Index to The Land Issue: South Africa 1652 – present

Flag of the Dutch East India Company svg This is the Index for the examination into South African History regarding the Land Issue and slavery. The information has been gleaned from various archived documents translated from the original autographs of the Journal of Commander Johan van Riebeeck of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) and others. To get a more full and comprehensive understanding of the historical context kindly consult the documents to read up on this subject more extensively.

In Part 1 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).

VOC svgIn Part 2 we undertook the voyage from Texel in the Netherlands on 14th December 1651 sailing on the flag ship of the fleet, the Drommedaris, to the landing at the Cape of Good Hope on 6th April 1652. We also looked extensively at the lifestyle of the Dutch settlers and their work ethic, their relationships with the local Khoikhoi and San natives and other people groups from these clans. We looked also at the relationship between the Dutch and a native interpreter named Herry. This took our learning adventure into the early days of January 1653.

In Part 3 our investigations continued from the 9th of January 1653 looking back into life at the Cape of Good Hope, the relationships being forged between the local natives and the colonists, the Dutch Christian lifestyle, the assembly service and the gospel, daily trials and tribulations experienced by the Dutch, the birth of Johan and Maria van Riebeeck’s son, christened Abraham van Riebeeck, who was born on 18th October, 1653 at the Fort de Goede Hoop, Kaapkolonie (Cape Colony; present day Cape Town), making Abraham a born white African and therefore ‘a son of Africa.’ We read about a Christian marriage on African soil, native theft and the murder of a Dutch cattle herdsman and the subsequent forgiveness to continue with friendly communications and dealings between black and white peoples. This part would end in December 1653.

KJV In Part 4 we looked at the Christian attitudes to ‘slaves’ and we examined the Biblical teachings concerning ‘slaves’ and ‘slavery’ which is very different to the evil and wicked practices of sinful white and black men who were involved in the slave trade. We looked at the Biblical recordings of the true intension of what ‘slaves’ were to be which are servants in wilful servitude and the protections afforded those servants. We also examined the word ‘kafir’ delving into the etymology thereof and discovering the origins to be Arabian and the Islamic use of the word means ‘disbeliever.’ We then went even further back into history and ascertained that slavery stems from the Arabic world where Islam was birthed, and we see that Islamic slavery is still active and alive to this very day.

In Part 5 we continued from Part 4 looking at the Christian ethos of living neighbourly and exercising forgiveness when wronged as well as looking into certain referenced articles that gave a more full reflection of life at the Cape of Good Hope, of the local natives and the slaves brought to the Cape from the East.

Slave Lodge museum in modern day Cape TownAnd in the final Part 6 we looked at the Slave Lodge and its inhabitants where the information gleaned in this respect comes from the Iziko Museums of South Africa website, being an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, a post-1994 governmental organ of the New South Africa. We looked at the Heritage of Slavery, the Christian religion and schooling and we also looked at a Biblical answer to land ownership before concluding that the South African land issue is not just about ‘white owned land being expropriated without compensation’, but that the Mfecane could well also be a factor that needs addressing in the greater context of ‘land ownership redistribution!’

We look forward to receiving the readers’ comments in respect of these various parts and also your feed back. Until later,

Soli Deo Gloria

The Land Issue: South Africa 1652 – present: Part 6

Recapping

Flag of the Dutch East India Company svg Welcome to Part 6 of this examination into South African History. We request that you kindly read the preceding parts to gain a proper understanding and the correct context in which this particular part continues the documented course of events. The information has been gleaned from archived documents translated from the original autographs of the Journal of Johan van Riebeeck and others.

In Part 1 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).

In Part 2 we undertook the voyage from Texel in the Netherlands on 14th December 1651 sailing on the flag ship of the fleet, the Drommedaris, to the landing at the Cape of Good Hope on 6th April 1652. We also looked extensively at the lifestyle of the Dutch settlers and their work ethic, their relationships with the local Khoikhoi and San natives and other people groups from these clans. We looked also at the relationship between the Dutch and a native interpreter named Herry. This took our learning adventure into the early days of January 1653.

In Part 3 our investigations continued from the 9th of January 1653 looking back into life at the Cape of Good Hope, the relationships being forged between the local natives and the colonists, the Dutch Christian lifestyle, the assembly service and the gospel, daily trials and tribulations experienced by the Dutch, the birth of Johan and Maria van Riebeeck’s son, christened Abraham van Riebeeck, who was born on 18th October, 1653 at the Fort de Goede Hoop, Kaapkolonie (Cape Colony; present day Cape Town), making Abraham a born white African and therefore ‘a son of Africa.’ We read about a Christian marriage on African soil, native theft and the murder of a Dutch cattle herdsman and the subsequent forgiveness to continue with friendly communications and dealings between black and white peoples. This part would end in December 1653.

In Part 4 we looked at the Christian attitudes to ‘slaves’ and we examined the Biblical teachings concerning ‘slaves’ and ‘slavery’ which is very different to the evil and wicked practices of sinful white and black men who were involved in the slave trade. We looked at the Biblical recordings of the true intension of what ‘slaves’ were to be which are servants in wilful servitude and the protections afforded those servants. We also examined the word ‘kafir’ delving into the etymology thereof and discovering the origins to be Arabian and the Islamic use of the word means ‘disbeliever.’ We then went even further back into history and ascertained that slavery stems from the Arabic world where Islam was birthed, and we see that Islamic slavery is still active and alive to this very day.

In Part 5 we continued from Part 4 looking at the Christian ethos of living neighbourly and exercising forgiveness when wronged as well as looking into certain referenced articles that gave a more full reflection of life at the Cape of Good Hope, of the local natives and the slaves brought to the Cape from the East.

Source-types of information

In this 6th and final part of our investigative mini-series where we have examined our South African History as we searched for answers as to who rightfully owns the South African land, we have encountered three source-types of information –

(a) the written records of an educated nation of European colonists being the Dutch VOC, and

(b) the largely oral cultural stories by uneducated illiterate African local native groups who did not reduce anything to written records, and

(c) written records by the locals who were educated by the Europeans be it in the Cape Colony, in Batavia, in China, or elsewhere, or who had their evidences and statements recorded in court documents in certain trials that now find their way into the paper records of the VOC.

It would be outlandish to say that all the land was owned by the present black African tribes here in present day South Africa when there is no documented and archived records that record ownership by the Khoikhoi, San, Zulus, Xhosas, Tswanas, Sothos, Pondos, and the like, of the South African land purchased under any Title Deed. The land ownership issue is very closely linked, intertwined and caught up by the present day tribal narratives which broadcast untruths that all black tribes have been subjugated at the hands of all white ‘colonial’ South Africans in some form or another of ‘slavery’. Not every person or people group can be labelled collectively as one having participated in slavery or having owned slaves! Every person has to answer and be held accountable for his/her own sins and transgressions! It is dangerous and outrageous to label and group the atrocities of some wicked individuals to include everyone of a particular race or nationality group! Black Africans cannot say, “You Whites did . . .”, because then it would also be acceptable for White Africans to say, “You Blacks did . . .”. It is dangerous ground to collectively label people groups as one. There are White racists just as there are Black racists and there are White non-racists just as there are Black non-racists! Not everyone deserves to be tarred-and-feathered with the same proverbial brush! We are reminded by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible that if we judge we must “judge righteous judgment” (see John 7:24 KJV) for we are also reminded,

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 KJV 

With regards to slavery, writer brings to the reader’s attention an extensive article titled Cape Slaves in the Paper Empire of the VOC by Nigel Worden of the University of Cape Town which can be read at this link (or under item [1] of the Footnotes hereunder – should the link be broken at anytime for any unknown reason) that deals with the issue of the VOC having not kept sufficient and/or full and proper records of ‘slaves’ and ‘their slavery’. In this aforementioned article Mr Worden makes some compelling arguments and reasons why there is a lack of historical records pertaining to this particular matter. However, factually there are still sufficient other documents that historians and researchers can address that can describe and depict ‘slaves’ and ‘their slavery’ lives. 

Whilst it would be easy to say that as we have written autographs that are archived then this must be the full and most reliable record, the problems however arise where silence or very scarce information is provided for, as in the case with the slaves in the Cape Colony. The questions that need to be answered and be factually documented to find out about the ‘slaves’, are inter alia: What were their proper names? Where were they born? What were their actual dates of birth? Where did they originally come from? Who were their captives? Who sold them? In which ‘slave market’ were they sold and for how much? and Who were their owners? What conditions did they live under? Were they all beaten and mistreated? etcetera, etcetera.

Most of these questions cannot be answered concisely and therefore we only have a part of what the full historical record will determine. It is therefore also very dangerous when political parties start making outlandish claims that all slaves were beaten – where are the records? We have seen from the records provided that the VOC under the command of Johan van Riebeeck were predominately God-fearing Christians who lived and conducted their lives in Christ-like manners. Were every colonist Christian? It would be foolish to argue that they were. But the record that has been recorded for posterity actually confirms that a Christian ethos was very prevalent! We can read the accounts as recorded in Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this Way.

image

RIEBEECK’S PRAYER

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.

Heritage of slavery

VOC at the Amsterdam Headquarters As we look into this aspect of South African History we will also obtain information from the Iziko Museums of South Africa website, being an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, a governmental organ of the post-1994 New South Africa. We encourage you the reader to visit the website and read the information contained thereat from the various dropdown menus.

The Slave Lodge

It appears from the Iziko website that the initial 98 VOC Company slaves that were ‘housed’ in the outbuildings of the Van Riebeeck Fort, were moved to the new slave lodge on 29 May 1658. Over the course of some 21 years there were different lodges along the way and it appears that the slaves later at the Castle were then relocated and housed in the new lodge by 28 July 1679. It also appears that, quote:

The Slave Lodge was the largest slave holding at the Cape until 1806. It housed an average of 476 inmates at a time consisting of slaves, convicts and the mentally ill. In the mid-18th century, about a thousand inmates lived in the Lodge.[2]

imageimage[The above from page 7 of the ‘Letters Received’ we read from an entry dated 9th March 1695][3]

Under the section dealing with the inhabitants of the slave lodge the VOC forbid the forcing of the local Khoisan tribes to work for them, so Commander Johan van Riebeeck requested the VOC to send slaves or Chinese labour to the Cape, and in 1658 van Riebeeck received permission to import slaves. In that year the first slaves arrived at the Cape on board the Amersfoort in March and the Hassalt in May. The VOC obtained their slaves from India, Indonesia, Mozambique and Madagascar. It is estimated that as many as 7,000 to 9,000 slaves lodged in the slave lodge over a period of some 132 years. The slave lodge appears to have been the largest slaveholding facility at the Cape during the slave era and from a floor plan at the website there were sections for a hospital, a prison and a mentally ill sector labelled for lunatics. The hospital that was situate in the eastern wing of the lodge treated slaves and Khoi women, who it appears suffered from venereal diseases. This was not the only diseases as there were also leprosy and three smallpox epidemic outbreaks in the 18th century which resulted in many slave deaths. In the centre of the slave lodge there was a courtyard where the daily roll calls were taken, cooking was done and leisure and religious activities also took place there.  

In the slave lodge a Slave Overseer ran the lodge and had other slaves that were put in positions of authority to assist in the running of the lodge on behalf of the VOC. These slaves were given uniforms to differentiate them from the other slaves who were also clothed. Though the conditions at the lodge were harsh, being dank and dark, slaves were looked after and even received payments for their work undertaken. They were not taken into the VOC employ and left for them to fend for themselves: they received clothing, food, medical assistance and payment for their work undertaken. Whilst many slaves were taken against their will to be slaves, unfortunately unlike the Biblical teachings of ‘slaves’ which were in fact servants in servitude as taught extensively in Part 4 of this series, you can read much more at the aforementioned Iziko website of slaves being placed in policing positions who were armed with firearms and their policing also extended over white free burghers, where slaves had freedom of movement in the main settlement at the Cape, present day Cape Town, and surrounding areas, where slaves went and drank alcohol at tap-houses (i.e. bars)(much can be read in the various journal writings from the VOC archived documents). Slaves could only frequent tap-houses if they had freedom of movement and obviously if they had money to pay for wine and the like. This is very different to the political rhetoric offered here in South Africa since 1994 to the present year 2019 by lying politicians to the gullible and uneducated masses who believe their deception!

Certificate of Slave Registry Office, 1827 Slaves manumitted

It is also evident that slaves who were able to pay for their freedom or manumission were able to do so. There is even records where slaves paid for family members to be manumitted as can be seen from the following quote from the Iziko website:

Armozijn van de Caab was manumitted in 1711 by Governor W.A. van der Stel. She was able to buy her daughter’s freedom three years later. Manda Gratia’s freedom was bought in 1714 by William Frisnet who married her afterwards. Manda was able to buy all her children’s freedom as well. Christijna van de Caab obtained her freedom together with that of her 13 year old daughter, Johanne Barbara, in August 1728.[4]

It was also not uncommon for white colonials to have children with slaves, not by force as many politicians and other commentators argue, but in many cases by voluntary sexual intercourse, and in many cases marriages were the outcome between owner and slave. These slaves became free and so did their children who were “mulattos” (what is termed ‘coloureds’ in today’s dialogue). The real emancipation day in the southern Africa colony context was 1st December 1838 when British rule took over from the Dutch and slaves were set free.

Christian religion and schooling

The Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) authorities’ intentions were to educate and teach the local natives and imported slaves the Christian religion that carried over into the schooling ethos of the day. Whilst many historians and other commentators think the VOC were out to control every aspect of slaves’ lives, this was not entirely true. It appears from which view point one comes that the narrative will be published. The slaves received instruction in the Christian religion and the Dutch being of the Dutch Reformed Church (that stood against the papal system of Roman Catholicism) would have followed their Master’s command of going into all the world to preach the gospel to all creatures and to fulfil the following scripture,

28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: ~ Colossians 1:28 KJV

It also appears that all slave children were baptised whether their parents were Christian or not and all the children received formal schooling, a privilege that few children of free parents enjoyed. In 1666 all slaves in the slave lodge were baptised and by the year 1795 a total of 1,715 slave children from the lodge were also baptised. Approximately two thirds of all the slave children who were baptised during the VOC period (1652-1795) lived in the lodge. Part of the Christian instruction to both adults and children were to learn Christian prayers in Dutch every evening and to attend church services twice every Sunday.

