I have here tried to distill lots of very dense, deep and complex historical information produced by excellent researchers into a coherent readable and digestible time-line of historical events, leaving out the overwhelming ‘white noise’ of the colonist focus in other histories, so as to give people of colour in the Western Cape a better idea of what happened to our forebears. It’s not the whole definitive story and for me it’s a work in progress – a framework to which more can be added. It weaves together the history of resistance and the attrition suffered by San, Khoena, Slaves, Free Blacks, Indentures and other migrants of colour, to give a clearer picture of a conflict-engineered peopling of the Cape which can give people in the 21st century a better understanding of what is their roots and identity. To get the full picture one will also need to read part two of the Chronology which I am yet to finish.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a work in progress and far from finessed.
South African history does a great injustice to the story of the Khoena (Khoi) and /Xam or San. It leaves a great hole in history, so we have ignorant people who say that the Khoena and San did not resist colonialism, put their hands up and left resistance up to the Xhosa and the Zulu. The latter are presented as the greatest and most valiant of African resisters, whereas even although they fought with distinction, their resistance and duration of resistance comes only third in line after the Khoena/San/Slave resistance and then the 100 years of Xhosa wars of resistance. The Khoena, San and Slave resistance lasted much longer and involved more resistance and greater sacrifices than any other in our history. The amaXhosa resistance wars lasted 100 years and nine wars. The first three of these war involved joint amaXhosa and Khoena resisters.
The earliest resistance of the Khoena against European forces was in 1510 and was a victory nothing short of amazing and great. A series of Khoena and San resistance wars between 1659 and 1825 mark 166 years of concerted resistance warfare by the Khoena and San, and this does not include later uprisings like the Kat River Rebellion by descendants of the Khoena and slaves. Also during the same period there was many slave resistance episodes and a significant slave uprising comparable to the famous slave uprisings around the world.
Our history books largely omit this story. Thus a very false colonialist history has been embraced unfortunately in certain circles of the new post-Apartheid order. This also unfortunately has led to ludicrous assertions by some claiming to represent the Khoena and San without understanding the history of what really happened under the colonial onslaught. Effectively a denialist history and often dubious and divisive assertions which insult the memory of the Cape Khoena and San have gained popularity and ascendency.
People rightly ask “Whatever happened to the Khoena and San of the Western Cape”. Most historians dodge this question, but there are a few who tackle it head on in ground-breaking works such as that of Nigel Penn, Martin Leggasick, and Mohomed Adikari. Other works have hidden gems in them struggling with ‘white noise’ to be seen and digested.
The true story is unpalatable to many and, dodgy assertions simply lend credibility to those who say that the Khoena and San and Slaves showed no real resistance to colonialism. The was also much collaboration from once resistant Khoena once they had been over-powered and started supporting colonists against other resisting Khoena as the battle lines constantly changed. The changing allegiances in war is an ugly story and challenges us today as to which elements of the past we are identifying with if we over-politicize past heritage. We have to come to terms with the shameful as well as that which instills pride. We have to beware of mistakes and opportunism that were repeated over and over again. We need to come to terms that all peoples develop from primitive modes of living, economies and cultural practices to adopt new ways over time and over the two centuries after van Riebeeck the Khoena people did not remain frozen in time but also changed. War itself was responsible for much change. The story of the Camissa Footprint and the resistance which flowed from the first shoreline frontier onwards is not a little subscript pinned onto history. It is the real history of the most long-lasting resistance ever in Southern Africa.
Without understanding what happened in the past in all its complexities we will always be dealing with identity issues in a manner which is a second rate caricature of reality. In the 18th and 19th century our ancestors grappled with many of the same identity issues that some people are reviving today, and they found resolution, and overcame much of the divisions brought about as a legacy of over a century and a half of ethnic upheaval, cleansing and war.
In the first decades of the 19th century the descendant Khoena and mixed Khoena groups firstly had to tacitly acknowledged the terrible truth that as a result of war, cleansing of territory and seizure of resources, most of the Cape Khoena clans were now gone forever. Cape Khoena survivors had largely gathered at the Gariep and at the outskirts of Swellendam and Graaff Reinet and had two choices to make. Some took the one choice and others took the other choice.
The first choice was to re-join the Namaqua and Korana (Gora) from which all Cape Khoena clans had originally descended prior to the migration to the southernmost regions of the Cape, and put behind them the many splits and divisions that had resulted in definitive ethnic formations along the way. Or alternatively in the east, join with their amaXhosa cousins as demonstrated by the Stuurmans who had led the Khoena into a confederacy of resistance together with the amaXhosa. (later repeated at Kat River under Matroos).
The second choice was to establish a revived and united Khoena formation as home to all Khoena refugees and others who wished to embrace it – and thus revivalists formed the Griqua. These two solutions proved resilient even although a few divisions again appeared. Some of the leading ancestors of this revived formation left us written accounts in their own hand about their confrontation of the vexing questions and how they tackled these issues. The same issues continue to be raised today but few have ever read the texts to which I here refer.
In the 21st century those two options still remain, but have been joined by an array of new and much divided revivalist manifestations too. This however does not provide a resolution to the search for identities of the majority of persons labelled “Coloured” who descend from a mix of the small enserfed Khoena, the slaves from Africa, India and Southeast Asia, the Free Blacks, the indentures and many other migrants of colour, as well as those non-conformist Europeans who integrated with persons of colour.
Those who are the descendants of migrants of colour and indigenes bonded by the Camissa footprint and the events that flowed from the events at the Shoreline Frontier will find some illumination from this chronology about the ‘peopling of the Western Cape’ in a time of war and resistance. This chronology addresses falsehoods about early migrations that are dealt with and also falsehoods about later attrition of war and, around migrations of peoples of colour that are not elaborated upon.
For those who wish to read the more in depth stories….. this chronology is informed and indebted to, among other works, by the excellent research of:
Nigel Penn – The Forgotten Frontier / Karel Schoeman – Early Slavery at the Cape of Good Hope / Robert C-H Shell – Children of Bondage / Nigel Worden, Elizabeth van Heyningen, Vivian Bickford-Smith – Cape Town: Making of a City / Richard Elphick – Khoihoi and the founding of White South Africa / Mohamed Adikari – The Anatomy of a South African Genocide
Here follows a chronology in TWO PARTS…. PART ONE: 500BC – 1740 and PART TWO: 1740 – 1825.
A Chronology of important markers in the heritage of the peoples of Africa South of the Gariep PART ONE: 500BC – 1740
Written evidence by Herodotus the Greek Historian suggests that the Phoenician sailors may have visited Southern Africa when circumnavigating the world, which he describes in a detail that gives it credibility.
Further evidence suggests that the Carthusians travelled down the West African coast but only as far as Sierra Leone.
Under the Mauryan Empire in India the continent of Africa was first engaged, with Indian shipping visiting North African harbours. At this peak in their technological abilities they were not able to venture further.
Archaeological sites show that for many thousands of years the forebears of the San had been widely dispersed across Southern Africa from Angola to northern Zambia through to Kenya and way down to the southern reaches of South Africa, covering the whole of South Africa.
The earliest forebears of the Cape San people left markers for many thousands of years BC. Over time those refer to as /Xam or San and other groups all over Southern Africa (as far as Angola, Zambia and Tanzania) emerged during the stone age and early iron age development, as hunter-gatherer communities. They would influence and enter the bloodlines of both Bantu and Khoena pastoral peoples with whom they came into contact over time.
From East Africa the forebears of the Khoena (Khoi) migrated into the south western regions of South Africa after a gradual drift and engaged with the forebears of the /Xam or San people who were already firmly established in South Africa. The Khoena were pastoralists and also 500 years later engaged with the migratory drifts of the first Bantu peoples into South Africa.
The Khoena are related to the hunter-gatherer Hadza and Sandawe of Tanzania and may have originated as agricultural pursuits developed among hunter-gatherers in East Africa who then sought pasturing land and also through pressures from northern and western peoples moving into East Africa who forced these Khoena forebears southwards.
Notably the terms Hadza, /Xam, Khoena, and Bantu all have the same meaning – “People”. Within each family of “people” are many tribal and clan names and none of these maintained absolute ethnic purity.
The pastoral Khoena began migrating from the northern reaches of today’s Botswana and Namibia, southwards to the territory both sides of the Gariep River…. These Khoena came to be known as the Korana or Gora formations, of whom some drifted south eastward. All Cape Khoena formations evolved from the Korana and the Namaqua offshoot.
The gradual migratory drift of early iron age cultivator Bantu people from the great lakes region of Africa moved south eastward and south westward, into South Africa and gradually over a long period dispersed in different trajectories engaging with both widespread San and the earlier migrations of Khoena peoples.
The Indian Gupta Empire at this time evolved in India over the period 320 AD – 550 AD also known as the Golden Age. Under Chandragupta II (380-414) the Indian navy and seaports were expanded. With 1200 ships at its disposal the maritime trade was expanded from previous engagement with North African ports, now to down the East Coast of Africa to Tanzania, northern Mozambique, the Mascarene islands and Madagascar. During this time the Indians may also have done limited exploration further down south or through limited overland exploration made contact further South with peoples of Zimbabwe and Limpopo. Maritime history suggests that their vessels at this stage would have had difficulty with the wild coast and advancing further south.
