The Land Issue: South Africa 1652 – present: Part 2

Recapping

Flag of the Dutch East India Company svg In Part 1 – please read before reading further to obtain the proper context – we looked at the meticulous planning by the Dutch in the years 1649-1651 prior to Johan van Riebeeck and the designated parties sailing from Texel in the Netherlands on their voyage to the Cape of Good Hope to establish a refreshment station as undertaken by the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company).

Skip forward briefly to the 1970s and to just prior to the year 1994, the South African Schools’ Education Department taught the historical accounts of Jan van Riebeeck landing at the Cape, including the accounts of the Zulu kings Shaka and Dingane amongst others. However, since ‘the new 1994 democracy’ this part of ‘South African History’ dealing with the landing at the Cape in 1652 has largely been removed from the schooling syllabus.

Voyage from the Netherlands to the Cape [1]

We now take up the historical account once again and share herewith the entries that appear in the Journal of Commander Johan van Riebeeck commencing from 14th December 1651 to 7th April 1652 which record the events of the voyage to the Cape as the VOC Council insisted that a proper record be kept for the Company (see Part I: No. 3.—Instructions for the Officers of the Expedition fitted out for the Cape of Good Hope to Found a Fort and Garden There. 25th March, 1651). Hereunder are the extracts from the Journal regarding the sailing voyage south to Southern Africa:

JvR Pg1JvR Pg2 JvR Pg3 JvR Pg4

During the course of the voyage a Resolution was taken and recorded in Dutch on 30th December 1651 – another source records that this resolution was also read on board the Drommedaris by Johan van Riebeeck in Table Bay on 6th April 1652. Hereunder is the Dutch transcript of the said Resolution which is followed by an English translation:

Resolution 30 December 1651

RESOLUTIONS.

December 30, 1651.—Prayer. O merciful, kindly, loving God and Heavenly Father, inasmuch as it hath pleased Thy divine Majesty to call us to the management of the business of the General United Netherlands Chartered East India Company here at Cabo de boa Esperance, and for that purpose we have met with our Council of Assessors in order with their advice to adopt such resolutions by which the greatest interests of the said Company may be promoted, justice maintained, and (if possible) among these wild and brutal people Thy true reformed Christian doctrine in course of time may be planted and spread to the glory and honour of Thy Holy Name and the welfare of our Masters the Chiefs—whereunto we are altogether incapable without Thy gracious help we therefore pray Thee, O Most Gracious Father, that Thou mayest dwell with us with thy Fatherly wisdom, and presiding at these our meetings, so enlighten our hearts, that all wrong passions, misunderstandings and other similar failings, may be warded from us; that our hearts may be free from all human influences and our minds so constituted, that in our deliberations we may not intend or decide otherwise than what will tend to the magnifying and the glory of Thy Most Holy Name and the greatest service of our Lords and Masters, without in any way regarding our own interests or personal profit. This and whatever more may be necessary to carry out our ordained work, and for salvation, we pray and desire in the name of Thy well beloved Son, Our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Who has taught us to pray—Our Father, &c.

They came with a Reformed Christian faith to please God Almighty in all that they could to fulfil the will and purpose of God, and they accordingly recorded  unashamedly their submission to God, which testimony would be read down through the ages and by which testimony they would one day stand before God Almighty and give an account of themselves before the Judgment Seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we read,

10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:10

Everyone is hereby reminded that we all must appear, and liars who have lied about history or deceived people will receive condemnation and an eternity in the lake of fire, for it is written,

8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. ~ Revelation 21:8

We will show that South African history has been distorted concerning the so-called ‘white-colonialists’ and their conduct towards the black African natives, the practice of ‘slavery’ and by who, for black Africans also had ‘slaves’, the freedom of movement of ‘slaves’ in the Cape, the education and Christian lifestyles of ‘slaves’ and much more. Hundreds, if not thousands of entries could be shared, but writer encourages the readers to search out these matters more fully, reading the actual documents and not believing the rhetoric that says, “Apartheid came to the Cape with Jan van Riebeeck!” (Jacob Zuma and Others). Writer dealt with this issue more specifically in a blog post titled, The Gospel . . . Racism and South African History, where it is mentioned, quote: “Apartheid “officially” only existed during the period from 1948 to 1994, a time period of 46 years. The term apartheid was introduced into South African politics in 1948 as part of the election campaign by D.F. Malan’s Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP – ‘Reunited National Party’).” [End quote]

A satirical depiction of ‘blaming it on Apartheid’ is reflected in the photo hereunder; which original painting alludes to the landing at the Cape of Good Hope on 6th April 1652 without the ‘satire speech bubbles’:

Jan van Riebeeck satire ~ Satire ~

Jan van Riebeeck: What! You have been living here for 1000s of years and you have no ships, no roads, no houses, no bridges, no farms, no guns, . . . Why?

Khoikhoi: APARTHEID??

— ooo —

Journal of Johan van Riebeeck

We pick up at 9th April 1652 where the Journal makes reference to Riebeeck going on shore to mark the site of the fort. It also records the work that is undertaken into the next day (10th April 1652). We see that there was a friendly disposition between the European Dutchmen and the local natives, the Dutch even being a friendly buffer between the “locals” – the beach rangers and Saldanhars – as we read:

10.— . . . Arrival of 9 or 10 Saldanhars; defensive attitude assumed by the beach rangers (who daily with wives and children sit with us before our tents). We had enough to do to check their courage and fury, and despatched a body of Europeans between the parties.

We succeeded in establishing an armistice; keeping the combatants the whole day in peaceful conduct towards each other. The Saldanhars, making use of signs and many broken Dutch and English words (no doubt learned from the shipwrecked crew of the Haerlem), wished to explain that for copper and tobacco they would soon bring some cattle and sheep; which we urged them to do, by kind treatment. Skipper Davit Coninck, with two assistants and 2 soldiers, being on a fishing excursion at the Salt River, meets the 9 Saldanhars, who take him round the neck and promise cattle and sheep in exchange for copper and tobacco. These natives are described as fine fellows, dressed in prepared oxhide, and stepping like any dandy in the Fatherland who carries his mantle on his shoulder or arm, but their private parts were exposed; a little skin barely covering them. Skipper Coninck returned with four bags of mustard leaves, sorrel, 750 beautiful braems and four other delicate fishes of more delicate flavour than any fish in the Fatherland; one looking like a haddock and as good and fat.

Sketch of Khoikhoi milking As can be seen well into the Dutchmen’s fifth day at the Cape, a friendly exchange of communication and bartering of possessions were taking place between 17th century ‘black and white’ strangers; a far cry from what has been taught by the Marxist ANC government and Socialist EFF party with their political-rhetoric of the 21st century! The Dutch’s conduct is that as commanded in the Holy Bible, to love God and one’s neighbours (see Matthew 22:36-40). They also understood the principle that God ordered their steps when one reads the very next journal entry,

11.—Heavy South-Easter—the laden boat of the Reijger proceeding towards the shore, is compelled to lie at anchor midway the whole day; succeeded in the evening in reaching the ship, by the blessing of God.

