oorlams, adjective

Also oorlamsch, oorlamse.
AfrikaansShow more Afrikaans, oorlam + adjective-forming suffix -s, -se.
1. obsolete. oorlam adjective sense 1.
1905 Native Tribes of Tvl 35The term ‘Oorlamsch’ is applied to the descendants of the slaves of the Zulu and other invaders, who were in some cases taken over by the Boers...They are able to speak Cape Dutch, and there are some clever artizans and mechanics among them.
1908 J.M. Orpen Reminisc. (1964) 261A family of ‘Oorlams’ (or tame) Bushmen, who had been for their whole lives in servitude..and had never received wages, had come to the Court to claim their freedom.
1922 Report of Administration on Bondelzwarts Rising (UG30–1922) 1The Bondelzwarts are a tribe of Oorlams Hottentots.
2. oorlam adjective sense 2.
[1943 D. Reitz No Outspan 112Having spent much of his time with the Angola Boers, he speaks Dutch fluently as do several of his sons whom for this reason he refers to with pride as ‘oorlams volk’, meaning ‘enlightened people’.]
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. 55During the early years of Dutch settlement at the Cape, the term oorlams first referred to hard-drinking, veteran sailors of the Dutch navy and merchant fleet who raised havoc in the local taverns. Later it came to be applied to the tough, experienced Dutch colonials brought from the East Indies, as distinct from their more sober, baar (raw, naive) counterparts fresh from Holland...Soon, the term came to refer to Khoisan who had learned Dutch and acquired a worldly knowledge of the ways of Europeans...Dutch farmers..found that oorlamse Khoisan were more useful but also more disingenuous household servants than baar kaffirs (raw, tribal Africans).
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. 56Among urban Africans, oorlams came to refer to those who had undergone Westernization through Afrikaans and work experience in Afrikaner communities, rather than through involvement with English-speaking mission schools.
[1981 V.A. February Mind your Colour 202The word used in Afrikaans is ‘oorlams’. It is generally applied to a ‘coloured’ who, in Afrikaner eyes, is too clever and who does not stick to his ascribed role.]
1986 W. Steenkamp Blake’s Woman 79‘“Oorlams?”’ Anne asked, savouring the exotic word. The word..means ‘a wide-awake fellow’...in any case, the oorlams Namaquas have long since adopted the white man’s clothes, his language, even some of his customs and methods of government — and his guns.
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