Native, noun and & adjective

Also with small initial letter.
English, South African EnglishShow more Specialized senses developed from English native ‘one originating in a particular place’, ‘indigenous’, which senses have largely fallen out of use in South African English when referring to fellow South Africans.
obsolescent, offensive
Although all of the country’s ethnic groups (including the majority of whites) are South African ‘natives’ in the general sense, the word came to be used exclusively of black Africans. The sense-change from ‘indigenous’ to ‘black’ is not easy to discern in the earlier quotations, but they are included as evidence of early local usage. See also the note at black noun sense 1 b.
A. noun
1. As an ethnic label: a. A member of one of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) peoples of southern Africa. b. Any black African.
Used in the past as an official term in various systems of race-classification.
1826 W. Shaw Diary. 31 Dec.Baptized five Adult Natives, on their profession of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1833 Graham’s Town Jrnl 29 Aug. 2Destitute Natives..are continually forced, by an irresistable pressure, over the Colonial limits.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 79Afternoon, — Kafir service — One hundred and fifty natives.
1836 R. Godlonton Introductory Remarks to Narr. of Irruption 6Their struggles to defend their homes and their families against the continued invasions of the natives have been stigmatised as wanton aggressions.
1846 Natal Witness 10 Apr. 1The natives will be impelled by ambition, and avarice, as well as stimulated by artificial appetites that will soon be acquired, in the pursuit of wealth, and the natural results — industry, enterprise, progress in knowledge, and competition will follow.
1851 T. Shone Diary. 5 Jan.Henry Jack Thurston and some Natives, went to cut oats at Thurston place.
1879 C.L. Norris-Newman in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 47The corpses of our poor soldiers, whites and natives, lay thick upon the ground in clusters.
1899 A. Werner Captain of Locusts 208He was a small, skinny, elderly native with an anxious expression of countenance.
1909 H.E.S. Fremantle New Nation 136For over fifty years natives have been free to sit in the Cape Parliament if elected.
1918 Cape Times in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 219Spanish Influenza. Many Cases Among Rand Mine Natives.
c1928 R.R.R. Dhlomo Afr. Tragedy 22According to the story of the arrested Natives, there were other boys in the room that night whose identities they do not know.
1930 Friend 25 Aug. 13Fichards will demonstrate with the Wolseley sheep shearing outfit at the sheep show today...To prove its simplicity a Native will do the shearing.
1952 L.E. Neame White Man’s Afr. 87The Bantu tribes, known in South Africa as the natives, are not, of course, of the pure Negro type.
1952 F.B. Young In S. Afr. 6A new race, no less alien than they (sc. the Dutch), had appeared on their eastern frontier: the Southern Bantu, whom South Africans now call ‘natives’.
1953 H.F. Verwoerd in L.V. Tutu Twilight of Struggle (c1986) 25When I have control over native education I will reform it so that Natives will be taught from childhood that equality with Europeans is not for them.
1961 T. Matshikiza Choc. for my Wife 107The law couldn’t describe her as a native since she was very fair, blue-eyed rosy-cheeked and straight haired. So she was entered in the Population Registration Offices as Coloured.
1966 Cape Argus 8 Apr. 13There are literally no places to sit down anywhere — apart from the Gardens and a square of grass among draughts-mad Natives.
1982 M. Mzamane Children of Soweto 87Bra P. was what the legal gurus usually describe as ‘a native of no fixed occupation’.
1990 R. Malan My Traitor’s Heart 30Natives cooked my meals, polished my shoes, made my bed, mowed the lawn, trimmed the hedge, and dug holes at my father’s direction.
c. combinations All offensive (and now obsolete or obsolescent)
Native Affairs historical, a forerunner of the government department of Co-operation and Development;
Native area historical, reserve;
Native beer obsolescent, tshwala sense a i;
Native boy, boy sense 1 a;
Native foreigner obsolete, a black African whose place of origin is beyond the borders of the Cape colony;
Native girl, girl sense a;
Native Law historical, a body of laws applicable only to blacks, and based partly on the traditional law of the black peoples of southern Africa; see also customary;
Native problem, Native question historical, (from a white perspective) the social and political difficulties connected with inter-racial relations and the political aspirations of black people;
Native reserve, see reserve;
Native trade, commerce in which most or all customers are black;
Native work, an offensive term for manual labour, or for any task considered by some to be too menial for whites to perform.