In 1658 the first slave school for children was started by Jan van Riebeeck’s brother-in law Pieter van Stael which did not last long. Another school was started in 1685 once the slave children were moved to the slave lodge. Boys and girls were taught separately from ages 12 to 16 and were instructed in the Christian religion and also taught to read and write in Dutch. The following quote dealing with teachers from the Iziko website shows that teaching was a well paid occupation amongst slaves and others,

Several school teachers applied with success to be manumitted. Persena van de Caab received his freedom in 1724, Jan van Manda in 1731, Anna van Jacoba in 1764 and Hans Jacob Jurgen van die Caab in 1774. It seems as if the position of school teacher was a profitable occupation as they were the only group of slaves that were willing to stay on in the Lodge after being manumitted. All teachers, including those who were slaves, received a salary.[5]

A Biblical answer to land ownership

So who in fact owns the South African land in this context? The original owner is God (the LORD). Sinful man only has a limited right to tend the land and to work it from whence he came. For we read,

1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. ~ Psalm 24:1 KJV

26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:26 KJV

When God made Adam [c.4004 B.C., +6023 years ago] the initial mandate was for man to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26, my emphasis). The man who was formed by God was put in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8) and the man was “to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). In this perfect state man enjoyed the garden of Eden together with his wife Eve in constant fellowship with His Creator until they sinned against God and fell from grace by their disobedience of eating the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:17). Having sinned against God,

23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. ~ Genesis 3:23 KJV

We then read that after God had sent them out, quote, “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken” (Gen. 3:23). Adam and Eve were sent into the world. In the course of time the wickedness of man brought God’s wrath to pass that He would destroy the earth, as we read God’s Word,

5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 
6  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 
7  And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 
8  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. ~ Genesis 6:5-8 KJV

After the world wide flood [c.2348 B.C., +4367 years ago] God makes a covenant where He said in His heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:21,22) and in Genesis chapter 9 and verse 1 we read, “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” In the passage of time [c.2247 B.C., +4266 years ago] we find in the book of Genesis chapter 11 and verse 1, “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” Everyone was related to each other, but man’s wickedness prevailed again and we see that the people wanted to make a name for themselves by building a city and a tower to heaven. To stop them God confounded their language that they did not understand one another’s speech and the city where this took place was Babel. And so it was God’s doing to scatter everyone for we read,

9  Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. ~ Genesis 11:9 KJV

Throughout time man continued acting wickedly in the sight of their Creator God. We read during the days of Samuel the prophet that Israel wanted “a king to judge us like all the nations” (I Samuel 8:1)[c.1075 B.C., +3094 years ago]. They wanted a man to reign over them for their request displeased Samuel and after his prayers unto the LORD, we read in First Samuel chapter 8 and verse 7, “And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” In verses 8 and 9  thereof we read how Israel have transgressed in all their works since they were brought out of Egypt and how they had forsaken their God and served other gods, and the LORD tells Samuel to make known to the people what manner of king they will receive to rule and reign over them. And so we read of their king, which is the same as the politicians of today who rule nations,

10  And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 
11  And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 
12  And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 
13  And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 
14  And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 
15  And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 
16  And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 
17  He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 
18  And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 
19  Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 
20  That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. ~ I Samuel 8:10-20 KJV

Sadly to this very day man is ruled and enslaved by the kings of the nations to various degrees – and in South Africa it is no different where the masses cry and vote so their king (president/political party) may judge them and God has given them their wish! Verse 14 above is being fulfilled again, this time by a despotic government. God had warned His people against the rule of tyrants.

We are also told in God’s Word that He determines where people will live and within which boundaries. This includes where He determines in which continents His people will dwell, just as He determined where the people would be dispersed after Babel. Within the time period of 100 A.D. [in the year of our LORD Jesus Christ] we are told by the writer Luke in the Acts of the Apostles in chapter 17 and verses 24 to 26 when Paul was in Athens preaching,

24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; ~ Acts 17:24-26 KJV

God has determined where men are to dwell and He has set their time and their place of habitation – the where. So if there is a white African, as writer is, then God has placed him in Africa for this time, just as God had brought Jan van Riebeeck to the Cape in 1652! Politicians might not agree with the reasons why this happened, but God orders all things for His own divine purposes and goodwill, and His reasons might never be understood, but that is just how it is! For it is written,

6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 
7  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 
9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:6-9 KJV

So politicians need to be very careful how they try determine in their own strength what is right and what is wrong! For we read in Proverbs 20:24 KJV, “Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” God also sets up kingdoms and He can remove them as He pleases. South Africa is suffering because God is judging this nation. As a people this nation is not God-fearing and true worshippers of the true LORD! This nation is full of idolaters which the LORD God hates! Be reminded,

2  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. ~ Proverbs 29:2 KJV

This nation is mourning with more than just land issues!

Conclusion

The land belongs to God, and men have the temporary ownership to tend it. Ownership of land is determined by Title Deed and ownership can only be transferred to another by sale or inheritance transfer at a cost. Land cannot be taken on hearsay or oral tradition in the absence of true records having been kept. The problems are exacerbated when one has to do a paper trail when land was fought for also by the various African tribes during the Mfecane (Difaqane or Lifaqane) and ‘dispersed crushing ownership’ passed between tribes, so who would be the rightful owners of land based on tribal conflicts and wars for land and possessions? Even the Matabele (Ndebele) and Shona tribes of Zimbabwe might even have a claim to South African land! How would the South African government determine which tribes initially owned what land and who has a legit claim to which piece of ground! This land issue has more problems than just taking ‘white-owned’ land without compensation. The ruling government has already caused enough chaos without stirring the tribal pot!  

Be forewarned South Africa. REPENT of thy wickedness before it is too late and turn back to the LORD YEHOVAH!

Soli Deo Gloria

_____________________

Footnotes:

[1] Cape Slaves in the Paper Empire of the VOC by NIGEL WORDEN, University of Cape Town, Kronos 40 pp23-44:

This article examines the ways in which the voluminous archive of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) controlled, constructed and delimited the presence of slaves in the paper world of the VOC empire. The extensive paper archive of the VOC recorded slaves in ways which matched the concerns of the administration, such as enumeration in census returns and as objects for inheritance or sale in estate inventories. Nonetheless, historians have been able to uncover considerably more information about their experience and agency. Much detail is provided in criminal and (to a lesser extent) civil judicial records, which explains the emphasis on individual and collective resistance in the slave historiography of the 1980s. More recently Cape historians have adapted techniques of reading across the grain in order to explore the mentalité and cultural worlds of Cape slaves. However, the VOC archive was not only a record of the ruling classes. Slaves also used writing for their own purposes, either in alternative networks of literacy in Asian languages or by turning Dutch papers into documents for their own advantage, some of which has found its way into the official documents. The combination of these records with oral traditions and community memories have enabled Cape historians to transcend the apparent silence of the official archive.

   In 2010 I was involved in making a televised documentary about an uprising of slaves being transported from Madagascar to the Cape Colony in 1766 aboard the ship Meermin.1 Slaveship Mutiny used three people to help piece the re-enactments together and comment on what happened. Each had a different angle on the incident. The marine archaeologist Jaco Boshoff was a scientist, analysing ship plans and mat-erial objects in the laboratory, carrying out an airborne magnetic trace search for the wreck and leading the diving expeditions. As a historian I was shown inside the storeroom of the Cape archives, poring over voluminous original manuscript documents on the uprising and the fate of its leaders. An activist Lucy Campbell was the slave descendant, walking the streets of Cape Town in search of her roots and bringing her inherited experience and personal understanding of the past. She identified especially with the leader of the revolt, Massavana, ‘the first freedom fighter’, and the film ends with her search for his grave in the cemetery on Robben Island. But his traces, like the wreck of Meermin itself, are elusive. At one point I show her the mark that

_______________

1 Slaveship Mutiny, written and produced by Joe Kennedy, directors Nic Young and Joe Kennedy, Off the Fence co-production with ARTE France in association with THIRTEEN and WNET.ORG, 2010 (52 minutes).

Worden                                                                                                                               23

Massavana made as signature to his testimony, preserved in the judicial records of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) archive. The director carefully choreographed the shot and Lucy was not told in advance that such a document existed. When she saw the only physical trace of Massavana still surviving, the camera captured her gasp of breath and the tears that filled her eyes.
   This incident epitomises three complementary aspects of the presence of Cape slaves in the paper archive of the VOC. One is elusiveness: Massavana left only a single mark in the kilometres of shelving at the Roeland Street depot, which required (the film implies) years of diligent searching by a professional historian. Another is the power of that mark for Lucy, and by implication for us all, nearly 250 years later. From such sparse traces, the story of the Meermin slaves was unearthed and brought back to life. Slaves in the VOC paper world might be elusive, but they are not absent and can be evoked, if only in a spectral form, by historians, film makers and activists today.2 Thirdly, the staged portrayal of an encounter between the ‘expert’ historian who is imbued with access to the archive’s inner workings and the ‘outsider’ who encounters it as an emotional revelation suggests that the archive is not a neutral space open to all but is rather an ‘active site where social power is negotiated, contested, confirmed’.3 The authority of the historian, the film suggests, comes from his presence in the archive and his ability to interpret it, that of the activist from her kinship ancestry and her emotional engagement.4
   This filmic device is problematic. Historians of Cape slavery have certainly not remained locked in archive storerooms, detached from the emotional and contemporary implications of their subject of study. Much of the impetus behind the burgeoning of Cape slave historiography since the 1980s and 1990s came from the desire of engaged academics to make the wider public aware of a hitherto neglected past. Similarly, slave descendants have researched in the archives and made important contributions to our understanding of their history.
   However, the point I wish to pursue here is the power of the VOC archive in shaping and delimiting awareness of that past.5 Much has been said about the ways in which the archive, and perhaps especially the colonial archive, imposes an authority over the past that needs to be carefully negotiated if we are to escape its powers of inclusion – and exclusion.6 The archive only records what ‘people once thought worth recording and what other people once thought worth holding onto or suppressing,

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2 Mbembe argues that those brought ‘back to life’ from the archive are spectres that cannot speak for themselves but only through another (the historian) and so in this sense they ‘remain silent’. A. Mbembe, ‘The Power of the Archive and Its Limits’ in C. Hamilton, V. Harris, J. Taylor, M. Pickover, G. Reid and R. Saleh (eds), Refiguring the Archive (Cape Town: David Philip, 2002), 25–6.
3 T. Cook and J. Schwartz, cited in F. Blouin and W. Rosenberg, Processing the Past: Contesting Authority in History and the Archives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 159.
4 C. Steedman, Dust (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), 153.
5 For discussion of the politics of Cape slave history see N. Worden, ‘The Changing Politics of Slave Heritage in the Western Cape, South Africa’, Journal of African History, 50, 2009, 23–40.
6 Amongst others in a wide literature, see P. Joyce, ‘The Politics of the Liberal Archive’, History of the Human Sciences, 12, 2, 1999, 35–49; A. Mbembe, ‘The Power of the Archive and Its Limits’ in .Hamilton et al (eds), Refiguring the Archive, 19–26; J. Anderson, ‘(Colonial) Archives and (Copyright) Law’, unpublished paper, Sawyer Seminar on Knowledges, Ways of Knowing and the Postcolonial University, Social Anthropology Department, University of Cape Town, 18 February 2009; C. Hamilton, ‘Forged and Continually Refashioned in the Crucible of Ongoing Social and Political Life: Archives and Custodial Practices as Subjects of Enquiry’, South African Historical Journal, 65, March 2013, 1–22.

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forgetting or passing on’.7 This necessitates the practice familiar to the post-positivist historian of ‘reading across the grain’, that is extracting from archival traces material that was not intended by its creators but is nonetheless evident ‘between the lines’ as well as hunting outside the archive for what has been forgotten or suppressed. But it also demands, as Stoler has stressed, reading ‘along the archival grain’, that is, seeing how the form and structure of the documents both reflected and shaped power structures and decision processes.8

The Cape’s Paper Archive

   These approaches are highly pertinent to an examination of the presence of Cape slaves in the VOC archive. Writing, Adrien Delmas has argued, was ‘an essential tool’ of the VOC, initially evident in the ship logs and navigational guides which enabled its maritime trading activities, and then for matters on land once the VOC had established trading posts and colonies, in the form of day journals and dispatches sent by local commanders to the chambers of the Company in the Netherlands as well as judicial and administrative documents retained in the locality.9 The VOC archives in its colonies were thus considerably more centralised than those in the Netherlands itself, where church, local municipality and civic organisations all produced their own documents that served a wide variety of public functions.10 Moreover, at the time the VOC records were ‘the preserve of a closed elite readership’ and jealously guarded as secret documents whose content needed to be kept from trading rivals. Only subsequently did they become the basis of an extensive paper archive now scattered across the diverse regions where the VOC once had a presence.11 A proportion of the documents sent from the colonies and trading stations are now preserved in the Nationaal Archief in The Hague, although many financial and local papers were destroyed on the orders of the Dutch government in the 1830s on the grounds that they were no longer needed.12 However, copies of many of these are preserved in Cape Town, where the VOC records are assembled in the Cape Archives Depot, housed without an apparent sense of irony in the former Roeland Street jail.13

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7 K. Appiah, ‘Identity, Politics and the Archive’ in X. Mangcu (ed.), Becoming Worthy Ancestors: Archive, Public Deliberation and Identity in South Africa (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2011), 99.
8 A. Stoler, ‘Colonial Archives and the Arts of Governance’, Archival Science, 2, 2002, 87–109; A. Stoler, Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2009). The emphasis is mine.
9 A. Delmas, ‘From Travelling to History: An Outline of the VOC Writing System during the 17th Century’ in A. Delmas and N. Penn (eds), Written Culture in a Colonial Context: Africa and the Americas, 1500–1900 (Cape Town: UCT Press, 2011), 96.
10 H. Looijesteijn and M. van Leeuwen, ‘Establishing and Registering Identity in the Dutch Republic’ in K. Breckenridge and S. Szreter (eds), Registration and Recognition: Documenting the Person in World History, Proceedings of the British Academy 182 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 211–51.
11 C. Coetzee, ‘In the Archive: Records of Dutch Settlement and the Contemporary Novel’ in D. Attridge and D. Attwell (eds), The Cambridge History of South African Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 139 cited in H. Twidle, ‘Writing the Company: From VOC Daghregister to Sleigh’s Eilande’, South African Historical Journal, 65, 1, 2013, 146. The fullest study of the construction of a writing empire by the VOC is A. Delmas, ‘Les voyages du récit: Culture écrite et expansion Européene à l’époque moderne: Le cas de la Compagnie Hollandaise des Indes Orientales’ (Unpublished PhD thesis, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 2010), with comment on the construction of a secret VOC archive at 171–3.
12 M. A. P. Roelofsz, Van Geheim tot Openbaar: Een Historiografische Verkenning, inaugural lecture (Leiden: Universitaire Pers, 1970). I am grateful to an anonymous reader for this point and reference.
13 For an index and analysis of the Hague VOC archive see R. Raben and J. Pennings (eds), De Archieven van de Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (1602–1795) (The Hague: Algemeen Rijksarchief, 1992). On the symbolism of the Roeland Street building as ‘an entanglement of building and documents’ see Mbembe, ‘The Power of the Archive and Its Limits’ in Hamilton et al (eds), Refiguring the Archive, 19.

