and from 1822, when English was vigorously pursued as the official language,SESA,. 88. became intensely complicated.
Throughout the nineteenth century there was resistance to this process of anglicization by the Dutch speakers. Dutch was continuously pursued as the language of the Dutch Reformed Church; and private Dutch schools were established in resistance to the official language policy. In a further endeavour to retain the purity of their language, the cultured Christians and upper class established their own Dutch newspapers. The influence of Dutch, as an upper class living language, was tremendous. Even popular English newspapers, like the South African Commercial Advertiser, deemed it necessary to carry news reports and editorials in both Dutch and English. Raidt. Afrikaans. 203. But English, however, gradually made its impact on the spoken Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope; and by the 1870s, Dutch appeared to be spoken only by the older generation of the upper class. This is commented upon in the first editorial of Die Afrikaanse Patriot. The relevant portion of the editorial reads:
“Die ou’e Patriotte hou vas, en klou vas aan die ‘Hollandstaal’; die jong mense vind the ‘Engelse’ taal so danig mooi, en ‘oertui’e gaat net so moeilik, as om steeks perde te leer pronk in die voortuig”. Die Afrikaanse Patriot, 15 Jan. 1877.
The efforts of the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (GRA), a white organisation which was established in Paarl in 1875 to promote the creolized Dutch (which they now called Afrikaans) for nation building, was not very enthusiastically received by the cultured upper class in Cape Town. Afrikaans was still seen as the “street language of the lower class”; and hence, it is not surprising to find the following response to the GRA in the Cape Argus in 1877:
“An attempt is being made by a number of jokers near Cape Town to reduce the “plat Hollands” of the street and the kitchen to a written language and perpetuate it. They are carrying their joke well. They have a newspaper, have published a history of the colony, an almanack, and to crown the joke — a grammar. It is impossible to read these publications without laughing, because one cannot help feeling while reading that the writers are themselves laughing while they write. The spelling, the words, the idiom, the grammar — all such may at any time to taken phonetically from the mouth of any old Hottentot. Add to this that there is an evident effort on the part of the writers to say what they have to say with all the dry sly humou r of that gentleman, especially if he is “een bietje gedrenk”. The promoters of the Patriot (accent the last syllable) movement are laughed at and ridiculed but they stick to their joke”. Cape Argus, 13 Sept. 1877.
The promotion of Afrikaans by the GRA was not a laughing matter. They were interested in the unification of the white Afrikaners as a nation; and were aware that the language differences created a cultural distance between their various classes. And although the GRA did not last long as an organisation, their promotion of Afrikaans created a crisis for the cultured upper class Afrikaners. They were faced with the rapid strides of English as the cultured language, so much so that even their names were anglicised. They could not decide if they were “Van der BijI or “Wanderbile”or “Van de Ven” or “Wandewen” and because of this J. H. Hofmeyr earnestly pleaded for education, “ook in het Hollandsch…in de taal der kerk waartoe zij behooren”. J.H. Hofmeyr, ‘Is t ons Ernst?’, Hertiog Annale, March 1952, 14-6.
One could well understand this crisis. The majority of publications, which in the nineteenth century used creolized Dutch, did so for comic effect. A typical example is the Zamespraak of L. H. Meurant which appeared in 1861, and which is generally regarded as the first printed book in Afrikaans. L.T. Du Plessis, Afrikaans in Beweging (Bloemfontein, 1986). The cultured upper class could not decide if this language was a “kombuistaal” or a “Hotnotstaal” or for that matter a “Taal” at all. Attitudes towards Afrikaans in the white cultured upper class seems to abate only after 7 July 1905 when Johannes Visscher, as editor of De Vriend des Volk, declared in his first Afrikaans editorial, “om in die eerste plaas te wys dat ons Afrikaans nie beskou as ‘n kombuistaal nie: daarom het ons dit die slag in die voorkamer geset” (to in the first place show that Afrikaans is not a kitchen language, we placed it on this occassion in the sitting room). P.J. Nienaber, ‘Die Taalstryd in die Vrystaat’, Hertzog Annale, June 1952.
