Thursday, April 11, 2013

Musical Interlude - songs of the defeated

Anyone who has read Bruce Chatwin's book will know about the Boers of Patagonia.  There's something about the ends of the earth which must appeal to defeated peoples, although the Confederates only made it as far as Brazil.

Time was when the Boers were seen as rather heroic by those who opposed British imperialism. The 1900 General Election in Radnorshire saw the Unionist's seeking to exploit the pro-Boer sympathies of  the Liberal candidate Frank Edwards.  It didn't do him any harm as he won back the seat, provoking a near riot in Llandrindod's Middleton Street with the Union Jack being burnt by Edwards' supporters after he was attacked by the Unionists.  Perhaps the town's Victorian Festival could stage a re-enactment?

The Unionist Radnorshire Standard put Edwards' victory down to pro-Boer sentiment and suggested that the local Radicals invite Paul Kruger over to celebrate.  Back in Parliament Frank Edwards campaigned  for an inquiry into the British concentration camps in which 26000 Boer women and children had died during the war.

Of course Welsh sympathy for the Boers disappeared during the apartheid era, although it's now 21 years since the Afrikaners voted to end that racist system and chose to become just another minority ethnic group in a state they had created.  I doubt if there's much sympathy for the on-going Boer travails amongst the London chatterati and their Welsh followers.  After all, these stubborn, rural dwelling Calvinists with their obscure language are just the sort of folk that stand in the way of the cultural hegemony the elite crave.


Llew Buallt said...

Catchy little ditty by Bok van Blerk. A fine Afrikaaner name. Much more so than his birthname of Louis Pepler which just happens to be an English medieval surname that originates from a place called Peplow in Shropshire

radnorian said...

Welcome back Llew .....

It seems that Pepler is a Huguenot name, they migrated to the Cape in the 1680s. About the same time the Radnorian Quakers and Baptists went to Pennsylvania

I did find a Hendrick Lodewicus Pepler born in 1773, so no doubt just as genuine a Boer as the Radnorian Buftons are Welsh.

I once came across a sizeable Afrikaner clan descended from a Welshman, can't find it now though.

I remember how disappointed I was when I found out that the early South African communist David Irfon Jones - he's buried in the Kremlin - was actually from Aberystwyth and that his second name was Ivon not Irfon.

Jac o' the North, said...

Tut, tut, Llew, many Huguenot families fled to the Netherlands and then on to the Cape, or even went directly to the Cape. This explains the huge number of Afrikaaner surnames of French origin, here are just some: Joubert, Marais, de Villiers, Roussouw, du Plessis, Terreblanche, de Klerk.

Llew Buallt said...

Tut tut not at all Jac. It all depends on where one chooses to research. Very possibly it is a Huguenot surname and likely it is that branch who migrated to the Cape.

It is also of English origin. Recorded as Peploe, Peplaw, Peplow, Peplar, Pepler, and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname. It originates from a place called Peplow near the small town of Hodnet, in Shropshire. It is first recorded as Papelav in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 and as Peppalawe in the tax rolls known as the Feet of Fines of 1232. The placename means Pebble Hill from the pre 7th century Olde English pyppel-hlaw.

There appear to be both Peplows and Peplers from the beginning of surnames in both the British Isles and Germanic regions.

Either way I maintain Bok van Blerk is a more credible stage name than Louis Pepler. Much in the same way that Bonnie Tyler rocks out better than Gaynor Hopkins really.

radnorian said...

Llew - of course words in one language can be spelt the same as words in another - with quite different meanings. I believe that manufacturers of chocolate bars occasionally encounter this problem.

No doubt Pepler is a Shropshire name and also a French Huguenot name, there's no reason why there should be any connection between the two other than the spelling.

For example Thomas is the third most common French surname and French people used this surname long before the Welsh gave up our patronym system. It would be daft to think that the Welsh Thomases have any connection with those in France.