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   The Cape material has been better preserved than in any other region of VOC activity outside the Netherlands and in consequence its archive was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2005. In this sense the VOC archive in Cape Town is a prime example of Mbembe’s characterisation of the archive as ‘not a piece of data but a status’.14 This is the consequence of the importance that the VOC records held to the descendants of settler South Africans, and especially Afrikaners, who traced their family roots and cultural heritage to the VOC period. The day journals, starting with Commander Van Riebeeck’s first ‘diary’ page, are the prized possession of this archive, carefully rebound in handsome red leather volumes as the ‘founding document’ of the white South African nation.15 The statutes (plakaten) of the Council of Policy were transcribed and published between 1944 and 1951, and the minutes between 1957 and 1981.16 Wills, household inventories and estate records of VOC burghers are carefully indexed and catalogued, enabling detailed genealogical reconstructions.17 This is in marked contrast to archives in Indonesia, Sri Lanka or India, where independence from colonial rule downgraded the importance attached to VOC records, not least because these countries possessed a rich indigenous written archive. As a result the current state of preservation and accessibility of VOC documents in Asia is decidedly less impressive than in Cape Town.
   The UNESCO inscription was thus a recognition of the importance of the VOC Cape records. But their significance was changing. Since the 1980s a major process of historical revisionism led Cape historians to shift attention from white settlers to include a wider spectrum of the Cape’s population. This was in response to both the contemporary political and social upheavals of the South Africa in which they were living and the international trend of writing history ‘from below’.18 Several of them produced materials to encourage wider public use of the archives that related to the history of slavery.19 A major initiative was the transcription of estate papers, inventories, auction records and convict rolls for online access, chosen in part because

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14 Ibid, 20.
15 The ‘Van Riebeeck diaries’ were transcribed and published as founding documents of the nation shortly after the formal implementation of apartheid and at the time of the Van Riebeeck festival in 1952. L. Witz, Apartheid’s Festival: Contesting South Africa’s National Pasts (Bloomington: Indiana University Press; Cape Town: David Philip, 2003), 109–10 and C. Coetzee, ‘In the Archive’ in Attridge and Attwell (eds), The Cambridge History of South African Literature, 141–3. This is paralleled by the veneration of archival documents in other settler nations. J. O’Toole, ‘Between Veneration and Loathing: Loving and Hating Documents’ in F. Blouin and W. Rosenberg (eds), Archives, Documentation and Institutions of Social Memory: Essays from the Sawyer Seminar (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006), 44–8.
16 M. Jeffreys (ed.), Kaapse Plakkaatboek, 6 vols, (Cape Town: Cape Times, 1944–51); G. C. de Wet et al (eds), Resolusies van die Politieke Raad, 1651–739 (Cape Town: Cape Times; Pretoria: Government Printer, 1957–81).
17 G. C. de Villiers and C. Pama, Genealogies of Old South African Families, 3 vols, revised edn (Cape Town: A. A. Balkema, 1966); J. Heese and R. Lombard, eds, Suid-Afrikaanse Geslagsregisters/South African Genealogies, 17 vols (Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council; Stellenbosch: Genealogiese Instituut van Suid-Afrika, 1986–2008).
18 N. Worden, ‘New Approaches to VOC History in South Africa’, South African Historical Journal, 59, 2007, 3–18.
19 For example, N. Worden, R. Versveld, D. Dyer and C. Bickford-Smith, The Chains that Bind Us (Cape Town: Juta, 1996), C. Cornell, Slaves at the Cape: A Guidebook for Beginner Researchers (Bellville: History Department, University of the Western Cape, 2000, 2nd edn 2005) and R. Shell, From Diaspora to Diorama: The Old Slave Lodge in Cape Town (CD-rom, Cape Town: NagsPro Multimedia, 2013).

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they revealed the names and details of slaves.20 Another was the regular publication of newspaper articles on slave stories written by the historian Jackie Loos and based on the records of the National Library and the Cape Archives.21 Interest in the VOC archive was in these ways being reshaped by the democratising context of South Africa.
   But locating slaves in the Cape’s VOC archive is not an easy task. Very few of the catalogues and inventories produced by Cape archivists mention slavery at all. In part this is because the records are arranged according to the offices and departments that produced them, none of which specifically focused on the slave population, but also because they are usually ordered chronologically rather than by subject matter. The only archive inventory to deal specifically with slaves is that of the Slave Office, set up by the British after the end of VOC rule to supervise the registration of slaves in 1816.22 Moreover, some pertinent documents have been lost. For example, the records of the fiscal’s office, responsible for the landing and sale of newly arrived slaves, were never transferred to the archives, nor were they sent to the Netherlands. Others are haphazardly preserved, such as the miscellaneous estate papers that seem to have been swept from the desks and drawers of colonists after their death and never sorted since.
   The absence of slaves in the archival inventories also reflects the awareness and interests of the archivists that compiled them. Although slaves are omnipresent in the documents, just as they were in VOC Cape society itself, they were not of much interest to either archivists or historians before the 1980s. Those constructing the VOC archive, both at the time of their writing and at the time of their preservation and cataloguing, were primarily concerned with other categories of colonial description, although a notable exception was the interest of Marie Kathleen Jeffreys, a Cape writer and archivist in the 1930s and 1940s, in the early history of Cape Islam and its connections to the Indian Ocean world from which many slaves originated.23 However, it was overwhelmingly the importance of the VOC records to white settler heritage that ensured they were carefully preserved. A good example of this is the fact that criminal court records, a key source for slave history, were kept from the VOC period because they included snippets of information about the first settler colonists, but were weeded for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when they were thought to be only about uninteresting and unworthy underclasses. Slaves survived in the paper archive by default rather than by design.

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20 The project began under the aegis of TANAP (Towards a New Age of Partnership) by transcribing the Resolusies of the Council of Policy and was completed in 2004. It was reorganised in 2005 as the ‘Transcription of Estate Papers at the Cape’ project in association with the Nationaal Archief in The Hague, and initially funded by the Netherlands consulate-general in Cape Town and later by the Dutch embassy in Pretoria. The transcribed materials are available at http://www.tanap.net/content/activities/documents/index.htm (accessed 13 September 2013). The project produced a guide to the inventories which stressed their value for the history of women, slaves and other ‘hidden lives’. C. Carohn and A. Malan, Household Inventories at the Cape: A Guidebook for Beginner Researchers (Cape Town: Historical Studies Department, University of Cape Town, 2005).
21 J. Loos, Echoes of Slavery: Voices from South Africa’s Past (Cape Town: David Philip, 2004).
22 On the significance of finding aids and inventories to the construction of the archive, see E. Yakel, ‘Archival Representation’ in Blouin and Rosenberg (eds), Archives, Documentation and Institutions of Social Memory, 158–61.
23 M. Samuelson, ‘Orienting the Cape: A “White” Woman Writing Islam in South Africa’, Social Dynamics 37, 3, 2011, 363–78. On the role of archivists and the ways in which access categories determine their accessibility, see T. Cook, ‘Remembering the Future: Appraisal of Records and the Role of Archives in Constructing Social Memory’ in Blouin and Rosenberg (eds), Archives, Documentation and Institutions of Social Memory, 170–1.

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   As a result some have claimed that slaves left few traces in the VOC’s written archive and that we need to search elsewhere to recover their history. While there is indeed much of high significance outside the official archive that can be learnt through approaches such as historical archaeology, collection of oral traditions and examination of privately owned family papers, the VOC paper empire has nonetheless been read by slave historians with considerable insight. It is the purpose of the rest of this paper to explore how this has been done, read both along and against the archival grain.24

Identifying Slaves in the Archive

   There are no complete lists of slaves to match those of VOC employees or free burghers. The only relatively complete documentation is contained in the opgaaf rolls, collected every year by local officials, which record the names of every male head of household (and sometimes that of his wife) and widow in the colony, together with the numbers of children, knegt servants and slaves, livestock, horses, crops and weapons that they possessed (see Figure 1). They do not include people that the VOC considered outsiders, notably the indigenous Khoisan labourers who worked alongside slaves on many farms of the colony.
   These records have their advantages. They reveal the level of slave ownership in the colony and its variations over time and region. They give an idea of the unequal gender ratios in the slave population and the number of children. But they do not record individual slave names so we have no idea who the numbers refer to and where they came from, whether the ‘3’ slaves recorded on a specific farm in one year are the same ‘3’ listed in the next or whether one has been sold or died and replaced by another, or whether the children are parented by the adult slaves or not. The opgaaf have thus been used to provide valuable serial and comparative demographic and economic data but they are highly impersonal and only useful for broad generalisations.25 Moreover, like all statistics, they are unreliable. The opgaaf was not intended to be a census but rather a record of produce to be used for taxation purposes. Slaves were not taxed, and there was therefore no particular reason why owners should under-report their numbers, but neither was there any particular advantage or incentive for them to be accurate. Appearance in the opgaaf conferred neither status nor benefit, and particularly not in relation to slave ownership. They were records of enumeration rather than registration and in this the opgaaf contrasted with the slave registers collected by the British authorities in the 1820s, which were used to assess owner compensation claims.26

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24 There is a parallel here to the experience of recovering slave voices in colonial archives elsewhere. See, for example, L. Dubois, ‘Maroons in the Archives’ in Blouin and Rosenberg (eds), Archives, Documentation and Institutions of Social Memory, 291–300.
25 For example, P. van Duin and R. Ross, ‘The Economy of the Cape Colony in the Eighteenth Century’, Intercontinenta, 7, 1987, 1–166; N. Worden, Slavery in Dutch South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), esp chapters 3 and 5; R. Shell, Children of Bondage: A Social history of the Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652–1838 (Hanover: Wesleyan University Press; Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 1994), esp appendix 3.
26 For this distinction and the benefits of registration, see S. Szreter and K. Breckenridge, ‘Recognition and Registration: The Infrastructure of Personhood in World History’ in Szreter and Breckenridge (eds), Registration and Recognition, esp 13–21.

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Figure 1: Page from Stellenbosch district opgaaf, 1737. Western Cape Archives and Records Services (WCA), J 161Figure 1: Page from Stellenbosch district opgaaf, 1737. Western Cape Archives and Records Services (WCA), J 161

   Even when VOC records do name slaves, there are still problems of identification. Only some slaves retained by the Company kept their original names. Most were given new ones, often months of the year, or classical or biblical names, which emphasised their removal from a past life and subsequent loss of identity. The new name also represented a loss of individuality. Many names were in such constant use that a further identifier was needed, hence the toponyms of the place of origin, such as Titus van Bengal, or April van de Caab (for a locally born slave). But even these names were not always reliable or consistent. They reflected the place where slaves were shipped from, not necessarily where they originated, thus making attempts by historians to track Cape slave trading routes imprecise.27 Moreover the lack of interest in the individual slave is reflected in the way their names shifted. Names could also change when slaves were sold from one person to another, creating a new identity in the minds of their owners. Thus the young girl China, sold into slavery in Nagapatnam in 1768, was renamed Rosa by the time she arrived at the Cape in

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27 R. Raben, ‘Cities and the Slave Trade in Early-Modern Southeast Asia’ in P. Boomgaard, D. Kooiman and H. Nordholt (eds), Linking Destinies: Trade, Towns and Kin in Asian History (Leiden: KITLv, 2008), 127. For an example of such an attempt, see N. Worden, ‘Indian Ocean Slavery and Its Demise in the Cape Colony’ in G. Campbell (ed.), Abolition and Its Aftermath in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia (London: Routledge, 2005), 29–38.

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Figure 2: Slaves listed in the estate inventory of Hendrick Willem van der Merwe and his deceased wife, Aletta Keijser, 6 October 1750. WCA, MOOC 8/7.11 Figure 2: Slaves listed in the estate inventory of Hendrick Willem van der Merwe and his deceased wife, Aletta Keijser, 6 October 1750. WCA, MOOC 8/7.11

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1775.28 They could also be known by different names in differing contexts. In 1776, the slave Julij was called Julij van Timor in Stellenbosch, where he lived and worked, but Julij van Boegies by the Council of Justice in Cape Town. Sometimes slave names were changed merely because the writer of the document forgot what they were or was uninterested in remembering them properly.29
   The transcription of estate inventories has made available a new resource for those searching for individual slaves in the VOC records. They are usually named, and sometimes with details such as names of their partners and children, or their occupations, but the way in which they are recorded is telling of official attitudes. They are listed as objects to be possessed and itemised, alongside furniture, livestock and clothing (see Figure 2). Moreover the inventories are not complete records of the whole colony: they were only drawn up when estates were left intestate or where legal disputes over inheritance occurred. They can thus be a frustrating source for those wishing to trace ancestors or kinship links. Slave ownership as here recorded has instead been used primarily to assess patterns of wealth distribution among the settler population.30 The inventories once again emphasise how the VOC archive was built around the concerns of the Company and its burgher settlers while the slaves were only by chance itemised as inheritable possessions.

Life Stories

   Sources such as the opgaaf and estate records can thus reveal the omnipresence of slaves in the VOC Cape but tell us little about their individual lives and experiences, since these were of minimal interest to the authorities. The Cape archive lacks personal accounts such as slave diaries, autobiographies, letters and stories that have so enriched our understanding of the slave experience in other colonial societies. Yet there is an important alternative. The records of the Cape Council of Justice, including testimonies given in thousands of criminal cases, are extensively preserved. These include defences by slaves in cases brought against them, evidence given by them in the trials of others, and frequent reference to their activities in the testimonies of their owners and those who knew or encountered them. As in many other areas of historical scholarship, legal cases of this kind have become a mainstay of a new social and cultural history of Cape slavery, since, in the words of one leading historian, ‘virtually nowhere else is such rich documentation, such detailed evidence, to be found’.31 Specialist historians have long used such documents, and the publication in 2005 of transcriptions and translations of a small sample made them more widely

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28 Record of the sales of a female slave, Western Cape Archives and Records Services (WCA), Miscellaneous (M) 49, Serrurier Papers (n), also translated in Worden et al, The Chains that Bind Us, 31. This slip of paper, found by researchers in the 1980s, was missing from the archival file in 2013, another indicator of the changing nature of the paper archive.
29 For this and other examples, see N. Worden and G. Groenewald (eds), Trials of Slavery: Selected Documents Concerning Slaves from the Criminal Records of the Council of Justice at the Cape of Good Hope, 1705–1794 (Cape Town: Van Riebeeck Society, 2005), xi, n 5.
30 J. Fourie, ‘Slaves as Capital Investment in the Dutch Cape Colony, 1652–1795’ in E. Hillbom and P. Svensson (eds), Agricultural Transformation in a Global History Perspective (London: Routledge, 2013).
31 N. Penn, ‘History from Crime: Criminal Records, Microhistory and Early Cape Society’, inaugural lecture, University of Cape Town, 11 September 2013.

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Figure 3: Extract from the interrogation of Caesar van Madagascar. WCA, CJ 447, 586 Figure 3: Extract from the interrogation of Caesar van Madagascar. WCA, CJ 447, 586

available to other scholars.32 Judicial records have also been the basis of novels, plays and films about Cape slavery, such as Slaveship Mutiny, because they enable stories to be told about individuals, a development which Carli Coetzee has characterised as ‘the archival turn’ in creative writing on the period.33
   The judicial records vary in how far they record slave voices. Some are eijschen, or summaries of cases made by the fiscal to present the case for a conviction. But others are the original cross-examinations of the accused and (less frequently) witnesses. Although hardly natural conversations, nonetheless through them the modern reader can feel closer to slave lives, thoughts and experiences. Sometimes this is in striking ways. When Caesar of Madagascar told his owner in 1793 that ‘I was awake early enough, but because the weather was bad I did not want to get up, and I must have my right to speak’, he was not only resisting the demands of early morning work but also asserting his right to be heard as an individual. This angered his owner, who sjambokked him. Caesar retaliated by seizing the whip and breaking it, an action which led to his conviction. Yet it was not only Caesar’s physical actions that concerned the Council of Justice, but also his insistence when being beaten that ‘he would not keep quiet and he would have his right to speak and that his baas should stop hitting him’, alarming words and sentiments at a time of revolutionary atmosphere in the Atlantic world and ones which still resonate with us today.34 (See Figure 3.)
   The concern of the judicial authorities at slave subversion means that the criminal records are rich sources of information about forms of resistance such as escape plots and runaways, arson, poisoning or less visible forms of protest such as working

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32 Worden and Groenewald (eds), Trials of Slavery: Selected Documents. For example, the translated cases from Trials are used in M. Lenta, ‘Sentencing Slaves: Verdicts of the Cape Courts, 1705–94’, English in Africa, 35, October 2008, 34–51; J. Murray, ‘Gender and Violence in Cape Slave Narratives and Post-Narratives’, South African Historical Journal, 62, 3, 2010, 444–62; and F.Vernal, ‘Discourse Networks in South African Slave Society’, African Historical Review, 43, 2, 2011, 1–36.
33 Coetzee, ‘In the Archive’, 152. This include novels such as A. Brink, Chain of Voices (London: Faber and Faber, 1982) and On the Contrary (London: Secker and Warburg, 1993) and Y. Christiansë, Unconfessed (Cape Town: Kwela, 2007), films such as Slavery of Love (Third World Films and Afrikan Connection Productions in association with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, directed by John Badenhorst, South Africa, 1999) and Proteus (Big World Cinema and Pluk, directed by John Greyson and Jack Lewis, South Africa and Canada, 2003) and the dance and drama performance Cargo (produced by Mark Fleishman, Magnet Theatre, 2007). Many of these highlighted the instability of slave voices in the judicial evidence. Cargo in particular exposed the limitations of a paper archive.
34 WCA, CJ (Council of Justice) 447, Interrogatie van Caesar van Madagascar, 26 July 1793, 586.