Thus, while white Afrikaners in the Orange Free State were trying to put Afrikaans in their sitting rooms, it was already acknowledged as the language of the “coloured” people. At Genadendal, Afrikaans was effectively used for letter writing at the end of the nineteenth century, Belcher, ‘Afrikaans’. while in the Cape Peninsula it was used for the transmission of religious ideas, albeit in the Arabic script. Davids, “Words the Cape Slaves made’, 19. Commenting on the extensive use of Afrikaans in South Africa in 1908, Hubertus Elfers, a Dutch grammarian, wrote:
“Perhaps the best representatives of Cape Dutch are to be found among the Malay population in the Cape Peninsula, whose worship is conducted in a foreign tongue, and the Bastard born and bred at German mission stations, where Cape Dutch forms the only medium of expression. Among either of these classes one may find a readiness of speech unalloyed with foreign elements, which provides easy vent for all sentiments and every feeling, though confined to the narrow limits of a patois.”Elfers, EngUshman’s Guide, 6.
This statement of Hubertus Elfers says much for the kind of Afrikaans which was spoken by the “coloured” community at the time. It confirms, however, that they were speakers of this creolized Dutch, thus giving to Afrikaans a definite “coloured” image, at a time when this language was gradually and effectively appropriated by the white Afrikaners for nation building. The “Afrikaner volk” needed a cementing issue which would cut across the cultural distance of its various classes. The Afrikaans language was the most convenient tool. Afrikaans must be given a white image, and its roots firmly established in ancestral Holland. A. Davids, ‘Die Afrikaanse Taal en Politieke Mag’, Paper delivered at a symposium on Hernuwing in Afrikanerdenke, Randse Afriltaanse Universiteit, 1990.
The main speakers of this language, the “coloured” people of Cape Town, never claimed Afrikaans as theirs. It was others, especially the journalists of the 1820s, who put the creolized Dutch in the mouth of “coloured” speakers for satire and comical effect. Thus for instance, in 1830, Charles Etiene Boniface, as editor of De Zuid Afrikaan, published an interview with a Khoi, Hendrick Kok, who apparently visited him in his office; and subsequently used the same creolized Dutch in the mouth of his Khoi characters in the Temperantisten with excellent effect. Similarly, in 1838, Andre Gebbes Bain effectively used the creolized Dutch for satire and comic effect in Kaatje Kekkelbek: or Life among the Hottentots. Raidt, Afrikaans, 143.
Who was Paay Schaapie de Oude?
Probably the most exciting of the efforts of these journalists is the letter which appeared in the South African Commercial Advertiser of 14 November 1829. This letter was written under the no m de plume of “Paay Schaapie de Oude“. Apart from determining the Afrikaans-ness of this letter, Professor Scholtz very effectively argues that it was written by Louis Henri Meurant. Meurant was a friend of Creig, who was the assistant editor of the South African Commercial Advertiser at the time. Fifteen years later Meurant became the editor of Het Kaapse Grensblad and wrote a series of letters which in style and language usage, conforms closely to this letter. J. Scholti, Afrikaans uit die vroee tyd: Studies oor die Afrikaanse taal en literêre volkskultuur van voor 1875 (Kaapstad, 1965), 16.
Meurant could well have been the author of this letter, but the nom de plume used, is an interesting one: Paay Schaapie, having been the name of a well known Cape Muslim religious leader, who lived in Cape Town during the begining of the nineteenth century. It also indicated that the letter was written in Cape Town. The nom de plume selected, suggests that the author wanted to give his readers an idea of the creolized Dutch spoken by the Cape Muslim community at the time. Maybe this will become clearer, if we determine who Paay Schaapie really was.
