International Human Rights Day

On Friday 10 December 1948 The United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The day was from then recognized and celebrated as International Human Rights Day.

When the General Assembly adopted the Declaration, with 48 states in favor and eight abstentions, it was proclaimed as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”, towards which individuals and societies should “strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.” Countries across the world celebrate this day every year.

It is in line with this that our heroes at the Long March to Freedom strove to see to it that all South Africans enjoy their rights in a free nation.

Watch this video to learn more;

References

http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/

 

 

The Nobel Peace Prize Award:

Today we remember those who received the Nobel Peace Prize Award during the struggle.

On 10 December 1961, president of the then banned African National Congress (ANC), Albert Luthuli was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize for his role as the leader of ten million Africans in the non-violent struggle against apartheid. Due to the apartheid government restricting his movements, Luthuli was only granted special permission in 1961 to attend the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

He was the first African and individual outside of Europe and the Americas to been awarded this prestigious accolade in Oslo, Norway. His famous statement “the road to freedom is via the cross” clearly depicts his dedication to freedom and his aversion to violence.

The 10 December became quite a remarkable date for South Africa, as Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize exactly two years after Luthuli received his. Mandela and de Klerk were honoured with the prize due to “their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

To learn more about Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela and Frederik de Klerk receiving the Nobel Peace Prize visit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0DaKxwJioQ

https://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1854

 

References:

http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/albert-luthuli-accepts-nobel-peace-prize

“The Nobel Peace Prize 1960”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 4 Dec 2017. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/

https://luthulimuseum.org.za/achievementsnobel-peace-price-1960/

“The Nobel Peace Prize 1993”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 3 Dec 2017. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1993/

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/16/world/mandela-shares-nobel-accolade-with-de-klerk.html

 

 

Mandela’s move to Victor Verster Prison

On 7 December 1988 Nelson Mandela was transferred to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl. He was there for 14 months in a cottage until he was released from prison on 11 February 1990. 

Struggle icon and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was quietly transported from a clinic outside Cape Town to a house on a prison farm in Paarl. He was placed at the prison because it was close to doctors and hospitals as it was during this time that he was recovering from Tuberculosis. The house where Mandela stayed was previously used for house officers but was refurbished once the struggle icon moved in.

Mandela’s transfer was the first step in what appears to be a Government strategy to move him to less austere accommodations rather than free him outright. The government, who charged Mandela with a life sentence on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the government and sabotage, vetoed suggestions to free him completely. They believed that by freeing him that it would result in a wave of demonstrations on his behalf and would inevitably lead to possible violence.

Reports by the authorities on Mandela’s move to Victor Verster Prison prompted repeated rumors that he would be released soon. The government who initiated the transfer hoped that this move would be taken as a conciliatory gesture, which in turn, increased the rumours that Mandela would be released soon. Although this move did allow certain privileges for the struggle hero, Winnie Mandela refused the unlimited visiting hours the Government had offered her. She was quoted as saying she would adhere to the 40-minute period she has been allowed, because she still considered him a political prisoner.

As seen in the New York Times article dated 8 December 1988, Mandela’s lawyer at the time, Mr. Ismail Ayob reported that:

”I spoke with Mrs. Mandela,” Mr. Ayoub reported. ”Her reply was that Mr. Mandela still remained a prisoner of the South African Government and that the concession made today to him personally is clearly a response to the domestic and international pressure for his release.”

Although this move to Victor Verster Prison helped to facilitate a transition to freedom, Mandela was only released after living at the prison for 14 months.

References:

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/08/world/mandela-moved-to-house-at-prison-farm.html

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/gRnrrnB2

‘The hour of youth has struck!’: Anton Lembede and The Formation of the ANC Youth League

Today Anton Lembede would have celebrated his 70th birthday this year, had he not died so young at 33. We honour this founding member and first president of the ANC Youth League in the #LongMarchToFreedom. Visit him and other Young Lions, #Tambo, #Mandela and #Sisulu at #FountainsValley, Pretoria.

‘The hour of youth has struck!.’ So proclaimed a flyer issued by the Provisional Executive Committee of the newly formed ANC Youth League, advertising the organisation’s first conference to be held in September 1944.