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slowly or breaking tools. It is these sources that revisionist slave historians of the 1980s used to focus on resistance and violence in VOC Cape slave society.35 But the records are not only about conflict. All of them reveal a wealth of detail about living and working conditions, emotional relationships that slaves forged with one another and with others, and the complexity of relations between slaves and their owners ranging from loyalty and support, love matches and elopement to antagonism and murder. This kind of information is often incidental to the crime that the case ostensibly addresses and is therefore less influenced by the pressures under which the evidence was given.36
   Yet judicial records, as social historians have readily recognised, are not unmediated descriptions. They were written to secure convictions. In the inquisitory judicial processes of the VOC the accused had to confess his or her crime before the case was brought to the council for sentencing.37 The interrogations are therefore designed to produce confessions, not to impartially cross-examine. Witness testimonies are recorded to add substance to the guilt of the accused and so rarely cast doubt on the evidence put forward by the fiscal examining the case. In the case of slaves, proceedings were carried out in a language they did not always perfectly understand, although sometimes Malay or Portuguese translators were provided.38
   As academic writers, novelists and filmmakers have been acutely aware, these judicial records are constructed stories which reveal as much by their silences as by the details inked on the page. The VOC fiscal presenting the case against the accused and the witnesses whose evidence is presented were involuntary story tellers. Like all narrators they ordered events to create an impression of logic, causation and motivation that would convince their audience.39 For this reason their accounts contained gaps, exaggerations, reshuffling of events and reorganising of time. They were also subject to the vagaries of human memory, either accidental forgetting or deliberate suppression of awkward evidence.
   One example may stand for many. In 1749 Jan du Buisson, a farmer in the Franschhoek valley, was told by one of his (unnamed) slave cattle herders that ‘there must be deserters maintaining themselves in the vicinity of the river or the mountain’ since he had discovered fish nets and animal snares as well as a hut made of shrubs. Together with his brother David, another fellow farmer and several slaves, Du Buisson searched the hut and kept watch through the night but found nothing. It was only the next morning that they spotted a slave

who was at once asked by the burgher David du Buisson if he was Reijnier of Matthijs Krugel, to which the same answered: “Yes!”, adding that he had been supporting himself in the mountains for about seven or eight years

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35 Notably R. Ross, Cape of Torments: Slavery and Resistance in South Africa (London: Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1983) and N. Worden, Slavery in Dutch South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).
36 For examples see the references cited in Worden and Groenewald (eds), Trials of Slavery, xvi–xvii.
37 Ibid, xxiii–xxiv.
38 On this issue, for slave testimonies in the VOC records from Ceylon see K. Ekama, ‘Slavery in Dutch Colombo’ (Unpublished MA thesis, University of Leiden, 2012), 76.
39 Steedman, Dust, 56–7 and 147–8.

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and that he had maintained himself with trapped dassies and fish from the Berg River, whereupon they took this slave Reijnier prisoner and brough him to the prison in Stellenbosch.40

   When questioned by the Council of Justice, Reijnier told a remarkable story. He had fled from the farm of his owner ‘fully twenty years ago now’, after stabbing him with a kitchen knife, and had been living for 16 years in the mountains around Franschhoek and then for ‘some years’ in the mountain near Du Buisson’s farm. According to the court record,

The confessant declares finally that during all of this time he had not spoken to a single person, and had maintained himself with dassies and fish, which he had caught with implements he manufactured to this end. Thus confessed in the Dutch language, which the confessant speaks and understands reasonably well.41

   Reijnier also explained the circumstances that had led to the stabbing 20 years earlier. His owner’s wife had incessantly whipped Sabina, Reijnier’s daughter, with a sjambok and on one occasion tied her into a torturous position before doing so. Other slaves on the farm had taunted Reijnier: ‘You are such an old jongen and have helped to pay off this farm, you can plough and do all sorts of other work so well, and yet you can endure such maltreatment – if this meijd had been our daughter, we would have taught the baas differently.’ As a consequence, when his owner later beat Sabina with a broomstick, Reijnier ‘out of dejection and grief’ stabbed him and fled.42 By the time he was captured, Reijnier’s owner, his wife and Sabina were all dead. Only his wife, Manika van Bengal, now aged 60, survived and she stated that ‘in all these years did not learn, nor hear, the least thing [about him], not knowing any better whether he had long since died.’43
   This case is rich in detail for the historian of slavery. It reveals the existence of a slave family in a society where slave marriage was not legally recognised, with gruesome details of physical punishment and torture, the emotional turmoil of a slave father defenceless against his owner’s maltreatment of his daughter and taunted by fellow slaves for his inaction, and survival as a runaway for 20 years in the mountains around the farm. But it is more than this. Although Reijnier’s account may not have been as self-conscious, in many ways it does resemble the pardon tales of ordinary people in sixteenth-century France as analysed in Natalie Zemon Davis’s renowned Fiction in the Archives. Reijnier was also pleading, in this case for his life. He constructed a ‘fiction’, in Davis’s sense of a crafting of a narrative of events rather than a

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40 WCA, CJ 357, Testimony of Pieter Reijnertsz, 8 January 1749, translated in Worden and Groenewald (eds), Trials of Slavery, 268–9.
41 WCA, CJ 357, Criminele Processtukken, 14 January 1749, ff 7–9, translated in Worden and Groenewald (eds), Trials of Slavery, 267–8.
42 Ibid.
43 WCA, CJ 357, Testimony of Manika van Bengalen, 9 January 1749, f 12.

34                                                                                                                         Kronos 40

feigning of them, set in a particular order and with a particular logic, to explain why he attacked his owner. Events that took place when he was away from the farm are reported through the story told to him by his wife and the other slaves. Although his testimony was written down by a clerk of the Council of Justice and Reijnier was replying to questions posed to him by others, its narrative qualities nonetheless reflect a memory and a self-justification in an account shaped by him.44
   In this a story is constructed through both the recorded events (capture of a runaway) and the memories of a slave and his wife of an episode that took place 20 years earlier. But in the process much is left unsaid. We do not know why Sabina was punished. There are hints that the farmer’s wife had been drinking wine, but none as to why Sabina was the object of her anger. We may speculate reasons such as sexual jealousy but this was probably equally unclear to Reijnier and, as he would realise, of no interest to the council. What did matter to the authorities was how Reijnier had survived in the mountains without detection for so long. Here the record is also ambivalent. Why did he not attempt to run away from the colony altogether, as so many other runaway slaves had done? The imaginative historian might suggest that he could not bring himself to desert the places he knew, where his wife and daughter still remained. Yet Reijnier stressed that he had ‘not spoken to a single person’, while Manika claimed that she had not heard the ‘least thing about him’. Yet Du Buisson asked on sighting him ‘if he was Reijnier of Matthijs Krugel’, so his story was well known and he was immediately recognised. Was Reijnier protecting slaves on the farms with whom he had indeed maintained contact (as was usually the case with slave runaways) and was Manika denying her knowledge of her husband’s whereabouts to avoid her own conviction? For this is not a memoir, but a trial with very real consequences: Reijnier’s pardon-style appeal had some effect since he was not executed, as were most slaves found guilty of attacking their owners, but instead he was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. And after 20 years, how accurate were their memories of the events on that fatal day? What had they forgotten and what did they choose not to tell to the Council of Justice? To add to the complexity, how much Dutch did the Malagasy slave Reijnier know or remember after 20 years on the run, given that the council recorded that he understood the language only reasonably well?
   It is sometimes claimed that court records can provide a biography of the poor, elements of life stories not revealed in other official sources.45 As Reijnier’s story shows, this is only partially the case. We have instead descriptions of certain moments – a dramatic day and the discovery of a runaway 20 years later – blurred by the passing of time, memory and the construction of a pardon tale. The record is silent about what led to these events and what happened between them. Reijnier gave some clues, such as his taunting by other slaves, but historians must use their imagination, prompted by hints from the record, to propose the reasons for his actions. This is the classic historiographical technique of the micronarrative, and the nature of the

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44 N. Z. Davis, Fiction in the Archives (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987). esp 3–4, 22 and 111.
45 Steedman, Dust, 45.

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criminal records explains why such approaches have been used extensively by social and cultural historians of the Cape underclasses in the VOC period.46
   The reconstruction of slave lives is an elusive task. Since the VOC authorities cared little about the lives of its slaves before their arrival at the Cape, we know next to nothing about their early experiences. Only very occasionally might a chance comment find its way into a judicial record, such as the information given by a burgher jailed in 1706 for plotting against Governor Adriaan van der Stel, that a fellow prisoner ‘in various conversations declared to the deponent that during his childhood years [in the area] between Suratte and Persia, when he was playing on the beach, he was carried off by the Dutch and was eventually sold as a slave’.47 Slaves usually only appear in the court records in the form of a static snapshot for a brief moment in relation to a specific incident. The format of the VOC paper archive does not easily lend itself to the reconstruction of life stories.
Reconstructing subaltern biographies, as Clare Anderson has shown, requires not only the survival of records but also the meticulous knitting together of disparate pieces of evidence from scattered sources for ‘their footprints are usually easy to see, but their footsteps are often extraordinarily difficult to trace’.48 A major issue related to slaves is that they were migrants, forcibly transported across the Indian Ocean to the Cape. Often this was only one journey in a series of geographical dislocations. Traces of such transnational lives thus exist, if they exist at all, in archives scattered across the world. The structure of the VOC’s paper empire can enable connections to be made between different archive collections, since links between stations were sometimes recorded, although such work is laborious. Kerry Ward is one of the few Cape historians to have succeeded in this regard, by tracing south-east Asian exiles and convicts between Batavia, Java and the Cape Colony.49
   As yet this has not been possible for slaves. Lack of digitalised and online resources of the kind that exist for VOC sailors, soldiers and officials makes the task particularly difficult. Databases of Cape convicts and of Company-owned slaves exist in CD format, although not yet online, but there are none for the majority of privately owned Cape slaves since no registers of them by name were kept by the VOC.50 Funding was obtained from the British Library in 2008 to digitalise the nineteenth-century Cape Slave Registers but permission was refused by the South African archives on the grounds that it would dissipate the national heritage. National control

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46 A major collection is N. Penn, Rogues, Rebels and Runaways: Eighteenth-Century Cape Characters (Cape Town: David Philip, 1999) and a special issue (28) of Kronos in 2002 included three such microhistories based on Cape criminal records: N. Penn, ‘The Wife, the Farmer and the Farmer’s Slaves: Adultery and Murder on a Frontier Farm in the Early Eighteenth Century’, 1–20; S. Newton-King, ‘For the Love of Adam: Two Sodomy Trials at the Cape of Good Hope’, 21–42; and N. Worden, ‘Forging a Reputation: Artisan Honour and the Cape Town Blacksmith Strike of 1752’, 43–65.
47 WCA, CJ 2961, Testimony of Jacobus van der Heijden, 28 May 1706, f 73.
48 C. Anderson, ‘Subaltern Lives: History, Identity and Memory in the Indian Ocean World’, History Compass, 11, 7 2013, 503. The rewards of such perseverance are evident in the life stories contained in C. Anderson, Subaltern Lives: Biographies of Colonialism in the Indian Ocean World, 1790–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
49 K. Ward, ‘Southeast Asian migrants’ in N. Worden (ed.), Cape Town Between East and West: Social Identities in a Dutch Colonial Town (Johannesburg: Jacana; Hilversum: Verloren, 2012), 84–100; K. Ward, Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), esp chapters 5–6.
50 VOC employees are recorded in the online database of pay ledgers at http://www.vocopvarenden.nationaalarchief.nl (accessed 15 September 2013). For Cape convicts, see the TEPC (Transcription of the Estate Papers of the Cape) Project, MOOC (Master of the Orphan Chamber) Court of Justice Documents regarding convicts and exiles, CD-rom (Cape Town: Sentrum, 2010) and for the Company slaves, Shell, From Diaspora to Diorama.

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of access to archives can be as much of an obstacle to such research as disparate sources.51
   A further problem for tracing slave lives in the VOC archive results from the way the Company classified its subjects. Slaves who obtained their freedom were termed ‘vrij swarten’ (free blacks) and were listed in the opgaaf by name, often at the back of the register. But slave women who obtained freedom and married burgher sons were merged into the burgher lists and over several generations free black descendants who acquired burgher status were no longer separately enumerated. Many freed slaves were thus no longer identified as such. This has made them invisible in the records and has led genealogists and historians to overlook the presence of people of slave origin amongst the Cape burgher population.52 Given the racial sensitivities of family history in apartheid South Africa this was not perhaps surprising. Now that such taboos are lifting, the way in which the structure of the archive conceals such links is becoming more evident.

An Alternative Paper Empire?

   The VOC archive is thus overwhelmingly the Company’s recording of events, organised by its administrative structures, which contain traces of slaves rather than by them. These were usually used to monitor and control slaves, through mechanisms such as inventories of estates, auction sales and judicial records. Opposition by slaves to this paper empire was sometimes overt. In 1808, after the end of VOC rule, one of the first actions of slave rebels who attacked the farms of the Swartland region was to destroy any paper documents they found, in an action which paralleled the destruction of estate records by peasants and workers in the French Revolution.53 Instead the leader, Louis of Mauritius, brandished in his hand a piece of paper that he claimed was an order from the government that slaves should be freed.54 Documentation, the slaves realised, had power and possession of it conferred authority.
   But there are also intriguing indications within the VOC records of an alternative archive which was produced by slaves themselves. Although the majority of slaves were not literate, there are some who left written tracks that have found their way into the archive. Literacy took many forms. Some slaves, especially those who were owned directly by the Company and schooled in the Slave Lodge, could read and write Dutch. Robert Shell and Archie Dick have analysed ’the earliest known

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51 On the slowness of some archives, as well as historians, to adapt to the digital revolution, see Blouin and Rosenberg, Processing the Past, esp chapter 10.
52 The first and highly controversial study (in the context of its time of publication during the apartheid era) was H. Heese, Groep Sonder Grense: Die Rol en Status van die Gemengde Bevolking aan die Kaap, 1652–1795, Navorsingspublikasies 5 (Bellville: Wes-Kaaplandse Instituut vir Historiese Navorsing, 1984). On the presence of free blacks in the burgher lists, see T. Baartman, ‘Fighting for the Spoils: Cape Burgherschap and Faction Disputes in Cape Town in the 1770s’ (Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cape Town, 2011).
53 On such episodes see J. O’Toole, ‘Between Veneration and Loathing: Loving and Hating Documents’ in F.Blouin and W.Rosenberg (eds), Archives, Documentation and Institutions of Social Memory, 48–50.
54 N. Worden, ‘Armed with Swords and Ostrich Feathers: Militarism and Cultural Revolution in the Cape Slave Uprising of 1808’ in R. Bessel, N. Guyatt and J. Rendell (eds), War, Empire and Slavery, 1770–1830 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 121–38. For references to the destruction of paper and the authority of Louis’s document, WCA, CJ 515, RR evidence of Christiaan Andreas Storm, 7 November 1808, ff 263–9 and WCA, CJ 516, JJJJ, first examination of Isaac van Mozambique, 9 November 1808, ff 24–5; WCA, CJ 515.

