African, noun1 and & adjective1

A. noun
1. A black person of African descent; cf. black noun sense 1 b. See also Asian, coloured, white noun sense 2. Also attributive.
‘African’ was never an official term during the apartheid era, but was used (until replaced by ‘black’) by black people of themselves, and by those who opposed apartheid.
See note at black noun sense 1 b.
1696 J. Ovington Voy. to Suratt 54The Art of Poysoning is what these Africans do very commonly exceed in, and to which they are generally propense upon any occasional Quarrel or Abuse.
1804 R. Percival Acct of Cape of G.H. 205It is not unusual to see eight or nine children..adding to the domestic comforts by squalling and domineering over those of the slaves; for the first lesson they are taught is their superiority over the unfortunate Africans.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 9I doubt whether the most accomplished performer in Europe, feels..a gratification greater than that which I received on witnessing the pleasure which my music afforded to a kraal of simple Africans.
a1827 D. Carmichael in W.J. Hooker Botanical Misc. (1831) II. 50The African requires nothing but instruction to render his intellectual, as well as his mechanical talents, equal to those of the European, who has so long oppressed him, under the plea of his being an inferior animal.
1833 S. Kay Trav. & Researches 331Those of the poor Africans who are constantly engaged in a course of warfare, keep their spears, and shields, (&c.), always at hand.
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 270In fifty years more the Cape colony..will be an object on which even the debased and fallen mind of the African cannot look without astonishment.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 509It is the custom for even educated persons to include ‘all these Africans’ and ‘all these black people’ in some sweeping statement.
1902 G.M. Theal Beginning of S. Afr. Hist. 256It was impossible for the European without losing self respect to labour side by side with the African.
1931 W.A. Cotton Racial Segregation 18My main concern is to secure on behalf of the Africans a righteous settlement of the problem that is created by white immigration.
1941 A. Maqelepo in Bantu World 15 Feb. 5We are confused as to whether we are to be described as Kaffirs, Coloureds, Bantu, Negroes or even Africans...To be called an umuntu is far too general, but to call us African or Negro is honourable and precise.
c1949 Survey of Race Rel. 1948–9 (S.A.I.R.R.) 6Whereas formerly the African had no other aspiration than to be a South African, to-day he is more and more imbued with the idea of African nationalism and freedom from the control of the white man.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 109Africans (Natives) especially are losing their fear of VD and tend to cast whatever little discretion they ever had in this connection completely to the winds.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 317The terms African, Bantu and Native will be used as synonymous terms when discussing the Negroes of South Africa. All white people in South Africa, whether or not born in Europe, are referred to as Europeans.
1961 T. Matshikiza Choc. for my Wife 119It was around here..that many bitter battles have been fought between Africans and non-Africans for the cattle and the land that we possessed..the non-Africans wanted meat.
1962 L.E. Neame Hist. of Apartheid 157Several of the English-language papers had adopted the practice of referring to the Natives as ‘Africans’.
1985 Platzky & Walker Surplus People 98They wanted to impose more rigid divisions within the dominated black population, to separate off coloureds and Indians and Africans from each other, and then to divide the African population along even finer, ethnic lines.
1988 E. Vosloo in Femina May 143Mrs Malan compared the Afrikaner and the Afrikaan (African). Both, she said, had suffered the trauma of urbanisation and the painful adjustment to a new way of life.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 17I won’t have you using any of those other awful words for blacks. ‘African’ is what they prefer, I’m told.
1990 Sunday Times 18 Feb. 12He (sc. Nelson Mandela) refers to ‘Europeans’ and ‘Africans’, the terminology in use when he was August 1962. But he corrects himself immediately.
1990 J. McClurg in Star 11 Sept. 11Over the years we have seen ‘native’..go through ‘Bantu’ and ‘African’ to end up as ‘black’.
2. Any person born or living in Africa.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 59I arrived at the house of farmer Van der Spoei, who was a widower, and an African born.
1795 A. Mackenzie in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1897) I. 46It is composed of six members who are European Africans who regulate every thing in the most despotick manner and have monopolised all the public Offices.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 31All the address of our European waggon drivers vanishes entirely before the very superior dexterity in this way shown by the Africans.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 78This town owes much of its prosperity and embellishment to Captain Stockenstroom, who, though an African born, and educated entirely in the Colony, has been long distinguished.
