Origins of Cape Slavery 1658 – first large shipment of slaves; for the VOC; 1692 – privately owned slaves exceeded Company ownedslaves;◦ Used as domestic servants and farm labourers;◦ In demand in the wheat and wine growing districts of the south-western Cape;◦ Less in demand in the pastoral interior; Brought from across the Indian Ocean rim;◦ South-East Asia, South Asia, Indian Ocean Islands, East Africancoast; Chattel slaves: considered to be the property of their owners;◦ Bought and sold;◦ Evaluated at auctions;◦ Bequeathed in wills to children of the owner; Although the Khoisan were regarded as free people, slaveand Khoisan statuses became blurred; Chattel not the only form of slavery; Degrees of “unfreeness”
Coercion, Control and ResistanceSee Armstrong & Worden, “The Slaves, 1652-1834”, pp.149-162. The control of slaves crucial to social stability;◦ Farmers isolated;◦ Vulnerable to slave resistance – arson, poisoning,desertion, for example; The master-slave relationship nuanced; not onlycoercive;◦ Favoured slaves;◦ Paternalism (See chapter by Shell, “The Family andSlavery at the Cape”); The threat of physical punishment always present;◦ Whipping with a sjambok, the punishment of choice; However, masters not legally allowed to torturetheir slaves, although this did occur.
Amelioration and the Ending of SlaverySee Armstrong & Worden, “The Slaves, 1652-1834”, pp. 162-168. 1808 – the slave trade was abolished throughout theBritish empire;◦ Rise in free trade and free labour thinking;◦ Emergence of industrial capitalism – the West Indian slavecolonies became less important to Britain’s imperial economy;◦ Evangelical revival of the late 18th and early 19th century;◦ Growing slave resistance and slave revolts – Saint Domingue(1791); Liberals pushed for the eventual emancipation of allslaves in British territories; Amelioration – prepare the slaves for freedom. 1834 – slavery abolished; 1834-1838 – Apprenticeship Period; 1838 – final emancipation.
Ameliorative Laws at the Cape 1820s;◦ Concern for the physical well-being of the slaves;◦ Limitations on the number of hours worked;◦ Slaves permitted to marry;◦ Children not allowed to be sold separately from theirmothers;◦ Limitations placed on punishment;◦ Slaves encouraged to report abuses to the authorities;◦ 1826: Guardian of Slaves appointed; Increased the control of the colonial state overlabour relations;◦ Previously, labour relations existed in the private domain.
Van der Spuy, “Making Himself Master:Galant’s Rebellion Revisited” February 1825; Galant van de Kaap (26 years old); Led a revolt of slaves and Khoisan servantsagainst their master and his family; The slaves planned to then travel to Cape Town toclaim their freedom – which they believed wasowing to them; Question:◦ Although the rebellion was led by a slave, why theinvolvement of several Khoisan – who were legally free?◦ Van der Spuy draws attention to the fact that the rebellionwas led by men against men;◦ She argues for a gendered analysis – why?
Abrahams, “Disempowered to Consent: SaraBartman and Khoisan Slavery in the NineteenthCentury Cape Colony and Britain” 1810 – Bartman was taken to Britain and exhibitedto the public in “freak shows”; Evangelical abolitionists believed she was beingheld against her will as a slave; She was eventually taken to Paris, where she died; Question◦ Was Sara Bartman a slave?◦ Abrahams argues that she was and draws largerconclusions about the experiences of Cape Khoisan withina slave society;◦ Abrahams suggests that the majority of colonial Khoisanwere essentially slaves (unfree);◦ How were slave and Khoisan lives similar and how werethey different?
In Summary For subaltern men, rebellion served as anexpression of masculinity;◦ Their unfree status meant the means for expressingmasculinity were often denied to them;◦ Important issues: punishment and families; Amelioration raised expectations of freedom (whichwas still a decade away) for slaves and highlightedthe unfree nature of Khoisan existence;◦ In the Cape context, slave and non-slave (Khoisan) liveswere bound together; Khoisan existence bore several markers of slavery;◦ Occupied an ambiguous legal position during the early1820s.
The Case of Jan Paerl (Viljoen article) 1796, Stellenbosch Dispute between Paerl, a Khoikhoi man, andJohannes Albertyn, his employer/master (a man ofmixed heritage);◦ Albertyn wished to indenture Paerl’s four children followingthe death of their mother; Paerl contested Albertyn’s claim with the fiscal;◦ A classic struggle between master and servant; Raises questions about equality before the law inCape society at the turn of the 19th century.
Indentured labour◦ Due to labour shortages – chattel slavesexpensive and in short supply;◦ Farmers demanded that children born to slavefathers and Khoisan mothers ought to beindentured for a certain period;◦ Known as Bastaard-Hottentots, could beindentured until the age of 25;◦ Children born to Khoisan fathers and slavemothers were legally regarded as free and werenot permitted to be indentured; As such, Paerl’s children could not legallybe indentured to Albertyn; However, Albertyn claimed it was theirmother’s dying wish.
The Context 1795 – the Cape had been captured by the British;◦ The First British Occupation (1795-1803); The British authorities would now have the final word overlabour-related issues; During the 18th century, while under VOC rule, Khoisanlabourers had been granted limited legal rights;◦ They could sue their masters in court;◦ For the non-payment of wages, or excessive punishment, forexample; Paerl bypassed the local magistrate and headed to CapeTown to lodge his grievance; This period was marked by efforts to improve legalprocedures at the Cape;◦ Due process;◦ Equality before the law;◦ Impartial justice.
Local Authorities Landdrosts; veldkornets;◦ Retained by the British up until 1828;◦ Exercised significant influence on local legal matters; Khoisan and slaves tried to circumvent theauthority of Landdrosts and veldkornets; Contests over who was entitled to legal rights andequality before the law;◦ Between the new British authorities, the old established Dutchfarmers and the Khoisan and slaves; These contests would also occur on the imperiallevel over the course of the 19th century;◦ The rights of indigenous colonial subjects – Australia, NewZealand, Canada, etc.
Importance of one’s colonial identity in determiningaccess to rights;◦ Khoisan or Bastaard-Hottentot or slave;◦ Christian or heathen; In theory, equality before the law superseded class,colour, religion, wealth, status;◦ At this time though, in practice, equality before the law did notextend to slaves, but only to “Hottentots”;◦ See Dooling, “The Good Opinion of Others” – the social statusof masters was an important factor in whether legal sanctionfor the abuse of slaves occurred. There was much resistance to extending legal rights toKhoisan from settler society and some British officials;◦ Believed that it could spark a Khoisan insurrection; True equality before the law was never realised;◦ Idealistic, but not practical in a colonial society;◦ In the early 1800s, missionaries were to take up the challengeand campaign on behalf of the Khoisan (Theme Four)