On the 13th April 1652, more bartering with the natives is recorded, “Exchanged 3 plates of copper and 3 pieces of ½ fathom copper wire for a cow and a young calf—fairly divided both among the ships.” The next entry was a Sunday, and we see that even in a new land they still had their Church service,

14. (Sunday).—Fine weather. After service fresh meat and vegetables were given to the men—caught about 1,000 beautiful steenbraesems (braems) at the Salt River, each about 1½ foot in length.

Dutch ships in Table Bay Cape Colony From this entry it appears when people place God first He rewards them abundantly! Whilst all this was taking place we do not see any ‘slavery’ in any form, but that the Dutchmen were labouring themselves as we see in the entry of the 15th April 1652, “Slow progress of the works, in consequence of the small number of labourers and the number of sick.” On the following Sunday 21st April 1652 we read that whilst out on an exertion up the kloof of Table Mountain, about two Dutch miles, ground was found there which was compared to be as good and fruitful as anywhere in the world. However, it was also noted that due to a scarcity of hands to cultivate the same a record is made that “a few Chinese would be welcome as gardener”! This simple statement records that the journalist gave due recognition to a people for their ability to be of service. However, the Dutch are a resilient and hard working people as we read from the entries of 25th and 26th  April 1652,

25.—Skipper Hooghsaet lands to urge on his men, as usual.

26.—The work done at the fort and the zeal of Hooghsaet are described. Carpenters busy erecting dwellings and stores.

The next Sunday we read that after Church service some more observational work was undertaken in preparation to get the refreshment station to become productive, for this was the reason for coming to the Cape,

28. (Sunday).—After service and in company of Hooghsaet, Turver, and some armed soldiers, walked over the ridge to the South of Table Mountain—found everywhere fine garden ground —viewed the country all round—about 10 Dutch miles broad and long—watered by the finest fresh rivers—thousands of Chinese or other agriculturists would not be able to cultivate a tenth part of the country, which is so rich that neither Formosa nor New Netherland can be compared with it.

Compassion and empathy

The compassion and empathy of the Dutchmen are revealed in the entry of 29th April 1652 when we see the intent of the Dutch to bring ‘other’ to the Cape and in due course they too would “make a sufficient living” as we read, “The consequent necessity of importing Chinamen or other industrious people, who would in time make a sufficient living.” The Dutch mindset was educated advancements, not inept slothfulness.

This extract from the same 29th entry, reflects a love for one’s neighbours to feed them, as we read, “Observed no Saldanhars; only saw 4 or 5 of the beach rangers having lean bodies and hungry stomachs filled by us with barley and bread and sometimes wine; a large supply of rice therefore necessary, likewise arrack, to treat those who may off and on visit us, to gain their good will.” This is true love in action! The Dutch showed the authentication of their faith by works that followed, for we read, for it is written,

13  For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
14  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. ~ James 2:13-18

Their actions were merciful by showing their faith by works following! The Gospel of Jesus Christ was in action!

We now skip ahead, so we do not record every single journal entry for a copy of the same can be obtained where every other entry can be read – just as writer is doing –, and find the following entries from 8th through 11th May 1652 after two other Dutch ships the Walvis and Oliphant had arrived at the Cape from the Netherlands,

8.—The Commanders of the ships came on shore to inspect the works and obtain refreshments. No cattle obtained up to date,, the beach-rangers have nothing but hungry stomachs, often filled by us to gain their good will for the future benefit of the Company.

9.—Tent rigged for the sick of the Oliphant—two more have died.

10.—Nothing particular.

11.—Meeting of Council on board the Drommedaris. Slow progress of the works. Resolved to retain 50 sick of both vessels, who, when restored to health, may assist at the works and afterwards be sent on to Batavia. A Hottentoo was brought to our barber, badly wounded. We gathered from his friends that they had had a skirmish with those of Saldania and that two had been killed.

Van Oers fig 1 Map of Fort of Good Hope Besides labouring and feeding themselves, seeing to their own sick and dead from diseases on the ships, the Dutch were also feeding the beach ranger natives which would also strengthen their relationship and, now, in this instance, being requested to take care of a badly wounded ‘Hottentoo’ (beach ranger) who had a skirmish with the Saldanhars where two others were killed. The Dutch were now also helping out as a hospital for the locals!

Christian observances

On the next Sunday 12th May 1652 we read of the Dutch Church service,

12. (Sunday).—First sermon preached by Rev. Backerius of the Walvis, in the still unroofed house within the square of the unfinished fort. The Holy Sacrament was likewise celebrated.

The following Sunday we read that it was Pentecost, reflected with a simple entry,

19. (Pentecost).—Hazy weather.

Trials, sickness and deaths

The following daily entries reflect the work undertaken, the coming and the going of ships, and reports of fever and dysentery that not only lay men low, but resulted in many deaths that followed and thus reduced the effective work force of the Dutch. The workable man power was reduced from 116 to about 50 able men as of 10th June 1652. Well into this month the weather was also playing havoc at the Cape of Storms which was living up to its name. The entries reflect that their hope and trust were in the mercy of God! Also the planted gardens are being severely destroyed. There are hardships encountered by hurricane-type wet conditions! Whilst the Dutch people have been experiencing such hardships they have not seen the Saldanhars in a while and have not been able to barter with them to obtain meat as part of their diet. Only been able to eat vegetables from that which has not been destroyed by the severe weather experienced at the Cape with lots of heavy rain and even snow on the mountains being observed and the cold being felt!

Disciplinary actions for crimes

Throughout the abovementioned hardships, a few entries are also recorded where severe discipline actions were taken against Dutch crew members for crimes against leadership, as we read from July 1652,

8.— . . . Jan Planx, arquebusier on hoard the Goede Hoop, condemned for the crime of insubordination to fall from the yard arm and receive 60 cuts, which is more extensively described in the record of “ Sentences.”

9.—Many whales in the bay. Above sentence carried out. Gerrit Dirksz: van Elssen, Cadet, for molesting the skipper, is condemned to receive 100 cuts and to stand sentry the whole day with 6 muskets. Last night Nicolas Pietersz : Venlo, Cadet, died without a will and was buried this evening.

10.—Yesterday’s sentence carried out.

And in the beginning of September 1652 we read some more of what preceded,

3.—Weather subsiding—more sick.

4.—Fine weather. Plucked the first peas, and ate good carrots about the thickness of the little finger and sown after arrival—all the rest sown later are growing famously. The soldier Joost van der Laack, being drunk, used foul words towards the Commander and insulted him. He was apprehended.

7.—Wet. Van der Laack suspended from office because of his insolence, as the minutes will show more fully.

As of the 14th September 1652 there was still no sign of the Saldanhars.

On 18th September whilst Riebeeck and a carpenter were out surveying the backside and slopes of Table Mountain they came across some trees that had the dates 1604, 1620 and 1622 etched into them, but they did not know who carved them. This showed that the Cape had been visited at various times prior to 1652, and also no record is made of encountering the local natives. It appears that the land was not so densely inhabited as always mentioned by modern day gainsayers!

