According to wikipedia ‘boer’ “is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for “farmer.” As used in South Africa, it was used to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century. For a time the Dutch East India Company controlled this area, but it was taken over by the United Kingdom“.
Reading the Wikipedia article provides you with a good insight about the (South African) meaning of the word ‘boer’. We lived for 11 years in a ‘boer community‘ and the idea you get from the above mentioned Wikipedia article; boers being stubborn and very much on their own, feeling themselves as the ‘chosen people’ standing above all others, etc. etc. is, to our experience, still true. Although they established (formalised) ‘apartheid’ in South Africa (in fact the British introduced the first segregation regulations in South Africa) they are not racists. They just feel superior; also towards (white) people from other countries. Still remember what a committee member of the local tourism bureau in our previous village said: “First of all you are not an Afrikaner; secondly your are not from South Africa. The only advantage you have in our community is your skin colour“.
That said I must also add that the majority of farmers in South Africa adept really well (relatively) to the ‘New South Africa’ as introduced in 1994 when Nelson Mandela became the first black president. But still we experienced quite a few things that don’t fit in a contemporary society such as (partly) payments in booze of farm workers; farmworkers pulled on a rope behind a ‘bakkie’ (pick up truck); using a ‘protter’ to electroshock workers, etc. etc. Although it’s a small minority of Afrikaners (farmers); using barbaric human resource measurements is still a very sad story.
But there are also positive sides: we met farmers who are really warm hearted and welcome ‘strangers’ to be their guests and some are inventive; making things out of ‘rubbish’ etc.. (see the first 2 pictures). The third picture is not complete and, with a splashed baboon added to the truck, will be very controversial (a few hundred years ago and for some still actual; a ‘boer’ saw the native people as ‘apes’ which you could learn some ‘useful tricks’).
I hope to finish the series (12 images/imaginaries) in a few months and then I have to find a gallery for an exhibition. Will keep you informed.
P.S. when we eat ‘boerewors’ (farmers sausage) we always guess which ‘boer’ the sausage factory used.