Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe
On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
STEYN, J.C. Dutch language speakers' contributions to the maintenance and recognition of Afrikaans 1870-1920. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2014, vol.54, n.3, pp.425-445. ISSN 2224-7912.
The contribution of Dutch literary scholars and linguists, journalists, publishers and teachers to the success of the Afrikaans language struggle and the language movement between about 1870 and 1920 is a significant aspect of the history of Afrikaans. Under language struggle or language activism is meant the actions to oppose the displacement of Afrikaans and Dutch by English. In Afrikaans history, language movement refers to the activities undertaken to develop and recognise Afrikaans as a replacement for Dutch as the written language. The 19th-century language movement began at a time when Afrikaners became dissatisfied with the dominance of English in the Cape Colony. This was especially the case with a small group that initiated a struggle for the recognition of Afrikaans as a written language in 1875 - the members of the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaanders (GRA) [Society for Real Afrikaners], which was established on 14 August in Paarl. Three of the four men that one could associate with the beginning of the language movement were Dutch-born: Arnoldus Pannevis, Casper Petrus Hoogenhout and Johannes Brill. The fourth was ds. Stephanus Jacobus du Toit. The GRA was not anti-Dutch, and they published numerous books in Dutch and distributed petitions calling for the recognition of Dutch as a language of the Cape Parliament. In 1877, Du Toit and Hoogenhout strongly considered publishing the GRA 's mouthpiece, Die Afrikaanse Patriot, in simplified Dutch, and to cooperate with those who wanted to maintain Dutch in South Africa. Du Toit's brother, DF du Toit, "Oom Lokomotief", wrecked this plan. Even after the establishment of the GRA, the Dutch remained involved in the construction and defence of Afrikaans. One of the most important 19th-century writers was Jan Lion Cachet, author of the "Devil books" that were published in one volume: Sewe duiwels en wat hulle gedoen het. Sketse uit die Afrikaanse buitelewe (Seven devils and their deeds. Sketches of the Afrikaans country living). Among the scholars were W. S. Logeman, Dutch professor at the South African College in Cape Town and one of the few early linguists that took Afrikaans seriously. At least one linguist in the Netherlands thought that all efforts to promote Dutch in South Africa were doomed to failure. D.C. Hesseling argued in 1897 in De Gids that Afrikaans had developed as a separate language. After the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), the Dutch and Flemish in Europe, but also Dutch in South Africa, played an important part in the language struggle in which they tried to prevent English from supplanting Afrikaans as spoken and especially Dutch as teaching language. After 1902, English was the official language and the language of education. This English-nationalist policy and its implementation created an Afrikaans nationalism that had the objective of sustaining the Afrikaners as a people with their own language. The Dutch support helped the language activists on two main areas: education and the press. In the Transvaal, Dutch teachers from the days of the Republic took the lead in establishing schools that used Dutch alongside English as a language and subject. Since the end of 1902, and through the efforts of the churches, the Boer leaders, Dutch and Afrikaner teachers and newspapers such as De Volksstem and Het Westen, a network of schools arose in the towns and districts of the Transvaal. A happenstance that struck the Afrikaners after the war was that they could get financing to revive the Dutch-Afrikaans press. This came in the form of funds of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Money that had been transferred to Europe before and during the war was smuggled back to South Africa in secret by dr. W.J. Leyds. Before and during the war, he was the Transvaal envoy in Europe and the money was sent there to promote ZAR interests. After the war, the remaining money was sent to the Boer leaders for national purposes - CNE schools and the reestablishment of newspapers. From England, Joseph Chamberlain did everything in his power to obtain this money. Two of the papers that benefited from ZAR money was De Volksstem and the new independent half-weekly, De Vriend des Volks. They were the two most important newspapers that promoted Afrikaans from 1905. De Volksstem's editor was Dr. F. V Engelenburg, a born Dutchman. One of the newspapers that came into being with the ZAR money still exists in 2014. It is Volksblad, which was founded in 1904 in Potchefstroom by Hendrik de Graaf as Het Westen The founders, De Graaf and B. P. Landa, and the first editors, were St. Helena exiles during the Anglo-Boer War that came to know each other in the Deadwood camp. The editors were Paul G. Das, Adam J. Boshoff and BG Versélewel de Witt Hamer. Apart from Boshoff (from the Free Sate), all were Dutch. In 1907, De Graaf began publishing books. The first anthology of the 20th-century movement, Bij die monument (At the monument) by Totius, was printed in 1908 b ye Graaf of "Het Westen"-Drukkerij. "Het Westen"-Drukkerij published 17 of the 33 poetry a ndprose works that appeared in Afrikaans between 1907 and 1915. The rest were published at seven other publishers. The assistance to the CNE schools and the channeling of ZAR money to Afrikaner leaders was the practical, material, part of the Dutch involvement with Afrikaners after the Anglo-Boer War. In addition, there was moral support. The Afrikaners knew they did not stand alone. Firstly, they could find inspiration for the language struggle through reports of the persistence of the Flemish in their struggle. Secondly, the Dutch scholars strengthened Afrikaner activists in their pursuit by emphasising the usefulness of Afrikaans, the impracticality of Dutch and of the value of the first Afrikaans works. Each time, Afrikaans scholars and publications referred to foreign opinions that supported their views. Among those mentioned were Hesseling, Dr. Kiewiet de Jonge, dr. J. B. Scheepers, dr. R. A. Kollewijn, O. Kamerlingh-Onnes and several others. People like C.G.N. de Vooys and G. Kalff praised C. Louis Leipoldt's Oom Gert vertel en ander gedigte (Uncle Gert relates and other poems). After the recognition of Afrikaans as a teaching language, it was once again mainly a Dutch publisher, J.L. van Schaik, who used Dutch business acumen to become one of the leading publishers of Afrikaans school books. The success of the Afrikaans language movement and language struggle is due to various factors. The most important of these was the dedication and perseverance of the leaders of Afrikaner nationalism. It was a defensive move against aggressive English nationalism. But another factor of major importance was the Dutch involvement in the language struggle.
Keywords : History of Afrikaans; Dutch; language movement; language struggle; Afrikaner nationalism; English nationalism; Afrikaans-Dutch newspapers; Dutch nationalism.