Vaalpens, noun

Forms:
Also Vaalpans, and (in attributive attributive use) with small initial.
Plurals:
unchanged, Vaalpense /ˈfɑːlpensə/, or (formerly) Vaalpensen.
With small initial in attributive use.
1. In historical contexts. [Afrikaans, vaal grey + pens belly, paunch (see quotations 1897 and 1905.] A member of the Kgalagadi people. Also attributive.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 53Their fellow-countrymen to the south..sometimes call them ‘Vaalpensen’, which is the Dutch for Bakalahari, the ill-favoured and lean vassals of the Bechuanas.
1887 A.A. Anderson 25 Yrs in Waggon I. 107Their cattle-posts away in the bush, where the stock is looked after..are in charge of their slaves called Vaalpans [sic].
1897 Schulz & Hammar New Africa 71A remarkable irregular white blotchiness of the skin on the natives’ abdomens, found explanation in the fact that the natives, during the cold nights on which they slept out without clothing, built themselves little oblong frameworks of green wood, sixteen inches high, on top of which they made fires. Sleeping under this for warmth, the burning embers often fell through the framework on to their naked skins, raising blisters which, when healed, left the affected part white or grey. It is from this circumstance..that the Boers have humorously nicknamed the tribes living west of the Transvaal ‘Vaalpense,’ or ‘grey bellies.’
1905 Native Tribes of Tvl 70The Vaalpens. This name (signifying ‘Dusty-bellies,’ and given them by the Boers owing to their colour, caused, it is said, by their habit of crawling along the ground when stalking game) is applied to a few families of wandering aboriginal Bushmen who still survive in the remotest parts of the Waterberg and Blauwberg districts.
1916 E. Prov. Herald 28 Sept. 3The Vaalpens reported that one of our oxen had been mauled...We saddled up and with three Vaalpens soon found where the lion had caught the ox.
1920 S.M. Molema Bantu Past & Present 36Bakalahari (or Bakhalagadi) called Balala (i.e. vassals) by the Bechuana and Vaalpens (or Fallow Bellies) by the Dutch.
a1936 E.N. Marais Soul of Ape (1973) 70We had an opportunity here in Waterberg of examining just such a case of ‘homing’ in a descendant of the so-called ‘vaalpens pygmies’ that at one time inhabited the Bushveld of the northern Transvaal.
1947 G.C. & S.B. Hobson in E.R. Seary S. Afr. Short Stories 153When at length the wind dropped the road had become completely obliterated. Only a Vaalpens would now succeed in keeping the direction to Bushmanswell.
1979 T. Gutsche There Was a Man 93‘The low Vaalpense’ as Soga called the residual Bushmen (the Bakalahari) — ‘human vultures’ who by instinct found dead animals and bore off infected meat in all directions.
2. colloquial. [Perhaps a play on sense 1 and the name of the Vaal River, the southern boundary of the Transvaal.] A derogatory term for:
a. An Afrikaner.
1899 E. Prov. Herald 6 Dec. 3A South African Dutchman writes us a somewhat bitter letter...He writes as a Dutch Afrikander, a Vaalpens in fact.
1974 Informant, GrahamstownWe have also coined nicknames for ourselves ‘the rooineks,’ the Afrikaners being ‘vaalpense’ or the Germans ‘plat-koppe’.
1979 Capetonian May 9‘My ancestors could read!’ I hear an indignant Vaalpens shouting from the back row...If there’s one thing I hate more than an illiterate stirrer of stywepap, then it’s a gatecrasher in velskoene.
b. Transvaler, see Transvaal.
1934, 1945 [see Blikoor].
1947 E.R. Seary S. Afr. Short StoriesGlossary, Vaalpens,..nickname for a Transvaler.
1993 G. McIntosh in Sunday Times 20 June 23‘Amabhunu’ can have the hint of a ‘smear’ in it rather as the words ‘Vaalpens’ (Transvaler), ‘soutie’ (white English-speaking South African) and ‘hairyback’ (Afrikaner) have.
A member of the Kgalagadi people.
An Afrikaner.
Transvaler, see Transvaal.
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18711993