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Unto Dust

unto dustIn this story by Herman Bosman, a farmer and die together while fighting each other in a war. When the Boer’s friends come to his body, they find that the bones of the two are all mixed up. The men must try to sort them so their friend doesn’t have to lie forever among a black man’s bones. A yellow ‘kafir’ dog judges the result.

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(n: Boer pl Boers) A white South African who is associated with Boer culture and whose first language is Afrikaans. The Boers were originally farmers from a number of European countries who settled the Transvaal region of South Africa in the 17th century. In the mid-1800s, gold and diamonds were found in the Transvaal and the Boers found themselves under attack from Britain. This lead to a series of conflicts which came to be known as the Boer Wars. Britain won these, and South Africa became part of the British Empire.

(n: Xhosa, noncount) A Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa which migrated south from the Great Lakes region. They farmed animals rather than hunted for a living, pushing out the traditional hunter-gatherers of the area. They are the second largest of the Bantu people (after the Zulus), the most notable Xhosa leader in modern times being Nelson Mandela.

warrior(n: warrior pl warriors) A soldier or skilled fighting man, especially in primitive societies. The Indian chief called his warriors together. (นักรบในสงคราม) 6000

(v: recover, recovers, recovered, recovering) 1. To become healthy after an illness or injury; to return to normal health. (ฟื้นตัวจากการเจ็บป่วย) 2. To get back something stolen or lost. (ได้คืน) 2000

Yellow Moepels

moepels on a treeIn this story by Herman Bosman a young South African soldier riding off to fight the British promises the girl he is engaged to that he will be home when the fruit are ripe. The girl visits a native witch-doctor who also tells her that her lover will be home when the moepels are yellow… but there is something important that he did not tell her.

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moepel(n: moepel pl moepels) An Afrikaans word for the Transvaal Red-Milkwood Tree, or its yellow fruit which are sweet and high in vitamin C.

In the Withaak’s Shade

under the withaak treeThe short story writing style of South African author Herman Bosman has been likened to that of the great American humorist Mark Twain. This story about a farmer’s unlikely meeting with a leopard as he was lying down under a withaak tree while busily searching for some lost cattle is a wonderful example of this. Both writers made extensive use of satire. Twain used it to attack problems he saw in mid-19th century American society. Bosman used it to draw attention to the conflicting forces and ideas in South African society during the first half of the 20th century.

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