Paay Schaapie, also known by the names of Tuan Nuruman or Imam Norman, was banished to the Cape from Batavia in 1770. On his arrival here, he soon acquired the reputation of being an advice-giver to the slaves, and of having the ability of predicting the future. He was also known for the power of his “Azeemats” or talismans, and his services as a spiritualist were widely sought after. R. Ross, The Cape of Torments: Slavery and Resistance at the Cape of Good Hope (London, 1983). The anonymous English officer, who authored Gleanings in Africa, actually saw Paay Schaapie performing a healing exercise. He wrote:
“I had an opportunity of seeing he was equally skillful in the art of curing the diseases of the body, as well as the soul. A young woman, neatly dressed, with her long hair closely plaited up behind, presented herself before him, and giving him to understand that she was indisposed, asked his advice. With the greatest composure he took a small box from his sack, and striking into it a few sparks fro m the steel, it immediately caught fire, and emitted a somewhat fragrant vapour, with which he bedewed the forehead and temples of the fair supplicant. It had an instantaneous effect, for she took her leave with a look of gratitude and apparent relief from her pain.'” Anonymous., Gleanings in Africa, manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope (London, 1806).
His ability to minister to the spiritual needs of his community also brought him into conflict with the authorities. In 1786, he assisted a group of run-away slaves by giving them a talisman or “Azeemat” for spiritual protection. These slaves were unfortunately re-captured, and when the talisman was found on them, Paay Schaapie was incriminated in their escape. He was considered dangerous enough to the safety of the Colony to be incarcerated on Robben Island.Ross, Cape of Torments.
On his release from Robben Island, Paay Schaapie again became involved in the spiritual affairs of the Cape Muslim community, officiating as the Imam or Priest at their numerous communal religious functions. CA, A602/9, S.E. Hudson, ‘Slaves’, Book 4. It was during this time, while he was living in the Slave Lodge, that he dug out a hole on the Rump of Lion’s Head, near Green Point, as a drinking spot for the animals grazing in this area. A. Davids, History of the Tana Baru (Cape Town, 1985). This hole, which is mentioned in the Minutes of the Raad der Gemeente (the Local authority of Cape Town), of 30 August 1805, CA, RDG 2, Minutes of de Raad der Gemeente, Oct. 1805. later became known as Paay Schaapie Dam, and is referred to by Scholtz in his article. Scholtz, ‘Afrikaans’.
During the rule of the Batavian Republic at the Cape, Paay Schaapie became a firm friend of General Janssens. This friendship probably assured for him and his daughter free lodging in the Slave Lodge. But more important, Janssens gave Paay Schaapie, as a token of their friendship, a piece of land at the top of Longmarket Street on the Lion’s Rump, as a burial ground for him and his family. It is on this site where Paay Schaapie’s grave can be found. It is a simple grave, without any containing structure, but greatly revered by the Cape Muslim community. In accordance with his own wishes, no shrine was ever erected on his grave. De Verszamelaar, 21 June 1842.
Paay Schaapie was certainly a well known personality in Cape Town during the early years of the nineteenth century. The selection of his name as a nom de plume on a letter in 1829, could only mean that the writer, whoever he might have been, wanted to associate the language or the contents of the letter with Paay Schaapie. Because this letter is written in the creolized Dutch, we can only surmise that Meurant, if he indeed was the writer, wanted to give his readers an idea of the language used by the Free Blacks in 1829. If this was indeed the case, we once again have an instance where the creolized Dutch was being regarded as the language of the “coloured” community in Cape Town during the early years of the nineteenth century.
The language debate of 1844
In any society, where the lower class constitutes more than half the population, and where they play a crucial role in the economic viability of that society, the language of this class, and their mannerisms of speech, are bound to make an impact on the broader society. This seems to have happened at the Cape in 1844. And this is possibly what A. N. E. Changuion, Professor of Dutch at the South African Athenaeum, observed about the spoken Dutch of Cape Town at the time. According to his observations, the upper class in the mother city was deviating from the pure Dutch and were developing their own language characteristics. They for example were saying: “Ik is jammer voor jou“, instead of “Ik heb medelijden met u“; and again: “Eks als moeg al, ik kannie meer loopenie“, instead of “Ik ben moe, ik kan niet meer loopen“.