Deserting Dutchmen

On 25th September 1652, four Dutchmen absconded during the night; “Jan Blanx of Malines, boatswain of the yacht; Willem Huytjens of Maestricht, sailor; Gert Dircksx: van Eltsen of Maestricht and Jan Jansz; of Leyden, soldiers stationed on shore” whose whereabouts are unknown. A proclamation was also published warning against desertion and stating the punishments.

Eight days later we read in the month of October 1652’s entries that the deserters have voluntarily returned,

3.—Brackenier undergoes his punishment. The men sent to Salt River to cut reeds return in trepidation to the fort stating that they had seen many natives—that two had been left behind with the sloop who could not swim—soldiers sent to rescue them—discovered that there were only 7 or 8 native women digging for food, who had recognized the party and in their joy had dancingly approached and asked for tobacco. Return of the deserters, who all declare that they hoped to reach the Fatherland overland, but in consequence of the high mountains could not proceed further than 24 miles eastward, therefore resolved to return and beg for pardon. Jan Blanx declares that he and Jan van Leyen had formed the plan, and that the others had joined them, that some time ago he had dreamt in the yacht of a mountain of gold and such like frivolous things. All four put in irons apart from each other.

4.—Fugitives voluntarily state that they intended to proceed to Mozambique and thence home, that Jan van Leyen had advised them, likewise Jan Blanx, who understood navigation, and that after proceeding 24 miles across the mountains and forced by hunger they had decided to return. Found a journal written with red chalk kept by Jan Blanx as follows;—“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 24th (September).—Left the Cape for Mozambique—the four of us—with 4 biscuits and fish—likewise 4 swords, 2 pistols and the dog. 25th.—Marched 7 miles—saw 2 rhinoceroses, which threatened to attack us. Jan Verdonck had to leave his hat and sword behind. A porcupine wounded the dog. Slept at a rivulet—saw two ostriches—had to avoid two rhinoceroses and took to the beach and slept on the downs. 26th.—Followed the beach towards Cape Agulhas—advanced about 7 miles—fed on 4 young birds found in a nest and three eggs—at night slept on the beach, where we obtained some ‘clipconten’ (? klipkous) 27th.—Proceeded along shore 7 miles—arrived at a very high mountain, where we rested. 28th.—Provided ourselves with clipconten, which we roasted and strung together, and with calabashes for water. 29th.—Commenced to ascend the mountain, thinking to cross in that direction, but not succeeding, Jan Verdonck began to repent, and likewise Willem Huytjens. 30th.—Proceeded until the following afternoon , when Gerritt also grew tired. Alone I could not proceed, so we decided to return, trusting to mercy in God’s name.” In the evening it commenced to blow hard from S. East, tearing the tents in rags, also on the
5th even harder. Had to secure the dwellings with stays—the crops all blown down.

One will see that the name ‘Herry’ will be made mention of on a regular basis as he was a Khoikhoi interpreter for the Dutch to communicate with the natives. We pick up with the execution of the sentences for the deserters as well as the reconnection of larger groups of Saldanhars, as we read,

10.—Herry arrives with 12 or 14 Saldanhars, who receive some wine and tobacco and promise to return shortly and inform their people of our presence, likewise that they will bring much cattle, ivory, musk or civet to be exchanged for tobacco and copper. They were most kindly treated. We are doing our best in the meanwhile at the fortifications, but labour is much retarded by sickness we trust that when cattle is obtained everything will improve. Amen. Jan van Leyen, condemned by the Council, having been reprieved from death, is to be bound to a post and have a bullet fired over his head. Jan Blanx is to be keelhauled and receive 150 lashes; both are to work as slaves two years in irons. Huytjens and Dirksz: van Eltsen likewise, and Adriaen and Cornelis discharged for want of evidence.

11.—Execution of the sentence.

12.—About 20 Saldanhars tell us that they are going to tell their mates about us, and to return together with their cattle and ivory, begging at the same time for tobacco, which we gave them with some wine, urging them to return soon—promises made—hope for success at last. Could give them no bread, as we are going on short allowance and expect no supplies for another 4 months to come. Gave them some tobacco. More bread, rice, and arrack should be at hand, as they draw the natives towards us, who continually say that the English gave them whole bags of bread, much tobacco, and whole cans filled with arrack and wine—we ought, therefore, to be better provided to outdo the English if we wish to draw the natives towards us, otherwise not an animal will be had, which may, if natives are humoured, cost so little that we could afford to add to the price some bread, tobacco, wine or arrack.

Khoi-TradersBartering with the Saldanhars

Picking up on 19th October 1652 the reader can see that a friendly relationship is existing between the Dutch and the Saldanhar natives and the manner of bartering that was unfolding, as one can read,

19.—. . . Came home at night and had prayers—the gate not yet in perfect order—Saldanhars arrive and ask for an interview with the Commander—twelve of them—they brought 3 cows and 4 sheep, also showed some young ostriches and three tusks, which on the morrow they wished to exchange for copper and tobacco, asking in the meanwhile for some tobacco, and stating that within 4 or 5 days all the Saldanhars, with wives and children and thousands of cattle, ivory, and musk, would arrive. Gave them, by way of encouragement, a glass of wine, when they left to sleep.

20. (Sunday).—Saldanhars before the fort with three cows and 4 sheep, 2 old and 2 young, which we bartered from them—the 3 cows for 9 plates of copper, each of 1 lb. weight, and 1 lb. tobacco—the animals costing 31 stivers and 12 penningen—the 2 old sheep for 2 do. copper plates and ⅛ lb. tobacco—each sheep costing 10 stivers and 5½ penningen—for the two fine delicate lambs we paid ½ lb. copper wire and ⅛ lb. tobacco, together 11 stivers and 4 penningen. Believe that we will in course of time get the animals cheaper, likewise tusks, haAung bought 3 for about ½ lb. tobacco, equal to 2 stivers and 13 penningen—likewise 2 young ostriches for ⅛ lb tobacco, to try whether they can be reared. Return of 4he yacht, reporting that it could not pass the point, and had nearly stranded on Robben Island—ordered to proceed to St. Helena and Saldanha Bays.

21.—Departure of tbe yacht and the Saldanbars, the latter with about ½ lb. tobacco,—promised to retmm in 2 or 3 days’ time with more cattle and tusks—urged them to do so by the kindest possible treatment. Another Saldanhar appears, stating that many were approaching with wives, children, and much cattle—got some tobacco for the news. Herry in the meanwhile, priding himself on having originated the incipient trade, proceeds to the Saldanhars, no good expected from it, as he proposes to have as brokerage a copper plate of 1 lb. for every animal bartered—will humour him to find him out. Hope he will do his best—can hardly believe that the Saldanhars will listen to him, as they have been so kindly treated, and will prefer to deal without him. Not knowing anything for certain, prudence is necessary—guards doubled—all who can handle a spade set to work to make the walls higher, and bring for a fortnight longer 20 additional loads of earth for the purpose, above the 130 required daily. Men paid in tobacco—bartered cattle slaughtered and everyone given a glass of wine—work pleasantly begun—two carpenters busy with repairing the wheelbarrows—commenced the kraal by digging a trench round it to contain the cattle at night, and sent for some manure found 1½ miles away for the gardens, mostly for the turnips.

22.—Heavy rains.