1857 C.H. Williams Letter to H.F. Fynn. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS22887) 7 Jan.I have the honour to request you will be pleased to forward..a receipt for 14 head of cattle sent to feed order of the Secretary to Government for Native Affairs.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 283The future Boer Government would..act wisely appointed a Minister for Native Affairs.
1911 Farmer’s Weekly 15 Mar. 13In the Transvaal she found the natives co-operated, if well looked after by the magistrates and officers of native affairs.
1923 G.H. Nicholls Bayete! 55The Secretary for Native Affairs wrote the other day to say he wanted his officials to keep their fingers on the pulse of the natives.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 244The Native Affairs Bill of 1920, created the Native Affairs Commission.
1987 C. Hope Hottentot Room 10‘He sounds like an Indian, speaks like a white man and looks like a black,’ cried the perplexed Minister of Native Affairs, back in the old days when such departments were named for their function and not to disguise their real purpose.
1963 D. Jacobson Through Wilderness (1977) 48Though she had been born in Johannesburg, she was convinced that she was liable to instant deportation if she were ever caught by a policeman or a clerk in the Native Affairs Department vengeful or conscientious enough to follow up her case.
1913 T.L. Schreiner in Hansard 5 June 3134It would be impossible for the Commission to say that they were either European or native areas, because the races were so mixed up together.
1913 Act 27 in Stat. of Union 438From and after the commencement of this Act, no person other than a native shall purchase, hire or in any other manner whatever acquire any land in a scheduled native area or enter into any agreement or transaction for the purchase, hire or other acquisition, direct or indirect, of any such land or of any right thereto..except with the approval of the Governor-General.
1941 C.W. De Kiewiet Hist. of S. Afr. 142The Glen Grey district of the native area known as the Transkei.
1837 F. Owen Diary (1926) 72A number of his servants sitting by him on the ground, and the rest of the men of the town at some distance ready to commence their breakfast, consisting of bowls of native beer, which the women bring every morning from a long distance.
1912 Ayliff & Whiteside Hist. of Abambo 19These articles they did not use, but reserved them for barter with other tribes for cattle, contenting themselves with earthen pots for cooking and brewing native beer, and with wooden implements for breaking up the soil.
1928 L.P. Greene Adventure Omnibus 49They drank occasionally from a large calabash of thick native beer.
1952 Skappie in Drum Nov. 6Native beer needs time to mature and tins of fermenting beer are often seized by raiding police.
1962 L.E. Neame Hist. of Apartheid 56In the towns..Bantu women brewed Native beer for sale and though the practice was illegal it was widespread.
1896 H.A. Bryden Tales of S. Afr. 12At one of these fires were gathered our native boys, feasting and chattering.
1907 W.C. Scully By Veldt & Kopje 19The place has an evil reputation; no native boy cares to go near it.
1917 Grocott’s Penny Mail 25 Apr. 3Very few native boys working in the stores put in an appearance, and late in the day large numbers of native domestic servants deserted their employers.
1924 G. Baumann in Baumann & Bright Lost Republic (1940) 134Some three thousand native boys were employed by different mining companies.
1978 Daily Dispatch 9 Nov. 3He replied by calling her by her first name. Astonished and angry, she reported the incident to a senior manager, complaining she felt terribly insulted by this young ‘native boy’. It led to Joseph’s dismissal.
1843 R. Godlonton in J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. (1967) 37186 Hottentots, and other persons of colour, natives of the colony, and 120 aborigines (styled by the Government ‘native foreigners’) of the country beyond the colonial boundaries.
1845 J.M. Bowker Speeches & Sel. (1864) 197The Lt.-Governor having received information that certain of the kafirs are in an unsettled state, I am directed by his Honor to..take measures to ascertain whether there are any native foreigners lurking about their wards.