The Khoena Korana pastoralists and Namaqua already well established in the Northern Cape split up in the Gariep into two migrations. Gradually over 500 years these migrations drifted down the East coast of South Africa and down the West coast of South Africa and into the furthest reaches of the Western Cape and by around 1200 AD were well established. The Their trajectories were followed by the Bantu early iron age migrants in the Eastern Cape long before the latter Bantu migrations in the 13th century. It is likely that the amaXhosa and all peoples to their south have the smaller earlier Bantu migrants as ancestors together with Khoena and San as their first ancestors, before the 13th century Nguni migrants reached the area. The amaXhosa culture is too visibly similar in many respects to Khoena and San culture to disregard this heritage.
At this time the Persians and Arabs were trading extensively along the East African coast as far as Inhambane Bay (Sofala) in Mozambique. It was from here that in time trading for gold and ivory from inland Zimbabwe and Mapangubwe would flourish by the 11th century.
Archaeologists show that early Iron Age agriculturalist (cultivators) habitation sites can be found all over the coastal regions of KZN and as far as the Chalumna River near East London and the Mbashe River in the Transkei. These are linked to the older gradual drift of Bantu people from the Great Lakes region of central Africa who had moved down and crossed into South Africa connecting with the descendants of the San and earlier drifts of the forebears of the Khoena. All of these peoples engaged and had common descendants.
A bass relief on the temple walls at Borobudur in Indonesia suggests that Indians and Southeast Asians had by now experimented with sailing down to the southeast coast of Africa and it was feasible that they could have have rounded the Cape by this time. (in 2003 a replica of the Borobudur vessel successful rounded the Cape and went on to Ghana establishing the feasibility) The vessel technology of this time show that it could only have carried a very limited number of crew and little else.
The Chinese are recorded as travelling down the Cape Coast. Their vessels were much larger than any other maritime transportation known at that time or prior and, their technology more advanced. They were able to return to China with a giraffe and their maps already accurately showed features of the continent south of the Sahara.
Evidence suggests that by this time the Arabs had reached the south eastern coast of Africa.
Arab sea route maps indicate that they had relatively accurately identified Southern Africa at a time when European maps refer to any land south of the Sahara as Terre Incognito.
Tsonga (Kalanga) Bantu moved into northern KZN in a second Bantu Migration drift into South Africa. While there was probably a continuous trickle of migration since that of the 4th century when Bantu people from the great lakes first gradually came to reside in South Africa and mixed with the Khoena and San, this 13th century migration can be seen as a substantial migration giving rise to new tribal and clan formations and the beginning of the social history of the peopling of KZN.
At the same time another grouping who were a mix of those who became known as Sotho and Tswana language groups and also had descended from both the first and second migrations emerged as the Bakoni. The Bakoni were also a mix of Khoena and Bantu peoples The Bakoni moved into KZN continuing to integrate with Khoena and San there and also with new Bantu migrations down from Mozambique. The mixed descendants of this coming together came to be called Nguni – a contested term. All people referred to as Nguni today are a mix of two Bantu migrations 800 years apart and which mixed with San, Khoena and Bakoni. (The Zulu phenomenon – a modern one, only emerged 600 years later.
The export of gold and ivory from inland Africa thrived at the port of Sofala and signs point to some of this originating at Mapangubwe on the south banks of the Limpopo. These northern regions of South Africa were well populated and economically thriving regions by this time.
After earlier Chinese voyages down the east coast of Africa, the Chinese under Admiral Zeng He rounded the Cape. The Drakensburg Mountains and Gariep River can be seen on their maps of this time. The journey was China’s epic rounding of the Cape and circumnavigation of the world before that of the Europeans.
Rise of the Munhumu Tapa Kingdom (Monamotapa) on the north eastern plateaux of Zimbabwe which did business with the Arabs and others from beyond Africa – India and China. By this time too, the lineage trees of various Eastern Cape people show that the Xesibe, Mpondomise, Mpondo, Thembu, Bomvana and Xhosa were all well established at the areas between the Mthatha River and the Kei River in the Eastern Cape and among their ancestors were earlier Bantu and Khoena migrant settlers from the fifth century. From the 1490s right through to the mid-1600s European seafarers and shipwreck survivors all record sightings of people and repeat phonetically words spoken by people fitting the descriptions of people noted to be settled in this territory. Shipwrecked Asians and Europeans over the next two centuries also integrated with these groups and are part of their ancestry.
The first of the European explorers, Bartholomew Diaz rounded the Cape and landed at Mossel Bay.
Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape and reached Kilwa where he took on Arab navigators who assisted him to reach India, thus opening the European sea route to the east.
The mixed Xhosa/Khoena/San people inhabited many parts of the Eastern Cape – these were all descendants of the KORANA. The paramount tribe of all Cape Khoena was the COBUQUA who enjoyed good relations with and had familial links to the XHOSA (the Xhosa, were a mix of Korana, San and early Bantu migrations rather than later Nguni Bantu migrants who would join up with them later) and under which the Gonaqua, Hoengeyqua, Damasqua and INQUA (Hamcumqua) tribes resided.
The lNQUA had seven sub-tribal tributaries, Chamaqua, Omaqua, Hessequa, CHAINUQUA, Attaqua, Cauqua, Hotunqua.
In the Westcoast region the NAMAQUA stretched from the Gariep all the way down to Saldanha Bay. In the South a set of wandering herder groups known as the Guriqua (GriGriqua/Charigariqua), herding sheep and cattle for others, were under Namaqua patronage but also linked in to the Cochouqua sphere of influence.
The Cochoqua, was a second-tier sub-tribe of the CHAINOUQUA, and were the strongest clan formation in the South. In time they spawned two breakaway sub-clans – the Goringhaiqua and Gorachoqua. (This entire lineage traces back in time to the Gora and Korana in the Gariep). As a result of the later colonial onslaught, refugees from the Peninsula descendent clans would return to the mother bodies in the Gariep – the Namaqua and the Korana or Gora. Others created a new entity in the 19th century as a result of the diaspora of the Cape Khoena during the 166 years of war – the Griqua.
From this time to 1507 the ports of Kilwa and Mombasa in East Africa were seized by the Portuguese, where-after took over the major ports in India, Ceylon and Southeast Asia. By this time at the Southernmost reaches of the Cape it was well populated by Cape Khoena tribes and clans and by the Cape San people who occupied the mountainous regions.
Francisco d’Almeida the greatest Portuguese military hero of the times and all his senior officers and many soldiers suffered death and defeat in a battle on the beach of Table Bay, at the hands of the aggrieved Khoena, after the Portuguese violated their hospitality. For much of the 16th century the Portuguese then treated the Cape with much caution.
The Portuguese took control of the major ports on Mozambique Island and on the Mozambique coast.
The English under Sir Francis Drake rounded the Cape for the first time.
The new century saw a paradigm shift in European travel and in the engagement of indigene Khoena with the Europeans. The next fifty years changed the way of life and economy of the indigene Khoena dramatically. Europeans crossed the Shoreline Frontier and spent increasingly longer periods of time on shore with the indigenes, much of this without negative incidents.
McCall Theal in his ’History of SA 1486-1691’ tells us that Spilbergen makes mention in 1601 that the sick from their ship were conveyed to land where a hospital was established.
The United Dutch East India Company VOC was born and shipping around the Cape increased dramatically to India, Ceylon, Arakan, Siam and Batavia. Between this time and 1652 over 1071 ships flying Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and Danish flags stop-over in Table Bay for durations of a few weeks to many months. This had a dramatic effect on the people of Table Bay. From the late 1400s to the 1700s it is also recorded that many ships sank off the SA coast – many of these on the wild coast of the Eastern Cape. The European and Asian survivors largely assimilated into the bloodlines the African people who rescued them.
Raven Hart in his book ‘Before van Riebeeck’ provides the figures of 1,839 sheep and 149 cattle being traded to 4 ships between 1601-1608. Jean Baptista Tavernier in ‘The Six Travels…’ tells us “So soon as the ship arrives, they (the indigenes) bring their beasts to the shore with what other commodities they have, to barter….” This was only the start, as ships within the next decade would start to arrive monthly. The earliest roots of a trading economy had emerged among the Khoena and this began to change the way of life for some.
In the period 1610 to 1620, English ships alone increased to ten times the number of the previous decade.
An account by Aldsworth noted that their English East India Company vessel established a hospital ashore and they stayed for 20 days saying – – “we found the natives of the country to be very courteous and tractable folk, and they did not give us the least annoyance during the time we were there.” The durations of stay by Europeans from this point increased and having travellers among them became the norm for the Khoena.
Chief Xhore of the Goringhaiqua was kidnapped by the English East India Company and taken to London for one year, after which he was returned to the Cape to act as an interpreter and facilitator for a British colonisation project which failed.
