Afrikaners - Orientation

The Afrikaners are descendants, to a great extent, of Dutch, German, and French Huguenot settlers, and, to a lesser extent, of English, Scottish, Irish, and other settlers of South Africa. The Dutch that was the language of the first White settlers, who arrived in 1652, evolved into Afrikaans, which retained much of the structure and grammar of the original Dutch. In 1986 there were 5,800,000 speakers of Afrikaans in South Africa, of which 3,000,000 were classified as "Whites" and 2,800,000 were classified as "Coloureds" (Grimes 1988). Afrikaners are members of an ethnic group who are predominantly White, speakers of Afrikaans, of Western European descent, politically aligned with the National party, belong to the Dutch Reformed church (NGK), and share a distinctive history with other Afrikaners. The extent to which members share all of these characteristics is variable, but it is widely believed, because of the central importance of language, that speaking Afrikaans is probably the most salient indicator of group membership. Furthermore, because loyalty has been a highly regarded value, political-party affiliation is another category that is frequently used to define the in-group and to challenge potential dissidents.

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