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Development of the Afrikaans Language
Afrikaans is widely spoken in South Africa, it is the first language of Afrikaners and many Coloured people but it is also widely spoken as a second or third language among other groups.

It is regarded as an 'African' language in many Universities, although its roots are clearly in Dutch. It evolved as the common language between Europeans and their slaves during the period of the Dutch East Indian Company. It resembles a simple form of Dutch, with elements from other languages including French, English, German, Khoe and Arabic.


Towards the end of the nineteenth century a group in the town of Paarl, near Cape Town, set about formalising the language. It became a bastion of Afrikaner identity against British imperial power.

Between the World Wars, a renewed Afrikaner identity emerged, largely around language. In Cape Town, English was used for writing and for business, but Dutch was still the language of the Church. Afrikaans was kept within the home as it had connotations of a 'kitchen language' or the language of the poor.

There was a need to recreate the language through more formal grammar and vocabulary if it was to become a 'respected' language. During the 1920s students met on Saturday mornings in the Koffeehuis, near the Groote Kerk, to discuss Afrikaans as a literary language over pancakes and coffee.

This circle became the 'Oranje Klub', from which the literary group the Dertigers sprang. Members of this group included the Transvaal writer of short stories Herman Charles Bosman and the English writer Pauline Smith. As the Dutch Reformed Church wanted to keep Dutch, the young middle classes of Tamboerskloof, members of the Oranje Klub, struggled for the presence of Afrikaans in local newspapers.




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