1879 E.L. Price Jrnls (1956) 330We dined with..the Dutch Minister...No coarseness or roughness, either — but only the absence of all those naughty superfluities of form and ceremony, wh. so mar the English life to us Africans and wh. make one feel as if in a strait jacket.
1879 E.L. Price Jrnls (1956) 378Rain at last!..The frogs are ‘snoring’ loudly,..and the little rills and rivers running everywhere. Such delicious sounds, as only we poor thirst-weary Africans can appreciate.
1926 R. Campbell in Voorslag 1–3 (1985) 68What a preposterous figure the white African makes who in order to hypnotise himself into believing in his mental superiority to the blacks is forced to retard the blacks artificially from entering into competition with him.
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 213‘I am an African,’ said General Smuts, during the 1947 Session.
1952 Z. Mothopeng in Drum July 10People will be treated irrespective of colour. Everyone in Africa would be an African. We want to smash prejudices.
1960 E.G. Malherbe in H. Spottiswoode S. Afr.: Rd Ahead 146After all, we are White Africans. Africa is our only home and we shall have to learn to get on with the rest of Africa, or perish.
1973 Sunday Tribune 1 Apr. 20If they can’t see themselves as White Africans or simply as Africans, then their hearts are just not going to be in separate and equal development..or anything else.
1979 W. Ebersohn Lonely Place 21‘We are all Africans,’ he had often told Yudel. ‘We should be able to communicate with other Africans.’
1988 P. Lawrence in Saturday Star 9 July 11An African is anyone who, to quote Sobukwe again, ‘owes his only loyalty to Africa.’..Whites can, by a positive act of identification with the indigenous majority, thus become Africans in the..ideological sense.
1990 Sunday Times 13 May (Mag. Sect.) 6I love the way South Africans do not flinch from being called Africans any more.
1990 K. Nhlapo in New African 3 Sept. 10As Africans (I use this term in an inclusive sense) we must perpetuate our own true culture.
B. adjective
a. Of or pertaining to Africa; applied both to black people (as in general English) and, especially in the past, to persons born or living in Africa, but of European extraction; characteristic of, or pertaining to, such persons; Afrikander adjective sense 2.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 16The Europeans are apt to conceive rather unfavourable ideas of the politeness of the African colonists.
1802 W. Somerville Narr. of E. Cape Frontier (1979) 45The victorious party..counted above a hundred dead bodies — a sight which in the breast of any but an African boor would have excited sorrow.
1821 C.I. Latrobe Jrnl of Visit 207This is said to be the first time, that any African descendants from Europeans have suffered death for crimes deemed capital in Europe.
1821 C.I. Latrobe Jrnl of Visit 416I never felt disposed to take an African nap after dinner.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 4I travelled with Mr. Theunissen, a substantial African landholder.
1837 N. Polson Subaltern’s Sick Leave 149These orders were carried into effect by Captain Andreas Stockenstrom, a gentleman of Swedish and African extraction.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 85I found great assistance in laying hold of the long tail of my African horse, when, through fatigue, he was unable to carry me.
1854 M.R. Robinson Report upon Cathcart’s Plan for Eastern Frontier in Cape of G.H. Annexures 3These allotments and privileges are very limited for an African stock farmer.
1990 Sunday Times 30 Sept. 20President De Klerk skilfully and subtly cast himself as an African leader.
b. Special collocations
i. In the names of plants and animals:
African ant-eater, see ant-eater sense 1;
African oak obsolete, stinkwood sense a;
African sandalwood, see sandalwood;
African tiger obsolete, the tiger (sense 1), Panthera pardus;
African wattle, the huilboom, Peltophorum africanum.
1811 R. Stopford in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1901) VIII. 25This timber called Stinkwood or African Oak has been found to be in many respects equal to the English Oak for all purposes of Ship Building.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 207An excellent meal, which we took lying at the foot of an African oak, at least a century old.
