Afrikaner women 'more faithful' over 300 years - study

2015-10-28 20:10
(File, iStock)

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Pretoria - If you are an Afrikaner and have ever wondered whether one of your ancestors was born of an illicit liaison, you can rest assured that your lineage is probably intact.

New research into 23 common Afrikaans surnames has found that the incidence of "false fatherhoods" was lower than 1% over the last 300 years, according to a report by Radio Sonder Grendse.

This means that Afrikaner women very rarely committed adultery, or passed off the children born out of those affairs as their husbands'.

Professor Jaco Greeff and Christoff Erasmus from the University of Pretoria published their findings in May.

They were assisted by a team of genealogists to find living descendants of these 23 families and 199 volunteers participated in the study.

The study looked at the Y chromosomes, which only men have, as a large part of the Y chromosome is not mixed with a mother's DNA, and are transferred from father to son like surnames.

They looked at 1 273 conceptions over the 300 years.

Of all the tests conducted, they found only 11 cases where a Y chromosome did not fit the specific gene.

Greeff says that nowadays the "fruit" of illegitimate relationships can be easily concealed thanks to contraceptives.

He says their findings were surprisingly low, compared to other data, especially from Europe.

"Why are women so faithful? People wonder whether the explicit prohibition of adultery in the 10 commandments may be the main driving force behind Afrikaner women's faithfulness," they write in their report on the findings.

"It is also possible that people are not as horny as our sensation-driven society would suggest.

"Although this data confirms married women's chastity, it does not say a lot about men's. At least the research shows that Afrikaners can trust their genealogical heritage."

Previous research by Greeff however does highlight one incident of adultery that fundamentally changed how the lineage of the country's Bothas is seen.

In 1683, Maria Kickers and Jan Cornelitz got married in Cape Town. She claimed her husband was impotent and had had a long term relationship with Frederik Botha, who fathered some of her children. She also had an affair with Ferdinandus Appel.

All her children went under the name Botha, however, the research showed that at least 38 000 of the more than 76 000 living Bothas actually descended from Appel.

These "Bothas"  that descended from Appel included the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa Louis Botha and apartheid era prime minister and later president PW Botha.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  research

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