The Youth League had launched six months earlier, at Johannesburg’s Bantu Social Centre in March 1944 but it was at the September conference that Anton Lembede was elected from among his equally dynamic peers to become first president of the ANC’s youth wing.

Outstanding because of his intellect, qualifications and passion, the dynamic leader invented and was greatly driven by the ideal ‘Africanism.’ He had a deep and almost fanatical love for Africa and would, on occasion remark that, ‘I live for the freedom of my people, and I shall die for Africa’s freedom’. It is no surprise that the motto of the Youth League was ‘Africa’s’ cause must triumph!’

According to Lembede’s close friend and housemate Ashby P. Mda, the first person to mention or suggest the founding of a Youth League was actually Manasseh T. Moerane. However, Moerane was not to take a leading role in the formation of the League and subsequently has not been noted in popular histories of the ANCYL.

Both founding members, Lembede and Mda had become close friends in 1943 and had to share accommodation as a result of their low wages. Their time together was spent engaging in intellectual discussions which gave birth to the ideals that were to shape the organisation and future generations to this day.

Mda acknowledged that Lembede ‘took his word in many things’ and was very respectful and loving toward him. He never wanted to clash openly with him, but in private they had intense arguments. He would attack others publicly but was to Mda ‘as soft as a newly wedded maiden’. This gave others the impression that Mda was steering Lembede from behind the scenes, but in fact they clashed in privately on many issues of principle.

Bronze statue of Anton Lembede at Fountains Valley Resort in Pretoria

In the 1930s the ANC, under the leadership of Alfred Bitini Xuma, had been revived but its methods remained cautious and respectful towards the white elite. Every resolution of the ANC started with statements like, ‘We pray the Minister… We humbly request…’  Annoyed by this pacifism, this group of young intellectuals became agitated and demanded a shift towards a more militant style of politics. Jordan Ngubane, a youth leader regarded as a philosopher, together with Lembede and Mda drafted the League Manifesto, although Lembedes’ ideas are said to have dominated the document.

 Although Xuma was worried that the manifesto was disrespectful as it was scathingly critical of the senior ANC, he still gave the youth support. The document pointed out that the formation of the Youth League was based on criticisms against the ANC which was seen as elitist and ‘not an efficiently organised bloc’, lacking a ‘constructive programme to enforce the repeal of all oppressive legislation’. The Youth League aimed at imparting to the ANC a national character rooted in African nationalism and African self-determination.

Many older ANC leaders dismissed the League as irresponsible and cheeky, partly because Lembede was extremely passionate and dogmatic about his beliefs. However, his influence was shown when the moderate Xuma lost the presidency in 1949 to James Moroka who was more supportive of the Programme of Action presented by Lembede in the same year.

Sadly, Lembede died prematurely on the 30th of July 1947 at the age of 33. Mda took over leadership and formed a working committee consisting of Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela. These, as history has shown went on to further prove that indeed the hour of youth had struck.

References

Glaser Clive. The ANC Youth League. Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2012.

Karis Thomas and G.M Carter. From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882-1964. Vol 2. California: Hoover Institution Press, 1979.

Statement during the Anton Lembede Memorial Lecture at the University of Fort Hare. 10 October 2002. http://www.ancyl.org.za/search.php?search=Anton+Lembede+&submit=search&sa=

Gerhart, Gail M. Interview with Mda, A.P. 01 January 1970. http://www.aluka.org/action/showMetadata?doi=10.5555/AL.SFF.DOCUMENT.gerhart0016

Queen Labotsibeni: Stateswoman, Revolutionary and Pioneer

On the 5th of December 1925, Queen Labotsibeni passed away.

Born in 1858 at eLuhlekweni northern Swaziland, Labotsibeni was a Princess of the Mdhluli section of the Swazi Nation. She was the wife of Ngwenyama Mbandeni and mother of Bhunu Heli Mahlikhlo Ngwane III and grandmother of King Sobhuza II. She was proclaimed the Ndhlovukazi (Queen) after the death of her husband in 1889 and ruled for 36 years, first as the Queen mother and then as the Queen Regent as Sobhuza was too young to rule.

Queen Labotsibeni at the Long March to Freedom in Pretoria.

