Sommario Culture 2001


* This essay is based on the thesis by Anna Maria Rugarli, "Slavery at the Cape Colony from Acquisition to the Process of Creolization, c. 1790-1830", presented at the Faculty of Political Sciences of the Universita' degli Studi, Milan, Italy on November 18th, 1998. The supervisor was Prof. Itala Vivan, and the discussant Prof. Maurizio Antonioli. For a background on slavery and the process of creolization at the Cape of Good Hope Colony, please see the previous issues of Culture (1999: 75-96) and (2000: 115-131).

1 This did not mean that slave trade ceased but rather that slaves were obtained through different (illegal) means.

2 Previously only slaves belonging to the Vereenigde Oost-IndischeCompagnie (VOC, the Ducth East India Company) were registered. The VOC started the Cape colony and had rights on its management, including the acquisition of slaves.

3 Prize Negroes were individuals captured and seized by the British after the abolition of the slave trade (by the British only) in 1808. Destined to be slaves, Prize Negroes were captured either on French or Portuguese vessels and then apprenticed for fourteen years. Usually from Mozambique, they ended up staying at the Cape and mix with the local slave population.

4 In 1828 the Office of Registrar and Guardian of Slaves was divided into two separate bodies, each responsible for a particular province and with its own Guardian of Slaves. In 1831 the Registrars and Guardians of Slaves were replaced by two Protector of Slaves.

5 The Guardian of Slaves forwarded five cases to the Court of Justice, urging its intervention in support of the women. See CA, SO Book of Complaints 4/2 nr. 11 and 50, 52, 71, and 97.

6 CA, SO 4/2, cases nr. 9 (18th August 1826), 10 (18th August 1826), 15 (23rd August 1826), 52 (18th January 1827), 71 (8th May 1827), and 117 (10th December 1827).

7 CA, SO 4/2, cases nr. 11 (19th August 1826), 50 (8th January 1827), and 97 (9th Octpber 1927).

8 CA, SO 4/2, case nr. 63 (31st March 1827).

9 CA, SO respectively 4/5 (1826-1827), 5/1 (1826-1829), and 2/11 (1826-1830).

10 CA, SO 4/2, respectively cases nr. 9, 10, 15, 52, 71 and 117.

11 Respectively CA, SO 6/28, Register for Cape Town and Simonstown district, R., f.158, 1816-1833

SO 6/22, Cape Town and Simonstown, H., f. 101, 1816-1834

SO 6/13, Cape Town and Simonstown, B., f. 100, 1816-1834

SO 6/15, Cape Town and Simonstown, C., f. 6, 1816-1834

SO 6/34, Cape Town and Simonstown, W., f. 66, 1826-1834

SO 6/26, Cape Town and Simonstown, N., f. 9, 1816-1834

12 CA, SO 4/2, nr. 9. Fredrica was registered as the property of Johan Philip Reinhardt in SO 6/28, ibidem. She was a housemaid born in the Cape Colony and had been registered on the 23rd November 1824 when she was about thirty-two years.

13 CA, SO 4/5, p. 7, 18th August 1826.

14 CA, SO 4/5, p. 27, case nr. 9, 21st September 1826.

15 CA, SO 4/5, p. 49, case nr. 9, 9th December 1826.

16 CA, SO 4/2, nr. 10. Janna was registered on the 19th May 1825 as the property of Stephanus Johannes Hofmeyr Jan's son (minor) in SO 6/22. She was a housemaid of about fifty-three and 1/3 years and she was born in Bengal.

17 Mr van Balen was an officer living in the Castle, the first fort built by the Dutch when the Colony was established in 1652.

18 CA, SO 6/22, widow of the late Johannes Mattheus Hertzog born Verwey.

19 CA. SO 4/5 p. 8, case nr. 10, 18th August 1826.

20 CA, SO 4/2 case nr.15. Lucy was registered in SO 6/13 and belonged to Petrus Michiel Brink C.'s son. She was a washmaid/sempstress born in Malabar, and was forty-three and 1/4 year (at the time she was registered in 1824).

21 CA, SO 4/5 p.14 case nr. 15, 17th March 1827.

22 CA, SO 4/5 p.221 case nr. 15, 17th December 1827.

23 CA, SO 4/2 case nr. 52, 18th January 1827.

Marie's owner was Gerardus Johannes Hendricus Croeser, and registered her on the 17th May 1816 in SO 6/17 when she was fifty. She was a servant maid born in Ceylon.

Betje and Grietje were respectively owned by Johannes Hendrik Hurter, CA, SO 6/43 (1822-1833), H., folio 26, Cradock district. He registered Betje, born in the Cape Colony, on the 12th July 1825 when she was already about seventeen and 3/4 years of age; and by Johannes Wilhelmus Wessels, Jan's son, SO 6/121, W., folio 38, Swellendam district. Grietje, also born in the Cape Colony, had been registered on the 22nd January 1821 when she was about twelve.

24 CA, SO 4/5 p. 78, case nr. 52, 18th January 1827.

25 CA, SO 4/5 p. 79, case nr. 52, 19th January 1827.

26 CA, SO 4/2 case nr. 71, 8th May 1827. Mina was registered as the property of Fredrik Wilhelm in S0 6/34. Born in Batavia, Mina was about tewnty-nine when registered on the 5th June 1820 as a laundress.