Professor Changuion also noticed that they were using words such as “baatje” (jacket), instead of the Dutch “mouwvest“, “aspres” (on purpose), instead of the Dutch “opzettelijk“, “motje“(for aunt) instead of “tante“, “moddras“(mud) instead of “modder“; “memme” (foster-mother) instead of “min” or “voedster“; “danebol” (pinecone), instead of “dennebol“, etc. He was also intrigued with their use of English and other words like: “dressen” (to dress); “allah” (as an exclamation on being hurt – from Turkish); “criediet” (credit); “kardoes” (paperbag – from French) etc., which laced their spoken Dutch.
The words and sentence construction which Changuion cited as examples of the Cape language characteristics, are all today recognised as Afrikaans. Some of these words and phrases were never, however, incorporated into Standard Afrikaans, but they continue to exist in the dialect and spoken language of a vast section of Afrikaans speakers in Cape Town. Thus fo r instance, in Bo-Kaap Afrikaans one still hears: “Ek bly in die Bo-Kaap“, instead of “Ek woon in die Bo-Kaap“. Similary the words “memme“, “moddras“; “aspris” and “motjie” (for woman), are still in regular use.
Nevertheless, in 1844 these words and expressions were of concern to Professor Changuion, who probably heard them from his students, and in an effort to correct the Dutch spoken in Cape Town wrote De Nederduitsche Taal in Zuid-Afrika hersteld. Of particular interest to the language student, is the appendix to the book. This appendix, titled “Proeve van Kaapsch Taaleigen“, is a list of common words and expressions, which was used at the time and deviated from Dutch. It is remarkable that many of these words and expressions were never absorbed into Standard Afrikaans but continue to exist as colloquialisms among ‘coloured’ Afrikaans speakers in the Cape Peninsula. Changuion was, however, aware that his observations on the white settler usage of Dutch were going to be met with opposition. Hence, in the preface to the appendix, ‘Proeve van Kaapsch Taaleigen’, he wrote:
“Van beschaafde sprekers onder de Kapenaars verwachten wij een tegevergesteld verwijt, dat al te groote volledigheid – ‘Zo’, zullen sij zeggen, ‘sproken wij toch aan de Kaap niet.'” (From the civilized speakers among the Capetonians we expect an outright rebuttal: ‘Like that’ they will say, ‘we do not speak in the Cape’”.)A.N.E. Changuion, De Nederduitsche Taal in Zuid-Afrika Hersteld (Cape Town), 18.
As expected, Changuion’s observations did not go unchallenged. Civilized speakers of Dutch denied that they spoke in the way indicated by Changuion. They were in fact indignant. Shortly after the appearance of his book another publication, outrightly rejecting his findings, appeared in Cape Town. The second book was written by Mr J Suasso de Lima, a known Cape publisher and writer. De Lima’s book was called De Taal de Kapenaren tegen de schandelijke aanranding derzelve van Professor Changuion. It is clear from the title that de Lima was angry. Changuion had insulted the civilized Dutch speakers in the mother city, and de Lima was going to defend their honour.
De Lima conceded that there might de differences, and deviations, in pronunciation from the Dutch of Holland. There might also be a tendency to use English words in the spoken dialogues; but similarly there are French words in the conversations of Dutch speakers in Holland. To suggest that they spoke in the way that Changuion indicated, was in fact an insult. Changuion was accused of creating a treatise of lies and fabrications.
De Lima regarded Changuions’examples of “Kaapsch Taaleigen” as broad generalisations – examples taken from the Dutch used by the Khoi and the lower class people in Cape Town. It in fact shows that Changuion was in touch with the Khoi. He further accused Changuion of making “woorden bekend die honderde Zuid Afrikanen nooit gehoord hebben” (words known which hundreds of South Africans had never heard before). De Lima suggested that Changuion should have called his book “Den Kapenaar belagchelijk gemaakt, en zijnen spreektrant op de leest gebragt van den woesten Hottentot“. If he had done this, writes de Lima, his book might have served its purpose better, but would certainly not have attracted as vast a number of subscribers! A second edition of Changuion’s book was issued in 1848.