Labotsibeni’s ascension to the throne was rather atypical as Swati traditional laws did not allow a woman in her situation to rule. Second, her clan, Mdluli, was not next in line to rule Swaziland. In spite of this, she was chosen because of “her outstanding intelligence, ability and character and experience.” Also known as Gwamile (meaning the indomitable one) she was acknowledged by many representatives of Britain as one of the cleverest rulers in Africa, a shrewd diplomat who bravely led and defended Swaziland.

During her reign she tried to regain tracts of land that her husband had lost to European settlers by raising 40 000 pounds to buy it back, however she was not successful. Her campaign coincided with protests against South Africa’s 1913 Natives’ Land Act. In solidarity, Labotsibeni contributed to the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) 1914 delegation to Britain to protest the act. In 1921 she and Crown Prince Sobhuza, later King Sobhuza II, financed and co-founded the Abantu-Batho newspaper, the mouthpiece of the SANNC. A strong African nationalist, the Regent had registered the infant Prince Sobhuza as a member of the ANC at its inception in 1912.

A rainmaker and one of the richest women in South Africa, she was not known to wear European clothes although the Queen of England is said to have sent her many. This was perhaps a sign of her Africanism and being grounded in tradition. She died in Swaziland at the age of 80.

We remember this great woman and icon of the struggle for freedom today at the Long March To Freedom.

References

Christison, G. 2007. African Jerusalem: The Vision of Robert Grendon. PhD Thesis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, pp.773 and 774.

Ginindza, T. 1996. Labotsibeni/Gwamile Mdluli: The Power Behind the Swazi Throne, 1875-1925, Annals, New York Academy of Sciences, pp.135-158.

Mkhonza, S. 2012. Queen Labotsibeni and Abantu-Batho. In: Limb, P. ed. 2012. The People’s Paper: A Centenary History and Anthology of Abantu-Batho. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Mokoatsi.Thapelo ‘Pioneers: Swazi Queen labotsibeni’ http://www.thejournalist.org.za/pioneers/pioneers-swazi-queen-labotsibeni\

Skota Mweli. T. D. The African Yearly Register: Being an illustrated national biographical dictionary (who’s who) of Black folks in Africa  (c.1930)

 

The Sobukwe Clause:

Today marks 93 years since President of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) was born.

Sobukwe was a man of exceptional capabilities who inspired radical black thought. Due to his influence in the struggle the apartheid government enacted the “Sobukwe clause”, a statute which at face value seemed to grant broadly applicable powers, but was specifically intended to authorise the arbitrary extension of Sobukwe’s imprisonment.

This Clause which was also seen as the 1963 General Laws Amendment Act No 37 “strengthened the 1962 [GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT] ACT … by further defining political crimes” (Riley 1991: 82). For instance, Section 5 made a capital crime out of “receiving training that could further the objects of communism or advocating abroad economic or social change in South Africa by violent means through the aid of a foreign government or institution where the accused is a resident or former resident of South Africa” (Dugard 1978: 125t). It made provisions for imposing “sentences ranging from a minimum of five years’ imprisonment to death for anyone leaving the country to learn sabotage techniques, for advocating the forcible overthrow of the government or for urging the forcible inter-venti on in domestic South African affairs by an outside power, including the UN” (Riley 1991: 82).

The 1963 act also included certain provisions for an indefinite detention. The clause was also known as the “Sobukwe Clause” since it was specifically aimed at keeping the PAC leader Robert Sobukwe in jail (as also later admitted by the government). Thus after a three-year sentence, he “was actually detained for a further six years on the annual decision of the Parliament”.

Part of the reason for the drastic measures taken to prevent Sobukwe from speaking and protesting was that his ideologies of freeing the African mind were far too revolutionary for the apartheid government. This act was later superseded by the INTERNAL SECURITY ACT of 1976.

To learn more about this iconic struggle hero you can read:

  • How Can Man Die Better: The Life Of Robert Sobukwe by Benjamin Pogrund

You can also watch:

  • Sobukwe: A Great Soul (Movie)

 References:

https://www.nelsonmandela.org/omalley/index.php/site/q/03lv01538/04lv01828/05lv01829/06lv01910.htm

https://www.thedailyvox.co.za/remembering-robert-sobukwe-39-years-words-aaisha-dadi-patel/

The Political Thinking of Robert Sobukwe and the PAC:

Today we commemorate struggle and intellectual leader, Robert Sobukwe who was born on 5 December 1924. We discuss his political thinking as part of his contribution to the struggle.

