The Boer in the African writings of Stuart Cloete



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It was the purpose of this study to determine those characteristics and qualities of the Boer, the Afrikaner, as set forth in Cloete's works, which serve to set the Boer apart and make him unique to Africa- those characteristics which perhaps account for his ability to survive despite the hostile environment which he found in Southern Africa. The data for this study were obtained by a careful reading of five novels, a collection of African stories, two non-fiction accounts, one biographical and one descriptive, and one magazine article by Stuart Cloete, all dealing directly with the Boer. Several other novels by Cloete yielded interesting sidelights or contrasts to the Boer but dealt primarily with Congo, Portuguese East Africa and Rhodesia. An examination of biographical material concerning the author and his works proved valuable in supplying information as supporting evidence. With very few exceptions the bulk of this study comes from the novels themselves. A careful analysis of the works studied revealed the following: 1. The Boer's strong religious convictions gave him a faith which armed him against many of life's adversities. 2. His belief in the Bible as the infallible Word of God influenced his concept of science, history, astronomy, and law. Such belief gave rise to his idea that the Boers were a chosen people, and all others were heathen. 3. The Boer despised innovations as irreligious, and accepted the land as God's gift to his chosen people. 4. The Boer respected his land, and accepted the isolation which it required of him as a part of stewardship. 5. His isolation, in turn, caused the Boer to learn to live extremely close to nature, thus preparing him to survive life on the veld. 6. The Boer had a robust physique combined with a tenacious nature which eventually resulted in his fighting to hold the lands and property he felt his from God. 7. The Boer was a good friend, but a formidable enemy. 8. His creativity allowed him to devise what necessities he wished and his nature allowed him to do without those things he could not devise. 9. The trek taught the Boer how to survive the worst of southern Africa's environment, the climate, the geographical features, and hostile tribes and animals. 10. Continual encroachment by English and tribesmen taught the Boers that the only solution to independence was to move on, and when further movement was impossible, to fight for his rights. 11. Since God was the only authority of the Boer, he refused to yield to any other authority.



Boer, Afrikaner, Cloete's Works, ability to survive, Analysis of novels