backveld, adjective and noun

Forms:
Also back-veldt.
Origin:
AfrikaansShow more Partial translation of Afrikaans agterveld, see Agterveld.
A. adjective Of or pertaining to (isolated) rural communities; hence, unsophisticated, rough. Often in the collocation backveld Boer derogatory, an unsophisticated rural Afrikaans-speaking person. Cf. platteland adjective.
[1827 G. Thompson Trav. 115That the back-country boors of former times were many of them as savage, indolent, and unprincipled as Mr. Barrow has described, cannot be questioned.]
1900 A.C. Doyle Great Boer War (1902) 111The British had inflated and sent up a balloon, to the amazement of the back-veldt Boers.
1902 E. Wallace in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 194The malcontents were confident of the success of the Republican forces and, at the worst, of European intervention, and so they played that waiting game which so happily fits the back-veldt indolent.
1905 Spectator (U.K.) 7 Jan. 5We do not see why the low European or the back-veld Dutchman should be given a right to a decision on matters which they do not profess to understand.
1915 D. Fairbridge Torch Bearer 295‘It is incomprehensible,’ he went on, ‘that there should be any back-veld Boer so credulous as to believe that Germany would leave South Africa a Boer Republic if she became the dominant power.’
1931 G. Beet Grand Old Days 84There was naturally a good sprinkling of backveld Boers on the Diamond Fields at this time, and their ways were often artless and childlike.
1943 I. Frack S. Afr. Doctor 106Notwithstanding these obvious disadvantages of making Afrikaans the sole objective of the curriculum, the tendency continues in our backveld and backward schools.
1957 D. Grinnell-Milne Baden-Powell at Mafeking 63Whilst a single agent..might have kept his news secret, a score or more spreading rumours over the Marico had ensured that even the most ignorant back-veld Boer knew about the mines.
1978 A.P. Brink Rumours of Rain 313In their previous post in a very small backveld congregation, people had objected to the idea of a dominee taking part in something as worldly as sport, so he’d had to give it up.
1982 E. Prov. Herald 19 Apr. 7Backveld Americans are every bit as quick at spotting smut in literature as South Africans, but ‘Romeo and Juliet’ — censored in some Transvaal country schools according to a Herald report — has so far escaped them.
1986 Pretoria News 24 Sept. 13Bosman is probably best known for his Marico stories, in which Oom Schalk Lourens evokes the image of the so-called ‘backveld Boer’ with matchless humour and compassion.
1991 F.G. Butler Local Habitation 105The results of the 1948 election and the government which the backveld vote put into power did give me some cause for reflection.
B. noun Often with initial capital.
a. Rural areas, often considered unsophisticated or unprogressive because remote from towns and their influence; Agterveld; gopse sense 1 a. Cf. bundu sense 1. See also platteland noun sense a, veld sense 4.
1911 E. London Dispatch 8 Nov. 6 (Pettman)In what way will a few visitors from the back veld equip the boys and girls for the battle of life.
1913 V.R. Markham S. Afr. Scene 31The smoke of an approaching locomotive twice or thrice a week is a real event in the Back Veld, the smaller Dorps turning out in force at the wayside stations.
1925 L.D. Flemming Crop of Chaff 58Wish I could collect and keep all the food offered me in one day here and stow it away in my pantry on the backveld.
1928 N. Stevenson Afr. Harvest 13He was backveld born and backveld bred, and he did not alter his ideas easily.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 226The joint findings of the Commission suggest measures to lessen the isolation of the back-veld and to afford increased and improved instruction in agriculture among the men and in home-making among the women.
1940 F.B. Young City of Gold 239Pretoria might still be more English than the English, but the back-veld was Dutch to the marrow.
1946 T. Macdonald Ouma Smuts 50She knew the tide of racial feeling in the rural areas, in the backveld where life was slow like the pace of an ox.
1958 A. Jackson Trader on Veld 28During my 12 years’ sojourn in the Backveld, I learnt not only to speak but to write the ‘Taal’ fluently.
1960 C. Hooper Brief Authority 198We found it a trifle confusing; but nobody else did. Complex things can become very simple in the backveld.
1989 B. Godbold Autobiography. 84There were no nurses, but only a couple of so-called medical orderlies, men of low-grade intelligence from the backveld.
1991 F.G. Butler Local Habitation 105Perhaps Babylon is better than backveld.
b. The people inhabiting remote rural areas.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 32He looked at me gloomily with a professional air like the quack doctor who frightened half the backveld into being vaccinated with tinned milk.
Of or pertaining to (isolated) rural communities; hence, unsophisticated, rough. Often in the collocation backveld Boerderogatory, an unsophisticated rural Afrikaans-speaking person.
Rural areas, often considered unsophisticated or unprogressive because remote from towns and their influence; Agterveld; gopse1 a.
The people inhabiting remote rural areas.
Derivatives:
Hence backvelder /-ˌfeldə(r)/ noun, one from the backveld; a rustic or unsophisticated person; takhaar sense b. Cf. plattelander (see platteland).
1911 E. London Daily Dispatch 28 Oct. 3 (Pettman)Mr. —’s work will have considerable value as tending..to present the rugged backvelder in his true colours.
c1911 S. Playne Cape Col. 460Ons Land..also has a considerable amount of information for farmers in each issue, and its advent is eagerly hailed by the out-of-the-way backvelders.
1927 Workers’ Herald 17 May 5Even yet there were some back-velders in this country who have never seen a bicycle or a town larger than Volksrust.
1930 L. Barnes Caliban in Afr. 46The backvelder has for many years been going through an elaborate system of tuition, the object of which was to impress indelibly upon him that the British are the root of all offence.
1934 N. Devitt Mem. of Magistrate 29I came much in contact with the people whom the Rand papers of late years call ‘Backvelders’. The use of this word is probably not intended offensively, but it to my mind indicates a superiority complex on the part of the users which in my opinion is misplaced.
1944 Twede in Bevel Piet Kolonel 50Did we from henceforth learn our manners, poor ignorant backvelders that we were?
1955 W. Illsley Wagon on Fire 26When Katrina Deventer, a fair wisp of charm and culture, had announced that she was leaving Cape Town with all its attractions, for marriage with the uncouth backvelder, Frikkie van der Byl, her friends reckoned that she had taken leave of her senses.
1964 J. Meintjes Manor House 119These backvelders have today largely disappeared, but at that time one still found numbers of them: naive, primitive, uneducated and in some cases even idiots.
1974 A.P. Brink Looking on Darkness 122With the handful of other Coloured and Indian students I occasionally discussed my problems, but they’d all grown up in cities and regarded me, not without some condescension, as a backvelder.
1985 E. Prov. Herald 22 July 8I’m a backvelder, a plattelander, a country bumpkin if you like.
1991 F.G. Butler Local Habitation 105A backvelder born, like myself, often has a stubborn belief that God made the country and man made the town.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18271991

Derivatives