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writing of a Cape slave’, a personal notebook written between 1721 and 1734 by Jan Smiesing, a slave schoolmaster and medical healer who lived at the Lodge.55 The book, they remark, ‘makes the invisible visible’ in revealing to us the complex identity of a Company slave. Smiesing makes no mention of his slave status, not even the momentous event of his own manumission in 1731. The focus of the notebook is rather on the markers of his Company education and his Christian conversion: commercial arithmetic, alphabets and a hymn. Also striking is his recording of medicinal remedies written in Tamil. Shell and Dick argue that this combination of literacy, Siddha medicinal knowledge and Christian belief gave Smiesing particular opportunities to bridge the gap between slavery and freedom.
   Other caches of documents written by slaves and freed slaves have been recently found in the VOC archive. Susan Newton-King has analysed a remarkable collection of personal letters of a freed Company slave, Arnoldus Koevoet, and his wife Anna Rebecca of Bengal, who also lived in Cape Town in the late 1720s and early 1730s. As with Smiesing, the letters suggest a more widespread literacy than historians have usually been prepared to recognise for Cape slaves and freed slaves. They also reveal a chain of communications reaching kin in Batavia as well as previous owners now retired in Amsterdam, both of whom corresponded with affection across the world.56 Another collection of letters written in the 1720s and 1730s by Nicolas Ondatje, a freed slave exiled to the Cape from Ceylon, has been discovered, written in Tamil and Sinhalese, which await translation.
These materials have survived by chance. The Smiesing notebook is contained within the archive’s miscellaneous accessions inventory, where it is cryptically and erroneously listed as ‘J. Smuesing, c.1800’.57 It was anonymously deposited in the Cape Archives in 1969 and did not originate within the VOC official archive. The other letters did, but are hidden away in a series described in the inventories as ‘annexures to liquidation and distribution accounts’, diverse materials collected by the authorities at the death of an intestate estate owner but never used or catalogued by them. There is thus no indication in the archive retrieval system that materials written by slaves are contained there. They have only come to light as a result of the recent estate inventory transcription project, when the richness of the annexures was realised for the first time.58 These are random survivals but they indicate a much wider network of written communication among Cape slaves than was recognised both by the VOC authorities and by later researchers.
   Sometimes slave writings were known to the authorities, causing them alarm. The judicial records contain a few such examples, which were used as evidence against

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55 R. Shell and A. Dick, ‘Jan Smiesing, Slave Lodge Schoolmaster and Healer, 1697–1734’ in Worden (ed.), Cape Town Between East and West, 128–52.
56 S. Newton-King, ‘Family, Friendship and Survival among Freed Slaves’ in Worden (ed.), Cape Town Between East and West), 153–75. There is something of a parallel here with the literate Mardijkers of VOC Batavia; see U. Bosma and R. Raben, Being ‘Dutch’ in the Indies: A History of Creolisation and Empire, 1500–1920 (Singapore: Singapore University Press; Athens: Ohio University Press, 2008), 51–3.
57 WCA, Inventory of Non-Public Records (Private Collections), G3, part 1, 161; Shell and Dick, ‘Jan Smiesing’, 237, n 1.
58 WCA, Inventory 1/3, MOOC, series 14/1. The inventories and annexures contain many other riches. For examples see TEPC Transcription Team, ‘The Inventories of the Orphan Chamber of the Cape of Good Hope’ in N. Worden (ed), Contingent Lives: Social Identity and Material Culture in the VOC World (Cape Town: Historical Studies Department, University of Cape Town, 2007), 3–22.

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Figure 4: Letter of Upas to September van Boegies. WCA, CJ 373, 141 Figure 4: Letter of Upas to September van Boegies. WCA, CJ 373, 141

slaves in securing convictions. These are of two kinds. Some were written in the languages used by slaves, such as Bugis or Arabic, and were intended for other slaves in a communication network within the colony that was hidden from the authorities.59 A relatively well-studied example is a letter written in the Bugis language and script which was sent by Upas, a Stellenbosch slave, to September, another slave living on a farm in the Tijgerberg area (see Figure 4). The letter was a key piece of evidence used by the Council of Justice to convict September of plotting an uprising, or at least a mass escape, of Bugis slaves. In fact, as recent research has revealed, the Bugis letter was misinterpreted by the council in the course of its translation from Bugis to Malay and then from Malay to Dutch, and did not implicate September at all. It was a request for medical assistance from September, who was known as a traditional healer, but it was interpreted by the council as a call for joint action against the authorities.60
   Another example of slave writing preserved in the judicial records was indeed a sign of organised resistance. This was a talisman found in the possession of captured runaways in 1786. Written in Bugis script but containing Arabic, it was obtained from a Moslem spiritual leader and believed to protect the bearers from capture or harm. Again, the Council of Justice did not understand the language or the content, describing it both as ‘an Arabic letter’ and as ‘a kind of charm on a piece of paper, written upon with Malay [sic] characters’.61

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59 F. Vernal, ‘Discourse Networks in South African Slave Society’, African Historical Review, 43, 2, 2011, 1–36.
60 R. Ross and S. Koolhof, ‘Upas, September and the Bugis at the Cape’, Archipel, 70, 2005, 281–308. The letter and its faulty translations are filed in WCA, CJ 373, f 142.
61 The talisman is preserved in WCA, CJ 424, f 703, and is described in CJ 424, inventory of documents in the case of Augustus van de Caab et al, f 689 and CJ 795, and Sententie van Augustus van de Caab et al, 23 November 1786, f 385.

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Figure 5: Letter of Jonas van Manado to his owner. WCA, CJ 323, 519 Figure 5: Letter of Jonas van Manado to his owner. WCA, CJ 323, 519

   These documents were written by and for slaves and were not intended to be seen by the VOC or to end up in their paper archive. There are other intriguing examples of documents written by (or at least for) slaves that intended to turn the Company’s system of written administrative control to their own advantage. In 1719 Jonas van Monado presented his owner with a letter requesting his freedom (see Figure 5).62

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62 WCA, CJ 323, f 519, letter of Jonas van Monado to widow Hermina Herwigh, undated, transcribed and translated in Worden and Groenewald (eds), Trials of Slavery, 78 and 82–3.

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It is not clear whether he wrote it himself or dictated it to someone else who could write, but the handwriting and style are unusual and suggest features of slave use of Dutch.63 Jonas used the formal written apparatus of the VOC to make his plea, adapting the language of a supplicant:

the suppliant, is finally seeking your honourable juffrouw’s aid with hands clasped and knees bent, praying humbly that it would please your honourable juffrouw to look upon him, the suppliant, in keeping with her innate mercifulness, with the eyes of compassion, and to please permit him, the suppliant, a letter of freedom.

   Clearly Jonas believed that a form of written documentation would formalise his request and give it greater weight. In this he was mistaken. His mistress refused him, a rejection which led Jonas to attempt to stab her and resulted in his conviction and the presence of the letter in the judicial record.
   Jonas’s transparent attempt to use the power of a written letter to his advantage failed, but other slaves were shrewder in their attempts to subvert the authority of VOC documentation. The slave runaways who obtained a talisman to protect them in 1786 also twice obtained forged passeerbriefjes, or ‘permission letters,’ showing that they had permission to travel. The first was written for them by a freed slave who signed it under the name of a burgher lieutenant. The second was penned (badly and misspelt) by a schoolboy whom they persuaded by telling him that they had lost their original letters and did not dare go back to their owner for replacements (see Figure 6).64 Such examples were akin to the forged passports and identity documents that Looijestein and Van Leeuwen have described in the eighteenth-century Dutch Republic.65 When authorities such as those in the Netherlands and the VOC used paper documentation for monitoring and controlling its population, subversion by forgery was an inevitable result. Survival of such documents in the VOC Cape archive show that on occasion slaves of the Cape could also turn this to their own advantage.

Escaping House Arrest?

It is now widely accepted that the archive is not only a collection of paper documents. It includes other forms of preservation of the past, in particular oral narrations and memory, which challenge the ‘unquestionable archival authority’ of the written document and may release us from the confining ‘house arrest’ which Derrida attributes to the archive.66 However, these are not necessarily distinct. Several encounters and

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63 Ibid, nn 14 and 15.
64 CJ 424, Criminele Processtukken, 1786, Deel II, ff 699 and 701. The case is documented in Worden and Groenewald (eds), Trials of Slavery, 537–56.
65 H. Looijestein and M. van Leeuwen, ‘Establishing and Registering Identity in the Dutch Republic’ in Breckenridge and Szreter (eds), Registration and Recognition, 245–6.
66 The broadening of the scope of the archive from written texts is most fully discussed in Blouin and Rosenberg, Processing the Past, esp chapter 8. For the quotations, see Steedman, Dust, 83 and C. Hamilton, ‘Forged and Continually Refashioned, 21.

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Figure 6: Forged pass written for Augustus van de Caab by the schoolboy Fabritius. WCA, CJ 424, 701 Figure 6: Forged pass written for Augustus van de Caab by the schoolboy Fabritius. WCA, CJ 424, 701

interactions have taken place between the VOC archive of Roeland Street and the memories and oral traditions of Cape slavery brought to it by researchers that exist outside these documents. In various ways they have reconfigured the authority of the paper archive.67
   An important precedent was established by the path-breaking research of Achmat Davids, a respected leader of the Bo-Kaap Moslem community of inner Cape Town. Davids drew on the records preserved by Bo-Kaap families and the oral traditions handed down through generations to trace the history of Islam in the archival records, which he published in a series of books and articles in the 1980s and 1990s. This included a study of the Arabic and Malay linguistic influences on early spoken and written Afrikaans, a topic on which he completed a doctorate.68 Slaves featured in his work, but a more directed focus on slave history came in 2001 when six community-based researchers approached the Roeland Street records through their

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67 On the interconnections between memory and the paper archive, see V. Harris, ‘Genres of the Trace: Memory, Archive and Trouble’, unpublished paper, Archive and Public Culture seminar, University of Cape Town, 2012.
68 Notably A. Davids, The Mosques of Bo-Kaap (Athlone: South African Institute of Arabic and Islamic Research, 1980), The History of Tana Baru (Cape Town: Committee for the Preservation of the Tana Baru, 1985) and the posthumously published PhD, originally submitted in 1991, The Afrikaans of the Cape Muslims (Pretoria: Protea, 2011).

42                                                                                                                         Kronos 40

knowledge of place, kin and tradition that had been passed down to them through the generations. Instead of combing the records through the indices and inventories produced by the archive, they used their own knowledge to interrogate the sources.69 The results were striking. Researchers could identify names in slave registers of ancestors of local families and locate farms in the present landscape where they had lived, interpreting the restricted information of the paper documentation in the light of their local knowledge. One of them, Ebrahim Rhoda, who traced his family to slaves held on De Bos, a Somerset West farm, stated,

I wanted to find out and corroborate the oral history of the Rhoda family – both Christian and Moslem – that they had a slave origin on De Bos … you’d never believe how exciting it was for me to discover the documentary proof that that my ancestors had lived on the farm, and for me to learn details of their lives.70

   The excitement of this paper encounter matches Lucy Campbell’s on seeing Massavana’s signed mark. But the significance of this work was not only that the paper archive confirmed local knowledge and traditions; the latter overcame the limitations of the written records, and opened them up to a new understanding which was disseminated back in the communities and also in more conventional academic formats. Rhoda went on to complete an MA dissertation at the University of the Western Cape and published a popular history of his own Moslem community at the Strand based on both archival and community research.71
   Yet memory and received tradition are not always well connected to the paper archive. Another of the 2001 researchers, Ebrahim Manuel, came to Roeland Street with a specific kind of knowledge about his ancestors, whom he traced back to political prisoners transported to the Cape from Sumbawa in the 1760s. He had discovered a handwritten kietaab book in his family which revealed the names of ancestors written in the Sumbawan script. Drawing on a strong Sufi mysticism which included revelations through dreams from his deceased father, he visited Sumbawa in 1999. There he participated in a ‘Roots’-style reunion with the inhabitants of Pemangong village, where ‘in the village record books and diaries it was written that the Dutch had taken [his ancestors] away and that one day someone would come and look for their origins.’72 Believing that he was led there not by chance but by revelation, Ebrahim Manuel sought to establish links between his home in Simonstown and Sumbawa.73

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69 The Cape Slavery Community Research Project was funded by the National Research Foundation and run jointly by Susan Newton-King, Andrew Bank, Carohn Cornell and myself of the History Departments of the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town. See ‘Going Back to My Slave Roots’, UCT Monday Paper, 23–9 April 2001, 4–5.
70 Cited in ‘Going Back to My Slave Roots’, 4–5.
71 E. Rhoda, ‘The Founding and Development of the Strand Muslim Community, 1822–1928’ (Unpublished MA thesis, University of the Western Cape, 2006) and From Slavery to Citizenship: A Walk Through the History of a Strand Community (Gatesville: DPB, 3rd edn, 2012).
72 A. Read, ‘Ebrahim Manuel Traces His Roots’, Simon’s Town Historical Society Bulletin, 21, 4 2001, 153.
73 E. Manuel, ‘The Slavery and Heritage Project at the Cape Archives on Simon’s Town’, unpublished papers, June 2002. The family history is also recounted in P. Faber, Group Portrait South Africa: Nine Family Histories (Cape Town: Kwela, 2003), 156–79.

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   However, the paper archive of the VOC gave no evidence of such claims. Family-owned kietaabs and village records in Indonesia thus provided a written source alternative to the VOC’s records, although one filled with ambiguities,74 whereby Ebrahim Manuel substantiated his claims of descent from Sambuwa by other means, such as the similiarities in Simonstown and Pemangong between personal names and the fact that ‘family members … are deeply into spiritualism, tassuwf and Sufism in both countries. Family members experience similar spiritual feelings, dreams, receiving messages, happenings etc. in both countries’.75 Archival records have in this case failed to corroborate such transnational received traditions. It was rather that ‘some divine light was guiding him’.76

Conclusion

Many have commented on the silences in the VOC paper empire in relation to slave lives and histories. However, recently ‘the record has been scrutinised not only for what it seems to yield with ease, but also for that which it cannot communicate.’77 Reading both along and against the grain of the VOC’s paper archive has produced a rich historiography, while personal memories and fictional and literary imaginative reconstructions have filled some of the gaps.78 A particular focus of such work has been slave women, even more absent in the paper archive than their male counterparts.79 Certainly the VOC paper empire acted as a mechanism of control, both of its slave subjects and of later researchers. Yet, as was the case for slaves at the time, more recent writers have found important ways of resisting and countering that authority.

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74 S. Jappie, ‘From the Madrasah to the Museum: The Social Life of the “Kietaabs” of Cape Town’, History in Africa, 38, 2011, 369–99.
75 E. Manuel, ‘Authentic proof and genuine evidence to our ancestors (Tuans) in Pemangong-Sumbawa – Indonesia established on 7.9.1999’ in his ‘The Slavery and Heritage Project at the Cape Archives on Simon’s Town’ (Unpublished paper, June 2002).
76 A. Read, ‘Ebrahim Manuel Traces His Roots’, Simon’s Town Historical Society Bulletin, 21, 4, 2001, 152.
77 Coetzee, ‘In the Archive’, 140.
78 P. Gqola, What is Slavery to Me?: Postcolonial/Slave Memory in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2010); D. Johnson, ‘Representing Cape Slavery: Literature, Law and History’, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 46, 5, 2010, 504–16; G. Baderoon, ‘The African Oceans: Tracing the Sea as Memory of Slavery in South African Literature and Culture’, Research in African Literatures, 40, 4, 2009, 89–107.
79 For example, R. Jacobs, The Slave Book (Cape Town: Kwela, 1998); T. Benade, Kites of Good Fortune (Cape Town: David Philip, 2004); A. Brink, Philida (London: Harvill Secker, 2012). See also P. Gqola, ‘“Like Having Three Tongues in One Mouth”: Tracing the Elusive Lives of Slave Women in (Slavocratic) South Africa’ in N. Gasa (ed.), Basus ’Iimbokado, Bawel ’Imilambo/They Remove Boulders and Cross Rivers: Women in South African History (Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council, 2007), 21–41

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[2] The Slave Lodge [http://slavery.iziko.org.za/slavelodge] & The building [http://slavery.iziko.org.za/slavelodgebuilding] at the Iziko Museums of South Africa, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture.

