plural, noun

Forms:
Frequently with initial capital.
Origin:
Derived from Department of Plural Relations and Development, a name given briefly (during 1978) to the Department of Bantu Affairs.
A joking or ironical term for a black person, mocking official terminology. Also attributive.
1978 Sunday Times 19 Feb. 14If the old term ‘Bantu’ (to which the Government clung so obdurately for a generation) was offensive, the new term ‘Plural’ is hilarious.
1978 Drum June 2Just imagine overseas readers of South African newspapers rolling on the floor in fits of laughter when they read something like ‘The Dube hostel is built to accommodate 10000 single male Plurals.’..That which is not a Plural is a Singular. It is the Singulars who run the affairs of Plurals in this country because the Singulars know what is good for the Plurals.
1978 Sunday Times 16 July 16It’s official. A Bantu is not a Plural — even though he may have some plural relations. Every Government Department has received a letter from the Secretary for Plural Relations which says: ‘The Honourable the Minister of Plural Relations and Development has indicated that the word “plural” must please under no circumstances be used as a noun to mean “Bantu”’.
1978 Plural Stan in Drum Aug. 2Two Nationalist MP Singles have been invited...And are these two men not the very people who have been running the affairs of us Plurals for 30 years because they know just what prescription to make for all Plural ills?
1978 Staffrider Vol.1 No.4, 32News spread like wildfire. Every ‘plural’ was talking about it...Every ‘idle Bantu’ gave it a thought.
1979 E. Prov. Herald 13 June 1The bottle store in Port Elizabeth that put up a sign over the entrance for blacks which read ‘Plurals — Plurale’ came under attack in Parliament..from a Nationalist...He said this was a clear attempt to impugn the dignity of blacks.
1982 Voice 14 Feb. 4Remember I used to be a native with a capital n, then I became a kaf..(or was it kaf..first now?) I grew into a bantu then rapidly into a plural.
1986 M.S. Hlatshwayo in Bunn & Taylor From S. Afr. (1988) 298Today you’re called a Bantu, Tomorrow you’re called a Communist Sometimes you’re called a Native...Sometimes you’re called a Plural.
1987 S. Van der Merwe in New Nation 23 Apr. 11Sent to ‘native school’ at the age of 10...Sent to the ‘plural school’ a few years later...Enrolled at a Bantu school in the city.
A joking or ironical term for a black person, mocking official terminology. Also attributive.
Derivatives:
Hence pluralism noun nonce, blackness.
1981 Pace Sept. 174We’ll be fed slabs of manna straight out of our ‘nativism,’ ‘bantuism,’ ‘co-operativism,’ ‘pluralism’ and all the other ‘isms’ laced up with this jumbled structure of separatism.
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19781987

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