The origins of Boer music are like a vine with entangled roots
and the development has to be distilled from history and myth.
The earliest writings contained no reference to the term "Boer
music" or "Boere orkes" (Boer music band). Therefore,
it is necessary to search for clues that point to the music in
question as light, cheerful, informal and indigenous dance music
and not formal or classical music. To do this, we have to follow
references to music, dance and song habits during the course of
history to determine the inception of Boer music and how it developed.
Boer music is largely European in origin and it would be a misconception
to think that it was brought to South Africa by the early settlers.
Most of it was imported fairly recently, but acquired a flavour
of its own and remained in vogue here long after it went out of
Whenever a certain dance became popular in Europe or anywhere
else, it was not long before it was introduced in the Cape by
military bands of the British Empire. When they were off duty,
they hired themselves out for parties, weddings and other social
events. There were dance masters who taught the new dances to
the locals and from there it spread into the hinterland. It acquired
a local flavour and character of its own in the process.
A large volume of Boer music was consequently composed by local
musicians, as is still the case today. There where also music
teachers who noted down local tunes. The first person to do this
was Charles Etienne Boniface (1787-1853) who arrived in the Cape
on February 1807.
- Exerpt from the book "Die ontstaan en ontwikkeling
van Boeremusiek" by W.A.L. Schultz
can prevent this heritage from being lost for ever.