South African Dutch, DutchShow more South African Dutch, from Dutch drossen to run away + agential suffix -er.
obs. except in historical contexts
A runaway, usually a slave or (subsequently) a servant; an outlaw.
1824W.J. BurchellTrav.II. 158Such Hottentots or slaves as are found, improperly or illegally wandering about the country, without a passport, or unable to give a credible account of themselves..are commonly called by the colonial term of drossers or gedrost Hottentotten (runaways).
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 154Drossers or Drosters, In the old slave days such slaves or Hottentots as were found wandering about the country without a ‘Pass’..or unable to give a good account of themselves.
1949L.G. GreenIn Land of Afternoon 23The same climber told me about the drosters’ nests in the Cape mountains. Nowadays this expressive Afrikaans word means a disreputable wanderer; but the first drosters were men of all colours who fled from the old Cape settlement and became outlaws...Often the drosters were runaway slaves.
1964L.G. GreenOld Men Say 181In the eighteenth century, bands of runaway slaves known as drosters were able to live in the Table Mountain caves and other remote hiding-places on the Cape Flats with a fair prospect of safety.
1975Weekend Post 25 Oct. (TV Post) 10What was a droster? (a) Runaway slave; (b) Type of wagon; (c) Cape Dutch house.
1983R. RossCape of Tormentsp.xDrossen, To run away, desert, hence drosser, runaway, gedrost, ran away.
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