27 CA, SO 4/2 p. 141, case nr. 71, 11th May 1827.

28 CA, SO Letter Book 2/11, p. 98 case nr. 97, 2nd June 1827 and p. 185, case nr.206, 22nd December 1827.

29 CA, SO 4/2 case nr. 117, 10th December 1827. Marietje was registered as a housemaid belonging to Maria Elisabeth Nothling in SO 6/26. She was born in Ceylon and was registered when about thirty-seven years old on the 16th June 1816.

30 CA, SO 4/5 p. 218, case nr. 117, 10th December 1827.

31 CA, SO 4/2 p. 218, case nr. 117: "That the captain being about to leave gave appearer (Jansen) his hand, & whilst holding it appearer asked him "Well captain how is it in respect to Marietje, is she now free?". To which he answered "Yes Master do not trouble yourself any more about it. She is free".

32 CA, SO 4/2 p. 218: "whilst captn van Wymeren was here she was daily with him".

33 As it has already been asserted, the variegated and mixed slave population of the Cape Colony consisted mostly of individuals imported from Madagascar, India, East Indies, the East African coast, and eventually from Mozambique.

34 Though this is also true of other imported slaves, for instance those brought to the Cape in the 1790s, the last main period of slave imports, and those illegally imported after 1808.

35 CA, SO 4/2 cases nr. 11 Samila (or Samida, 19th August 1826) and nr.50 Caatje (8th January 1827). For the above mentioned reasons it will be treated in particular Caatje's case.

36 CA, SO 4/4 case nr. 97 (9th October1827).

37 CA, SO 4/2 case nr. 11 and 50. Respectively Samila was owned by the widow of Jacob van der Merwe, Hendrik's son, SO 6/94 (1816-1835), M., folio 13, district of Stellenbosch. She was born in Bengal and was a housemaid of about forty-seven and 1/4 years when registered on the 7th July 1819. Caatje was registered as property of the widow Andries Willem Beck, (and since the 4th October 1821 his widow Maria Cecilia van der Merwe) SO 6/13 (1816-1834), B., folio 40, Cape Town and Simonstown district. She was registered on the 16th June 1816 when about forty as a housemaid born in Ceylon.

The vessel was the Hof ter Linde, captained by one Pylhard.

38 CA, SO 4/5 case nr. 50, p.70, 9th January 1827.

39 CA, SO4/5 case nr. 50, p.71, 9th January 1827.

40 Adolph probably remembered just the sound of the man's surname as Marthese, but from here onwards his name has been spelled as Matthezer in documents.

41 CA, SO 4/5 case nr. 50, p. 73, 12th January 1827. Spadille's owner was Egbertus Bergh, SO 6/13 (1616-1834), B., folio 142, Cape Town and Simonstown district. He registered him on the 22nd February 1822. He was born in Macassar and was a house servant of forty-five and 1/2 year.

42 CA, SO 4/5 case nr. 50, p. 77. 17th January 1827. Marje was not mentioned by Samila as witness, so she allegedly went to the Guardian's office only on Caatje's behalf.

43 CA, SO 2/11, p. 73, case nr. 24, 21st March 1827.

44 Ibidem.

45 CA, SO 4/2, case nr. 97, 9th October 1827. Dela of the widow Maria de Melander born Kotzé, S0 6/10/1 (1816-1834), M., folio 36, Cape Town and Simonstown district. Dela was a housemaid of about twenty-two years, born in the Cape Colony and registered on the 18th June 1816.

46 CA, SO 5/1, Day Book, case nr. 97, p. 297, 12th October 1827.

47 CA, SO 4/5 case nr. 97, p. 167, 17th October 1827 and 5/1, p.298 same day, Mrs Robert Row born Helena Aspeling. SO 4/5, p.168, 20th October 1827 and 5/1, p.303 same day, Mrs Kincaid.

48 CA, SO 5/1, p. 309, 24th October 1827.

In his letter the captain mentioned also the surname de Melander because he knew that Mrs Kotzé was going to marry Mr de Melander but did not know when she could receive it.

49 CA, SO 5/1 case nr. 97, p. 304, 23rd October 1827.

50 CA, SO 2/11 Letter Book (1826-1830), p.186, case nr. 208 (in this book the cases' numbering did not respect that of the other books). The Secretary to the Court of Justice, 22nd December 1827.

51 CA, SO 4/2, case nr. 63, 31st March 1827 and SO 4/5, p. 128, 10th April 1827.

52 CA, SO 6/34 (1816-1834), Anna Margaretha Winterbach, W., folio 119, Cape Town and Simonstown district. Sanna, a housemaid of forty-five and 2/3 years born in the Cape Colony, was registered on the 28th March 1818. Her mother Julenda, a housemaid born in Bengal, was registered when she was sixty-one and 3/4 year old, on the 26th February 1824.

53 A transfer was a document stating the acquisition of a slave.

54 CA, SO 2/11, p. 189, nr. 73, Half Yearly Report of Registrar and Guardian of Slaves, 31st December 1827.

55 Ibidem p. 191: "the Establishment of Guardian for the Slaves has had the most beneficial influence as well as relates to the protection of the slaves as with respect also to their conduct towards their owners; and notwithstanding the hostility at first shown by the Inhabitants to this institution, there are I believe but a few who are not now convinced of its general utility.

That slaves being in confidence in the Guardian are for the most part easily persuaded by him to do what is right and are satisfied with his decisions, they also have the benefit of his advice when they come to make complaints of any imagined acts of Injustice towards them, & which are often founded in misconception, and as the true state of their case is fully laid open to them, and all the circumstances for & against them carefully and clearly explained to them, they are generally induced to return contentedly to the service of their Masters".

Torna all'articolo
Vai alla Bibliografia