[3] Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope, Letters Received, Governor S. v. d. Stel, 1695-1696 – by H. C. V. Leibrandt, Keeper of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope. Joint Library of Parliament, 23rd September, 1896.

[4] Administration, control and resistance in the Slave Lodge [http://slavery.iziko.org.za/slavelodgeschool] at the Iziko Museums of South Africa, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture.

[5] The Slave Lodge School [http://slavery.iziko.org.za/slavelodgeschool] at the Iziko Museums of South Africa, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture.

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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)

TSDN 045 – What Is Wrong With Gambling?

The SpokesDude Network

Gambling

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are addicted to gambling. They carry this burden with them each and every day. They take their hard earned money and gamble it away. Upon realizing what they have done, they venture into debt trying to make up for the money they have lost. While trying to make ammends, they manage to deceive themselves into thinking that they can win and so they take the money they have borrowed and gamble it away. And this is just a beginning of their miserable life.

Unless intervention is made many will either be killed by illegal loan sharks for failing to pay or they will end their own lives. This is a life one should avoid altogether, should they wish to have a promising life .

Pyramid Schemes

Another financial virus which in a way…

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The Land Issue: South Africa 1652 – present: Part 5

Recapping

Flag of the Dutch East India Company svg Welcome to Part 5 of this examination into South African History. We request that you kindly read the preceding parts to gain a proper understanding and the correct context in which this particular part continues the documented course of events. The information has been gleaned from archived documents translated from the original autographs of the Journal of Johan van Riebeeck and others.

In Part 1 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).

In Part 2 we undertook the voyage from Texel in the Netherlands on 14th December 1651 sailing on the flag ship of the fleet, the Drommedaris, to the landing at the Cape of Good Hope on 6th April 1652. We also looked extensively at the lifestyle of the Dutch settlers and their work ethic, their relationships with the local Khoikhoi and San natives and other people groups from these clans. We looked also at the relationship between the Dutch and a native interpreter named Herry. This took our learning adventure into the early days of January 1653.

In Part 3 our investigations continued from the 9th of January 1653 looking back into life at the Cape of Good Hope, the relationships being forged between the local natives and the colonists, the Dutch Christian lifestyle, the assembly service and the gospel, daily trials and tribulations experienced by the Dutch, the birth of Johan and Maria van Riebeeck’s son, christened Abraham van Riebeeck, who was born on 18th October, 1653 at the Fort de Goede Hoop, Kaapkolonie (Cape Colony; present day Cape Town), making Abraham a born white African and therefore ‘a son of Africa.’ We read about a Christian marriage on African soil, native theft and the murder of a Dutch cattle herdsman and the subsequent forgiveness to continue with friendly communications and dealings between black and white peoples. This part would end in December 1653.

In Part 4 we looked at the Christian attitudes to ‘slaves’ and we examined the Biblical teachings concerning ‘slaves’ and ‘slavery’ which is very different to the evil and wicked practices of sinful white and black men who were involved in the slave trade. We looked at the Biblical recordings of the true intension of what ‘slaves’ were to be which are servants in wilful servitude and the protections afforded those servants. We also examined the word ‘kafir’ delving into the etymology thereof and discovering the origins to be Arabian and the Islamic use of the word means ‘disbeliever.’ We then went even further back into history and ascertained that slavery stems from the Arabic world where Islam was birthed, and we see that Islamic slavery is still active and alive to this very day.

Continuance of Christian conduct to the local natives

Khoi-Traders We take up the record again from the Journal of Johan van Riebeeck[1] in this part of our research into the early life of the local natives and the Dutch colonists at the Cape Colony. 

The following extracts from the aforementioned Journal reflects as we can read the record where forgiveness and continuing grace being shown towards the local native inhabitants by the Dutch was very much the way they addressed the issues at hand. There was no retribution carried out because of theft, murder and unfriendly actions directed towards them, but on the contrary the opposite applied. Friendship was still extended to the local natives. On page 157 of the Journal we read:

No. 26.—Instruction for the Officers of the “Roode Vos,” Ready to Proceed to Saldanha Bay also the Neighbouring Islands.

. . . For this purpose you may use the little cargo still on board. On meeting the natives you shall treat them as kindly as possible, assuring them that we are un-willing to do them the least harm because of the crime of Herry, but rather desired to show them as much friendship as possible; and that we are here abundantly supplied with copper and tobacco; adding whatever may further tend to draw them towards us. For the Company is much interested in being on friendly terms and in kindly intercourse with these natives. . . . Of your arrival you must at once inform us overland, that we may consider, whilst you are there, whether we shall make an expedition against Herry, as the party sent out would be better provided with provisions from that place than could be done from this. For the rest you can gather our purpose from the conversations held in the Council and also outside of it. We therefore depend upon your diligence and wish you a prosperous voyage. Amen.

J. VAN RIEBEECK.
Jacob REYNIERSZ.

Dated in the Fort, December, 1653.

On page 160 of the Journal we read of the account of Herry’s murder of the young Dutchman looking after the herds during the Sunday Church service . . .

No. 27.—To The India Council.

. . . From the journal you will see how Herry, our interpreter, who with his people had always been under our protection and received many favours from us, robbed us of our cattle on the 19th October, during the Sunday service, and murdered the young man left in charge by the herds, and that we failed in capturing either himself or any of his. The consequence has been that the Saldanhars, informed of it, were afraid to come near the fort, thinking that we would revenge ourselves upon them. We have not been able to obtain a single animal from them since the 20th. Informed however of this fear of the Saldanhars, who would not approach nearer than half a mile, we assured them by personal visits to their encampments, unarmed, that they had no reason to be afraid; and by persuasion finally induced them to come to the fort, where they were royally treated and a new alliance with them was formed. They declared that they had no share in Herry’s doings. What the truth may be, and whether by bribes they may be induced to deliver Herry to us, time alone will show. We do not broach the subject to them, but confine ourselves to treating them well, to find out what their intentions really are. . . .

(Signed) J. van Riebeeck.
Jacob Reyniersz.

Dated in the Fort, 31st December, 1653.

On page 163 under Resolutions this entry appears concerning the manner in which the Dutch colonials are to treat the natives including Herry concerning a death of the shepherd and theft of cattle,

Tuesday, October 21.—All our cattle, 44 in number, stolen last Sunday by the Watermen during Divine service. The thieves have always been protected by us since our arrival, and we have shown them much kindness, especially the interpreter Herry, who daily dined at our table, and was clothed with Dutch clothes and adorned with a copper chain, a stick and plates. The others likewise were always well fed, and consequently always prepared to fetch water and fuel, to milk the cows and take charge of the calves. We were as kind to them as if they were our own people, and we believed that they were as favourably disposed towards us. We find that we have been deceived. The common people, who are the greatest sufferers, are very much embittered against them, and vowing vengeance. This course however, would cause great irritation, and for good put an end to all intercourse with the Saldanhars, the chief object of the Company here. The Saldanhars, we fear, will, for some time to come, hesitate to approach us with their cattle, dreading that we intend to take vengeance. We have accordingly resolved, notwithstanding the murder of young David Jansen, who herded the cattle at the time, and because the rogues were not captured red handed, to publish an order, forbidding all and every one to do the least harm to the natives, whether Beach-rangers or Saldanhars, when they show themselves at the fort; yea! not even to Herry, who is evidently the sole cause of the crime; but to show them as much kindness as possible; yea! more kindness than was shown them before, in order to remove the fears of the Saldanhars, and convince them that we do not desire to revenge an injury, and certainly not without cause; also that we do not attach any importance to any vengeance taken upon the Beach-rangers, as it would interfere with our intercourse with the Saldanhars, which is of much importance to the Company. We might also punish the innocent with the guilty, and the last error would he worse than the first. And in order to ensure safety on the road to the forest, the foresters shall always be together to the number of ten, whilst six wood carriers, always armed, shall attend the wagon. The men within the fort shall be divided into four companies, each one to have its place, in case of surprise, and also to appoint men under the gunner to work the cannon.

Also on page 164 we read that both parties, local natives and Dutch colonists, were willing to work together for the greater cause of sustained friendship,

Thursday, October 23.—A few of the musketeers guarding the woodcutters in the forest hastily arrived with the news that some Saldanhars—among them a Captain from whom last year we had bartered much cattle, and had caught and returned one which had strayed away—had brought the information that Herry was lying in False Bay with the stolen cattle and had requested the Saldanhars to be allowed to live with them; but the latter had refused, knowing that his cattle had been stolen from the Dutch. The said Saldanha Captain had also stated this to us last Saturday evening, adding that he had seen the animals, and making signs to the carpenters that more men with fire-arms should be sent for, and that he would bring them to Herry to recover the cattle. Having heard this news, and considered that the Beachrangers, Herry’s allies, were the cause of all the injury hitherto sustained by us, and that the Saldanhars had shown us unbroken kindness, as was again proved last year; and that they preferred to trade without the intervention of Herry, who never dared to venture among them unless accompanied by some of our men (one troop excepted, who seemed to be somewhat friends of Herry, though even these he and his allies approached with fear, always fleeing whenever any Saldanhars visited the fort, Herry alone remaining under our safe protection), it became more and more evident that, in accordance with the opinion of all who have visited the Cape from time to time and also those of the wrecked ships Mauritius and Haerlem, that the Saldanhars and Watermen were always hostile towards each other; that the Watermen prevented trade with the Saldanhars, and that therefore we would do a service to the Saldanhars by following Herry and his tribe,—the Saldanhars signifying that we should kill both Herry and the Watermen in order to trade with us more peaceably. It would not be necessary to do this only for the Saldanhars’ sake, but Herry and his confreres have given us cause sufficient to take revenge for the murder of the boy and the theft of the cattle. It was finally resolved, after mature deliberation, to send 17 strong soldiers, victualled for four or five days, towards False Bay, under command of Corporal J. v. Harwarden, a prudent and careful man. They were to remain during the night in the forest with the carpenters, and on the following morning to proceed with the Saldanha Captain, or without him, to wherever Herry might be with the cattle. Finding him they were to endeavour to recover the animals and capture him and his people by fair or foul means, being particularly careful that they were not tempted, deceived or killed by the Saldanhars or Watermen.

On page 170 we also read,

EDICTS (PLAKKATEN).

Edicts issued by Johan van Riebeeck and Council,

October 21, 1653.—Murder by the Hottentots of the cattle herd David Jansz, and the theft of 49 head of cattle by the murderers. Ordered, that, for various reasons in the interest of the Company, no natives, including even the thieves and the late interpreter Herry—the apparent cause of the outrage—should be molested, but on the contrary most civilly treated, not only for the sake of procuring more cattle, but likewise to travel about with a greater degree of safety, this being the best course in the interest of the Company, and for the growth of the settlement.

(Signed) Johan van Riebeeck.

Dated 21st October, 1653.

And further on page 171 we continue reading, where the Dutch are carrying on in their friendship towards the local natives, the Hottentoos have another agenda in how they confront the colonialists, in not a too friendly manner,

JOURNAL (continued).
1654.

January 3rd.—Hottentoos without cattle arrive at the fort, boldly stealing whatever they can lay their hands upon, not hesitating to deprive our people even under the fort, when unarmed, of their property, and coaxing the children aside to rob them of their brass buttons, though they are so well treated. The carriers of the palisades report that daily some 50 armed Hottentoos are loitering about the forest without approaching the fort. Do not know what to make of it. Decided to protect the carriers with 20 musketeers, and the carpenters there with 2 additional soldiers, and besides the 5 soldiers to guard the gardener’s house outside the fort, to have 5 musketeers for the gardens, the fowl, duck and geese houses; also to add 2 musketeers to the armed herds in the pastures, in order from our side to avoid all estrangement of the natives, which can only be avoided by taking good care of our own, for if they have stolen anything, they are at once afraid to come near to the fort where they are much wanted, if only to fetch fuel for the cook, which assistance is beginning to be rendered to the great relief of our people; likewise also for the re-opening of the cattle trade, which, as yet, hangs fire. Accordingly we intend soon to visit them in person to try and persuade them, but fear that Herry breeds mischief among the Saldanhars, and may treacherously conspire against us, for which we hope to be prepared.

Conclusion

The following concluding extracts record Khoikhoi, slave and colonial life at the Cape of Good Hope from various points and the sources of the information provided is recorded in the bulk of the extensively quoted text. What you will read hereunder is surprisingly different to what one would hear from the South African political rhetoric that is spewed forth by the ruling socialist communists which is diametrically opposed to the facts. Today South African history is altered and changed to appease the masses which has obvious financial rewards to the politicians by receiving the masses’ votes – the vast majority of voters being illiterate, uneducated and indoctrinated! If a lie is told repeatedly by bringing up the past repeatedly it will result in the gullible audience believing it and holding onto it. It is a form of ‘brain-washing’ hypnotism! To further their own corrupt lying agendas to the hypnotised masses there has to be a scapegoat to divert their shenanigans away from themselves and sadly they use an evil past event like ‘apartheid’ to blame for their corruption, fraud, lying, selfish ambitions and inept administration of South Africa whilst ostracising and being racist against the white population and other minority people groups, including the Khoikhoi and San peoples! You see acknowledging that the bantu tribes only arrived in South Africa from north and west Africa during the Nguni migration south does not legitimise their claim to owning the South African land! It does not fit with their political lying rhetoric to dupe the masses as they do not have a written record claiming who owned what! It is all based on hear-say. Oral tradition cannot be believed in its entirety as stories change all the time to suite one’s own agenda. If there are multiple written autographs that record certain events in history that can be substantiated by various writers, just as the educated Europeans used by recording in writing historical events that will stand for posterity, i.e. all future generations of people, here in South Africa and the world.  There is always two sides to a told story and the way forward would be to accept past history for what it was and by learning from it we hopefully will not make the same mistakes, but in order to progress as a united people we must find the middle ground that will benefit everyone. Changing history only creates lies and more heartache! Let by-gones be by-gones. All men of one race group cannot be held accountable for some men who acted out of the wretchedness of their hearts! Each man, woman and child is accountable for their own actions and one day every knee will bend and bow to the GOD of Creation before the Judgment Seat of the Lord Jesus Christ!!

Now to conclude this part of the series kindly read, how life was truly, with no punches pulled but warts and all, from the following document found online titled primarysourcepacket.pdf[2], inter alia:   

1. Diary, Jan van Riebeeck

Krotoa van Meerhoff / WikiTree Krotoa[3], called Eva by the Dutch, is the first Khoikhoi woman to appear in the European records of the early settlement at the Cape as an individual personality and active participant in cultural and economic exchange. Eva joined Commander Jan van Riebeeck’s household at the Dutch fort at around age 12. She was closely related to Oedasoa, chief of the Cochoqua Khoikhoi, but it is unclear whether her family sent her to the Dutch to work and learn the language or whether she made this decision on her own. She learned to speak fluent Dutch and Portuguese, and acted as an interpreter for the Dutch for most of her life. She converted to Christianity and in 1664 married a Danish surgeon, Pieter van Meerhoff, who was rising in the service of the Dutch East India Company. Together they had three children. After his death on an expedition to Madagascar, Eva became an alcoholic and was eventually sent to the prison colony on Robben Island for disorderly conduct. She died in 1674 and was given a Christian burial.

