Herman Charles Bosman, one of South Africa's most popular writers, became famous for capturing the rhythms of backveld Afrikaans speech, even though he wrote mostly in English.
Bosman's first novel, Jacaranda in the Night, of which his second novel Willemsdorp is a reworking, followed his sojourn (1942-43) as a journalist in the platteland town of Pietersburg in the Northern Transvaal region of South Africa.2 Bosman's fictional dorp (or 'small-town') milieu constitutes more than a mere backveld village: he makes it a microcosm of South African society.
Thomas Pringle's excursions into the backveld
had him banging off through the animal alphabet from Antelope all the way down to Zebra (he provided trophy heads to stare sightlessly down at guests in Sir Walter Scott's dining hall).
In January of 1971 the ANC publication Sechaba, based in London, published an English translation of "My Mooi Land" and introduced the poem with the words "Antjie Krog, a 17-year-old Afrikaans schoolgirl has stunned her backveld
Kroonstad community with this poem.
(34) All "theoretical teaching" and "mere talk" was required to submit to practical test not only to show a return on investment, but also to provide farmers with the only proof accepted on the backveld, the example of own or others experience so that they might be "conquered by ocular demonstration." (35)
Indeed farmers openly stated that "they know more about the construction of dams such as they want, the peculiarity of the soil, and know better what the rainfall is, the effect of floods, and so forth, than an engineer from another country." (40) The popular antipathy on the backveld towards geological and engineering science constituted a serious ideological obstacle to state water boring.
(48) These state-printed and-distributed texts were an important medium for educating the backveld in geological theory and hydraulic engineering practice.
Recruited mainly from the locomotive mechanics at the Salt River railway works, the foreman was the public face of progressive state hydrological science in the backveld, but fell far short of the ideal "best man ...
Herklaas van Wyk dormido en ese oscuro rincon, esperando, un Barbarroja del backveld
, de los mas remotos campos africanos, el lejano momento de su despertar, en una hora dominada por el estruendo atronador de los cascos de los caballos y el fragor de la batalla.