Over the period 1614 – 1616 the English under Lord Smythe attempted to establish a colony at the Cape using Newgate convicts but it failed. Their indigene point man, Xhore, turned the tables and drove off the 10 convict settlers under Captains Peyton and Crosse, after they became unruly and disrespectful to the indigenes. The convict settlers took refuge on Robben Island. There were only three survivors who returned to England. They were executed at Newgate after they had returned to lives of crime in England.
Outward bound Dutch ships carried soldiers to bolster their military forces in the East and by 1615 already the ships masters were complaining that troops had to have time ashore at the Cape of Good Hope. The VOC at this time took a decision that it would be compulsory for all Dutch shipping to lay-over at Table Bay. In the period 1600 – 1652 some 200 000 travelers had passed through Table Bay just on the outward journey to the East.
Due to the increased shipping stop-overs at the Cape there was a formal exploration of a joint English-Dutch presence at the Cape but this did not succeed.
England formally annexed the Cape of Good Hope laying sole claim to the territory but nothing came of this venture. Chief Xhore by this time was doing a brisk trade with the English as well as the ships of other nations. It was a golden era of trade with the Europeans.
Chief Xhore was killed by the Dutch after refusing to continue assisting them because of ill treatment of his people. Historian Richard Elphick informs us that the impact of Xhore’s death on trade with the Europeans was negative and all European vessels suffered as a result of this slump which continued for a few years.
By this time two to three ships per month were arriving in Table Bay with stop-overs of anything between a couple of weeks to a few months. Recuperation of the sick, acquisition of timber for repairs, bartering for meat, taking on of fresh water and leaving communications for oncoming ships required the Europeans to implement new measures, so they each began the practice of recruiting ‘point men’ from among the indigenes.
Chief Autshumao who led a small group of drifters known as the Goringhaicona, was taken to Jakarta (Batavia) by the English for training as an interpreter and facilitator of port business. A year later he was returned to the Cape.
FOUNDING OF THE PORT OF CAPE TOWN: The English assisted Autshumao and 20 of his followers to set up a port facilitation settlement on Robben Island. This was the earliest foundation of the Port of Cape Town. The Dutch co-operated with this move in that they later brought over 30 more indigenes to complement Autshumao’s community.
Peter Mundy travelling on the English ship Mary refers to Autshumao (Haddah) on Robben Island, “Here the said Haddah lives with his kindred and allies numbering about 60 persons – men, women and children. They come all about us very merrily rejoicing at our coming, better apparelled than those on the mainland, though after the same manner, except for Haddah who on that day wore English clothes from head to toe. ”This practice of Autshumao wearing European clothes is mention by others too.
CONSOLIDATION OF THE PORT OF CAPE TOWN: By this time the Robben Island port facilitation settlement proved to have its limitations and was ineffectual for both the Europeans and the Khoena. The English then re-settled Autshumao and his followers on the mainland where they established their settlement alongside the Camissa River where it flowed over the beach into the sea. Here Autshumao and his followers were more able to meet the needs of the English and other visitors who were very frequently arriving in the Cape. Effectively Autshumao’s community operated as facilitators of maritime traffic as a port community. They had given up a pastoral economy and embraced trading and other forms of entrepreneurship. They are also likely to have among them, children born of relationships between indigene women and travellers as happens in any port settlement globally. Through this emergent new economy the first beginnings of a trader-class, market agricultural class, and working class arose. Autshumao was a monopoly trader. Independent big cattle farmers somewhat detached from tribe or clan like Ankaisoa carried on a thriving business with Autshumao the trader (and later an independent cattle-farmer. Between them and the ships were a whole range of tasks that required labour and from this activity the first labourers emerged. A class of ‘subjects’ or followers of men like Autshumao and Ankaisoa did manual labour and herding.
Robin Knox-Johnston in his work on maritime history notes “ the Dutch and the English also had their own trusted native who would keep letters and hand them over to the Captains of home-going ships. A ship on arriving in the bay would fire a cannon and this would bring the ‘Postman’ down to the beach…. A ship’s boat would be sent to fetch him and he would exchange mail and report any other useful information for a small reward.” He here refers to the fact that the Dutch copied the English practice and had their own point man.
Krotoa, the niece of Autshumao was born into the small Goringhaicona community. From recorded descriptions of her it is likely that she was born of a relationship between and indigene woman and a passing European traveller. Her early life around her uncle Autshumao exposed her frequently to the Europeans and their languages. It is likely that her flair for language began long before the arrival of van Riebeeck and this may be one of the reasons that Commander van Riebeeck took notice of her. She would later become an important interpreter for Jan Van Riebeeck. She also according to Jan van Riebeeck came to be untrustworthy in his estimation and was likely to have played a role in supplying information to her indigene kin and misinformation to him. Van Riebeeck accused her of ‘drawing the longbow’ in his dealings with her. Ie: exaggerating and telling him what she thought he wanted to know or worse. She would prove to be the greatest woman of her times in assisting in leaving a recorded legacy and for her pubic engagements.
The Dutch Ship, Mauritius Eylant, with 340 on board was wrecked and had to remain at Table Bay until rescued by a ship, the Tijger, which according to Thomas Aldsworth, “had to be despatched to rescue them.” They remained camped at Salt River for four months before being picked up. This camp put some respectful distance between themselves and the indigene settlement at the Camissa River mouth.
Jodocus Hondius III in a work ‘A clear description of the Cape of Good Hope’ published in Amsterdam in 1652 describes the Table Bay site and its river as follows – “A short distance beyond the tail of the Lion Mountain is the little fresh water river which is a stream rising in the foothills of Table Mountain, or in its higher slopes. The river usually flows quite strongly, but in most parts the water does not reach above the knees. In the year 1644 the crew of the wrecked ship Mauritius Eylant marked out a fort with 4 bastions across this Fresh River in order to protect the fresh water, but no building took place until this present year, 1652, when a fortress was begun on the eastern side of the same streamlet.” Here he refers to Van Riebeeck’s later appropriation of the Camissa, the exact spot being at Lower Plein Street near the Grand Parade.
A year long stay by the Dutch survivors of a shipwreck in Table Bay saw 62 men remaining at Table Bay. They built a fort near Salt River and they travelled around doing experiments and were treated well by the indigene Khoena. The leader of the shipwrecked community Leendert Janzsen in his report known as ‘Remonstrantie’ to the VOC states “the natives came with all friendliness to trade with us….bringing cattle and sheep in numbers.”
At this time the Indigenes continued in their dealings with all European vessels from the strategic spot alongside the river known in the local language simply as Fresh Water – Camissa (//ammi ssa). All visiting vessels saw this as their watering spot and the Dutch recognised this strategic watering place in 1644 already when plans were drawn to control this place with a Dutch Fort. The indigenes established their foundation settlement and port operation at that same place and it was clear that they recognised its importance. The Dutch knew not to occupy the place until such time as they could defend it. The Camissa settlement first of the indigenes and then of the Dutch would become the City of Cape Town because of its strategic importance. The Goringhaicona themselves were first dubbed ‘Watermen’ by the Dutch.
In 1648 a fleet of 12 ships stopped over for 18 days at Table Bay, which took Janzsen and his men back to Holland. On board the same ship carrying Captain Janzsen was the disgraced VOC merchant from the Dutch Factory at Tonkin in Vietnam that had been caught out stealing from the VOC – Jan van Riebeeck. This man van Riebeeck showed a huge interest in Janzsen’s proposition that the Dutch should establish a permanent base at Table Bay. During the three weeks sojourn at Table Bay, Jan van Riebeeck also got a feel for the place and talked to the other survivors. In the process he developed a contrary view to those expressed by Janzsens and Proot in their report. It was on board the return voyage that Janzsen and his five senior men had prepared a proposal for a permanent Dutch presence at Table Bay – known as “remonstrantie”. It found favour with the VOC Chamber of Seventeen. To redeem himself with the VOC, the thief from Vietnam presented himself for the job of leading the settlement party after Janzsens turned down the post. At this stage the different approaches by Janzsens and van Riebeeck stood out in stark contrast:
Historian Richard Elphick points out that Janzsen said that a Dutch presence under “a good Commander, who would treat the natives kindly and pay them thankfully for all that was brought to them” would thrive. Janzsen was very astute, realistic and no romantic. He also said that those of his men who did not respect the indigenes and pilfered from them, deserved to be set upon by them, saying “farmers in Holland, were we to shoot their cattle or take them away without payment, if they had no justice to fear, would not be one hair different to these natives.” Elphick contrasts this to Van Riebeeck’s intemperately negative view when he said “these natives by no means are to be trusted but are a savage set, living without conscience…. Our people have been beaten to death without having given the slightest cause.”
DUTCH TAKE-OVER OF THE PORT OF CAPE TOWN: Dutch VOC Commander Jan Van Riebeeck arrived in 1652, and over the first 8 months he built a fort right on top of Autshumao’s settlement at the strategic Camissa River, where the indigenes had hosted him and his men through the difficult winter. Van Riebeeck noted that after he had moved into the fort he could still see the forlorn Autshumao encamped by the river. According to Hondius, Jan van Riebeeck was given a clear instruction in this regard made by the VOC Chamber of Seventeen, “The skippers were directed to proceed to Table Bay, and to construct close to the Fresh River, a wooden building, the materials for which they were to take with them.”
