nation, noun

Origin:
AfrikaansShow more Translation of Afrikaans volk a people or nation.
A group of people sharing a common ethnic background, but not necessarily occupying a single clearly-defined region or state: a. A clan. b. A chiefdom. c. An ethnic group. See also international sense 1, multinational sense 1, national unit.
Note:
A sense largely obsolescent elsewhere, but retained in South Africa (especially in sense c) mainly by those who choose to see the country as one composed of several nations, each occupying its own independent state. Opponents of this perspective argue that while South Africa’s population is made up of people from several ethnic groups, their common experience as South Africans is more significant than the differences which divide them. It is also argued that some of the ‘nations’ identified by proponents of apartheid are artificial conglomerations of smaller groups which would not naturally have grouped together to form political entities.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. I. 27Several..Hollanders, who had been long acquainted with Persons and Things in the several Hottentot Nations.
1790 tr. of F. Le Vaillant’s Trav. II. 345Another nation, entirely different from that of the Hottentots, is confounded also under the name of Boshmen.
1795 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. I. 304I met with but small remains of the once more or less numerous Hottentot nations, which, as late as the beginning of this century, still inhabited these vast plains.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 217His successor, Mattivi, had sent to the Klaarwater chief, Adam Kok, a present of two oxen, as expressive of his desire that the two nations, or tribes, should continue on peaceable and friendly terms.
1829 W. Shaw Diary. 7 MayThe whole Tambookie Nation, which is quite as large as the Caffre Nation, are entirely without the means of Instruction.
1837 F. Owen Diary (1926) 29Congella is the second capital of the Zoolu nation.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 30The nation of the Griquas.
1882 W.R. Ludlow Zululand & Cetewayo 31Nearly one fourth of the Zulu nation perished.
1915 J.K. O’Connor Afrikander Rebellion 93Had the whole Afrikander nation risen in rebellion against England..the Boers would have been the losers.
1944 J.C. Van Rooy in M. Rogers Black Sash (1956) 148The Afrikaner Broederbond was born out of the deep conviction that the Afrikaner nation was planted in this country by the hand of God, and is destined to continue to exist as a nation with its own character and calling.
1950 D. Reed Somewhere S. of Suez 156The Cape Coloured People are a small nation, formed by processes similar to those which other nations, big or little, once passed through but have forgotten.
1953 A. Paton Phalarope (1963) 137Japie..said, you take the black nation too much to heart.
1964 Drum Nov. 25Majali was brought before the tribal court, charged with infringement of taboos of the Zulu nation.
1970 B.J. Vorster in Sunday Times 15 Nov. 12Most people look on them as tribes of the same nation. They are not that at all. The Zulus are as different from the Xhosas as the Dutch are from the Germans...Each nation is a nation in its own right...Separate development implies that we Whites are leading the various Black nations to full independence.
1971 Daily Dispatch 13 May 12The flimsy theory that the ‘ethnic group[s]’ of Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Venda and so forth are each a nation.
1972 E. Prov. Herald 9 Sept. 9Dr Koornhof..made it plain..that when the Broederbond Government speaks of the ‘White nation of South Africa’ it means only the 2 000 000 Afrikaners.
1973 Weekend Post 30 June 3‘The Coloured is not an Afrikaner,’ Dr Mulder said. ‘He is a nation in his own right, or a nation in the making.’
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 182‘Is that not another distortion, my bro?’ ‘Of what?’...‘Of the concept of nationalism, its being equated with tribalism?..By turning tribes into nations. Tribes combine to form one nation.’
1983 City Press 18 Sept. 11 (advt)Learn to drive the easy way...Welcome all nations: Xhosa, Zulu, Tswana, N. Sotho, S. Sotho, Tsonga, Venda, Coloured and others.
1985 Platzky & Walker Surplus People 113The bantustan policy outlined in 1959 was very simple. Old divisions dating from a pre-conquest past were to be redefined to make ‘nations’ where before there had often been only loose groupings of chiefdoms and clans.
1992 S. Macleod in Time 16 Mar. 30Treurnicht would recognize the independence of the Zulu, Xhosa and other black ‘nations’ and negotiate borders with their leaders. He fails to explain how scrambled-egg metropolitan areas like Johannesburg could be fairly partitioned.
A clan.
A chiefdom.
An ethnic group.
Derivatives:
Hence national adjective, nationality noun, nationhood noun.
1949 J.S. Franklin This Union 68The policy of safeguarding the White Race..must go hand in hand with security for the Native — his own national development.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 230‘National’ does not mean ‘the South African nation’. It means only the Afrikaner, the Boer people.
1960 J.H. Coetzee in H. Spottiswoode S. Afr.: Rd Ahead 71The native majority as a national group will submerge the white minority as a national unity.
1972 Drum 8 Oct. 17The diplomats are..supposed to make us ‘national’ conscious.
1972 Drum 8 Dec. 9I myself, other Whites and Chief Modjadji and his tribe donated towards the building of that hospital...We all worked together and did not bother about nationality.
1980 Lye & Murray Transformations 18The South Africa Official Yearbook..is permeated by a laborious effort to identify particular cultures with particular ‘national’ populations.
1986 P. Maylam Hist. of Afr. People 170Africans are treated as ethnically heterogeneous, while whites are assumed to be homogeneous. In addition, the idea of African nationhood is not matched by territoriality.
1987 [see potjie].

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