23.—Herry and some of the Ottentoos living here return from inland and present us with two eland heads with fine horns—killed by the Saldanhars, who had eaten the meat.

In the days that followed the workers are getting very weak as they do not have a proper diet and the food is running out. On 11th November 1652 we read, “Pray earnestly for arrival of natives with cattle—see their fires across the bay.” The Dutch have now been at the Cape for seven months and still no ‘slavery’ of the Khoikhoi, San, beach rangers, Saldanhars and/or Ottentoos (Hottentots).

Tribal natives habits and seal hunting

The interpreter Herry ate at the table of Johan van Riebeeck and his company and remained with them, together with his wife and children, as their interpreter, giving insightful information concerning the local tribal native groups and other information. The record hereunder also records an abundance of seals and skins that will be profitable to the Dutch settlers in the vicinity of Saldanha and St. Helena Bays, as we read the record,

13.—Mists seem to prognosticate fine weather. Herry dining at our table to gain his good will—by signs and in broken English told us that 3 kinds of people of the same customs and manners of life yearly arrived in Table Bay, viz., the beach-rangers, not numbering above 40 or 50, and called in their broken English Watermen, because living on mussels and roots—not always having cattle. The second were those of Saldanha or Saldanjamen, who yearly came hither with countless cows and sheep. The third were Fishermen, who after the departure of the Saldanhars also came with cattle but no sheep, catching fish from the rocks with lines—about 500 in number. Continual war between Fishermen on one side and Water and Saldanha men on the other, endeavouring to do as much mischief to each other as possible. Herry suggests that the lasting friendship of Watermen and Saldanhars would be secured by treacherously seizing and killing the Fishermen. Did not communicate our intentions, stating that we would judge for ourselves when that people arrived—in the meanwhile drawing him out with the semblance of being impressed with his proposals. Fishermen stated to be hiding before the Saldanhars; lighting no fires because afraid of being attacked; living beyond the mountains eastward of the Cape towards the Baya de Sambras. The Saldanhers dwelling towards the west and north in the direction of Saldanha and St. Helena Bays, where the yacht is for trading purposes. The Watermen live in this Table Valley and behind the Lion and Table Mountains. Herry remains with us with wife and children to serve as interpreter—his people subsisting behind said mountains on mussels and roots, the latter tasted like skirret and resembling the Japanese nisi but not tasting at all like it; otherwise we would collect a quantity for Batavia, where the nisi is in great demand and fetches good prices.

14.—Return of the yacht with 2,700 seal skins found on an inland in Saldanha Bay, finely packed on each other—apparently left behind by a small French vessel that had met the fleet of Mr. Van der Lyn at St. Helena, when Skipper Symon Turver was present, and had boasted that its cargo was worth a ton of gold. Skins beautifully prepared, and if the heavy winds had not scattered and the rains not damaged them double the number would have been brought; enough seals left, however, on Ilha Elizabeth or Dassen Island, but serviceable men required to kill them, hence return of yacht for clubs easily obtained in the woods and to be strengthened with iron rings at the ends. Knives to be made of hoops or staves, as we best can, until better ones are obtained, that we may be prepared for the return fleet for transmission of skins to the Fatherland, where they will fetch good prices. Apparently much profit to be derived from seal hunting—skins valued at a rixdollar or 3 gulden a piece—oil also valuable. Officers expect that a trade with the natives will gradually be established there; at present had only bartered 2 sheep and 3 harts, also a few ostrich feathers, from the natives, who in broken French and English stated that they would advise their people of the presence of the ship, some of whom had gone to the Cape, having heard of the settlement at which copper could be obtained abundantly. Plate copper preferred by them. Saldanha Bay is situated N.N.W. 16 miles from this, stretching about 5 miles inland; finely sheltered; has no good fresh water; land dry and poor and not to be compared with the Cape in any sense; do not know how it may be further inland. St. Helena Bay very dangerous, rocky, and hardly a bay; more like a creek; landing almost impossible in consequence of the surf, even in fine weather, hence will confine ourselves to Saldanha and the seal hunting there.

Old Map of the Cape Colony Saldanhar and Dutch hospitality

We notice that over time the hospitality of the Dutch is reciprocated by the Saldanhars, and vice versa. We read from an entry of 19th November 1652, that the Dutch “had met 40 or 50 Saldanhars with about 1,000 cattle and sheep, who would be here tomorrow to trade for copper—had treated our men very kindly and smoked a pipe with them.” A friendly and peaceful relationship existed between the white and black people groups, where kindness prevailed as we continue reading from the 21st November 1652,

21.—Wind less. Sent men for manure, who returned with a Saldanha Captain and reported that they had observed a large number of cows, sheep, &e., at the Fresh River and been kindly treated by the Saldanhars in their huts— receiving cows’ milk in abundance. The Saldanha Chief, who had been in the fort yesterday, sent us a fine sheep for the tobacco and food he received yesterday—to day he and wife with Herry were treated in like manner—the wife receiving beads and copper wire for the sheep—wish to make them by our good treatment well disposed towards us. They brought their own food, and milk in large leathern bags, which they took by means of a small brush or swab made of a kind of of hemp and curious to behold.

22.—Arrival of some Saldanhars with three sheep—bartered two, each for as much thin copper wire as the sheep was long, and weighing about ½ lb., adding ½ lb., tobacco—the value of the lot for each sheep eight stivers—would not buy the third as they charged for it double price because it was somewhat larger—should not be taught bad habits. Helm and Verburgh, provided with tobacco and some pipes, and holding in their hands each a piece of thick copper wire to do duty for a walking cane, they visit the Saldanha Captain without showing any inclination to barter, but only to find out to what extent their desire for copper went. Found them 1½ mile from this, and were most civilly welcomed—were taken about to look at his 15 houses, his cattle and sheep (about 15 or 1,600 in number), after that they were invited into his house, nicely made of mats and of fair dimensions, and treated with milk—the two spending their tobacco freely. Had taken with them a cup from which to drink the milk, from which the Chief and his wives also desired to drink, which they considered a great honour. Took a great fancy to the wire, for one of which, weighing ¾ lb., they offered a fat calf, and for three pieces of the same kind a cow. The two pretended that they did not wish to barter, but told the Captain that the Dutch Commander had a great deal of copper and they might treat with him. Promised to visit the fort with cattle—the Captain feared and honoured by his men—comported himself admirably—altogether there were about 250. The children drank from the udders of the sheep, being placed by the mothers between the legs of the animal—an interesting sight. The huts were situated in a circle in which the cattle were kept—intended to remain on that spot until all the grass was consumed, when they would move to the fort to pasture their flocks there as long as they could find enough to eat. They showed the two many fires inland of people approaching the fort with their herds, who would also he inclined to trade. Saw at night across the bay and on the mountains many fires—Herry told us they were of the Saldanhars, who had so much cattle that we would soon run out of copper—which God grant—Amen. To-day got the Skipper at last so far that he has sounded the bay, found that it was altogether without danger, as will he seen from the drawing—and declared that no ship on entering could he lost except by carelessness or stupidity.

23.—Some Saldanhars brought a sheep—bartered it for a copper plate and ¼ lb. tobacco—also a fine bull for the value of 2½ gulden in copper and tobacco from the Captain, who had come according to promise—he was kindly treated and left in the evening. Yacht’s crew report that much salt had been formed.