The niece of Autshumao, Krotoa, was taken into the service of the van Riebeeck family at the Fort at the age of 10 years and over the next 5 years she was groomed to be an interpreter for Commander van Riebeeck.
THE COLD WAR: Over the next four years van Riebeeck wrested full control over the Camissa water and strategic beach-head from Autshumao and his people. Control of this spot was control of the Shoreline Frontier. Effectively this was a cold-war and Autshumao went head to head with van Riebeeck but his small band of Goringhaicona followers could only prove a thorn in the side of the Dutch plans.
An exasperated Van Riebeeck came up with one scheme after the other that did not find favour with the VOC. For instance, he first wanted to enslave all the Khoena on the Peninsula and put them in chain gangs for forced labour, and then he wanted to turn Hout Bay into a large concentration camp surrounded by redoubts into which he would drive all of the Khoena on the Peninsula. He further came up with another scheme to did a canal from False Bay to Table Bay, reate an island and expel all of the Khoena from the island. These were all forerunner schemes to create a white group area and indulge in forced removals.
Van Riebeeck by now had effectively tricked Autshumao and asserted hegemony and control in a series of steps that saw Autshumao’s port business, settlement and clan totally destroyed within a decade. In this process van Riebeeck used divisions among the Goringhaicona, the Goringhaiqua and the Gorachoqua to his advantage to such an extent that he was able to assert control over the Peninsula. The first restrictions on pastoral use of the land by indigenes was enforced. Autshumao is projected by the clear subjective bias of history books purely as a vagabond. A closer look shows otherwise. Historian Richard Elphick calls this period “the years of tense cordiality”. As a result of the ‘cold war’ the Shoreline frontier was expanded to include a more modest version of an isolated ‘Group Area’ for Europeans – a series of redoubts and an almond hedge planted by Jan van Riebeeck demarcated the line of defence.
Between 1653 and 1657 a trickle of slaves and Free Black migrants arrived in the Cape. By 1657 the slaves numbered only 15 and were mainly from India, Bengal and Madagascar. Among the soldiers at the Cape there were just a few Free Black Merdijkers. The settlers were made up of a few Dutch officials and various Europeans, mainly Germans and were predominantly men.
In the first two years of settlement van Riebeeck’s party numerically only just matched the numbers of Autshumao’s people. This apparent even match was not really even in that the balance of power remained with Autshumao because at his back were at least 8000 Khoena on the Peninsula.
Soon slaves would outnumber the European settlers. Over the next 100 years slaves and Free Blacks would continue to outnumber the European settlers. After 1834 migrations of people of colour to the Cape Colony, they would rival that of European settlers.
The Dutch VOC first released a number of its employees to become Free Citizen farmers and demarcated parcels of land for this purpose. This further restricted the use of the land for pasture by indigenes. Nommoa (Doman) was taken to Java by the Dutch for training and acculturalisation as an interpreter. He learnt much about the Europeans including their vulnerabilities and their long term intentions. He would become the leader of the first resistance war.
The largest ever number of slaves to cross the Shoreline Frontier at Camissa, arrived at one time from Guinea and Angola, numbering 402 Bantu slaves. These were mainly children and vastly outnumbered the Europeans. Within months many died, some deaths hastened by van Riebeeck’s decision to give these children daily measures of alcohol and tobacco to pacify them. Then half of these were sent on as slaves to Batavia at the request of the VOC. By the end of 1658 the population was 187 slaves to 166 Europeans. There was also a further 7 exiles of colour at the Cape bringing the migrant non-white population to 194. Of the 166 Europeans 20 were women and children. Jan van Riebeeck himself owned 23 slaves.
The slave population now made the assistance of Autshumao’s Goringhaicona of Camissa dispensable as a group. Some were anyway assimilated into the labour forces. This would set the pattern for the future.
The indigene Khoena population was around 8 000 on the Peninsula and its immediate surrounds. There were around 50 000 up through the central Cape and eastern regions of the Western Cape and at least 40 000 up the west coast to the Gariep where there were likely to have been at least another 20 000. The indigene Cape San were largely concentrated around the mountainous areas and are put at around 10 000 persons. The pastoralist indigenes outside of the Peninsula had cattle and sheep estimated in the 20 Dutch mile radius (65 kms) from Table Bay way in excess of 10 000 cattle and twice as many sheep. On the Cape Peninsula alone the conservative figure of van Riebeeck was that Peninsula Khoena had 3000 cattle and 2000 sheep. The Europeans at this stage had nothing.
FIRST RESISTANCE WAR OF THE KHOENA: When the first European farms were established in 1657 the issues of the control over the land and fresh water became the central features of the path to war. The leading figures among the Khoena on the Peninsula all objected to the unfolding Dutch settlement. This included Gorgosoa and sons Osinghkhimma, Khuma, and Otego of the Goringhaiqua, Autshumao of the Goringhaicona and a fellow independent wealthy indigene cattleman Ankaisoa whom Autshumao formerly turned to for supplies for the ships, and Choro and Gakingh of the Gorachoqua..
After various agressions by the Dutch these different Khoena formations established a coalition under the military leadership of Nammoa (Doman) who had become their inside man while doing interpretation for the Dutch. The war for control of Camissa – the water supply and the surrounding land began in earnest in April 1659.Understanding the Dutch reliance on dry gunpowder, Doman launched his offensive during the wet winter of 1659. With literally a couple of horses and wet gunpowder the Dutch were vulnerable and the Khoena initially had the upper hand. Indeed by the time the war ended it was a stalemate scenario. The morale of the Khoena was impacted upon negatively when Nommoa was wounded in battle and they retreated with the onset of summer.
Van Riebeeck used the opportunity to engage in peace talks and employ some division tactics in the process. Before the onset of the next winter the Khoena had given way in an agreed peace deal that was advantageous to the settlers. The land and the waters of Camissa, their life-blood on the Peninsula, was lost. Soon Peninsula Khoena began making their way out of the Peninsula while others would start becoming labourers used by the Europeans alongside the slaves.
The harshness of slavery, an epidemic and the Cape winter had resulted in many deaths among the Angolan an Guinean slaves. Between 1658 and 1662 the attrition rate among slaves at the Cape who were not owned by the VOC company but by Free Settlers is indicative of their conditions. Of 89 slaves in 1658 owned by settlers only 23 were left. While some escaped most of that number had died.
Oedasoa and Gonnema led the Cochouqua with their livestock close in to the Peninsula east of Table Bay and asserted hegemony over theindigenes of the Peninsula who the Dutch had defeated. They also sent a message of waning to the Dutch that they were a force to be reckoned with. In the process the Cochoqua subdued the Peninusula indigenes for the Dutch and were effectively the new primary traders with the Dutch. The Chochouqua also played a huge role in subduing the Chainouqua through a series of wars in which the Dutch clearly played a role.
The Dutch would continue to use ‘divide and rule’ tactics between the Cochouqua and the Chainouqua and also between the different groupings within the Cochoqua. As much as there were those ready to resist the Dutch, every Khoena group on the Peninsula and throughout the Cape of Good Hope District and later Stellenbosch District, and every leader, was prepared to compromise themselves and work at one time or another against their kin for recognition and reward from the Dutch. Colonialism had promoted ugly behaviours and for survival some were quite willing to betray others. Expediency was rife and the colonists benefitted.
In May 1662 van Riebeeck concluded 10 years at the Cape and bowed out, never to return again.
Founder of the Camissa port settlement, the forerunner to Cape Town, Autshumao, – linguist, diplomat, entrepreneur, community leader who presided over a change from pastoral economy to trading economy and first resister to the Dutch colonial settlement died. An era of a prospering indigene trading community at Camissa backed by the first independent indigene cattle farmer – Ankaisoa had come to an end. The Dutch had also learnt that in any future conflict mobile fire-power on horseback – a cavalry, was vital. They urgently ensured the importation and breeding of horses.
In December resistance war leader Doman also passed away.
The Dutch also took urgent steps to ensure that they were no longer cut off from inland tribes and clans and their cattle, nor would they be reliant on any interlocutors from the Peninsula clans who were by no means defeated at this stage. The first focus for the Dutch was to develop relations with those Khoena tribes and clans closest to the Peninsula – the Cochouqua under the leadership of Oedesoa and supported by his emissary Koukosoa as well as those under the leadership of another powerful leader of the Cochouqua leaders, Gonnema, leading the clan known as the Gorona later called Gunjemans; then there was the Chainouqua of which the Cochouqua was a sub-tribe.It was under the overall leadership of Soeswa, and also had leaders such as Goeboe, Chaihantima, Koopman and Dorha (Klaas); and then further there was a set of scattered clans of extended sheep and cattle herder families under the patronage of the far-away Namaqua, known as the Grigriquas (Chariguriqua) or Guriqa, where only one leading personality stood out namely – Kees. The southernmost Guriqua clanlets also had some patronage from and allegiance to the Cochoqua.