1912 Ayliff & Whiteside Hist. of Abambo 52No Gcaleka, Gaika, Tembu or other Native foreigner, was to enter the Colony without a pass, signed by some officer or functionary appointed by the Government.
1911 Farmer’s Weekly 4 Oct. 115The system of native men working in our homes must cease as soon as possible and their places be taken by native girls.
1919 R.Y. Stormberg With Love from Gwenno 75The old native girl in the kitchen cried out that it was heavily snowing.
1954 J. Wiles Moon to Play With 182‘I cannot just go and ask for the native girl. I do not even know her name. The white people will certainly throw me out,’ he said ‘or put the dog on me.’
1934 C.P. Swart Supplement to Pettman. 123Native Law,..Law which is specially applicable to natives and based on native custom.
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 170The presence of two codes — Common law and Native law (which applies as between natives and mostly in rural areas) — enhances the complexities of the law for many urbanised Africans.
1936 R.J.M. Goold-Adams S. Afr. To-Day & To-Morrow 29Now there are only three possible ways for men of two colours to live in one country, and we should do well to bear each of them in mind as we steer through the snags and currents of what we are pleased to call ‘the native problem’.
1949 J.S. Franklin This Union 209We have no Native problem in this country at all. The only problem we are concerned with is, I think, the European problem.
1960 E.H. Brookes in H. Spottiswoode S. Afr.: Rd Ahead 44The ‘Native problem’, the ‘race problem’, the ‘Jewish problem’, the ‘Indian problem’, then (sotto voce) the ‘English problem’ and (in the shocked silence of blasphemous thought) the ‘Afrikaner problem’, seem to haunt us.
1974 L.M. Mangope Place for All (c1979) 136The 1936 Land Act..was introduced to increase the then ‘Native Reserves’, or, if one prefers to put it that way, to solve the then ‘Native Problem’.
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 195It will pass, as the poor-white and the native problem will pass no doubt in some way.
1882 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. I. 107The Boers have a decided method of solving the native question, which might act like an electric shock upon the telescopic philanthropists of Exeter Hall.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 105Their state is a happy augury of the success of intelligent efforts to grapple with the native question — the pressing difficulty for South Africa.
1941 C.W. De Kiewiet Hist. of S. Afr. 179The language of public discussion and political debate freely uses such terms as ‘native question’ and ‘segregation’, as if native questions concerned only natives, and as if segregation meant a real separation between two distinct communities.
1948 Press Digest No.1, 8A strong plea was made for the teaching of the native question, described as the most important problem confronting South Africa, in schools.
1903 Ilanga 8 May 3 (advt)Best store in Durban for Native Trade.
1955 Pietersburg Eng. Medium School Mag. Nov. 4 (advt)Northern Transvaal Wholesalers Caterers for Native Trade.
1971 Daily Dispatch 16 Oct.10 Heifers and Tollies for Native trade.
1976 S. Cloete Chetoko 8There were the usual shelves of soft goods — rolled bale after bale of red and yellow and blue materials —..stuff for the native trade.
1941 W.M.B. Nhlapo in Bantu World 1 Mar. 9Europeans had given up jobs merely because the thought that the work they were asked to do was ‘native work’.
2. nonce. The Xhosa language.
1937 B.J.F. Laubscher Sex, Custom & PsychopathologyIf you cannot write English, then reply in native (Xosa).
B. adjective
1. a. Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) inhabitants of southern Africa. b. Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of black Africans.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 87Mr. Shaw, the missionary, being on a journey to Cape Town, I was hospitably received by two native teachers, who had the superintendence of the institution in his absence.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 27 July 119As Commandant of the Frontier the influence of his character among the Caffers was extensive and salutary. The celerity of his movements whenever he has been required to punish their acts of aggression on the Colonists..has rendered his name equally familiar throughout Cafferland with that of its Native Chiefs.
1833 W. Shaw in B. Shaw Memorials (1841) 234The native congregation continues large...It is composed of people belonging to a great variety of tribes.