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was a popular Africanist leader and thinker who fought for the political emancipation of Africa.

Sobukwe rose to national prominence when he broke away from the African National Congress (ANC) in 1959 to form the more radical Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). This breakaway group experienced many difficulties with the views of their former political party, the ANC. The newly formed PAC believed that the membership of the Youth League was open to all who “lived like and with blacks”. They felt that the ANC was incapable of promoting black liberation, because of its large number of white members. Essentially they believed that the majority of white members within the ANC had diluted the traditional Black Nationalist position of the ANC. The PAC wanted black South Africans to be in control of their own liberation struggle, without the influence of white liberals, including communists.

The PAC believed that it was the historic task of the black working class and its organisations to mobilize the urban and rural poor so that, along with the radical groups of the middle class, they could bring an end to oppression and exploitation by the white ruling class. During this struggle one national culture, underpinned by socialist values, would emerge.

Keeping these views in mind Sobukwe thus promoted African Nationalism (later called Black Consciousness) and pushed for his Pan-African vision of ‘a government of the Africans, by the Africans, for the Africans’. This can be seen in his speech delivered at the first annual meeting of the newly formed PAC:

“We aim, politically, at government of the Africans by the Africans, for the Africans, with everybody who owes his only loyalty to Afrika and who is prepared to accept the democratic rule of an African majority being regarded as African … Socially we aim at the full development of the human personality and a ruthless uprooting and outlawing of all forms or manifestations of the racial myth” (Sobukwe, 1959/2014: 480).

Sobukwe’s philosophy of African nationalism was essentially a basis for the complete unity of the African people. It was also the basis for the achievement of national freedom for the African people as a step towards a well-developed democratic order in South Africa. Sobukwe and the PAC believed that anti-racism and anti-imperialism, non-cooperation with the oppressors and their political instruments, independent working-class organisations, and opposition to alliances with ruling-class parties would result in the successful execution of the national liberation struggle.

Sobukwe was an icon of African Nationalism and used African Nationalism as the means to emancipate Africans completely. He wanted to liberate them from political oppression, social degradation and economic exploitation.

 

References:

http://www.nhmsa.co.za/sculpture.html?tag=robert_sobukwe

https://www.nelsonmandela.org/omalley/index.php/site/q/03lv02424/04lv02730/05lv03188/06lv03214.htm

https://mg.co.za/article/2015-02-27-robert-sobukwes-dream-unrealised-21-years-into-democracy

Delport, Terblanche. ‘Asazi ukuthi iyozala nkomoni1: Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s historical imagination of the future’. PINS, 2016, 50, 35 – 52, http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2309-8708/2016/n50a3

The granting of independence to Ciskei

On the fourth of December 1981, Ciskei was granted independence.

Ciskei which means “on this side of the Kei River’ was granted independence by the South African government in 1981, following a referendum conducted by Lennox Sebe, leader of the Ciskei National Independence Party (CNIP).

Under South Africa’s policy of Apartheid, land was set aside for black peoples in self-governing territories. The homelands system lay at the heart of the National Party (NP) government’s policy of territorial and political separation based on race. The Bantu Authorities Act was passed in the early 1950s, increasing the powers of traditional authorities in preparation for self-governance, and in 1959, the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act provided the legislative basis for the future homelands. The government argued that Africans could develop as a nation better if they were settled in their tribal home lands.

(20 Feb 1980) Homeland leader Chief Lennox Sebe rejected a South African plan for “independence” for his Ciskeian people on Wednesday, (13 February), unless they were allowed to keep South African citizenship in this clip;

Ciskei was designated as one of two homelands or “Bantustans” for Xhosa speaking people.  Ngqika (Rharhabe) Xhosa people were resettled in the Ciskei, and Gcaleka Xhosa were settled in the  Transkei, the other Xhosa homeland.       It was the largest un-segmented Bantustan, in south Eastern Cape Province (currently the Eastern Cape) with a succession of capitals during its existence. Originally, Zwelitsha served as the capital with the view that Alice would become the long-term national capital. However, it was Bisho  (now spelled Bhisho) that became the capital until Ciskei’s reintegration into South Africa.