24. (Sunday).—Van der Helm, Verburgh and 16 armed men sent to the Saldanhars with pipes and tobacco to treat them and so coax them to come to the fort to trade, as up to date only 11 or 12 cattle and sheep had been obtained—necessary to provide more for the sick, as the natives have abundance of cattle. Well received by the Captain and regaled on milk—the jars very dirty, the offer consequently politely declined—presented them with pipes and tobacco to return their courtesy and coax them towards the fort. Gave us to understand that they had not that intention hut were going to the large wood about 7 miles from this, discovered by the two bookkeepers—did not show any desire for copper—disinclined to trade. Did not know what to make of it —afraid that Herry, formerly an enemy of the Saldanhars, but now very intimate with them, is brewing mischief, which, if discovered, will secure him quarters with wife, children and all the Watermen on Robben Island, to enable us to trade successfully with the Saldanhars and win their favour.

Deception by Herry the interpreter

From the previous entry and the one that follows Herry is not behaving himself in a friendly manner, bringing about a deceptive behaviour, a barefaced treachery that will work against the VOC and place them in a compromised position with the Saldanhars, as we read,

26.—Bartered an old and young sheep from some Saldanhars for wire, and a lamb for some tobacco. Whilst trading we saw them communicating with Herry, who seemed to urge them to ask more copper, thus greatly hindering us, as we offered pretty much for the sheep, having before this bartered the animals for tobacco according to the length of such sheep—-reserving the copper for cattle. Mate of yacht and Corporal had been here before, and traded with the Saldanhars, with whom Herry had never been seen, and who were consequently very manageable. Evident that Herry instead of good, is doing us harm, and observing his barefaced treachery, we communicated to them our displeasure, and told them that Herry was the cause of our not doing any business, and that they should behave differently if we were to continue our kindness to him, &c. Tried Herry by proposing that he should join our people going to the Saldanhars, believing that he would be afraid to do so. Did not refuse, as we believe that he knew that they had left, though a few days ago he did not dare to do so. Saw in the meanwhile some fires on the side of the mountain, and went further inland—met no one. Kerry did not dare to go with them, but returned and waited at the Salt River. Evident that to curry favour with them he has been trying to urge them to increase the price of their cattle—preventing trade, and no doubt doing more mischief. . . .

We can read on the 27th November 1652 that a “Barter went on smoothly until Herry came, showing that he is in our way and that some course must be pursued with him.” It is evident that Herry has become troublesome to the Dutchmen and the natives, attempting to hinder their friendships and cordial bartering!

On 2nd December 1652, trouble seems to be afoot, having been stirred up by Herry, for we read, “Commence to trade now in reality, though they part with their cattle with reluctance. In the evening saw many fires—told by Herry that there were thousands of natives in the neighbourhood—had watch kept vigilantly, though our intercourse is friendly.”

We come to learn that the Saldanhars’ attitude towards the colonial Dutch is changing from the friendly report that existed between them and that the journal entries are showing that the Saldanhars are becoming more ‘greedy’ for the copper and tobacco being paid in lieu of moneysomething worthless to the nativesfor the livestock required by the Dutch. For a very primitive hunter-gatherer people the Saldanhars have an ‘inflation-driven’ attitude, charging more than what the costs were previously agreed upon at what appears the insistence of the ‘middle-man’ Herry. We also read that the indigenous natives, instead of rebelling outright against the Dutch settlers, they are of their own accord being drawn to the settlement of the Dutch and moving their dwellings closer. With this drawing-in as close neighbours we can expect that greater security measures would have to be put in place as is confirmed as certain crimes are also now coming to the fore, first by some Dutch men and later to be seen by the local natives. Let us read the record, although lengthy, so we can grasp the magnitude of the events eight months after the Dutch arrived at the Cape. We continue reading,

3.—Bought 8 cows and 12 sheep from the Saldanhars for about 30 lbs. copper plate and wire and 8 lbs. tobacco, also some pipes—sheep at 6½ stivers and cows at 6 skillings the head.

4.—Saldanhars leave hurriedly after selling us 1 heifer, 1 calf and 9 sheep.

5.—Bought a cow and 11 sheep. Saldanhars approaching gradually nearer with their houses—teaching us to be on our guard. Our men not only asleep when on guard, but also stealing each other’s and the Company’s property—consequently found it necessary to appoint a Provost Marshal named Michiel Gleve of Stralsund (a very fit person) with the salary of 15 gulden per month, and the emoluments connected with the office as in India.

6.—Bartered 9 cows and 22 sheep for copper and tobacco. If we had no tobacco no trade would result, hence 1,000 lbs. of tobacco required annually, as often a cow has been withheld because of a finger’s length of tobacco. Will not take rotten tobacco—call it stinking tobacco. Among these Saldanhars were two new captains who wished to see our house, in which they were treated with three or four drinks and some tobacco. Saw in the meanwhile along the hill beside Table Mountain the country covered with cattle and sheep as with grass, the property of said chiefs, who intend to pitch their tents near to us and desire to see our mode of
living and our wives, to which we agreed, though we would like to see them further off, as our number is small and our means of defence slight. Saldanhars friendly—if a cow runs away they immediately fetch it for an inch length of tobacco and return the copper plate to us until they have brought the animal back to our pasture grounds—they only wish to be kindly treated, which costs nothing. Last night Martinus de Hase left his post as sentry and stole about 70 turnips from the garden below the fort—caught by the picket, and brought to the guard-house, but as soon as the gate was open in the morning he ran away, afraid of being severely punished, having at divers times committed thefts, but always in consequence of his respectable parents let off with light punishment. Jan Pietersz: Soenwater having stolen some of the Company’s wire whilst on guard (the wheels of the barrows having been tied with it through want of iron) is sentenced to be scourged.

7.—Burglary committed in the carpenter’s shop. Things stolen:—of the chief carpenter 1 pack of cloth clothing, 1 white pair of kersey pants, 4 shirts, 4 or 5 copper rings, some knives and 1 pair of shoes; of Willem Gabrielsz: ¼ piece guinea linen, 6 knives, 1 pair new shoes, 1 copper pot, ½ book of paper and pens; and of Frans Hendriksz: Van Vleute, a chisel. Thief supposed to be M. de Hase—Corporal and six men sent to look for him—supposed to be among the Saldanhars, who are about here in multitudes with about 2,000 sheep and cattle, within ½ cannon shot from the fort. Bought 1 cow, 2 heifers and 18 sheep for copper and tobacco—also bartered—taking what we can get—3 sheep for an old driver and some tobacco, which former they are as cold chisels—wish we had more of this old iron, as we bought last week a calf with the same. The Saldanhar captain recovered for us a young ox, which we had already considered as lost, for which he was munificently entertained. Jan Pietersz: Soenwater undergoes his sentence. Afraid that the wind will bring the sticks about our ears.