Then by this time another factor was that the Dutch were also encountering the San who were fierce and uncompromising resisters with whom no relationship could really be established by the VOC. As the traditional leaders were getting older and also as social disintegration was also setting in with the Goringhaiqua and the Gorachouqua on the Peninsula, these became fractured with leaders of smaller groups or clanlets emerging under leaders such as Dackkgy (Kuiper) and others.
The origins of the Dutch VOC company owned slaves were 30 from Guinea, 17 Angolans, 6 from Madagascar, 2 from Batavia and then 27 were children of various origins. Privately owned slaves by company officials and by free-settlers, are not part of this figure. Between 1658 to 1669 around 60 slaves were sold in private transactions with slavers; 30 from Africa, 21 from India/Sri Lanka and 3 from the Indonesian Archipelago.
1673 – 1671
Madagascar was the main source of slaves for the Cape at this time but the harsh conditions of slavery at this time in the Cape resulted in a huge casualty rate.
From 1670 – 1679 privately sold slaves the Cape numbered 216 of which 100 were from India/Sri Lanka. Those from Southeast Asia were 18 and Africa excluding Madagascar were13. The rest of the slaves were from Madagascar. Most slaves were children or youths between 16 to 20 years old who when arriving on the slaver ships were naked and looked like thin skeletons barely covered by flesh.
The VOC company slaves were many more. In 1672 a large shipload of 184 slaves from Madagascar arrived at the Cape on the ship Helena of an original consignment of 270 captured people. Many other large consignments of Malagasy slaves destined to be company slaves arrived during this time. From 1679 – 1689 the slaves from Madagascar more than doubled.
It is important to note that of the 221 Madagascar Slaves to arrive in 1673 on one ship, the Joanna Catherina there were 129 who died in the next year and a half and in the case of two other shiploads of slaves to arrive between 1676 and 1697 of 376 enslaved people on those two vessels alone, just over 100 did not die within a year at the Cape. So while indigenes were being pushed out of the Cape and migrant slave labour being brought into the Cape, slaves were losing their lives in their hundreds and little was recorded to establish exactly how they died except to blame this on sickness and the weather.
Treaties were signed with Osingkhimma and Dackkgy of the Gorachouqua which formally ceeded all the land up to and including the Hottentots Holland Mountains to the Dutch and all claims to the entire Cape of Good Hope Distict to the border just beyond Saldanha Bay, through to Malmesbury. It is unlikely that either leader could understand fully the language and implications of what was on the treaty document. This document preceded the war with the Cochouqua and its application was not really possible with the Cochoqua having moved into the same territory that the Dutch now claimed to have authority over.
Second Khoena War of Resistance: The Dutch had employed a range of ‘divide and rule’ tactics of disruption and exploited the social disintegration that had been developing on the Peninsula since the first war ended. Their focus now was to ensure that the Cochouqua did not move into the resultant power vacuum and disarray caused by the terms exacted through the first war. They were also interested in getting their hands on livestock much further away from the Peninsula. Furthermore they had tricked the Goracohouqua leaders into ceeding to the Dutch the authority over their land, all people on the land and all resources therein. The Cochoqua thus were intruders as far as the Dutch were concerned.
There were huge divisions between the fractured Khoena clans and the Dutch allowed them to war with each other as the traditional spaces close to the Peninsula became crowded, watering spots overused and livestock numbers being depleted. The Dutch entered the fray through aiding and abetting in conflicts and involving themselves in war by proxy. The second war was a natural progression from this scenario of proxy wars and a means towards enforcing the authority the Dutch had given themselves in the treaties signed in 1672.
The Cochouqua under skilful leadership had already made a series of diplomatic moves and shrewd business moves to advance Khoena interests and curtail rampant settler domination. Oedasoa and Gonnema also moved their presence and that of their livestock into closer proximity to the Dutch both as a barrier against the Dutch moving beyond into the hinterland and to strengthen their trading hand – or so they thought. This led to the Peninsula Khoena losing their trading advantage and caused friction where the Dutch played ally, painting the Cochouqua as a common threat.
The Dutch were expanding the territory that they held and those Cochouqua who were under Gonnema were seen to be standing in the way. The entire Khoena community were suffering divisions and were manipulated by the Dutch against each other until a series of events took place, involving conflicts spilling over into the settler arena that led to the Dutch taking military action against the Khoena, by design. This resulted in the various Khoena groups forming alliances with the Dutch against the Cochouqua under Gonnema and a few of the Guriqua making alliance with the Gonnema.
Selling-out to the Dutch and framing up Gonnema increased on the part of key Khoena antagonistic to Gonnema. Effectively the Dutch launched the war on a pretext and then it lasted 4 years with much bitter fighting. The Dutch were victorious, seizing more land and almost 7000 sheep and cattle. They effectively used cavalry and also took the war up as far as the Guriqua allies of the Cochouqua in Saldanha Bay and beyond. The war was effectively used to create a cordon sanitaire around the settled colony and effect control over the territory claimed by the Cochoqua.
As a result of the defeat of the Cochouqua the Cape of Good Hope District border was ultimately fixed just past Vredendal in the northwest. In the south it was fixed at Cape Point running up to Muizenberg, incorporating the sandy and marshy Cape Flats and extended eastward to Malmesbury.
The Chochouqua and the Gunjeman offshoot steadily were worn down and deprived of their cattle. They were divided and pacified in ongoing pressures and skirmishes. Divide and rule tactics were successfully applied by the Dutch. Some either left the borders of the colony, others tried to survive as cattle and sheep farmers and others became assistants or collaborators in helping the colonists plunder the cattle of the Chainouqua and Hessequa.
The southernmost Chainouqua retreated with their cattle to behind the Hottentot Holland Mountains and resistant Cochoqua to the Roodezand and outskirts of the Land van Waveren. This allowed the VOC to extend to the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and establish the towns of Stellenbosch and Paarl and open up a vast new District of Stellenbosch in a relatively short period of time.
This year saw the death of Krotoa, the niece of Autshumao, who had been taken first as a servant to work for Van Riebeeck’s wife at the age of ten, then trained to be an interpreter and excelled, but then later was seen to be providing false information to the Commander and ostrasized. Her final years were ones of misery. She had lived for only just over three decades and was the first of the Khoena to marry a European and to adopt the Christian faith.
By this time in addition to the VOC Company Officials, the Free-Burghers, the slaves and the Khoena in the Cape of Good Hope District another category of people were entering the census known as Free-Blacks. in 1670 there were only 13 Free-Blacks, by 1690 there were 48, 1730 there were 221 and then the figure grew so that by 1800 there were around 2000. The free Blacks included free persons of colour who made their way to the Cape as Mardijkers, seamen or trader migrants, or they were freed slaves, as were the initial numbers at the Cape. These are slaves who were manumitted from there owners usually as a service award, or they purchased their freedom. Later these included children of colonists born from Europeans having children with slaves or indigenes. Some Free-Blacks became successful market gardeners, traders and landowners. Some were good independent craftsmen and some volunteered to become settler farmers in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Jonkershoek, Paarl and further afield. Freed slave Adam Kok for instance went to farm near Pieketberg. Some Free-Blacks also owned slaves. Among these were slaves who effectively bought others in order to have them freely live and work with them. There were a couple of early slaves who attained their freedom also from assisting to recapture runaway slaves too. Entreprenuerial Free-Blacks also laid the foundations of the commercial fishing industry at this time together with German settlers.
At this point the reader needs to pause, or otherwise get lost in territorial details and details of which clans and tribes existed and in which territories and how did . In the chronology we are at a point where two districts had been created, making up the colony. The second district in many places was a contested ground, but much of this contestation was on the western front in the expansion of the Stellenbosch District which was ten times the size of the Cape of Good Hope District.
To be able to understand the flow of the resistance wars of the Khoena and San we need to understand the theatre or terrain of conflict and the location of different groups and the names of the Districts in the expanding colony at that time. Eg: What we call Stellenbosch today is only a tiny part of what was Stellenbosch of that time…..one can come to the wrong conclusions about which group was where if one confuses Stellenbosch District with the town. The Cape Colony by the end of the 18th century had only four districts – Cape of Good Hope, Stellenbosch, Swellendam and Graaff Reinet and much of the 18th century was about how the colonists stole this land and the livestock from indigenes by a step by step series of wars and ethnic cleansing.
The indigene African role-players
The Cape San strongly occupied the area of the Riet River, Sak River, Nieuweveld Mountains, Upper Gamka River, Swartberge, Sneeuberge, Sekoei River up to the Orange River. Thus much of Stellenbosch District (far away from the town we know as Stellenbosch today) and Graaff Reinet District was the theatre of war against the San with Trek-boers challenging the San for territory and scarce water resources.
The early years of the 1st Khoena War of Resistance up until the establishment of the Cape of Good Hope Borders by the end of the 4th Khoena War of Resistance involved the Goringhaiqua, the Goringhaicona, Gorachouqua, Chochouqua (and their Gunjemans offshoot) and some of the Guriqua and by the end of that period of war began to impact on the few Chainouqua that were not on the other side of the Hottentots Holland Mountains..
