Baster people

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The Baster people of Namibia is a people of mixed race that lives in Namibia but was form in the Dutch Cape Colony in the XVIII century and part of the XVIII century by the intermarriage between Dutch, German and French settlers and indigenous Khoikoi women. Baster is the Dutch word for bastard but the Baster people use this designation proudly as part of their heritage. The numbers are between the 20000 and 40000 making around 3% of the Namibian population. The people was form when in the end of XVII and in the beginning of the XVIII century some white settlers intermarried with black Khoi women, because of the lack of white woman, which created some mixed race individuals. During the XVIII in the Dutch Cape Colony, these groups of individuals, as the other coloured individuals, start to get a sense of people and to develop some characteristics that are recognizable them as a people. The group also included some Khoi and black members. They start to get better right than the blacks and they speak Dutch as the European settlers that were forming the Afrikaner culture and the Afrikaans language. The Baster and well other coloureds also contribute to the creation of the Afrikaans language. The Basters were mainly Calvinist as the Boer-Afrikaners and their motto shows this: Groei in geloof, Grow in Faith. In 1868 the Basters leave the Cape Colony and went North in the search of land. They end up settling in Rehoboth, in what is now central Namibia.

In 1872 they founded the Free Republic of Rehoboth with a Constitution, the Vaderlike Wette, Paternal laws in English, that continues to govern the actions of the Baster until the current day. When the region become the German South West Africa the Baster try to build a good relationship with them helping the German in the Herero Wars. However because the Basters refuse to help the Germans the Germans declared war on Basters which offer their services to the South African army with refuse them because Louis Botha think they that coloureds should not be concern in a War between Germany and South Africa. After the Namibian annexation by South Africa Basters continue to push the self determination and the recovery of the Free Republic of Rehoboth. In 1952 the Basters made a proposal to the United Nations but with no results.  Today Basters live integrated in Namibia with around 30000 individuals making around 3% of the Namibian population.

The main figure of the Baster history was Hermanus van Wyk that conducted the Basters from the Northern Cape towards central Namibia. He was the first Kaptein the leader of the Baster people until is dead in 1905. The next Kaptein’s were not recognized by German colonial authority or by South African government. In 1976 however, the South African government approved the ‘Rehoboth Self-government Act’ providing autonomy for the Basters but without conceiving independence because the Baster remain neutral is the war against SWAPO. Since February 2007 the Basters are represented at the UNPO by the Kapteins Council where the Boer-Afrikaners are also represented by Vryheidsfront party.

The Baster people in particular and the Afrikaans speaking coloureds in general is a people that have a strong connexion with the Boer-Afrikaners because they are also descendent of Dutch, German and French settlers that made up the Boer-Afrikaner people and even being a people of mixed race they are probably more close to the Boer-Afrikaners than the other white South Africans because the language in the same, Afrikaans, and the religion of much individuals is pretty much the same, Calvinist in the majority. In the case of the Baster people the similarities are even greater because they also had a trek in the XIX century, and also other coloureds as the Oorlam, that move them from the Northern Cape to the central Namibia similar to the one that move Boers to the Oranje Vry Staat and Transvaal provinces.Hermanus Van Wyk was for the Basters what the Voortrekkerswere for the Boers, the father of their nation. Boer-Afrikaners should cooperate with their Baster cousins and with other people without state to achieve their goals in their self-determination struggle.

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