The following selections are from the official diary kept by the Dutch Commander Jan van Riebeeck and his council at the Cape. Since these men were representatives of a major trading company, most entries have something to do with commercial interests. Eva emerges as a savvy business partner to the Dutch, but also as a person truly suspended between two cultures. Note her use of clothing, religion, and language as she negotiates between the Dutch and the Khoikhoi worlds.

Source: Riebeeck, Jan van. Journal of Jan van Riebeeck. Volume II, III, 1656-1662. Edited by H.B. Thom and translated by J. Smuts. Cape Town: A.A. Balkema, 1954.

Eva of the Goringhaikona / WikiTree 31 October 1657:
“The Commander [Jan van Riebeeck] spent the day entertaining the Saldanhars [a Khoikhoi tribe from the interior] and questioning them about various things through the medium of a certain girl, aged 15 or 16, and by us called Eva, who has been in the service of the Commander’s wife from the beginning and is now living here permanently and is beginning to speak Dutch well.”

21 June 1658:
“Fine weather with N.W. breeze. The freeman Jan Reijnierssen came to complain early in the morning that during the night all his male and female slaves had run away, taking with them 3 or 4 blankets, clothing, rice, tobacco, etc. We thereupon called the new interpreter Doman, now called Anthony, who had returned from Batavia with the Hon. Cuneus, and asked him why the Hottentots would not search for the runaway slaves, to which he coolly replied that he did not know. [Little is known about Doman, though he was one of the important interpreters between the Dutch and the Khoikhoi in the early years. He was taken to Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia) to learn Dutch, and there he seems to have noticed the threat that the Dutch posed to indigenous ways of life. When he returned to the Cape, he consistently advocated Khoikhoi interests, especially of the Peninsular tribes, over those of the Dutch in trade negotiations.] The Commander, not trusting him, then called the interpreter Eva alone into his office and privately asked her whether our blacks were not being harboured by the Hottentots. On this she asked whether such was the Commander’s opinion, and being answered in the affirmative, she (speaking good Dutch) said these words, namely: “I tell you straight out, Mijnheer Van Riebeeck, Doman is no good. He told the Hottentots everything that was said in Mijnheer’s room the day before yesterday. When I told him that it was wrong to do so, he replied: ‘I am a Hottentot and not a Dutchman, but you, Eva, try to curry favour with the Commander, etc.’” She added: “Mijnheer, I also believe that the Fat Captain of the Kaapmans harbours the slaves.” On being asked what the chief would do with the slaves, Eva replied: “He will present them to the Cochoquas to retain their friendship, and they in turn will deliver the slaves to the Hancumquas living far from here and cultivating the soil in which they grow daccha [also dagga, of the cannabis family], a dry herb which the Hottentots chew, which makes them drunk and which they highly esteem.”

A depiction of a Hottentot female / WikiTree 23 September 1658:
“The interpreters Doman, or Anthonij, and Eva wished to visit their friends and asked for some copper, iron, beads, tobacco, bread, and brandy as a reward for their services as interpreters, and presents for her mother and their friends and all the natives whom they, especially Eva, would visit, to induce them to bring a larger number of cattle, as well as young horses, tusks, civet, amber, seed pearls (of which they were shown and given samples) and hides to the eland, hart, steenbuck, etc. They promised to do their best and hoped that we would soon see the fruits of their efforts; toward evening they thanked us politely and gratefully in good Dutch words for the presents they had received. They then left. When Eva reached the matted hut of Doman, also known as Anthonij, outside the fort, she at once dressed herself in the hides again and sent her clothes home. She intended to put them on again when she returned to the Commander’s wife, promising, however, that she would in the meantime not forget the Lord God, Whom she had learnt to know in the Commander’s house; she would always think of Him and endeavour to learn, etc.”

26 January 1661:
“The interpreter Eva has remained behind to live in the Commander’s house again, laying aside her skins and adopting once more the Indian way of dressing. She will resume her services as an interpreter. She seems to have grown tired of her own people again; in these vacillations we let her follow her own will so that we may get the better service from her. But she appears to have become already so accustomed to the Dutch diet and way of life that she will never be able to give it up completely.”

2. Letters, Johanna Maria van Riebeeck

Johanna Maria van Riebeeck (1679-1759) was from an elite family in the Dutch colonial network. She was the granddaughter of Jan van Riebeeck, first Dutch Commander at the Cape, who went on to hold important posts in the Dutch government in Batavia (Indonesia), and the daughter of Abraham van Riebeeck, Governor-General of Batavia. She made three advantageous marriages, and died a very wealthy widow. In 1710 she voyaged to Holland with her second husband, Joan van Hoorn, retiring Governor-General of the Indies, and his 11-year old daughter Pieternelletje. Until then, Johanna Maria had never left the Far East, and therefore we may also see her as a woman caught between cultures. In these letters, which she wrote during a stop at the Cape on her journey to Holland, we get a sense of Johanna Maria as a prim, and rather dissatisfied person. Not all of her letters have this tone, however. Unlike most visitors to the Cape, she did not enjoy the experience; she even found the world-famous botanical gardens to be rather overgrown. Note her use of the adjective “hottentottish,” and consider her assessment of acceptable living circumstances and behavior for women in the Dutch colonies. [Note: The two letters are similar because correspondence often did not reach its destination.]

Source: Briewe van Johanna Maria van Riebeeck en ander Riebeeckiana. Edited by D.B. Bosman and translated by Anne Good. Amsterdam, 1952.

From Letter 5: Johanna Maria to her Parents, 13 January 1710:
I can’t withstand the cold very well yet, and am rather uncomfortable because of it, and plagued with sinkings and a stiff neck, which I hope will get better with time.

When you see this place from the sea, it is prettier and more pleasant than when you arrive on land. It is very miserable; you don’t see grass or clover, and the streets everywhere by the castle and in the town are full of holes, as though wild pigs had rooted through them—when you decide to ride into the city or to the Company’s gardens, you are always worried about falling! And the gardens are so fine that your heart closes right up. When you come into the garden, nothing looks finer than the laurel trees, which grow quite tall here, however, the paths are very narrow. The fruit trees are full of fruit, but little is ripe yet, and there are nice vegetables too, but not planted in nice order, and the ground is very rough, so that Ms. Moutmaker likened it well to a volgeesie—which the people from the Cape don’t enjoy hearing. In this place there is nothing nice to see along the seashore, and the castle is quite ugly and the governor’s house is like a labyrinth, so that you can easily get confused, and the other houses within the castle walls look like prisons. Outside are the Hottentots, who are very ugly and stinking people, and the Dutch people also keep very untidy households. You see many people with strange faces, and the way of life is strange here. The governor is a man who enjoys company, and it looks like he enjoys having women around all the time—so there is a really courtly bunch here, but even so, everything is hottentottish.

I must admit that based on appearances, I have never seen a worse place. But as far as food is concerned, it is better here than in Batavia, and so is the climate.

From Letter 8: Johanna Maria to her Parents, 30 January 1710:
I have also received a letter here from my son Jan [Jan was actually Johanna Maria’s stepson, in his late teens or early twenties, attending university in Holland.], and he writes me that his grandmother has been quite sick all year, and lying in bed, and hoped to see me soon in the fatherland [Holland]. But he doesn’t say anything about his studies. I hope that I will find things better than what he was written to us. We have decided to let him live in our house at first, which will certainly be by far the best for him, so that he can be weaned from his friends in Utrecht. And if he really doesn’t have the desire to study, we’ll find something else for him, and I hope that I will yet see happiness in him. …

Now to tell something about this place. . . . After we came to anchor, a number of shots were fired for us from the castle, which our ship answered. Shortly afterwards the Governor Van Assenberg arrived on board, with his second in command, the Fiscal and a few others, Missus D’Abling and two captains’ wives. An hour later, we departed together toward land, and got a shower along the way, from which we became nicely wet, and it was a really cold day. In that weather we reached the pier, which looks very bad and has no steps, just planks nailed to poles, about two feet apart, going steeply up, so that we had to allow ourselves to be pulled up, and we were close to the sea which was not still at all.

A little farther off stood a dirty-looking coach with six horses (like everything here it was quite hottentottish) with which we drove to the interior of the castle, and stopped in front of the house of the governor. We entered the house, which is a very ugly building, and dirty and greasy, as though it belonged to Pater Smeerlant of Ceylon [a joke character]. The castle looks miserably unkempt, with a number of buildings of an ugly style within its walls. The city is quite large for this place, but the roads everywhere are very slovenly, full of holes high and low, so that when you ride out, you feel as though you will surely fall—the roads to Boejong Gede [presumably near Batavia] are much better and prettier, and lordly in comparison. Outside the city it isn’t any less rugged. It is a pity that the governor here doesn’t take better care of the place, and doesn’t live better himself. This whole place might then change, and also the people, who are now very jealous of one another.

The governor is a man who likes to take his pleasure daily with young misses of bad reputation, and he is very familiar with Mrs. Munckerius’s daughter, who looks like a flirt to me. The governor would certainly have been in my company daily if I had not told him that I do not enjoy the conversation of young people, and would rather keep other company.

Mrs. D’Abling is a very sweet and modest little woman, as well as two or three other women here, but they are not in the governor’s favor, because they don’t want to mix with his other company. For people like them, this is a very dreary place.

From Letter 13: Johanna Maria to her Parents, 15 February 1710:
[I am sending you] another little sack of seeds that I received from a black woman, named Black Maria, who says she is the daughter of a woman or maid who was earlier in the house of my blessed [late] Grandfather, and who begged me to send the sack to you, Father. It appears that these people still cherish a great affection for our family: besides this woman, I’ve met two or three others, as well as a very old, blind Hottentot woman, named Cornelia, and two Hottentot men, one called Dobbeltje [a type of coin] and the other Vogelstruys [Ostrich], who were able to tell me much about that time.

3. Ethnography, San Dance

Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek, German ethnographers who lived in Cape Town, were the first people to systematically write down Khoisan folklore, beliefs and customs. They did their work in the late 19th century, so there is no way to be sure that the traditional way of life described by the informants was the same as that lived by the Khoisan in the previous centuries. Nevertheless, we know from many sources that the communal dance was an important part of Khoisan culture. The extract that follows is a firsthand account of the experience by a participant, |Han‡kass’o, also known as Klein Jantje, who was about 30 years old at the time he spoke with Bleek and Lloyd. He came from the northern Cape colony and stayed in the Bleek home for nearly two years, before returning to his people. In his storytelling he often notes who first told him the story, and this is frequently his mother. He emphasizes the celebratory aspects of the dance. Dance was used to release communal tensions, or it could take on ritual meaning, when dancers sought to reach “boiling point,” or a trance-state, where they became one with the spirit world. Note the different roles suggested for men and women in the piece below.

Source: Bleek, Wlihelm H. I., and Lucy C. Lloyd, eds. “The use of the !gõïn!gõïn, followed by an account of a Busman dance.” In Specimens of Bushman Folklore. London: George Allen & Co., Ltd., 1911.

[The speaker first explains that one of the reasons the San people beat the drum called the !gõïn!gõïn is so that the bees may flourish and produce a lot of honey.]

“And the people take honey to the women at home. For, the women are dying of hunger, at home. Therefore, the men take honey to the women at home; that the women may go to eat, for they feel that the women have been hungry at home; while they wish that the women may make a drum for them, so that they may dance when the women are satisfied with food. For they do not frolic when they are hungry.

And they dance, when the women have made the drum for them. Therefore, the women make a drum for them; they dance. The men are those who dance, while the women sit down, because they clap their hands for the men when the men are those who dance; while one woman is the one who beats the drum; while many women are those who clap their hands for the men; because they feel that many men are dancing.

Then, the sun rises, while they are dancing there, while they feel that they are satisfied with food.”

4. Rock Art, Khoisan

Rock art, found on the walls of caves and on moveable rocks, was once thought to depict simple images of the daily lives of the Khoisan. In the last 20 years, study of oral traditions and close attention to what is actually depicted in the paintings has led to a complete revision of this theory. Now it is believed that the images depict the experience of the trance dance, an integral part of Khoikhoi and San social and ritual practice. The dance was performed with the whole community present, although only a few may have done the dancing—prominently the shaman, or leader of ritual.

It was an extremely intense activity, sometimes performed after smoking dagga (cannabis), where the dancer strains to reach “boiling point” and let his or her spirit transform and get in touch with spiritual forces. In Khoisan belief, there are spirits in the world—particularly connected with animals like the largest antelope, the eland—that can influence weather, communal tensions, and personal problems. As the dancer goes into the trance, he or she hyperventilates, cramps over in pain, bleeds from the nose, and starts to hallucinate. A shaman describes this, also in the symbolism of the rock art, as transforming into the spirit of an antelope or other animal. Women were an integral part of the dance and could take part in the trance, but they are rarely depicted in rock art. Here we see the participants in the clapping circle, together with shapes from the hallucinatory experience, and figures in a state of transformation.

The paintings are extremely difficult to date and the artists are unknown. It is believed that they may have been shamans.

Source: Lewis-Williams, David and Thomas Dowson. Images of Power: Understanding Bushman Rock Art. Johannesburg: Southern Book Publishers, 1989.

Bushman Rock Art Bushman Rock Art

5. Object, Digging Stick

The Khoikhoi were semi-nomadic pastoralists (herders of sheep and cattle), who hunted game and gathered edible plants, nuts, roots, berries, and honey to supplement their diets. There was a division of labor between men and women: men hunted and tended the cattle while women looked after small stock and gathered food in the surrounding countryside. One of the implements used by women was the digging stick weighted with stones. Although the implement may appear primitive, consider what went into making it and how practical it was in its environment for its intended uses.

Source: Ratzel, Friedrich. Drawing of digging stick and stone weights. Völkerkunde. Volume 1 (Leipzig and Vienna, 1894).

image

6. Drawings, Khoikhoi

In the late 17th century, an anonymous artist did a series of impromptu sketches and set pieces showing Khoikhoi at the Cape of Good Hope. The artist seems to have been interested in capturing natural movement and depicting actual articles of Khoikhoi clothing or activities in which they engaged, rather than falling back on the stereotypes that tended to be perpetuated in European books about the Cape. But the sketches are not entirely spontaneous, since the women in some of the scenes are clearly posed in classical ways. In addition, the artist seems to have had a tendency towards allegory as he juxtaposed wrinkled and crippled old women with voluptuous young women. The depiction of young women, which sometimes seems deliberately sexualized, also raises questions about how independent an observer the artist was.

On the left side of the page, the artist shows different types of hats, facial painting, and the hide bag carried by the Khoikhoi, as well as a woman playing a drum made by drawing a leather hide over a clay pot. On the bottom of the right side of the page, the artist carries on the theme of dancing, including the notes of the chant he has heard. The lines around the legs of the women indicate the leather anklets they commonly wore. On the top of the right side of the page, Khoikhoi men and women appear to be reacting to an image in a frame—probably a mirror. The scene is not explained by the handwritten notes, but a selection from 1660 Journal of Jan van Riebeeck provides an interesting parallel: “Later on, when the said servants [of a Khoikhoi chief]—the one called Oocktis Koukoa and the other Hanhumma, herdsmen of their King’s cattle and sheep—were led to a large looking-glass in the Commander’s room, they were obviously very much alarmed, at first thinking they were looking at people in another room, and then, when they recognized themselves and other people reflected, they imagined that they were seeing spirits. Such a state were they in that Eva, Doman, and some other Hottentots living in the fort were hard put to it to bring them back to their right senses again.” The notes explaining the scenes were added at a later date by someone other than the author.

Source: Drawing of Khoi dancers and musical instruments. In The Khoikhoi at the Cape of Good Hope: Seventeenth-century drawings in the South African Library, Text by Andrew B. Smith and Translations by Roy H. Pheiffer. Cape Town: South African Library.