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 3The shade, thrown by the trailing branches of the African oak through which gleams of sunny light find their way.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 24African oak, Ocotea bullata is sometimes so called because of the acorn-like appearance of its fruit. See Stinkwood.
1846 R. Moffat Missionary Labours 153In one of my early journeys, I had an escape from an African tiger and a serpent.
1911 D.B. Hook ’Tis but Yesterday 8The skin of Majesty was that of the African ‘tiger’ which was the badge of the highest rank.
[1973 S. Cloete Co. with Heart of Gold 113I wished to shoot a tiger. Not our African spotted tiger — leopard, as they say — but a real one with stripes.]
1972 I.C. Verdoorn in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. V. 652Huilbos, African wattle...This tree with its showy, lemon-yellow flowers and wattle-like foliage belongs to the family Leguminosae.
1988 A. Hall-Martin et al. Kaokoveld 14Other tree species associated with the termitaria are..buffalo thorn..and African wattle.
African Dutch (obsolete), frequently used attributively: (a) Dutch noun sense 2 a; (b) The African Dutch (plural): the Dutch (Dutch noun sense 1).
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 93The concise, yet expressive, African Dutch language, in which the relation was given.
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 11Eyes of dry lustre, betraying that at some distant period a sprinkle of black blood had mingled with and tainted the pure descent of the African Dutch.
1900 W.S. Churchill London to Ladysmith 135This Boer farmer was a very typical character, and represented to my mind all that was best and noblest in the African Dutch character.
a. Used of a black person, especially, in the South African context, as opposed to a ‘coloured’, Asian, or white person; of or pertaining to black people. Cf. black adjective sense 1.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 10 Aug. 127To hire, an African Slave Girl who understands all descriptions of House work.
[1900 G.W. Lines Ladysmith Siege 67One of our young ladies, a refugee from Dundee, is so refined in her language, that she never uses the word ‘blackguard,’ but substitutes ‘African Sentinel.’]
1929 Workers’ Herald 7 Sept. 1The Voice of African Labour.
c1948 H. Tracey Lalela Zulu 9It carried the African Labour Battalions on their way to France.
1959 B. Bunting Story behind Non-White Press 2The World is run by an African editor and an African staff, but overall supervision is exercised by whites and..the paper is controlled by white capital.
1971 Daily News 4 Mar. 11African areas could have their own official languages alongside English and Afrikaans.
1983 Frontline Sept. 27She is ‘coloured...but I’m married to an African man’.
1988 G. Mokoe in Pace Apr. 62Prof Mokgokong’s move also eased another frustration pertaining to African medical practitioners; production of enough African general practitioners to serve the country’s large African population.
1990 T. Daniels in New African 3 Sept. 2The fighting broke out last weekend between supporters of local rival soccer clubs, one primarily African and the other mainly coloured.
b. Special collocations
African beer, tshwala sense a i;
African print, German print (see German). Also attributive.
1974 Drum 8 Aug. 27The BIC has the monopoly for brewing and distributing African beer in all major townships.
1990 Weekend Post 29 Sept. 11Everything we shot for the pot we shared with the local folk, and they always invited us to drink African beer with them.
1976 Star 12 JuneThe woman in the flowery African print dress standing on the platform at Naledi Hall, Soweto, stared down into the crowd.
1983 J. Mortimer in Star Today 15 Nov. 3The old man in African-print skirt waited impatiently at the side of the highway.
1986 Fair Lady 5 Mar. 55The white trouser suit she is wearing,..combined with a vivid African print blouse and traditional beaded headdress and necklace.
A black person of African descent;
Any person born or living in Africa.
Of or pertaining to Africa; applied both to black people (as in general English) and, especially in the past, to persons born or living in Africa, but of European extraction; characteristic of, or pertaining to, such persons; Afrikanderadjective2.
Dutchnoun2 a;
the DutchDutchnoun1.
Used of a black person, especially, in the South African context, as opposed to a ‘coloured’, Asian, or white person; of or pertaining to black people.
Hence (sense A 1) Africanerdom noun nonce, black African people collectively. Cf. Afrikanerdom.
1941 A. Maqelepo in Bantu World 15 Feb. 5There is an unfortunate position created today for many who are not Africans but claiming a place in Africanerdom.
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