1846 A. Adams in Imp. Blue Bks Command Paper 980–1848, 63The native population of this colony is made up principally of the remnants of several different tribes who inhabited the country previous to the time of the Zoolah chief Chaka.
a1858 J. Goldswain Chron. (1947) II. 127The Kaffer is like all other Natives tribes.
1875 J.J. Bisset Sport & War 16Sir H. Smith had in the meantime detached some companies of native battalions.
1884 Cape Law Jrnl I. 107A retail license..enables a hotel keeper to sell wines, etc., to any person, whether European or native, in a shop or canteen forming part of the hotel premises.
1892 The Jrnl 14 Jan. 2The criminals are for the most part Coloured or Native men.
1902 G.M. Theal Beginning of S. Afr. Hist. 273He had a force under his command of about fifteen hundred blacks armed in the native manner.
1907 J.P. Fitzpatrick Jock of Bushveld 313We..carried..some beads with which to trade for native fowls and thick milk.
1914 Rand Daily Mail in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 207The work of removing the stones from the mouth of the cave was recommended by Detectives Martin, Rudd, O’Neill and some native police.
1923 G.H. Nicholls Bayete! 155They were housed in the native quarters near the cattle kraal so as to be near their work; but they took frequent opportunity of visiting their families at the chief’s kraal.
1934 J. Van der Poel Education & Native. (Paper read at conference of the South African Teachers’ Association, Cape Town) 2By no body of persons in South Africa should the issues of native education be more realistically confronted nor more dispassionately discussed than by an association of professional teachers having Bantu as well as European members.
1935 R.S. Godley Khaki & Blue 112Laws..must be just and reasonable, and administered absolutely impartially, irrespective of race, politics or colour...Our so-called native policy appears to be one of oppression, engendered by fear.
1947 C.R. Prance Antic Mem.In 1903 Native labour was deadly scarce on farms.
c1949 Survey of Race Rel. 1948–9 (S.A.I.R.R.) 6The Native Military Corps has been disbanded and Africans in future will be employed by the armed forces for purely non-combatant services.
1950 J. Sachs in B. Sachs Herman Charles Bosman (1971) 156While the European product is stereotyped and standardised, the Native song is remarkable for its spontaneity and vitality.
1960 J.J.L. Sisson S. Afr. Judicial Dict. 493Native medicines, The term should be understood as meaning medicines such as natives can make for themselves.
1960 Star in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 332The six European and 429 Native miners lie in a common grave 522 ft. below the surface.
1982 [see blerry adj.].
2. Applied to cattle: of the Nguni type (see Nguni noun sense 3).
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 13The native cattle have extremely long branching horns, and long legs and are not so valuable as the crossed.
1967 J.A. Broster Red Blanket Valley 3The so-called ‘Native cow’ produces daily two to three pints of milk, and this only in summer.
1971 Daily Dispatch 28 Aug. 2120 Tollies native type.
1973 Daily Dispatch 12 May 196 Tollies, 2 years and under, 4 Native Stock.
3. Offensive and derogatory. In the phrase to go native, (of whites) to associate with blacks; to adopt a black lifestyle. Cf. to go bush (see bush adjective1 sense 3).
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 79There were here and there white men who had ‘gone native’, as the saying is, and were living in remote kraals with a plurality of wives.
1954 Drum Dec. 29Regina B—, a European woman, and Richard K—, an African, were charged under the Immorality Act with living together...Regina’s attorney..claimed that she had ‘gone native,’ and could no longer be considered a European...The public prosecutor replied that under the Immorality Act it did not help to show that a woman had ‘gone native’.
1968 L.G. Green Full Many Glorious Morning 144By this time Mauch had been robbed and was almost destitute while Render had ‘gone native’ and was living with a daughter of Chief Bika and their half-caste child.
1968 F.C. Metrowich Frontier Flames 14With the loss of their leader the Du Buys volk deteriorated rapidly and for a time they went native.
A member of one of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) peoples of southern Africa.
Any black African.
The Xhosa language.
Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) inhabitants of southern Africa.
Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of black Africans.
Applied to cattle: of the Nguni type (see Nguninoun3).
(of whites) to associate with blacks; to adopt a black lifestyle.