8. (Sunday).—Bought 11 cows and 29 sheep from the Saldanhars, among the latter some captains, one of whom we entertained yesterday. All treated kindly as usual. Grass set on fire by Saldanhars—requested them not to come so near us with their fire, upon which all immediately proceeded to extinguish the same, for which each received a finger’s length of tobacco—seem bent upon not injuring us but showing us kindness—this is reciprocated—we are nevertheless on our guard. Thousands of Saldanhars around us, but not trespassing on the pasture grounds occupied by us—seem to have great faith in us. Bought two fine partridges for a finger’s length of tobacco—told them to bring more, as they were very nice.

9.—Bought 9 cows and 36 sheep—cows at 35 or 36 stivers and the sheep at 6 stivers value. Martinus de Hase caught with the carpenter’s clothes on him—stolen things all found in a little bush where he had concealed them—freely acknowledged his theft made a full confession—had absconded because afraid of punishment—had expected to exchange the things stolen among the Saldanhars for food; they had, however, robbed him of the copper rings of the wheelbarrows and the knives, as he was alone—had in despair committed the crime hoping to be put to death, and begged to be shot and not hanged—had often robbed the gardens and the fowls’ nests. Decided to keep him confined until the arrival of the return fleet, and hand him over to the Commander, very likely an India Councillor. Gathered as much of the mustard seed on the side of Table Mountain as we could get, about a ton full; will sow them near the works to use the leaves for refreshing the ships. Drank for the first time milk of the cows and sheep, which nourishes the sick likewise.

10.—Bought 12 cows and 18 sheep for less than yesterday, each cow costing fully 26 stivers and each sheep 5½ do. The cadjangh sown some 6 or 7 days ago in a well manured plot appears above ground, also cabbages, carrots and peas. Collected a fair quantity of seed from the latter, also of the cabbage lettuce and chervil, though little of the last had grown.

11.—Wind and rain—latter welcome for the gardens—two sheep killed by the rain, also a young calf. Necessary to have sheds for sheep and young calves, but we are in want of the necessary materials. Only bought 5 sheep for about 5½ stivers each—Saldanhars in numbers at the Fresh and Salt Rivers. Took the soldiers from the works to be on guard continually in case of surprise—kept the sailors at work—present number of men as follows: Soldiers 30, sailors at work 24, carpenters and boys 7, masons 9, gardeners 8, cowherds 2, shepherds 2, pigherds 1, cooks and boys 4, surgeon and boy 2, gunner 1, hospital superintendent 1, provost marshal 1, besides the Commander, 1 sick comforter, 1 assistant, 1 butler, one cooper and 2 boys, 8 in all—total 100, also women and children and men of the yacht 26—grand total 125 drawing pay, among them some sick in bed and many lazy bones whom it would be better to di[s]charge.

12.—Sowed some Roman beans—bought 2 cows, 5 sheep and a tusk. Saldanhars very likely detained by the bad weather—squatting at the Salt River.

13.—Saldanhars come near to the fort with thousands of cattle and sheep obtained only 20 sheep, 2 cows and 5 calves, they being unwilling to part with their cattle—hard to behold so much cattle and not be able to get any, though we offered 1/3 more for every head than we were accustomed to do, and treated the natives as kindly as possible—perhaps they have enough copper or been influenced by a jealous rival—would like to know the first point, for it would have been easy, if proper, to have seized about 10,000 which—if ordered to do so—would be afterwards and now also very serviceable—the natives trusting us. Once well supplied, the number could be kept up by breeding, and there would be no fear that the English would spoil the traffic with the natives, who daily give us sufficient cause, in consequence of their thieving, for revenge on them or their cattle, and if their cattle cannot be obtained in a friendly way, why then suffer their thefts without making reprisals, which would be required only once, for with 150 men 10 or 12,000 cattle could be secured, and without any danger; as many of these savages could be caught without a blow, for transmission as slaves to India, as they always come to us unarmed; this, however, requires more consideration and wiser judgment than ours alone—-we have only by the way mentioned it but will reflect upon it after more experience gained and orders received. Heavy South-East wind.

14.—Bought 15 cows and 31 sheep—gave more and offered more than usual—each beast costing already about 6 skillings and each sheep 7 stiver—having before only paid for sheep 5 or 5½ stivers and for cattle 26 to 28 and 30 stivers a piece. Believe that the natives are gorged with copper—the more we offer the more they ask, returning at night with their cattle to the Salt River.

15. (Sunday).—Bought 4 cows, 1 calf and 11 sheep—could get no more—raising their prices—thought it advisable also to hold out a little, but if this does not answer, will have to spend more to obtain a greater number of cattle for breeding purposes—have at present only 88 head of cattle and 269 sheep, besides those killed daily for the men. A Saldanhar stole a copper plate—detected by a soldier—created a great sensation—Saldanhars ran away, but were called back by Herry and the chief told that we knew that he could not help it—-barter continued, but the fear remained upon them, as they drove their cattle away. A little while after found three cows driven by a Hottentoo, which we thought had been pilfered from our flock—sent three or four men to circumvent them, who approached near to their flocks, when they all ran away into the woods and up the mountain, leaving their cattle behind—our men called and made them understand that they had merely come to inquire whether the three cows belonged to the whites, but finding the contrary, did not desire their cattle, but civilly asked them to sell them for copper. A new friendship was created and at night some came to the fort with sheep, but if our four men had so willed it, having no weapon but a sword each, they might have driven 40 or 50 cattle to the fort, as all the Saldanhars had run away, showing a timid disposition. We consequently assured a certain chief who came to us in the evening of our good intentions and our readiness to give as much copper and brass for their cattle as they might fairly claim, requesting them to bring many, showing some copper and making them understand that we had brought it for that purpose, and that the ships would bring more—that we were not of the kind of people seeking to rob others but would grant them what they asked for what we required—we treated him kindly, so that he left quite contented, promising to return to-morrow.

16.—Saldanhars half a mile from the fort— only bought 1 cow and 1 sheep—taking 3 sheep back with them, though we offered more than before—believe that they are gorged with copper, having no use for it except as an ornament—consequently very little more cattle will be obtained unless other means be resorted to, but this is at present premature. Herry explained that after the departure of the Saldanhars the Fishmen would arrive with cattle only, and if we wished to oblige him and the Saldanhars we should kill the Fishmen and take their cattle, which would be easily done as they were a very weak tribe. Told him all were our friends who cared to trade, as we had come with copper and tobacco to buy cattle but not to injure anybody—wishing to live in friendship with all. This pleased him as regarded himself and the Saldanhars but not as regarded the Fishmen—the ruin of the latter would be too premature; as beforehand it will be necessary to inquire what profit could be secured from them for the Company. A fine ox and lamb died suddenly.

First comet sighting recorded from Southern Africa

History is recorded in history as the first comet sighting in Southern Africa to be recorded is seen and documented in the Jan van Riebeeck’s journal. If the Dutch had not been in the Cape at that very time, the sighting of the comet would never have been recorded; as the illiterate local natives had no ability to record this historical event in writing. Being a seafaring nation, the Dutch were accustomed to meticulously observing the heavens using the stars to plot their course and navigate the great oceans and seas of the world. They also observed the weather conditions by always looking heavenward at the sky. The record of the comet sightings appear on the 17th, the 18th, the 20th, the 21st and the 24th December 1652, ending with these words, “. . . its signification is known to the Lord.”

