Trek, Trekker, Trekking; Tango (?)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Jul 14 15:34:15 UTC 1999


    "Trek" is a great South African word.  Star Trek would be lost without it.
    The standard dictionary is, of course, A DICTIONARY OF SOUTH AFRICAN
ENGLISH ON HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES (Oxford, 1996).  The librarians have it
locked up because, they told me, it would otherwise be destroyed.  However,
it prevented me from copying all the "trek" pages.
    Here's a brief run-through from THE NATAL WITNESS, which began in 1846.

27 March 1846, THE NATAL WITNESS, pg. 2, col. 1:
     The residents within this territory may be divided into three
classes:--Those who have lately arrived, and intend on establishing
themselves as colonists;--those who are said to be disposed to "trek;"--and
that numerous body whom we may designate--not "Native Foreigners"--but
"Native Colonists,"...
(col. 2)
     The peculiar characteristic, however, of this portion of the community
is, thatthey are apparently halting between two opinions--if they have not
already determined to "trek."
     ...the continuance of the "trek" system...

26 June 1846, THE NATAL WITNESS, pg. 2, col. 2:
     Now, what is the distance, Mr. Editor, at which these "trekkers" have
chosen to place themselves?
(Cited in Oxford--ed.)

2 July 1847, THE NATAL WITNESS, pg. 3, col. 1:
     He thought if something were not done there would still be reason for


     Tango?  Tanga?
     FWIW, this is from THE NATAL WITNESS, 28 May 1847, pg. 4, col. 1:

     Another pen from the same direction says--"our town lands are over-run
with Kaffirs.  A person has his horse stabbed in two places for looking into
a nigger's garden."  And adds--"FARMAI (?), a native at the Umcomas (?),
bought a waggon and a span of oxen the other day with Indian corn of his own
growing, and--is desirous of engaging a European driver of sober and
industrious habits."
     This is "tangaing" in style.  Not in beads and blankets, but--a waggon
and span of oxen at one stroke, in one season?  What will come next?

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