After the granting of independence, Sebe was elected “President for Life” of the new “state.” The Sebe regime rapidly became notable as one of the most repressive of the Bantustan governments. It is believed by some that Sebe never enjoyed any degree of popular support. However, some residents of the Ciskei during his time did support his traditional type of rule and recall how he used to slaughter a beast at the end of every month. He is also credited for building and developing Bisho. It was not until 1989 that open opposition to his government gained momentum. On the 15th of December 1993 the South African Parliament voted to restore citizenship to residents of the so called independent states. As the political situation in South Africa improved in 1990, residents of Ciskei began to agitate for similar reforms. The South African Homelands or Bantustans ceased to exist on 27 April 1994, and were re-incorporated into the new nine provinces of a democratic South Africa.

References

‘Bantustans’ http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/multimedia.php?id=65-259-7

‘The Homelands.’ http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/homelands

 

 

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

Today we recognise the existing issue of slavery all over the world and remember those that played a pivotal role in the eradication of slavery in the Cape.

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, which is recognised on the 2nd December of every year, recalls the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of Others (resolution 317 (IV) of 2 December 1949).

This day focuses on the eradication of contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. Today, 21 million women, men and children are trapped in slavery all over the world.

Although this day is centred on contemporary forms of eradicating slavery we should also remember those who played a vital role in the abolition of slavery in the Cape during the 17th and 18th century.

Louis van Mauritius, a Cape slave and later a slave rebellion leader, grew up in the brutal world of slavery. Originally from Mauritius, he had been transported to the Cape when he was a young boy. While in his early 20s, he was owned by the proprietor of a wine store on the foreshore where he socialised with diverse populations of sailors and soldiers from throughout the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. It was through these encounters that he heard of the momentous events taking place in this era of revolutions and war, which included the slave uprising in Haiti.

Hearing about the struggles for freedom in Ireland, France and Haiti, van Mauritius was inspired to lead over 300 slaves and Khoena (Khoi) servants in a march on Cape Town to demand their freedom. He disguised himself as a Spanish sea captain and was able, with fellow leaders, to convince farmers to release their slaves into the hands of the ‘military’ party.

His rebellion was swiftly crushed as the Cape Governor was aware of the revolt and ordered military forces to lie in wait for the rebels at Salt River. The participants were trapped and quickly scattered in the face of superior forces. The rebellion was over in two days.

The marchers were pursued, captured, interned, interrogated and 51 were put on trial. Four of the five leaders, including Louis van Mauritius, were sentenced to hang.

Even though the slave rebellion was unsuccessful and resulted in the demise of van Mauritius the slave world did transform in the years that followed. In the subsequent years more and more Cape slaves demanded rights within the colony rather than running away. Although slavery at the Cape continued until 1834, the actions of distant abolitionists was eventually to bring chattel slavery to an end in the 1830s.

The Slavery Abolition Bill passed by the British parliament in 1833 was enforced. To make them fit for freedom, the emancipated slaves were compelled to serve their previous masters as apprentices for four years.

About 39,000 slaves were freed on December 1st 1838, Emancipation Day, when slave apprenticeships were finally terminated.

References:

http://www.nhmsa.co.za/sculpture.html?tag=louis_van_mauritius

https://www.groundup.org.za/article/how-slave-mauritius-led-rebellion-cape-town/

https://www.gov.za/speeches/international-day-abolition-slavery-2017-23-nov-2016-1335

A TIMELINE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S SLAVE HISTORY

A TIMELINE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S SLAVE HISTORY

Louis van Mauritius, a slave rebellion leader as he stands in the Long March to Freedom. To read more on him, visit: Louis van Mauritius

WE COMMEMORATE THE 1 December every year in commemoration of EMANCIPATION DAY, the day all slaves were free men in South Africa, 1 December 1838. Here is a simple timeline on the development of slavery in the colonies.

1602

Chamber Representatives of the Netherlands Parliament grant a founding charter to the Dutch East India Company to establish an Indian trading empire in the East.