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[Comets in old Cape Records, at page 4, from 17th December 1652][2]

In the entries where Commander van Riebeeck makes reference to the “giant” it is observed from the document ‘Comets in old Cape Records’, at page 5 thereof, that this is in reference to Orion. An educated and learned navigational eye would have picked this out. This prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world would be observed by seafaring explorers. Incidentally, Orion is also mentioned in the LORD’s Holy Word in the Old Testament, for it is written,

9  Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. ~ Job 9:9 

31  Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? ~ Job 38:31

8  Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: ~ Amos 5:8 [LORD is YHVH (YEHOVAH)]

Over and above the comet sightings, the record of the wavering of the Saldanhars in their bartering with the Dutch continues. The Dutch had considered to take livestock by force, but the record reveals that their God-given conscience and lack of orders from the Company kept them orderly and bartering in a friendly manner. Even when the Saldanhars urged the Dutch to kill the Fishmen and steal their cattle, the Dutch implored the Saldanhars to live in harmony with the Fishmen. Not so, the Saldanhars committed murder, as we read on,

17.—Bought one sheep though we paid more for it—natives raising their price and continually driving their cattle away after the sale of an animal—what this means is difficult to say, though we treat their chiefs handsomely—could get no more than 1 cow, 1 calf and 11 sheep—not easy to fathom this peculiar people—sowed some cadjangh, cress, cabbage, water-melon, melon and Indian beans, planted also orange and apple pips—those planted before not having come up. At night about 9 or 10 o’clock saw to the East-South-East, southward from the head of the giant, about 80° above the horizon, a strange star with a tail; the tail extending northwards right on the knees of the giant, and the head mostly to the south about 10° away. Jan Pietersz: Soenwater sentenced for theft ran away—apparently afraid of punishment for other thefts.

18.—Saldanhars in swarms with numerous cattle near the fort, almost rushing into the the gate and with difficulty kept away from the gardens—not inclined to trade—flush of copper and consequently cattle trade must diminish. Herry says that they have enough copper and will henceforth bring only now and then an animal. Natives make armlets and chains of the copper, and if there be no longer a chance to trade what harm would it be if they were deprived of 6 or 8,000 head of cattle—the opportunities are many, as they are weak and timid—3 or 4 men often come with 1,000 cattle within range of our cannon, who might easily he cut off. And as they are so confiding we continue to treat them kindly to gain their confidence, and still more so to see whether in course of time anything may be done with them in the shape of trade or otherwise for the Company’s benefit and likewise should we to-day or to-morrow receive the order, to be able on the strength of their confidence to take their cattle easily and without a blow, as it is miserable to behold so much cattle, which are so necessary for refreshments for the ships, but cannot he obtained by good treatment or barter. Saldanhars return to the Salt and Fresh Rivers beside Table Mountain, about a mile from this. Saw the comet on the same spot.

19.—Only eight sheep obtained—trade slackening more and more—their inclination for copper passing away.

20.—Jan Soenwater returns to the fort and receives his deserved punishment. The cadjangh sown on the 17th springing up, also the watermelons. Bartered four sheep from the Saldanhars, who had again drawn near to the fort with much cattle, for some tobacco—they no longer ask for copper. If we had no more tobacco we would hardly get a cow or sheep for copper alone—good that they are so partial to tobacco, with which we will succeed, very well, having to-day bought a fine milk ewe for its length in tobacco=¼ lb. weight=11 doits. Very cheap indeed. Saw the comet in the North-East, northerly from the belt of the giant, about 60° above the horizon.

21.—On this side N.W. and across the bay strong S.E. wind, which often happens. Sowed a good deal of salad seed, beans, and peas—commenced to cut some wheat and barley, which grew beautifully in spite of the strong winds. If the lands had been manured sooner we would have had earlier and better crops even. Our first season for experiments. Wonderful how well the things grow on a wild and otherwise uncultivated and unmanured ground—expect much from manure, for which the cattle are very serviceable, would, therefore, wish for more to have also milch cows besides those required as refreshments for the ships—but the native desire for copper has passed away, as appears from the conduct of a chief to-day, though we offer more. They inquire daily for the ships, especially the English vessels, which makes us suppose that Herry has been influencing them to hold out, as he no doubt likes the English more than he does us, having voyaged with them to Bantam, and expecting to have some profit from them. To prevent which we hope time and opportunity will offer us the means. Would like to have prompt orders to forbid him to trade with the natives or otherwise. Only obtained three sheep. Saw the comet this evening towards the North-East like yesterday.

22. (Sunday).—Bought five sheep—watermelons sown on 17th springing up—manure does them good apparently, as they would not grow in unmanured ground. Death of the sailor Switsert Teunisz: Pyl.

23. —Buried the sailor. Saw no Saldanhars near the fort, but our people fishing at Salt River saw them going inland with thousands of cattle and sheep. But Herry tells us that they will return when the after grass shall have appeared, the vegetation round about having been burnt for the purpose. Are only provided with 89 cattle and 284 sheep, from which the population is to be supplied. The Dutch food is exhausted, and no fish to be caught, which will diminish the supplies for the ships considerably. Hope for the best and trust in God, as the Saldanhars have enough copper.

24.—Sent Van der Helm, the provisional sergeant, and six musketeers to the Saldanhar camps about two or three miles from this, to inquire whether or not the natives had left, how strong they were, and whether they would prefer trading at their location to doing so at the fort. Took with them a good wooden box with cut tobacco and pipes to treat the natives. Returned in the afternoon with some Saldanhars driving 1 cow and 5 sheep, which we bought for copper and tobacco. Report that many had left with their flocks; had only seen two locations, the one having seven and the other eight huts, altogether not more than 80 souls, and of the number 40 men able to carry arms, not at all strong, and possessing 7 or 800 cows and 1½ thousand sheep—were frightened when they first saw our men, and drove away their cattle to the mountains—were called back and told we had brought tobacco and copper to trade with, and were anxious to be on a cordial footing with them—gave them a pipeful of tobacco and finally persuaded them to bring one beast and five sheep to the fort. Seemed to prefer to trade at their quarters—the reason we do not know, as often they came with their cattle near to the fort and found that we desired no more than to trade with them for copper and tobacco. Perhaps prejudiced by Herry, they are afraid of us, and now more so than ever. Herry likes the English more than he does us, being always full of them—no doubt he has persuaded the natives to keep their cattle back until the arrival of the English, as he seems to know pretty exactly when their fleet will be here from India. Saldanhars continually asking when, especially the English ships will be here—told them—if Herry truly interprets—that the copper of the ships will he given to us to trade with for cattle to be distributed among the vessels and that we still had sufficient copper and tobacco for the purpose. We doubt whether Herry interprets faithfully, as we often trade better without him—if the English arrive, we will be better able to discover what connection there is between them. Saw at night the comet again—having travelled to the North-North-West of us about 50 degrees above the horizon, its tail, which is now less bright than formerly, pointing to the East-South-East—its signification is known to the Lord.