Drawings Khoikhoi

7. Travel Narrative, Peter Kolb 1

Peter Kolb was a German astronomer and mathematician who lived at the Cape from 1705 to 1713. He was initially sponsored by a German baron to make astronomical observations in pursuit of a way to calculate longitude accurately. When this project ended, Kolb stayed at the Cape and observed everything else. About three years after his return to Germany, he began to compile a book about his experiences, based on letters and notes he had written. This book (more than 850 large pages) was divided into three sections: the first discussed the flora, fauna, minerals, water, and topography of the Cape. The second addressed the social life and customs of the Khoikhoi (then known as Hottentots). The third discussed the political intrigues of the Dutch colony during the years Kolb was part of it. His ethnographic conclusions are now contested, but there is no doubt that his book is an important source for understanding interaction among the various ethnic groups at the Cape in this early period. Although Kolb was not married and had no children, he made numerous comments about many different aspects of women’s lives. In the excerpt below, he discusses the rearing of children, but also offers a glimpse into how closely Europeans, Khoikhoi, and slaves lived and worked together.

Source: Kolb, Peter. “On the Manners and Customs which are observed among the European Inhabitants…” Letter Eight, Part Three in Caput Bonae Spei Hodiernum. Translated by Anne Good Nuremberg: Peter Conrad Monath, 1719.

Not all parents need to be accused of nurturing their children badly, since there are still some to be found who lead honest lives—but there are still far too few who may be accused of spending too much time with their children when they are still young and tender, or who watch and care for them, and try to instill honesty in them together with their mother’s milk. Instead, from the very beginning the whole care is given over to slave women or even female Hottentots [Khoikhoi], and the parents are content as long as the children suffer no pain, or other unpleasantness that could hurt them, or learn obviously bad manners.

Just think to yourself what good such an Aja, as these caregivers are called, could do for a young child, leading a heathen life, given over to lust and other sinful desires, carrying on indecent and wanton conversations with others like herself in the presence of the child, and not caring for anything except that the child have enough to eat and drink, clothes, and lack no other incidentals, so that the child will not cry and fuss a lot, and she will not receive a harsh reprimand. Thus the child will be brought up in pleasure and happiness, even though the foundation for a real fear of God will be completely neglected. This is a circumstance that cannot be lamented too highly, and should find disapprobation among all righteous Christians.…

It cannot be denied that such an Aja does indeed know how to get on with the child skillfully enough, and is a faithful caregiver when it comes to anything necessary for bodily health. No one would disagree either, that they are good language teachers, and that their mother tongue, or at least the Portuguese, which is commonly used throughout the East Indies, and may be considered a main language in these lands, flows into the children at the same time as mother’s milk [presumably they were wet nurses as well]. Still, with all these skills, in my opinion they still lack that which is most essential and important to bringing up children.

For, not considering the fact that they speak very bad and broken German, or rather, Dutch, and therefore are not able to teach the child this language, so that in the beginning all the children here speak German very badly, almost like the French people [Huguenots who had fled religious persecution in France] who are just beginning to learn the language—there is an even greater impediment that prevents these caregivers from steering the children towards true godliness, which should be learned above all else: the Ajas themselves still lead heathen lives, and therefore hardly know even by name what godliness is or means.

8. Travel Narrative, Peter Kolb 2

Peter Kolb was a German astronomer and mathematician who lived at the Cape from 1705 to 1713. He was initially sponsored by a German baron to make astronomical observations in pursuit of a way to calculate longitude accurately. When this project ended, Kolb stayed at the Cape and observed everything else. Kolb was writing for a European audience, and therefore often played to their expectations. In the case of the Khoikhoi, the assumption was that these people were among the most primitive on earth. Thus, his work had to be used with caution when trying to reconstruct the early history of the Khoikhoi. On the other hand, when Kolb’s observations are compared with those of modern anthropologists, significant overlaps may be found, so that it seems clear that Kolb spoke directly to Khoikhoi men and women about their beliefs and customs. In the following excerpts, Kolb discusses Khoikhoi practices during and after the birth of a child. Ask yourself how, as a European man, Kolb could have seen or heard about these rituals. Nevertheless, his account cannot be simply discounted, since it is known that Khoikhoi did consider water risky for expectant mothers and newborn infants, and cattle played major and significant roles in the economy and rituals of traditional Khoikhoi society.

Source: Kolb, Peter. “On the Ceremonies and Customs that the Khoikhoi Observe at the Birth of a Child…” Letter 8, Part Two in Caput Bonae Spei Hodiernum. Translated by Anne Good Nuremberg: Peter Conrad Monath, 1719.

When a Hottentot [hereafter Khoikhoi] woman feels the hour for giving birth coming near, she always has two or three other Khoikhoi women with her, to keep her company and help her during the birth. As soon as she feels labor pangs, and has to lie down, one of these women runs and fetches the midwife, of which there is one in every kraal [or village homestead]. This midwife will have been chosen by the other women to fill this office, and she will always be called to lend a helpful hand during the birth.

As soon as the midwife arrives, and goes into the dwelling of the pregnant woman, the man of the house must leave, and may not be seen there again as long as his wife is in labor. If he comes back even to ask how his wife is doing, he is punishable, if any of the other men or women heard him, and he will have to make himself right again [anders machen—go through a cleansing ritual]. That is, after the woman has born her child, the man will have to slaughter one or two fat rams to legitimate himself again. But the meat will not be given to the new mother or the other women, rather the men will eat it, and the women will just receive the broth, as in the case of other slaughtering for cleansing rites.

[Kolb then describes how when a Khoikhoi woman has a difficult birth she will be given a drink of tobacco cooked in milk to ease the way. He suggests that women in Europe might not be able to survive drinking the concoction.]

. . . If the child is born alive, they do not wash or bathe it in water, for they say that this is Sickum, or unhealthy. Instead, they have a different and extraordinary way of cleaning the birth filth off the baby—though according to the customs of Europeans, we would say that this is just making it even more offensive than it was by nature. For, instead of using water, or something else that one might use to clean newborn children, they take fresh cow dung and rub it all over the child, so that it is simultaneously perfumed and coloured grass-green.

[Kolb goes on to say that after the dung has dried, the women rub the baby all over with a paste made from the mashed leaves of a specific plant. After this has soaked in, they rub the baby all over with sheep’s fat or butter, and sprinkle it with powder made from a dried herb used for ceremonial purposes (buchu). They do this to make sure that the child will live and be strong.]

. . . . Can such a result [health and strength] be brought about by applying such stuffs? I must doubt it, since God gives and sustains life, and must be asked, and the child’s constitution must be taken into account. Still, small things often produce great results, and so I will leave it to others to investigate these customs, and make up their own minds.

9. Will, Laurens Verbrugge and Beletje Frederikszoon

Laurens Verbrugge and Beletje Frederikszoon were ordinary people from Holland who settled in Stellenbosch (near Cape Town), and took up farming there. Though not wealthy, they did own slaves and had sufficient property that they felt the need to draw up a will when Beletje became ill. Note the Christian beliefs expressed in the wording of the will.

Laurens was Beletje’s second husband which was not unusual at the Cape, where there were fewer European women than men throughout the 18th century. Women therefore tended to marry early to men older than themselves who often died before them. It was not uncommon for women to marry three times, which could cause disputes over inheritance. Marriage among Europeans, Khoikhoi, and slaves was not forbidden, though relatively rare; sexual relations were more common. The status of the children of slave women by European fathers was precarious, and in the following will it is difficult not to speculate on the paternity of the slave girl Christintje. (The “-tje” ending to Dutch words means “little” and often suggests affection when attached to names.)

Source: Notarial Deeds and Wills 1708-1714, #12. Stellenbosch Files: 1/STB 18/3. Cape Town Archives Repository. Translated by Anne Good.

27 October 1711
Testament between Laurens Verbrugge and Beletje Frederiksz.

In the Name of the Lord, amen.

Knowing that they are the only ones who may be concerned with the contents of this present and public instrument, made in the year after the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, one thousand seven hundred and eleven, on the twenty-seventh of October, around midday, twelve o’clock, before me Peter Kolb (provisional secretary to the Magistrate and Council etc.) and the witnesses named below, the following appeared in person—the honorable Laurens Verbruggen and the virtuous Belie Frederiks, a married couple living in Stellenbosch, the testator [Laurens] healthy of body, standing and walking, but the testatrix [Belie] sick and lying in bed, but completely in command of her mind, understanding, and memory and well able to use them, as it appeared to us. The couple declared that, considering the brittleness of human life, the certainty of death but the uncertainty of the time and hour when it will come, they intended not to take leave of this world before they had disposed of their temporal goods, lent to them by God Almighty, doing this of their own free and unforced will, without the direction or deception of anyone else, committing first of all their immortal souls to the protecting hand of God, and their dead bodies to the earth, asking an honorable burial, revoking, breaking and declaring null and void all other testaments, codicils, marriage conditions, or any other public agreements, made by them together or by each separately, whatever they might be, so that they may not be observed in any point.

First, the testators bequeath to the poor of Stellenbosch the sum of 25 guilders, Cape value, which will be given out by the one who lives the longest, after the death of the other, out of their remaining goods.

Furthermore, the testators, explain that, before any other claims, the one who dies first leaves to the one who lives longest the inheritance of the house, with all land belonging to it, and all its contents, standing in Stellenbosch, together with a new wagon with eight draft oxen, which the one who lives longest should enjoy as their own unencumbered property, without any difficulty being raised by the children of the testatrix by her first husband. This on the express condition that the one who lives longest will not be able to alienate or reduce the property, with the understanding that after both their deaths, the property will be given to the children of the testatrix by her first husband. Moreover, this will should stand only as long as the one who lives longest remains unmarried, because both of the testators wish to keep in mind, that the children of the testatrix may not be overlooked.

If the testator [Laurens] comes to die first, it is his intention and complete declaration, that, in case any of his brothers’ or sisters’ children comes to live at the Cape of Good Hope, that person should receive a sum of no more than fifty Rixdollars, excepting which, all the rest of the goods should go to the children of the testatrix by her first marriage.

Next, the testatrix, declares that it is her will and design, that the slave child called Christintje, should remain the property of her son’s child, baptized Beeltje after the testatrix, as long as they both shall live, desiring that the aforesaid slave child will never be sold or otherwise alienated, but expressly stipulating that the aforementioned slave child, after the death of her son’s child Beeltje, will be free. Finally the testators reverently ask that the honorable lords of the Orphans’ Chamber at the Cape of Good Hope will become the executors and administrators over their remaining goods and inheritance, and that the honorable lords will have the goodness to administer the inheritance for the children of the testatrix by her first marriage. [This was the usual arrangement.]

Having heard the above clearly and precisely read to them, the testators declare this to be their final will and testament, desiring that the same will stand and take effect in every part . . . . All of this done in the house of the testators, in the presence of the former town counselors, Jan Botma and Adam Tas—as witnesses of good reputation, expressly asked to be here, who, together with me, the provisional secretary, and the testators, sign below on the day, hour and year mentioned above.

As witnesses
[signatures of]
Jan Botma
Ad. Tass

This is the personal mark t mark and signature
of Laurens Verbrugge

This the mark \\\ and the personal signature of
Beeltje Frederiks

With my knowledge
P. Kolbe
Provisional secretary

10. Law, Alcohol Sale

The following law suggests that slaves and Khoikhoi were considered particularly prone to alcohol addiction. There is some anecdotal evidence that this was a common stereotype held by Europeans at the Cape. Some scholars argue that alcoholism may indeed have been more prevalent among the Khoikhoi and African slaves because indigenous fermented drinks were not as strong as those brewed by Europeans. Furthermore, it is known that among the Khoikhoi, fermented drinks and dagga (like cannabis) were used for ritual purposes at the occasion of the trance dance. The following law regulates who may sell or serve alcoholic drinks, particularly prohibiting slave and Khoikhoi women from being involved. It is unclear, however, whether the law is meant to regulate alcohol or to control the leisure time activities of slaves. Since slave and Khoikhoi women are at the center of this issue, we may ask why it seemed “worse” to the authorities to have these women selling liquor rather than anyone else.

Source: "Laws and Regulations Respecting Slaves at the Colony the Cape of Good Hope since the Year 1658 till a. 1805." In Dutch laws translated into English. 1806. James Ford Bell Library. University of Minnesota.

3 September 1754
“But whereas a still greater annoyance has been experienced in as much that some Persons who have obtained Licences to sell strong Liquors, do not scruple to have it done by Slaves or what is still worse by Hottentot and other women in their own Houses without any Superintendance whereby other Slaves are the more easily debauched into all kinds of bad practices; no Person therefore shall employ any male or female Slave or other Woman even were she already emancipated, to draw or sell strong Liquors in the Tap or Public Houses, under the same Penalty as before mentioned of the loss of Licence over and above a Fine of Two hundred Rixdollars and the male & female slave or other Woman so doing shall besides be severely flogged.”

11. Law, Slave Women and Children

Khoi Women and Dutch Colonist WDL11267 in 1700s Although marriage was not forbidden between Europeans and slaves or other non-Europeans, it was quite rare and entailed a drop in social status for the European. Nevertheless, sexual relationships occurred—sometimes coerced, sometimes by mutual agreement. The children born to slave women by these relationships were seldom openly acknowledged by their fathers, and thus usually followed the fate of their mothers. Religious and secular authorities were not at ease with this situation. This can be seen in church proclamations that called on Europeans to baptize all their slave children, and secular laws that sought to regulate the living conditions of slave children, especially of mixed race. In the following excerpt, it is noteworthy that the “children of free heathen” are also mentioned. These “heathens” were probably not Khoikhoi, but rather former slaves, either from East Africa or Asia, who bought or earned their freedom and were known as Free Blacks. In this case, the designation “heathen” might also refer to followers of Islam.

Source: "Laws and Regulations Respecting Slaves at the Colony the Cape of Good Hope since the Year 1658 till a. 1805." In Dutch laws translated into English. 1806. James Ford Bell Library. University of Minnesota.

20 June 1766
That in future the Statutary Law that no Children of free Heathen begotten on their female Slaves, whether the Estate be beforehand or not, may be sold, nor the Mothers of those Children, should the Estate be solvent, shall be observed, and it is likewise understood to forbid all Executors and Administrators of Estates without Exception and they are hereby forbidden accordingly to sell Children begotten by Christians on their Slaves whether the Estate be solvent or not; with authority to allow such a Child or Children to follow those who may apply for them and be willing to bring up those otherwise Unfortunates in the Reformed Religion; or in default of such should the children be descended from European Blood, but not otherwise, to give them to the Deacons of the Reformed Congregation in order to be brought up in the Poor House & instructed in the above mentioned manner.

That towards the Encouragement of Fidelity among the Slaves, with regard to those who possess them in property, such of them as rescue their Masters or Mistresses from any great Danger of their Lives or save them from being murdered, or use their utmost endeavor thereto at the risk of their own Lives, must immediately be made free and above all may not be sold either by their Masters, or by Executor or Administrators of Estates.

In Part 6 we will look at the Slave Lodge opened in 1679 in the Cape Colony (present day Cape Town), we will attempt to walk in the footsteps of slaves and hopefully describe their daily movements in and around the Cape Colony away from their places of work, and also look at slaves owned by slaves (you read correctly) as well as slaves placing requests with the authorities “praying to be manumitted” and proposing to give a fellow slave in exchange for their freedom! We will also briefly look at slavery being abolished in 1838! Until the next time,

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. pp100-171.

[2] Krotoa, called Eva by the Dutch, is the first Khoikhoi woman to appear in the European records of the early settlement at the Cape as an individual personality and active participant in cultural and economic exchange.

[3] Krotoa (Goringhaikona) Meerhoff (abt. 1642 – 1674): WikiTree Where genealogists collaborate https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Goringhaikona-1

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

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

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