Whether or not Changuion was correctly projecting the language usage of all the Dutch speakers in Cape Town, is difficult to say. De Lima certainly did not think so. To him there was a distinct difference in the Dutch spoken by the various classes resident in Cape Town in 1844. There was the Dutch spoken by the cultured upper class – a kind of Dutch which basically conformed to the High Dutch of Holland; and there was a creolized Dutch, spoken by the “onbeschaafde volksklasse” (uncivilized classes). As far as he was concerned, Changuion was projecting the Dutch spoken by the lower class. J.S. De Lima, De Tu d der Kapeiuren (Cape Town, 1844).
De Lima might have been correct in his observations. In 1908, Hubertus Elfers also noted that there were two kinds of Dutch spoken in South Africa. The one a “language lacking the grammatical niceties of the Dutch of Holland”, which was used in churches, schools, the courts and even parliament. The other “a real patois”, which was low and undeveloped; and of which among the best speakers were “the Malays of the Cape Peninsula”. Elfeni, The Englishman’!! Guide, S. Elfers’ observation in the light of my current research on Arabic-Afrikaans, appears to be correct. Many of the Arabic-Afrikaans publications from between 1894 and 1910 show stronger Afrikaans tendencies, with a lesser influence of the Dutch orthography than the Roman script publications of the same period. This is evident from my current research on Arabic-Aftikaans.
What this study shows is that different kinds of creolized Dutch were spoken in Cape Town and in the country areas; but whereas there was a stronger tendency towards the general Creole in the country areas the upper classes in Cape Town tried to keep their Dutch to conform as closely as possible to the High Dutch of Holland. The creole speakers in nineteenth century Cape Town were mainly the slaves, the Khoi, the Free Blacks and the lower class whites. The fact that they were the majority — more than fifty percent of the population — led to their Creole having an influence on the spoken Dutch of the cultured class.
Many of the travellers to the Cape in the early nineteenth century recognised that there was a creolized Dutch spoken in the rural areas and that this was essentially a lower class dialect. Swaving, who resided in Cape Town, pointed out that this creolized Dutch was the language of communication of the farmers, the slaves, the Khoi and the Free Blacks; and that this language also had an influence on the cultured Christian upper class. The view that the creolized Dutch was essentially a lower class dialect, is also supported by the tendency of the various nineteenth century Cape Town journalists, to place the creolized Dutch in the mouths of ‘non-white’ speakers. I have cited the use of the nom de plume, “Paay Schaapie de Oude“, as a case study and example.
But possibly the clearest evidence we have that the creolized Dutch from which Afrikaans emerged, was in Cape Town the dialect of the ‘coloured’ community, comes from de Lima’s rejection of Changuion’s observations. De Lima makes it perfectly clear that what Changuion projected as the language characteristics of the Cape were in fact the mannerisms of speech of the Khoi and the other lower classes living in Cape Town at the time. It is interesting to work through Changuion’s word list — “Proeve van Kaapsch Taaleigen” — and note how many of these words, which have not been absorbed into Standard Afrikaans, still exist in the Afrikaans dialect of the Cape Flats and the Bo-Kaap, with hardly a change in their phonetic sound or morphological structure.
In view of this evidence, I can only conclude that Afrikaans had a “coloured” image in Cape Town in the nineteenth century.
