1812A. Plumptretr. ofH. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 192The strength of the oxen was so much exhausted by the exertions they had been obliged to make in the midst of a hot sun, that they could not get on the rest of the way without a double Spann.
1822W.J. BurchellTrav.I. 134Mr Mong, the Boode, had informed me that proper oxen might be obtained in the Bokkeveld, at the price of three hundred rix dollars for a span (a team).
1837F. OwenDiary (1926) 11Great difficulty was experienced in ascending the opposite bank, one span of oxen being obliged to help the other.
1849J.D. Lewins Diary. 30See and get fm. Kew the span of wagon riems he has for sale.
1851T. Shone Diary. 15 Oct.This day Thurston return’d home to procure more cattle for his waggon, the kaffers having stolen 9 of his span.
1861Lady Duff-GordonLett. from Cape (1925) 33The teams of mules (I beg pardon, spans) would delight you — eight, ten, twelve, even sixteen sleek, handsome beasts.
1879R.J. AtcherleyTrip to Boërland 47A full span of oxen consists of about sixteen or eighteen, yoked together in pairs along a chain called the Trektouw.
1882C. Du ValWith Show through Sn Afr.II. 40To each of these waggons was attached a span of probably not less than sixteen oxen, yoked in pairs.
1896R. WallaceFarming Indust. of Cape Col. 269Sixteen is the usual number of a span of oxen, though on very heavy roads twenty may be yoked together.
1907W.C. ScullyBy Veldt & Kopje 270The convoy included eight wagons and sixteen spans of oxen.
1926P.W. LaidlerTavern of Ocean 138Post wagons left the Cape for Stellenbosch every Wednesday and Saturday at five a.m. in summer and seven a.m. in winter, each drawn by a span of twelve to sixteen oxen.
1941C.W. De KiewietHist. of S. Afr. 250As long as a span of powerful Afrikander oxen was considered a valuable possession, there was less room for select dairy cattle.
1961T. MacdonaldTvl Story 48I grew mealies, ploughing with two spans of donkeys and an ox.
1972L.G. GreenWhen Journey’s Over 50There is little rest for the weary voorloper from the time he rounds up his scattered span in the morning to the inspanning, the outspanning, the grazing and watering of the team at night.
1979A. Gordon-BrownSettlers’ Press 15He set out from Grahamstown with three wagons and six span of oxen with trade goods (£700) presumably supplied by local merchants.
1900F.R.M. Cleaver inM.M. CleaverYoung S. Afr. (1913) 75I suppose the old span in the Specials (police) is getting less and less as they are drafted off to the front from time to time.
1913Nongqai 12 Nov. 46These ‘spans’..help to maintain themselves (owing to being let out on payment), thereby becoming..a less burden to the State than others..where improvements in roads, etc., are performed gratis.
1939M. RorkeMelina Rorke 82The African wagon is a huge affair with buck-rail bed, eight feet wide by sixteen feet long..and three span of oxen.
1948O. WalkerKaffirs Are Lively 171Most of them..join the gaol-gangs which can be hired out by the ‘span’, like oxen, to private persons and public bodies anxious to use a bit of cheap labour.
1949H.C. BosmanCold Stone Jug (1969) 70I was informed that I had been given a change of labour. ‘What span, sir?’ I asked of the head-warder who imparted this information to me.
1953Drum Jan. 14Boys of 10 and 11 years have threatened grown-ups...‘Be careful, mister. I’ll bust you, my span’s Crimson League.’
1954H. Nxumalo inJ. Crwys-WilliamsS. Afr. Despatches (1989) 316After breakfast we were divided into many work spans (parties). I spent my first day with a span cutting grass, pulling out weeds with my hands and pushing wheelbarrows.
1969A. PatonKontakion 88When all the boys had paraded with their spans, they were counted. If the count proved correct, the two gates were opened and the spans marched out to work on the reformatory farm.
1974B. Head inS. GrayOn Edge of World 71This particular work span was known as Span One. It was composed of ten men and they were all political prisoners.
1976Sunday Times 10 Oct. 6One man in the group worked in a span outside the prison and another was a cleaner in the hospital.
1980A.J. BlignautDead End Rd 79Would be like asking his span of labourers to pay for a gift, or pansela as they called it.
1980A. PatonTowards Mountain 145Each boy paraded with his own span...Afrikaans was the language of the reformatory.
1963M.E. McCoyInformant, Port ElizabethI’ve found myself a real honey of a vanity case for my birthday. So if Ma agrees, I’ll get it, it’s R7.50, rather a span, that’s the snag!
1965S. DederickTickey 43It’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen in all my life. Thank you! Thanks a span!
1970A. Van der BergInformant, PretoriaSpan, very much, a lot. Thanks a span for the lovely gift. That man has spans of kids.
1975‘Blossom’ inDarling 26 Feb. 111In the middle there’s this like platform all set up with ropes and floodlights and a span more folks packed around on folding chairs...Killer Katz’s got a tattooed blonde laying across he’s chest too what undulates every time he flexes he’s muscles. She gets a span of titters.
1976‘Blossom’ inDarling 4 Feb. 87One love-letter..ending off Spans of kisses, yores for ever.
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