From the 5th Khoena and San War of Resistance in ……. until the fixing of the first Swellendam borders and the northern borders of Setllenbosch by the end of the 8th Khoena and San War of Resistance. On the east this involved refugee Khoena from the Cape of Good Hope District plus the Chainouqua, Hessequa, Gouriqua, Inqua, Gamtoos, Hoengeyqua, and Gonaqua. On the northern border of the Cape of Good hope District this involved the Guriqua, Namaqua, Refugee Khoena and various Orlam groups, as well as the Ubiqua San and other central area San who would later be incorporated into Stellenbosch and Graff Reinet Districts without defeat but with huge casualties.
The final period of the great wars were the 9th Khoena and San War of Resistance which from then on meshed with the Xhosa Wars of Resistance, the first four of which involved a confederacy in action of the Khoena and amaXhosa while the San continued and ongoing resistance despite incorporation into the colony, having not been defeated. The San last stretch of resistance went well into the latter 19th century and was met with ruthless genocidal attacks.
From the 5th Khoena and San War of Resistance in ……. until the fixing of the first Swellendam borders and the northern borders of Stellenbosch by the end of the 8th Khoena and San War of Resistance – on the east this involved refugee Khoena from the Cape of Good Hope District plus the Chainouqua, Hessequa, Gouriqua, Inqua, Gamtoos, Hoengeyqua, and Gonaqua. On the northern border of the Cape of Good hope District this involved the Guriqua, Namaqua, Refugee Khoena and various Orlam groups, as well as the Ubiqua San and other central area San in the area later to be incorporated into Stellenbosch and Graff Reinet Districts, without defeat but with huge casualties.
The final period of the great wars were the 9th Khoena and San War of Resistance which from then on meshed with the Xhosa Wars of Resistance, the first four of which involved a confederacy in action, of the Khoena and amaXhosa while the San continued an ongoing resistance despite incorporation into the colony, having not been defeated. The San last stretch of resistance went well into the latter 19th century and was met with ruthless genocidal attacks. By the end of the 5th Xhosa war of resistance in which much fewer resisting Khoena played a role, the Khoena and the San’s ability to go to war was no more. The world of the Khoena as an organised people had shifted back to the Gariep…. But even there by the fourth decade of the 19th century, the British Colony caught up with the Namaqua and its offshoots, the Orlam groups, the Korana and its various offshoots, the Eat and West Griqua and the tiny number of San who thus far had survived genocide. But the story of all of these is not covered in this chronology and is left for another exploration.
The contested boundaries of the Four Colonial Districts
Cape of Good Hope District stretched from Cape Point to just past Muizenberg through to Malmesbury and curving up to the first fork of the Berg River and along the Berg River to its mouth on the Coast past Vredenburg.
Stellenbosch District at that time stretched from Vredenburg up to the Buffels River on the West Coast, then down to the Graaf Reinet boundary at the Nieeuweveld Mountains and Gamka River, then in almost a straight line until past Touws River curving in an arc to Cape Agulhas back through to Muizenberg.
Swellendam District was everything below the long line cutting through the Swartberge to the coast from Cape Agulhas to the Gamtoos River.
Graaf Reinet District started on the border of the Swellendam District in the Swarteberge, stretching along the Stellenbosch District Gamka River border to the Riet River and Nieuweveldberge border of Stellenbosch, in a straight line to Plettenburg’s Beacon on the Sekoei River below the Orange River, incorporating the Sneeuberge, along the Stormberg and curving down to just over the Bavians River (incorporating Bruintjieshoogte and connecting up to the Fish River and down to the sea on the east coast, laying claim to all of the still contested territory between the Gamtoos River and the Zuurveld to the Fish River.
While the Chainouqua had collaborated with the Dutch against the Cochoqua, the Dutch and Cochouqua also collaborated against the Chainouqua. The Chainouqua also collaborated with the Dutch against the Ubiqua San and within the Chainouqua the Dutch stirred up antagonisms bewtween different leaders. They gained favoured trading status with the Dutch just as the Dutch had cultivated each previous group of indigene collaborators before, but by the end of the century Dorha the leader of the Chainouquas was outplayed by everyone and isolated and the Dutch turned on him and his rival Koopman and killed him. The Chainouqua’s livestock wealth dried up too because the trade was unfair and the stocks depleted.
Dutch records indicate that the cattle rich Chainouquas livestock were so depleted and the people impoverished in the face of marauding commandos of colonist cattle rustlers going further inland. They were first coerced into trading at unfair exchange and this quickly gave way to abuse and theft and killings. Having depleted Chainouqua livestock the commandos moved on to barter with the Hessequa and in turn raid their cattle, Trek-boers moved into place and seized the land. Once permanent farms were established, new Trek-boers moved on, and this would be the standard approach.
There were four different types of slave categories at the Cape – VOC Company Slaves, Slaves of free-burghers; Private slaves of Company Officials; and slaves own by Free-Blacks. The largest single number of slaves was own by the United Dutch East India Company and were tasked with company work and public works. A special slave lodge was built for these VOC slaves which on average housed up to 476 slaves, convicts and mentally ill patients. In the mid 1700s it was overcrowed and held up to 1000 slaves.It also was home of the third most earliest school which ran for the longest period of time with the best of teachers. As a result, the VOC company slaves, outside of the European gentry, were the best educated at the Cape for a long time. The Slave Lodge school provided the first solid foundations for education institutions in the Cape Colony.
In 1658 the first slave lodge was completed as part of the temporary Fort and housed 98 slaves. Another lodge was later built near the VOC company garden but it was delapidated by 1669. The Comany Slave Lodge which still stands today, though many times renovated and had additions constructed was completed for occupation in 1679 and was fully occupied when the old lodge was destroyed in a fire in the same year. The Europeans used the Slave Lodge also as a brothel in the evenings and many children were born of these liaisons.
1679 – 1688
Over 40 farms were established from Stellenbosch through to Klapmats and Jonkershoek with another three farms in what would become Franschhoek and 23 farms in Paarl. Many of the first farms were established by Free Blacks and many Free Blacks were skilled craftsmen who worked on the farms and in the developing town of Stellenbosch. Other Free Blacks were married to European farmers. These people of colour paved the way for the French Huguenots who joined them after 9 years of breaking the soil. Many French Huguenots actually took over the farms from those who first started them. Khoena kraals in the area had to be dismantled and free Khoena farmers were pushed out. Those Khoena who did not move on were pressed to work on farms or to join commandos to attack other Khoena.
Gonnema died after a few years of cooperative relations with the Dutch while his people gradually became impoverished and livestock decreased. Many of his people had drifted away from his sphere of control with most now beholden to the Dutch as collaborators and some having fled to join the frontier resistance.
By this time, the Chainouqua were a spent force and Hessequa cattle had changed hands to the Dutch by up to 250 per trip and sheep by up to 1000. By now the Hessequa cattle were also near to depletion and resistance broke out in the eastern regions beyond the Hottentots Holland Mountains and far inland.
European cattle barterers and already been engaging with, and bullying and raiding cattle from the Inqua, the Gonaqua and the Briqua up to the Gamtoos River
The French Huguenots settlers numbering 180 arrived and were sent to join the farming settlements first established by Free Black farms in the Franshhoek, Stellenbosch, Klapmats and Jonkershoek districts.
Oedasoa died leaving the paramountcy of the Cochouqua to his brother Hanibal. With the strong old leadership gone and the Dutch consolidation of power and control, the Cochoquas social cohesion began to rapidly fall apart.
A record by Schryver on bartering interaction with the Inqua in the eastern districts showed that bartering had given way to bullying and raiding and loss of life where on one occasion the Dutch opened fire with a general volly of shots killing 30 Khoena.
The territory beyond Saldanha Bay, the Berg River, the Groene River and the Olifants River became the new frontier conflict area as the Peninsula and surrounds experienced tighter control by the Dutch. The Nama and the Guriqa now directly faced the Dutch might. Nearer to the Dutch there was still the reformed Cochouqua now known as the Gunjemans who still had a spark of militancy. The Chainouqua threat was gone and the Hessequa posed a much greater threat to the Dutch in the eastern regions beyond the Overberg mountains and the Keurbooms River district close to the new small settlements in the stretched out Swellendam District. In this area unlike on the Peninsula and surrounds there was much greater unity among the Khoena. This had effectively become the new frontier.
Militant refugees from the earlier wars had also joined these communities. The Hessequa and groups beyond like the Gonaqua had strong leadership and they were not concentrated in one area. The Dutch changed tactics while maintaining the ‘divide and rule strategy. The new tactic was to identify strong leaders, buy them off and change allegiances when conflicts heightened due to their interventions.
Slowly the system of trading and bartering gave way to the indigenes being forced or compelled to part with their livestock. The scenario was by this time a three corner situation of VOC company, settlers and indigenes with the settlers increasingly through rustling livestock from indigenes now becoming the controllers of cattle and sheep. Indigenes were already becoming impoverished people in fear of life and limb and increasingly landless. Many Khoena in the tightly controlled heartland of the colony by now had no clans or tribes to belong to and were forced to become labourers on European farms. The Camissa traders, the Goringhaicona were the first group to become enserfed into servitude and the next were the Goringhaiqua and Gorachoqua. Militants fled beyond the reach of the VOC to regroup and fight in the new wars that would take place on both the eastern and north western frontiers. The three clans – Goringhaiqua, Gorachouqua and Goringhaicona now no longer existed as coherent formations.
