During the South African War, British officers who were considered a liability at the front were sent to Stellenbosch, the idea being that if they were shuffling papers and filing reports they couldn’t accidentally lose the war. This practice soon became a verb: if you had been “stellenbosched” you could assume that everyone thought you were terrible at your job, a liability to others, and that your superiors wanted to send you far away without actually firing you.

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