voorloper, noun

Forms:
voerlooper, voorloeperShow more Also voerlooper, voorloeper, voor-loopa, voorlooper, voorlouper, vorlooper.
Origin:
Afrikaans, South African Dutch, DutchShow more Afrikaans, earlier South African Dutch, from Dutch voor front, fore + looper walker.
1. In historical contexts. The person (usually a young boy) who walks with the foremost pair of a team of draught oxen in order to guide them; fore-louper; leader; touleier.
1837 J.E. Alexander Narr. of Voy. I. 323A long wagon would pass.., drawn by a span of ten or fourteen oxen under the guidance of a voorlooper, a brown boy, holding occasionally a small rope attached to the horns of the leading bullocks.
1847 A Bengali Notes on Cape of G.H. 76A little Hottentot boy or ‘voor-loopa’ usually leads the first pair [of oxen].
1852 C. Barter Dorp & Veld 49Our driver and leader, or voor looper, were both Hottentots.
1868 T. Stubbs Reminiscences. 6It was more like the clothing of some of our Voorloopers — Elbows, Knees and Bucksies bare, rich and rare were the gems he didn’t wear.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 16A wagon, with a driver, a voorlooper, and a Kafir hunter.
1909 Lady S. Wilson S. Afr. Mem. 14I have been told that President Kruger was on this historical trek, a Voor-loper, or little boy that guides the leading oxen.
1914 S.P. Hyatt Old Transport Rd 23I engaged an alleged driver..and a piccanin as voorloeper.
1972 L.G. Green When 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.
1983 Rand Daily Mail 26 May 9This fixes Ndongeni as between eight and 12 years old, the usual age for a ‘voorlooper’.
1990 Weekend Post 5 May 10As everybody knows, a voorloper is practically white man’s work. A voorloper also walks ahead of the oxen, but he doesn’t have to hold a rope.
2. Transferred and figurative senses. One who goes ahead, a fore-runner, in various specific senses, as: a pioneer; Voortrekker noun sense 1; a scout, moving ahead of the main body of troops; an animal leading a flock (see also voorbok); the leader of a Cape Malay carnival troupe; a small diamond found before one of substantial size is discovered.
1878 A. Aylward Tvl of Today 18The Boers coming from the Cape Colony naturally sought in their new homes the peculiar features that have made the old ones pleasant...These the ‘Voorloopers’ did not find on the Highveld.
1903 R. Kipling Five Nations 181Only a wave of our troopers, Only our flanks swinging past, Only a dozen voorloopers, Only we’ve learned it at last!
1910 A.B. Lamont Rural Reader 127One or two native goats called voorloopers, are frequently put among sheep to act as leaders and to bring the flock back to the kraal at night.
1950 E. Rosenthal Here Are Diamonds 198Contrasting pleasantly with the ‘Schlenter’ stone is the ‘Voorloper,’ which does not here stand, as usual, for the small native boy leading the first ox of a span, but is the small stone which precedes a big one, lower down in the claim.
1951 L.G. Green Grow Lovely 192Each troupe has its voorloper, a prancing drum-major swinging the staff of office and leading the musicians.
1955 L.G. Green Karoo 36He could see a front line of buck at least three miles long, but he could not estimate the depth. Ahead of the main body were swift voorlopers, moving along as though they were leading the army.
1971 Argus 5 June (Weekend Mag.) 1The ‘Voorlopers’ amused us with their acrobatic prancing through the streets.
1990 Weekend Post 5 May 10If the Conservative Party ever gains power, the coloured people of South Africa can look forward to being voorlopers. This enticing prospect was held out..yesterday.
The person (usually a young boy) who walks with the foremost pair of a team of draught oxen in order to guide them; fore-louper; leader; touleier.
One who goes ahead, a fore-runner, in various specific senses, as: a pioneer; Voortrekkernoun1; a scout, moving ahead of the main body of troops; an animal leading a flock (see also voorbok); the leader of a Cape Malay carnival troupe; a small diamond found before one of substantial size is discovered.
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