Constructing and Contesting Histories of Slavery at the Cape, South Africa

Antonia Malan and Nigel Worden

in Slavery in Africa

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264782
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754012 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Constructing and Contesting Histories of Slavery at the Cape, South Africa

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This chapter discusses slavery in South Africa. Chattel slavery existed in early colonial South Africa from the inception of the Dutch permanent settlement in 1658 until formal emancipation of slaves in the British empire in the 1830s. More than 80,000 slaves were imported from throughout the Indian Ocean world during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although in the time of apartheid this slave heritage was buried in the public consciousness, since the 1990s museums, historians, and archaeologists have unearthed and published a considerable historical record, endorsed by new heritage legislation which gives special value to sites of slavery. Slave history is taught in universities and schools. However, especially for those descended from slaves in the Western Cape region, the evocation of a slave past has been a vexed process, with slave heritage serving as both a resource and a weapon in contemporary identity struggles.

Keywords: chattel slavery; slave heritage; slaves; identity; Western Cape; Indian Ocean

Chapter.  10751 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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