While post the first war the Cochouqua moved within proximity of Table Bay, after the second war they were expelled to the far reaches of the Stellenbosch District up in Land van Waveren and Roodezand (Tulbagh), also southwest of the Berg River. Some were beyond Saldanha and Vredenburg where they interacted with Guriqua in the West, and in the East and Central areas with Hessequa and Chainouqua.
The bullying and raiding cycle had come full circle. and in the next five years the cattle rustlers had reached the Xhosa herds far up the east coast.
By 1699 forced migration of people of colour to the Cape as a result of slavery now made migrants of colour a larger group than the white settlers with slaves numbering 1038 and Free Blacks around 300. By 1715 the European population was at 1,870 with slaves at 1,771 and Free Blacks around 400. By 1731 both populations showed a decrease in numbers in the census, even although there was a huge increase in numbers of slaves being brought to the Cape. Up to two thirds of large shipments of Slaves to the Cape were dying within 18 months of arrival. (The 1731 Census omits to include slaves owned privately by company officials)
Over the past 47 years the array of persons of colour in terms of places of origin was widely diverse – India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Siam, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Indonesian Islands, Borneo, the Philippines, West Africa, East Africa, Madagascar. They came as slaves, Mardjikers, banishing exiles, refugees, sailors, traders, and travelling adventurers. This diversity would extend much more over the next century.
From 1652 through to 1700 and beyond many formal marriage unions were entered into between Europeans and persons of colour. In addition to this the practice of women of colour becoming concubines to Europeans was widespread and many children were born into slavery as this status passed through the woman and not the free father. Records also show that on the slaver-ships sexual relations took place between female slaves and sailors to receive extra food rations. Table Bay as a port with 1071 ships visiting between 1600 and 1652 also must have experience many sexual liaisons from which children were born and raised in indigene communities.
In this year too Willem Adrian van der Stel became Governor at the Cape, succeeding his father. He and his father were the first gentry of colour to assume high office at the Cape.
Simon van der Stel in giving advice to his son, charged that many of the Free Burghers were lazy and idle and preferred to engage in illegal and forced trade with indigenes and also had insatiable demands for land which if not curbed would create serious problems.
By this time the court records were full of acts of resistance, insubordination and desertion by slaves including assaults and murder. The records also show a range of punishments from scourging and dismembering to an a range of tortures and executions by grizzly means including crucifixion, garrotting, drowning, stretching and hanging.
1701 – 1705
Third War of Resistance involving Khoena and San: With the Settlers rapidly creating farms and small towns and forming commandos ever pushing the Khoena ahead of them to the far reaches of the Stellenbosch District, the besieged Khoena and San faced with subservience or ruin had no option but to resist and fight back and a new war of resistance continued for 5 years. Less and less rivers and watering holes were available to the indigenes who had to fight for them. Livestock rustling by the settlers contributed to the ruin. Due to the fact that the Khoena now had less and less cattle and sheep and had been separated from their pastoral lands and water on the Peninsula and its immediate surrounds, as well as the town of Stellenbosch, the Drakenstein area, Swartland and Saldanha they found themselves pushed into the traditional fairly arid and mountainous lands of the San. Here some began to make co-operative battle alliances with the San where previously there had been hostility.
The uprooted militant individual Khoena not only made common cause with the San but to some degree temporally integrated with San groups. The new battle lines were drawn when the Dutch encountered the Ubiqua San resisters and among them Guriqua and Cochouqua diehard Khoena resisters. The Grigriqua or Guriqua (or Charigriqua) and militants who had fled in the aftermath of the Peninsula Wars at this stage occupied the area around the Berg Rive, Knersvlakte, Sandveld, Piketberg, Koue Bokkeveld, Cedarberg, and could be found just beyond Saldanha Bay. They were a mix of Khoena and Sanquase San who together with the Ubiqua San and took action to defend themselves and their livestock and to retrieve their livestock.
The VOC gave orders to launch attacks and so a war of attack and counter-attack ensued over five years and the social cohesion of the indigene Khoena and San together with their land and water was again steadily eroded.
On the eastern frontier van der Heijden records in 1702 that the Dutch had attacked the Gonaqua. A low level war was continuously ensuing in the territory of the Inqua and Gonaqua, as well as in the area beyond the newly established Swellendam District to the northeast of the Stellenbosch Dirstict where the Hessequa were still resisting the Dutch encroachment. Thus the third war stretched across a wide expanse from the West Coast to the East coast covering both of the two new Districts alongside the Cape of Good Hope District.
In the wake of the war came further expansion when grazing permits were introduced for colonists to enter the Khoena and San areas of retreat and this was followed by a loan farm system that was introduced. Regardless of the worthless peace treaty signed by some of the Khoena in 1705, the settlers continued to expand into Khoena and San territory spearheaded by informal commando gangs who continued making war. The Dutch VOC then as part of the peace started to appoint or sanction the leaders as extension of company authority.
1705 – 1707
Records show that by this time the Dutch sphere of control of many Khoena people stretched as far inland as the Suurveld Xhosa/Khoena, where they had issued a ‘staff of office’ to a chief by the name of Hoeza. Dutch cattle rustlers were operating so far away from the town of Stellenbosch and were also taking captives.
The cattle barons and wealthy farmers at the Cape who were already antagonistic to the VOC found Willem Adrian van der Stel to be too aloof and high-handed with them and they believed that he and other officials were amassing too many slaves and properties to themselves. Willem van der Stel’s curtailment of their raids into the interior to steal and plunder from indigene communities and meeting out harsh punishments to offenders was probably one of the major real causes of the resentment that ultimate led to them to petition the VOC in Holland to impeach the Governor.
Within this fray there emerged an exchange of blatant racism on the part of the petitioners and the first foundations of what many years later would be called Apartheid. The petitioners highlighted van der Stel’s eastern slave lineage through his father’s mother and grandmother. Willem Adrian and those who signed a counter petition in greater numbers that than against the governor, were accused by the anti van der Stel grouping led by Adam Tas and Henning Huising as being “the black brood among us”. The correspondence of both the diary of Adam Tas and the petition responding to the pro-Governor petitioners is peppered with racist slurs against van der Stel and other petitioners where class and ‘blackness’ is emphasised with reference to their eastern ethnicity. As a result Willem Adrian van der Stel was impeached and recalled from the Cape in 1707.
But the true intentions of these settlers was to gain license to raid for indigene cattle unhindered, to enact pass laws against the Khoena to curtail their freedom of movement and, to disempower what they referred to as ‘the children of Ham’ specifying – “Caffers, Mulattos, Mestizos, Castizos and all that black brood living among us, and related to European and African Christians by marriages and other connections, which have to our amazement increased in property, number and pride…”
The antagonists had in their statement defined for themselves those who had to be cast out – the children born of the Camissa embrace.
1705 – 1707
Informal Settler aggression against the Khoena and San: The VOC effectively during this period lost control of many of the settlers who pursued acts of aggression and cattle theft on a grand scale against the Khoena for up to 100 Dutch miles (350km) past the new frontier district. The frontier farmers began pasturing their livestock to the north of the Berg River around Piketberg. The European farmers were also eyeing the territory south of the Olifants River Mountains. Though this was not a formal war it was a period of great devastation and expansion of the frontier.
It was during the seven years from 1700 that the Khoena to a large degree lost their livelihoods and cattle en masse. The VOC also underwrote the settlers ill-gotten gains by giving them land tenure in the territories they conquered. In 1708 again peace ceremonies were held with the Khoena. It was in this period of conflict that the Dutch VOC started a practice of giving a staff of office with a copper hand-piece of recognition to compliant Khoena leaders who signed treaties.
The pressure mounted on the Khoena in the Tulbagh, Ceres, Waveren, Riebeeck Kasteel, Piketberg, Sandveld areas as well as to Cedarberg, Kouebokkeveld and Saldanha. The colonists wanted their cattle and would do anything to rustle cattle from the Khoena. The two Governors van der Stel, at first tried their best to stop cattle rustling and murderous attacks on the Khoena and San and introduced harsh punishments against settlers and even death sentences to put an end to this state of affairs. The errant colonists did their utmost to oppose particularly Willem Adrian van der Stel, but the VOC in Europe decided that he was being too harsh on the colonists and that they should legally be able to trade with the Khoena. Willem Adrian van der Stel was removed from office by the irate cattle barons among the settler elite.
This was a de facto license to go and do as they please. Interestingly the attack by the white colonialist cattle barons on the van der Stels emphasised that they were considered to be persons of colour who could not be trusted with the affairs of white colonists.