|1.||The concept “creolized Dutch” for Afrikaans prior to the standardization of the language is used. In this regard 1 concur with Hans Den Besten that there was a Creole stage through which Afrikaans evolved. See H. Den Besten, ‘From Khoekhoe Foreignertalk via Hottentot Dutch to Afrikaans: The Creation of a Novel Grammar’, in M. Putz and R. Dirven, ed., Wheels within Wheels (Amsterdam, 1988).|
|2.||W.J. Burchell, Travels in the interior of Southern Africa, vol. 1 (London, 1953).|
|3.||R. Belcher, ‘Afrikaans en Kommunikasie oor die Kleurgrens’ in H. en L. Du Plessis, eds., Afrikaans en Taalpolitiek (Pretoria, 1987), 17.|
|4.||H. Den Besten, ‘Double Negation and the Genesis of Afrikaans’ in P. Muysken and N. Smith, eds.. Substrata versus Creole Workshop (Philadelphia, 1986), 186.|
|5.||H. Elfers, The Englishman’s Guide to the speedy and easy acquirement of Cape Dutch (Cape Town, 1908), 3.|
|6.||A. Davids. ‘Words the Cape slaves made: A socio-hislorical-linguistic study’. South African Journal of Linguistics, 8,1 (Feb. 1990), 1-24.|
|7.||H. Den Besten, ‘Einfuhrung in Geschichte und des Afrikaans by Edith Raidt’, Journal of Pidgin and Creole, 2,1 (1987).|
|8.||Elfers, Englishman’s Guide, 4.|
|9.||Cape Archives (hereinafter CA), South African Bound Pamphlets (hereinafter SABP), 1903, W.S. Logeman, ‘Cape Dutch’, South African Associauon of Science.|
|10.||Cape Argus, 13 Sept. 1877.|
|11.||SABP, 1882, T. Hahn, ‘On the Science of Language and its study, with special reference to South Africa’.|
|12.||Cape Argus, 13 Sept. 1877.|
|13.||Elfers, EngUshman’s Guide, 6.|
|15.||Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa vol. 1 (Cape Town, 1970), 87 (hereinafter SESA).|
|17.||M.D. Teenstra, De Vrugliten Mijner Werkzaamheden Gedurende Mijne Reize Over de Kaap Goede Hoope na Java en Over St Helena na de Nederlande (Amsterdam, 1830).|
|19.||E. Raidt, Afrikaans en sy Europese Verlede, ISO.|
|20.||Teenstra, quoted in SchoUz, SESA.|
|21.||Teenstra, De Vruchten.|
|25.||L.T. Du Plessis, ‘ ‘n Kritiese beskouing vandieindentifikasie van die Afrikaanse Taalbewegings en hulle funksies'(unpubiished M A thesis, University of the Orange Free State, 1983), 105.|
|27.||Raidt. Afrikaans. 203.|
|28.||Die Afrikaanse Patriot, 15 Jan. 1877.|
|29.||Cape Argus, 13 Sept. 1877.|
|30.||J.H. Hofmeyr, ‘Is t ons Ernst?’, Hertiog Annale, March 1952, 14-6.|
|31.||L.T. Du Plessis, Afrikaans in Beweging (Bloemfontein, 1986).|
|32.||P.J. Nienaber, ‘Die Taalstryd in die Vrystaat’, Hertzog Annale, June 1952.|
|34.||Davids, “Words the Cape Slaves made’, 19.|
|35.||Elfers, EngUshman’s Guide, 6.|
|36.||A. Davids, ‘Die Afrikaanse Taal en Politieke Mag’, Paper delivered at a symposium on Hernuwing in Afrikanerdenke, Randse Afriltaanse Universiteit, 1990.|
|37.||Raidt, Afrikaans, 143.|
|38.||J. Scholti, Afrikaans uit die vroee tyd: Studies oor die Afrikaanse taal en literêre volkskultuur van voor 1875 (Kaapstad, 1965), 16.|
|39.||R. Ross, The Cape of Torments: Slavery and Resistance at the Cape of Good Hope (London, 1983).|
|40.||Anonymous., Gleanings in Africa, manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope (London, 1806).|
|41.||Ross, Cape of Torments.|
|42.||CA, A602/9, S.E. Hudson, ‘Slaves’, Book 4.|
|43.||A. Davids, History of the Tana Baru (Cape Town, 1985).|
|44.||CA, RDG 2, Minutes of de Raad der Gemeente, Oct. 1805.|
|46.||De Verszamelaar, 21 June 1842.|
|47.||A.N.E. Changuion, De Nederduitsche Taal in Zuid-Afrika Hersteld (Cape Town), 18.|
|48.||J.S. De Lima, De Tu d der Kapeiuren (Cape Town, 1844).|
|49.||Elfeni, The Englishman’!! Guide, S.|
|50.||This is evident from my current research on Arabic-Aftikaans.|