1652

The Dutch East India Company started a refreshment station at the Cape for its VOC shipping fleet on their way to East and/or on their return trips from Batavia

1653

Abraham van Batavia, the first slave, arrives at the Cape. Before the first shipment of slaves in 1658, a hand full off slaves had already arrived in the Cape with their ‘owners’. By 1658 there were 11 slaves, 8 women and 3 men at the Cape. One of these, Abraham, was a stowaway who, in 1653, arrived from the East aboard the ship Malacca, claiming to have run away from his master, Cornelis Lichthart of Batavia. Abraham was set to work at the Cape.

1654

A slaving voyage is undertaken from the Cape via Mauritius to Madagascar.

1658

Farms granted to Dutch free burghers (ex-Company soldiers).

The first shipload of slaves are brought to the Cape, from Angola on-board the ship, the Amersfoort.

1666

Slaves helped built the Castle – Fort Good Hope.

1679

Foundations laid for the Company Slave Lodge.

1687

Free burghers petition for slave trade to be opened to free enterprise.

1693

Slaves at the Cape outnumber free people for the first time

1700

Government directive restricting male slaves being brought from the East.

1717

Dutch East India Company ends assisted immigration from Europe and retains the institution of slavery as the main labour system for the Cape.

1719

Free burghers petition again for slave trade to be opened to free enterprise.

1720

France occupies Mauritius.

1722

Slave post established Lourenco Marques by Dutch.

1725

Evidence that runaway slaves have been living at the mountainous Hangklip for extensive periods, between Gordons Bay and Kleinmond/Hermanus.

1732

Maputo slave post abandoned due to mutiny.

1738

The Moravian Church started their first mission station at Baviaans-kloof, now known as Genadendal in the Swellendam district.

1745 – 46

Free burghers petition again for slave trade to be opened to free enterprise.

1753

Governor Rijk Tulbagh codifies slave law.

1754

The governor, Tulbagh, consolidated the numerous VOC slave regulations into a single placaaten, the Cape Slave Code

A census taken of the Cape colony at the time showed the two populations, both slaves and settlers to be roughly equal to about 6000 each.

1767

Abolition of importation of male slaves from Asia.

1779

Free burghers petition again for slave trade to be opened to free enterprise.

1784

Free burghers petition again for slave trade to be opened to free enterprise.

Government directive abolishing the importation of male slaves from Asia repeated.

1787

Government directive abolishing the importation of male slaves from Asia repeated again.

1791

Slave trade opened to free enterprise.

1792

The Moravian Missionary Society re-established their first mission station, Genadendal in the Swellendam district.

1795

The British takes over control of the Cape and remain in charge throughout the 19th century.

1796

The British outlaws torture and some of the most brutal forms of capital punishments.

A pamphlet advertising slaves, 28 September 1801
Source: National Library of South Africa

1803

Dutch temporarily re-occupy the Cape of Good Hope (Short three years, see Batavian Republic).

1806

Britain occupies the Cape again.

Company slaves are released from the Slave Lodge under rule of the then Governor, the Earl of Caledon.

Mission station at Groene-kloof [Mamre] near Malmesbury. This former military outpost on the farm, Louwplaas was offered by the British government to the Moravian Missionary Society for the establishment of a mission station. There are more than 5 000 people living at Mamre today.

1807

Britain passes Abolition of Slave Trade Act, outlawing the Trans-Indian Oceanic slave trade. It was now illegal to be a slave trader buying or selling slaves, but it was still legal to own slaves.

Prohibition on the importation of overseas slaves resulted in increasing the exchange value of Cape born Creole slaves.

1808

Britain enforces the Abolition of Slave Trade Act, ending the external slave trade. Slaves can now be traded only within the colony.

The Koeberg slave rebellion in the Swartland near Malmesbury, led by Louis of Mauritius, is defeated at Salt River. Resulted in the capturing of 300 farm slaves as dissidents.

1812

The London Missionary Society was invited by the leader of the local Khoi i.e. the Attaquas tribe to establish a mission station.  Thus the mission station, Zuurbraak was established at the foot of Tradouw Pass.

The London Missionary Society sponsored  missionary, Rev Charles Pacalt who established this small mission station a few miles south of George. Pacaltsdorp, presently a vibrant ‘Cape Coloured’ town outside George in the Southern Cape.

1813

Het Gesticht, the fourth oldest church building in South Africa and erected in 1813 by the inhabitants of Paarl as a meeting house for non-Christian slaves and heathen in the town. The Paarl Missionary Society took over the administration of Het Gesticht. It has been proclaimed a National Monument, and serves nowadays as a museum for the South African Mission Foundation.