25. (Christmas).—Bought eight sheep—last night one sheep was almost wholly devoured by a wild beast, notwithstanding the watch kept in and outside of the kraal. At night seven or eight wild beasts crossed over the canals, fully eight feet broad and four feet deep, into the kraal, so that the guards fired before they could be compelled to leave—eight persons henceforth to guard the cattle, two of whom shall together take a turn to keep watch and keep a fire burning to frighten the wild beasts. The square within the fort being too small to contain all the cattle, we intend to make a kraal —when the garden produce on that spot has been gathered—between the two points Drommedaris and Oliphant, with a front wall of sods eight feet high and a good canal inside to water the cattle, which may easily be done by locking the river, for which and other similar works the Commodore of the expected fleet will be asked to lend us some assistance with his crews, as we will never be able to finish with the hands we have now. The work is daily increasing, and much is to be done in trenching and digging up the garden ground.

26.—Arrival of the very oldest Saldanhars with their captain and four sheep—had not been here for some time—treated well to draw them nearer, and obtained in the afternoon two more sheep. Churned the first butter and from half an anker of milk obtained 2 lbs. good yellow butter—doing our best to make cheese—in want of many of the necessary utensils, which we have to find on the first opportunity, as success is fairly promising. Very severe South-East during the evening and night, so that the sentry could not walk on the ramparts. In the whole world it cannot blow as hard as the S.E. does here, which often surpasses the West Indian hurricanes and the Japanese typhoons.

27.—Bought a cow and seven sheep from the same natives.

28.—Wind still blowing violently, knocking the corn out of the ears, so that we hardly won a quarter of our crop. Found oats among the corn mixed up with the seeds of wheat and barley sown—carefully gathered—to be sown on a separate plot to grow in quantity, as we intend to do with barley also. Corn here extraordinarily beautiful, pity that it has been so much knocked about by the wind. Churned twice to-day with less milk than on the 29th, obtained 1½ lb. much finer butter than before—in course of time things will improve—thank God we are so far advanced that we can accommodate the sick with sweet and butter milk and eggs, fowls breeding finely, but the pigs and pigeons do not seem to prosper—pigs not yet having littered and only seven pigeons reared. Bought 5 sheep, 1 cow and 2 small calves, which we paid for at a dearer rate to entice the sellers—and to obtain a sufficient breeding stock. Saldanhars had been at the Fishmen, killing four and capturing much cattle—requested us likewise to attack the Fishmen, which would oblige them greatly, as the former were a pack of thieves, who would when here endeavour to steal our cattle. We replied that we very much liked the Saldanhars to live and trade with them amicably, and would see when the Fishmen came what people they were, but would always be attached to the Saldanhars, which seemed to please them.

29. (Sunday).—Bartered 4 sheep and 2 cows. Found 18 sheep wanting—herds acknowledged they had lost them through carelessness. Condemned the three principal herds each to pay two reals for six sheep, and told them to be more careful in future otherwise they would be punished.

30.—Wind having blown severely for 5 or 6 days, we found the gardens much injured—the peas blown to pieces, also the beans, which were beautiful—seed of the cabbage lettuce suffered, strange to say, no injury—collected it in this calm weather—likewise that of radish, spinach, endives, &c. Will in consequence of the drought not be able to sow again before February or March. The return fleet will find all our vegetables run into seed except carrots, turnips, radish and beetroot—cabbage also will be ready and in quantity—every day we eat mutton—the churn is fairly going, and we have set aside already 6 lbs. butter—the people receiving butter milk, which may also refresh the men of the coming ships. In want, however, of appliances to make cheese. Matters bucolic promising well—eating fresh butter at table, using the Dutch butter for food. Preparing to bake bread from the new wheat to have everything straight for the refreshment of the ships, which will seemingly henceforth be fairly possible—but from April to October the best refreshments in the shape of vegetables will be had, and for the ships in February and March the most cattle, carrots, cabbage, turnips, &c.—milk the whole year through, for which purpose cattle should be kept. Bought a cow and five sheep. Sent to search for the sheep between Table and Lion Mountains. The men also to go behind Table Mountain to discover how many Saldanhars there were—they remained away the whole night.

31.—Sheep not found—men reported that they had found about the Hout Bay six locations containing altogether about 500 souls and numberless cattle—natives much afraid of the whites, who showed them great kindness, so that some of them accompanied the six soldiers a great distance to show them the way for a little tobacco. Bought 12 sheep and 1 cow. The newly arrived Saldanhars report that many of them were at the Saltpan with much cattle, which they intended to sell—treated them kindly and informed them that we had much copper and tobacco—may some advantage result from this—God grant it, Amen.
N.B.—The wind and weather very carefully noted every day.

January 1, 1653.—Bought seven sheep before the sermon. Released from irons Gerrit Dirckz; Jan Blanx and Willem Huytjens, and reinstated in office the suspended corporal.

2.—Bought eight sheep. Died one Dutch pig—these animals do not seem to thrive here. Likewise died one sheep and one calf. Wind so heavy that no one could easily keep his legs, wheelbarrows not manageable on the planks, and the ground as hard as stone in consequence of the dry wind.

3.—Bought five sheep—wind as bad—no progress with the work.

4.—Sent the catechist with a corporal and six soldiers with copper, tobacco and pipes to the Saldanhars, to inquire whether they would like to trade at their place, as they no longer come to the fort with any large number of cattle. Bartered seven sheep in the meanwhile. The party returning brought 2 cows, 1 bull, 1 ox, 1 heifer and 1 calf with 11 sheep. Saldanhars more inclined to trade at their camp than at the fort. Will therefore try again on Monday. Also bought four cows, a calf and six sheep—God be praised for the blessing. On the other side of the bay—from the wreck of the Haerlem along the whole coast towards Saldanha Bay—numerous fires, belonging, as Herry states, to natives with much cattle, who may be expected here to trade; if they like copper the cattle barter may again look up. Would like to have more tobacco, which is running out, as without it bartering will be scarcely possible.

5. (Sunday).—Bought 12 sheep and 2 cows, 1 ox, a calf and heifer, for copper and tobacco—half of the last roll already used up.

The battlements of Cape Town's Castle of Good Hope - Mike Hutchings/Reuters In closing this the second edition of our look back into history, we find ourselves in January 1653 and will pick up again in Part 3 with the further examination of their bartering, the relationships between the Dutch and the local native tribes, and also life in general at the Dutch Cape Colony. Until then,

Soli Deo Gloria_____________________

Footnotes:

[1] Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope, December 1651 – December 1655, Riebeeck’s Journal – by H. C. V. Leibrandt, Keeper of the Archives. Part I. Cape Town : W. A. Richards & Sons, Government Printers, 1897. pp14-57.

[2] Comets in Old Cape Records by Donald McIntyre, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society Past President, Astronomical Society of South Africa, Member of the British Astronomical Association, With a Foreword by C. Graham Botha, M.A., LL.D., Former Chief Archivist for the Union of South Africa, Cape Times Limited, Cape Town, MCMXLIX

Related Blog Posts:

The Gospel comes to South Africa (13 December 2012)

Answer to Sandile ~ Part 1 (3 June 2013)

The Gospel . . . Racism and South African History (8 March 2016)

365 Years Ago Today . . . (6 April 2017)

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