rondavel, noun

Forms:
rondabel, rondawelShow more Also rondabel, rondawel, ronddavel, ronddawel, rondhavel, rondheuvel.
Origin:
Afrikaans, Malay, PortugueseShow more Afrikaans rondawel, applied originally to an African hut; etymology unknown: perhaps from ronde round + wal wall (or rond + heuvel hillock); or from Afrikaans rond round + Malay dewala wall; or from Portuguese roda ring, wheel + vallo wall.
a. A traditional circular African dwelling with a conical (generally thatched) roof; transferred sense, a circular building (usually a single room) based on the design of an African hut but with additional features, used as guest-room, store-room, holiday cottage, etc. Also attributive, passing into adjective, and (occasionally) figurative.
a1875 T. Baines Jrnl of Res. (1964) II. 282Four thatched houses, a considerable number of huts — and rondheuvels, a kind of dwelling scarcely superior — and an immense kraal.
c1892 J. Widdicombe 14 Yrs in Basutoland 84Mr. Charles Bell had very kindly engaged a Mosuto..to build us a round hut, or rondavel, as the whites usually call it.
1900 A.H. Keane Boer States: Land & People p.xviiiRondabel, ronddawel, a round hut..; is now an outhouse detached from the dwelling, and is used as a kitchen.
1910 J. Buchan Prester John 37Inanda’s kraal was a cluster of kyas and rondavels, shaped in a half-moon.
1912 W. Westrup Land of To-Morrow 82To one side were a couple of rondavels, or round sod huts, built in the native fashion and warmly thatched.
1922 S.G. Millin Adam’s Rest 104‘Well, my idea is’ said Miriam, ‘to have rondavels. Four rondavels, joined together by a few feet of passage. Each rondavel a separate room with its own doors and windows. White, of course. And a thatched roof.’
1930 N. Stevenson Farmers of Lekkerbat 17The house..was thatched as the native rondawels were with veld grass.
1931 Nat. Geog. Mag. Apr. 473A peaceful mountain camp, with its..group of rondavels, for that is what the Afrikaner calls his stone-walled thatched development of the native’s circular hut.
1937 J. Stevenson-Hamilton S. Afr. Eden 16Many rondhavels, or improved native huts, had been built.
1948 H.V. Morton In Search of S. Afr. 123A rondavel is a type of hut peculiar to South Africa, a circular, thatched European version of the Kaffir hut, fitted with windows.
1948 H.V. Morton In Search of S. Afr. 230The rest camp at Hluhluwe stands upon the top of a hill. There are a number of circular white rondavels standing in lines upon grass, a welcome and cheering sight.
1948 E. Rosenthal Afr. Switzerland 16A quaint little rondavel, one of those circular huts of brick with a roof of thatch that tell by their very appearance how white men have copied them from the Bantu hut.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 129Here you will see Native kraals for the first time, little villages of rondavels, mud and straw and dung, circular in shape, with thatched roofs and an occasional rusty piece of corrugated iron, weighted down by squashes.
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 156The peach-pip floor is still to be found on some farms. It takes thousands of pips to cover even a rondavel floor.
1960 Filmer & Jameson Usutu 97I started to build two square-davels.
1965 K. Thompson Richard’s Way 38Jesse’s thatched rondavel bedroom..was still today exactly as it had been.
1967 J.A. Broster Red Blanket Valley 11The house, a small thatched cottage, consisted of two rondavels linked by a rectangular passage leading into a kitchen and bathroom. There were two outside rondavels; one was a hut used for visitors, and the other served as a dairy.
1971 Farmer’s Weekly May 25‘Red-Top’ Steel Longdavels.
1971 N. Gordimer Guest of Honour 43He was back where he started, in the rondavel room at Roly Dando’s.
1972 Daily Dispatch 25 Mar. 19Well-constructed rondavel Dairy.
1975 Ralls & Gordon Daughter of Yesterday 19A huge mimosa tree,..so rounded inside as to form a ‘rondavel’.
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 159Below them there were picturesque villages of perfectly circular, thatched rondavels whitewashed for about a foot just below the edges of the thatch and around the windows and doors.
1982 S. Afr. Panorama Mar. 23Their half-finished rondavel homestead.
1984 E. Mphahlele Afrika my Music 217Eastern Cape Africans build on the tops of hills, something you rarely if ever see in the Transvaal...These rondavel houses do not have wall enclosures like ours in the Transvaal.
1988 S. Afr. Panorama May 14Accommodation for the hunter ranges from tents in the veld, to rustic lodges and luxurious rondavels, complete with air-conditioning, waiters and five-star cuisine.
1989 Weekend Post 25 Nov. (Leisure) 7The veranda-ed rondavel shape of the building.
1990 R. Stengel January Sun 39When Afrikaners first encountered the black tribes of the highveld, they were intrigued by their round, hive-shaped huts...The Afrikaners admired them and called them rondawels. In the 1930s, Life’s grandfather fashioned many rondavels and thatched roofs for white houses in town.
1991 Settler Vol.65 No.1, 3The Pondos live in east-facing rondavel huts. The grey mud walls are decorated with white around the doors and windows.
1992 G. Templeton in Weekend Post 8 Feb. (Leisure) 4Each rondawel can accommodate two people comfortably and three at a pinch, but offers tranquillity disturbed only by the wind and sea.
b. comb.
rondavel-shaped;
rondavel-style;
rondavel-type.
1987 G. Viney Col. Houses 161The two rondavel-shaped buildings..were the cool-houses — one for meat, the other for vegetables and fruit.
1971 Beeton & Dorner in Eng. Usage in Sn Afr. Vol.2 No.2, 37A rondavel-style cottage or house is a dwelling consisting of a number of rondavels linked with one another by means of short passages.
1974 S. Afr. Panorama Sept. 33Picturesque rondavel-type houses each with their own ‘lapa’.
1985 Style Oct. 54In the Barnett Collection there is a picture of a grass-roofed rondavel-type house on the outskirts of Johannesburg before the turn of the century.
A traditional circular African dwelling with a conical (generally thatched) roof; transferred sense, a circular building (usually a single room) based on the design of an African hut but with additional features, used as guest-room, store-room, holiday cottage, etc. Also attributive, passing into adjective, and (occasionally) figurative.
Derivatives:
So (nonce) longdavel (see Farmer’s Weekly quot. 1971), and square-davel (see quotation 1960).

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18751992