platteland, noun and adjective

Forms:
Also plaatland, and with initial capital.
Origin:
AfrikaansShow more Afrikaans, platte (combining form of plat flat) + land land.
A. noun
a. The rural areas or country districts; cf. backveld noun sense a.
1925 H.J. Mandelbrote tr. of O.F. Mentzel’s Descr. of Cape of G.H. 143Snakes and scorpions are fairly plentiful in the platteland, but are rarely met within Table Valley.
1933 C.J. Uys In Era of Shepstone 199 (Swart)Like a leaven the discontent spread from town to town — leaving the platteland unaffected.
1943 J. Burger Black Man’s Burden 236The main strength of the Nationalist Party lies in the Platteland, the rural areas.
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 27The old label ‘Kaffir’..is still commonly used in the ‘Bible Belt’ or Platteland (Flat land) which is predominantly Afrikaans-speaking.
1958 A. Jackson Trader on Veld 20The idea of leaving the comfort and relative sophistication of Port Elizabeth held no terrors for me..when my Uncle mentioned that he might fix me up on the Platteland.
1961 T. Macdonald Tvl Story 24Better farming is also the key to stop the drift of the people from the platteland to the cities.
1963 B. Modisane Blame Me on Hist. (1986) 90The South African police force attracts into its ranks young Afrikaners recruited from the Platteland, rural areas.
1987 Frontline Mar. 13I went to another dorpie. There was a Masonic Hotel there. I think it was the Masonic. They’re all Masonic on the platteland, unless they’re the Grand.
1990 Weekend Post 19 May 6In a city one would go to a shop and buy music to suit your needs, but on the platteland I find that it’s sometimes quicker just to compose something yourself.
b. With defining word: deep platteland, usually in political contexts, those rural areas which are furthest from the cities and thus most conservative.
1971 Daily Dispatch 6 Sept. 6They obviously..think that 70 voters in the deep Platteland should have the same say as 115 voters in the city.
1972 U. Kenney in Evening Post 6 May 12Senator Horak, and others, want the party to forget the ‘deep platteland’, as Sen. Horak put it, and go all out for more support in the cities.
1976 Sunday Times 10 Oct. (Mag. Sect.) 4The hazards of life in the deepest platteland.
1983 S. Afr. Digest 20 May 21The problem facing the Prime Minister is that the deep platteland still has an unequal influence on parliamentary politics...The rural vote is loaded to favour scattered farming communities.
B. adjective
a. Of or pertaining to the country districts. b. Rural, unsophisticated. Cf. backveld adjective.
1952 [see play sense 1].
1956 A. Sampson Drum 161The young Afrikaner policeman coming to Johannesburg from a platteland farm, where his family may have been cut off from civilisation since the Great Trek, was in a situation not very different from the Zulu coming from his reserve.
1967 W.A. De Klerk White Wines 20Welkom,’ he said...And a welcome it was, expressed by a man whose basic platteland values were obviously as firmly extablished here as the fine vineyards which had produced a Cape wine of quality.
1971 Sunday Times 27 June 6Even the platteland voter has become far more sophisticated.
1971 M. Cook in Baraitser & Obholzer Cape Country Furn. p.ixThere are several ways of looking at country, ‘platteland’, or traditional art of any sort.
1979 Capetonian July 4A metropolitan city with a platteland night life does not make sense!
1980 E. Patel They Came at Dawn 48‘Whats [sic] there my sweet haanetjie?’ ‘There you stupid plaatland skakes-speare [sic].’
1984 Fair Lady 25 Jan. 52A platteland Fellini took Annari off to the abbatoir to film the carnage.
1985 E. Prov. Herald 21 Mar. 12In certain platteland and black areas the enumeration had taken longer than expected because of the widespread rains.
1987 J. Joubert in Style July 103Like most Platteland towns, Mossel Bay cannot hold on to its youth once they have left school.
1988 A. Kenny in Frontline Apr. 21There is a conspicuous lack of Platteland courtesy. In the shops and pubs, words like ‘asseblief’ and ‘thank you’ are rare.
1988 V. Khumalo in Pace May 17AWB-type treatment outside a Hillbrow all-night grill...A platteland punch that felt like it came from the bowels of earth clipped his eye which promptly ballooned inside its socket.
1989 ADA No.7, 7Namaqualand, so quintessentially platteland.
1990 R. Gool Cape Town Coolie 2‘These people,’ he said in a strong Platteland Afrikaans, ‘are mad!’
1989 D. Briscoe in Motorist 4th Quarter 4Take time to walk the streets of Lady Grey...This is the platteland South Africa and a haven of commonsense tranquility.
1990 J. Naidoo Coolie Location 118Their faces were pumpkin-like, their platteland characteristics were unmistakable: glad-neck shirts, shorts, snub-nosed shoes with thick serrated rubber soles.
The rural areas or country districts;
usually in political contexts, those rural areas which are furthest from the cities and thus most conservative.
Of or pertaining to the country districts.
Rural, unsophisticated.
Derivatives:
Hence plattelander noun, one from the rural areas; cf. backvelder (see backveld noun).
1948 Press Digest No.3, 22Generally speaking, the ‘plattelander’ knows what the Nationalist Party is and wants, while the city inhabitant does not know this.
1956 M. Wight in M. Rogers Black Sash 81The Transvaal plattelander struck a true prophetic note, when away back in the ’twenties they opposed the women’s vote.
1967 W.A. De Klerk White Wines 87He was one of the first of the plattelanders with a feudal background to break fully and dynamically into the 20th century.
1973 W. Stockenström in S. Gray Writers’ Territory 147Paradoxically enough, there is a similarity between the plattelander and the inhabitant of a densely populated area. The end product of loneliness and reticence is the same.
1985 E. Prov. Herald July 22I’m a backvelder, a plattelander, a country bumpkin if you like.

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