Fiscal Dennyson codifies the Cape Slave Law.

1822

Last slaves imported, illegally.

1823

The British House of Commons discusses the conditions of slaves at the Cape of Good Hope by appointing a parliamentary commission of enquiry due to relentless pressure of the Anti-Slavery Abolitionists lobby.

1825

Appointment of two Crown Commissioners, visiting the Cape of Good Hope – including the various mission settlements – to investigate slavery at the Cape.

A second slave uprising at the farm, Hou-den-Bek, led by Galant van die Kaap, is defeated in the Koue Bokkeveld, near Ceres.

1826

Guardian of Slaves appointed.

The Colonial Office intervened by forcing local colonial assemblies to bring the local amelioration legislation such Ordinance 19 of 1826  promulgated at the Cape, into line  with the Trinidad Order aimed at the sugar plantation slave owners. Thus the British introduced ameliorisation laws  in order to improve the living conditions of slaves as well as a a series of practical  ameliorisation measures to make punishments less cruel, and the Office of the Protector of Slaves is established with Assistant Slave Protectors in rural towns and villages away from Cape Town.

Collapse of the Cape wine industry.

A certificate from the Slave Registry Office, 1827 Source: Iziko Museum, Cape Town

1827

Coloured Persons qualified for the municipal franchise of Cape Town, and a Malay property owner was elected as Wardmaster.

1828

Ordinance 50 of 1828 liberated Khoisan into the category on par with Free Blacks and placed all Free Black persons i.e. both Hottentots and Vrye Swartes on equal legal footing with White colonists within the judiciary system.

The two Rhenish missionaries, J G Leipoldt and T. von Wurmb jointly bought a farm Rietmond on the Tratra River in the Cedarberg District.  The Rhenish Missionary Society started several industries, including the well-known shoe making factory at the Wupperthal mission station.

1830

Slave owners have to start keeping a record of punishments.

Revised provisions of Ordinance 19 by the British Parliament  resulted in the renamed Office of the Protector of Slaves.

1831

Stellenbosch slave owners rioted by refusing to accept this order to keep registers  of slave punishments.

1832

More than 2000 slave owners assembled in Cape Town to hold a protest meeting demonstrating against this government order which was adopted without proper consultation.

1833

The Rhenish Mission Society ensured that a mission chapel was built and completed in 1833. As a result the Headquarters of the Rhenish Mission Society relocated from Steinthal near Tulbach to Worcester.

1833

Emancipation Decree issued in London.

1834

Slavery is abolished in British colonies on 01 December, liberated slaves now falls into the category of Free Blacks, although the ‘freed’ slaves are forced to serve an extended four year apprenticeship to make them ‘fit for freedom’.

The Cape farmers faced prolonged weather conditions of drought.

The Berlin Missionary Society established a mission at Bethanie.

1835

Ordinance No. 1 of 1835 introduced the terms of apprenticeship at the Cape, including the appointment of special magistrates.

1836

Start of the Great Trek by 12 000 frontier farmers, who demonstrated their unhappiness about the government’s policy to release slaves from the control of  Free Burghers as slaveholders.

Non-Whites were finally accorded similar treatment like White colonists in their interaction with the public institutions of the local authorities.

1838

End of slave “apprenticeship”. About 39 000 slaves are freed on Emancipation Day, 1 December 1838. Only 1,2 million pounds paid out against the original estimated compensation amount of 3 milion pounds which were initially set aside by the British government in compensation monies for the  about  1 300 affected slaveholding farmers at the Cape Good Hope.

On the day of the actual release of slave apprentices, there was a three day rainy period which was followed by an extremely wet winter season which led to wide scale flooding across the Cape Colony;

1839

The Moravian Missionary Society acquired the farm, Vogelstruyskraal near Cape Agulhas in the Caledon District. The newly established mission station was named Elim. Today, the town of Elim has a population of 2000 inhabitants.

1841

Masters and Servants Ordinance regularising and criminalizing labour relationships between employer and employee in favour of the former slave masters based on the past CAPE SLAVE CODES originally issued by the VOC as Placaaten of India.