Sam J Basch 2021-05-16 - Rapport Weekliks
Letters from an Argentine woman yielded an Afrikaans gem, somewhat different to modern Afrikaans spelling.
A number of Boer families emigrated to Argentina shortly after the Anglo-Boer War, including Johannes Norval and his wife Hester Jacoba (born Coetsee). (By law their names were changed to Juan and Esther). A granddaughter of the couple Hetta Rodriguez Norval (84) still writes in Afrikaans, as Doreen Piner from Pretoria found out via Facebook. Hetta lives in Comodoro Rivadavia, a coastal town in the far south of Argentina.
In addition to the Norval emigrant, there were also Visser, Stegmann, Myburg, De Bruyn, Van Zyl, Verwey, Henning, Du Plessis, Van der Walt, Grimbeek, Olivier, Coetzee, Venter, Snyman, Grobbelaar , Schlebusch, Viviers, Kruger and others.
Due to the initial closedness of that Afrikaans-speaking community in the foreign land, Hetta spoke exclusively Afrikaans until her teens. She later married an Argentine, who has since passed away, so her home language is Spanish.
My article that appeared in Rapport Weekly gives excerpts from Hetta's letters to her distant cousin Doreen Piner. I call it "annerlike" (different) Afrikaans, following dr. Anton Prinsloo's dictionary title on regional Afrikaans. An example is her description of the climate in those parts:During those years it snowed (kepok) a lot and rain in the Winter. Aunt Betta told me, when I was born in August of 1937, there fell a metre of kepok. They had to chop out a pathway in order to get out of the house.
[Photo: Johannes (Juan) and Hester (Esther) Norval with their two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren in 1941. Hetta is the four-year-old front right.]