Used especially in, or with reference to, official terminology. ‘Asian’ was the last official term used during the apartheid era to refer collectively to people whose ancestral origins were in Asia; previously such people had been known as ‘Asiatics’, or were viewed in smaller groups according to whether their ancestors were Indian, Chinese, etc.
1952[see Group Areas Actgroup arean. phr.sense 2 a].
1972Sunday Times 15 Oct. (Mag. Sect.) 4Allow me to thank the Johannesburg City Council for changing the signs ‘Coloureds and Asiatics’ to ‘Coloureds and Asians’ on its buses.
1974E. Prov. Herald 19 July 5The rising generation of Asians in South Africa used English as a mother-tongue.
1988A. Van Wyk inS. Afr. Panorama May 38The first Asians came to South Africa in 1860 as contract labourers for the developing sugar and tea industries...There are about 913 000 Asians in South Africa of whom the majority — 583 320 — are Hindu.
1990Weekend Argus 9 June 13He no longer exists as a white, coloured, black, Indian, ‘Other Asian’, Chinese, Griqua or whatever other category Pretoria’s racial overlords would care to label him.
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