The company officials also now had to compete with the colonists in the bartering and they were no saints either. It was in the aftermath of the war and during the time of the granting of grazing rights to trek-boers, that in 1713 a visiting Danish ship that had arrived in Table Bay brought a devastating epidemic of smallpox. By all accounts it killed off settlers, slaves, Free Blacks and Khoena. The growing and increasingly more powerful Free Black community was decimated and never really recovered. The Khoena were hardest hit with reports of hundreds laying at roadsides as far as Saldanha Bay and the Drakenstein and beyond. While this tragic event, repeated again in 1755, does not account for the huge decline of Khoena and San by 1798, it is acknowledged that it was a significant contributing factor, along with cattle theft, war, land appropriation after forced removals and genocide. (The 1713 smallpox event though devastating and resulting in huge population losses, was always used by white historians to falsely suggest that this is what ‘wiped out Khoena in the Western Cape).
1711 – 1712
In 1711 the VOC alarmed by the rate of desertions and other forms of slave resistance decided on much more severe punishments of deserters so as to deter others who may wish to follow this practice. This was a progression on the penalties established in 1686. This chronology would be much too lengthy to capture all incidents of revolt, desertion and other forms of resistance by slaves and the co-operation of slaves and Khoena. This is but one example of resistance in the continuum.
In 1712 a large escape bid occurred when 23 slaves and exiles ran away from the Cape on October 20 after a rendezvous at Constantia. They were aided and abetted by two exiles from Southeast Asia who had been banished to the Cape for resistance to the Dutch in their homelands.
Lampi was an exile from Indonesia and Santri was an older exile who came from a village called Chiribon in Batavia who lived in isolation in Constantia. They both came from revolutionary backgrounds. It was in Chiribon that the famous Sheikh Yusuf from Macassar was hidden after the revolution which he had led was put down by the Dutch. Sheikh Yusuf was banished to the Cape in 1696, and Santri in 1707. The deserters were spotted very early and were betrayed by other more passive slaves and thus the escapees were almost immediately pursued. Santri had already organised another rendezvous with a group of friendly Khoena who were to assist the escape party into the interior. Santri however got separated from the group and the others turned in desperation to first Khoena that they met. This group of Khoena assisted them with food and rest, but when they proceeded on a conflict developed with another group of Khoena who captured the party (some had been killed including Lampi) and handed them over to their pursuers. Both Khoena and slaves over time could always be split into two – collaborators and resisters, and in each epoch involving all other resistance struggles whether by the amaXhosa, the Zulu, Tswana, Sotho et al the same division arose.
The trial and punishments were illustrative of the brutality of the time. Santri had his tongue cut off and his body broken on a wheel and left to die slowly where after it was place on a wheel in a public place to rot as a deterrent. Two others were hanged and their bodies dragged through the streets and left to rot as a deterrent. Yet others were lashed on their bare backs, after which their noses and ears were cut off and they were punitively branded and others lashed and set to work in chain gangs.
1712 – 1716
The Fourth War of Resistance involving Khoena and San: This was not an all-out war but rather a similar wave unrest to that launched by settlers from 1705 -1708, which gradually upped tempo into open hostilities by 1716 and involved formal VOC government participation before it ended. The war started as a result of a rumour spread by trek-boers, but which proved to be false, that the Namaqua were planning an invasion and accusations by trek-boers that indigenes were stealing cattle whereas the Namaqua and Sonqua San had accused the trek-boers of exactly that aggression.
During the first two years the war was a ‘cold-war’ of raids and counter raids between indigenes and settler trek-boers but this changed into formal hostilities when the attacks authorised by the VOC started in November of 1715 and steadily got worse with increasing loss of life. This low-level war was also disturbed by the 1713 epidemic which saw huge numbers of deaths of Khoena which had a devastating effect on the Khoena already in disarray through four wars to remove them from the Peninsula and surrounding areas.
When all the factors are put together this period of war was one of the most devastating for the Cape Khoena.
A Danish ship arrived in Table Bay bringing smallpox. The smallpox ravaged its way through the town and beyond, affecting everyone. The hardest hit were the indigene Khoena with thousands of lives lost over a wide area extending through the small towns and the contested area to its furthest reaches. Witnesses spoke of hundreds of bodies laying about, piled high.
Between 1701 and 1716 the surviving Khoena across the Peninsula and including Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Paarl, Franschhoek, Tygerberg, Malmesbury and the Swartland, had two choices – to flee and seek refuge inland or to become servants and labourers. Now without leaders and with clans including the Cochouqua, Chainouqua and Hessequa in total disarray, some also in deep collaboration with the Dutch, and with many fleeing inland to seek refuge with the Namaqua and Korana in the West and with the resisting Cape San, Inqua, Gamtoos and Gonaqua in the Central and Eastern districts of the Western Cape, the small numbers of survivors remaining among the colonists also became ‘contract’ or ‘indentured’ labourers alongside slaves and were treated not too differently than slaves.
The VOC Chamber of 17 recognised formally that without the importation of slaves to the Cape, the colony would not grow economically.
The ‘Land van Waveren’ and the Roodezand became a place of last stand and refuge for may Cape Khoena but they did not survive for long. Many Khoena and San men in Waveren, Piketberg and Roodezand (Tulbagh) were killed in battles and raids by commandos. Their women and children were then taken off deep into the colony and scattered about farms as ‘indentured’ servants and labourers. Young boys were brought up to serve in militia as conscripts.
Nominally the Khoena labourers and servants were not enslaved but formally were free people under contract. As children of slave men by slave women would also become slaves that could be bought and sold, Slave men had relationships with Khoena and San women, who were often widowed by war, knowing that their children would be born free and were likely to grow up around them. Khoena women also knew that the terrible things that inevitably awaited their Khoena and particularly male San male children were less likely to befall them if they were regarded as Baster-Khoena.
It was a survival tactic and it did work for them. Khoena, San and slaves co-operated as oppressed people, under the same oppressor at a range of levels and often innovatively. This included fighting alongside each other as resistance fighters. Many slaves ran away to join the Khoena and Orlams resistance groups in the north across the frontier and across the frontier in the east.
1719 – 1726
The Fifth War of Resistance by the Khoena and San: This was a different kind of war – a continuation of the low-level unofficial war during the first half of the fourth war. It was often way beyond the frontier that was piecemeal and involved conflicts of acquisition of cattle much further inland than just on the frontier. It involved acts of robbery and retaliation for the scarce resource of livestock where both company officials and settlers journeyed to far off Namaqua territory in the West and Gonaqua territory in the East near to Algoa Bay. This war went way beyond cattle thieving and involved large scale massacres.
It was this period of war that pushed and set the boundaries of both the Stellenbosch District and the Swellendam District, and was the beginnings of what would eventually become the Graaff Reinet District.
The massacres of indigenes that took place were of ethnocide proportions and theft of their livestock. Indigenes noted that they had never before seen so many corpses and counter attacked. The Dutch had decimated the cattle and sheep rich Western Cape over their 70 years of occupation and did everything to ensure the expulsion of indigenes from the territory.
Where once there were herds of tens of thousands of cattle and sheep, the fleeing Khoena survivors had little or nothing left. The Boer settlers too had greatly diminished stocks of cattle and sheep through poor management, animal sickness and the new resistance practice by Khoena and San. The indigenes facing defeat, took to slaughter their livestock rather than let them fall into the hands of the enemy.
A new resistance grouping emerged under these conditions. Maroons or ‘Droster’ groups of Khoena and escaped slaves and Free Blacks who were expert horse riders and shottists also entered the fray of looting for cattle, as did those who were already being called Baster Hottentots (mixed indigene and slave) by the Dutch. Out of this emerged the Orlam groups – orlam referring to the experience in skills and technologies associated with the farmers and officials of the Colony. The further away the Khoena moved the upshot was that the Trek Boer farmers chased after them for their cattle. The San however moved into the mountains and fought off the Europeans to the bitter end.
The conclusion of the war did not stop the Europeans pursuing the Khoena because they were after livestock due to their own perishing. The stolen livestock of the indigenes who were now also in inhospitable territory further disrupted communities, who in turn again fled northwards. Even the VOC could now see that the license given to colonists to trade was having a devastating effect on those whom the VOC too had to trade with. So in 1727 the VOC returned to the practice that they had condemned the van der Stels for implementing and instituted a new ban on colonists from trading with the Khoena. Of course the VOC was also short of meat and found that regardless of the new ban the Khoena stocks could no longer yield for anyone.
The VOC Chamber of 17 in Holland were informed that there were now no longer any Khoena clans left in the Cape Colony within 200 km (60 Dutch miles) of Cape Town all round, apart for a single hut or two. All social cohesion of the Khoena tribes and clans had been driven from the Colony … “ in order to save their trifling herds of cattle from besides their having died of considerably, the small remnant has receded far inland the mortality which has been raging here for some years.”
This was a rather dishonest report in a number of respects but it does indicate the result of the ravishing of the indigenes by the settlers in the first 75 years of settlement. The Khoena left in the territory were now apprenticed to farmers as near-slave farm labour, or conscripted into Commando militia and, the practice against the San was genocide where the entire adult populations were killed in any conflict and their children apprenticed to farmers. The only survival for these Khoena and San was to integrate with the slaves on the farms. The Khoena beyond the Colony in the northwest and northeast took in the refugee resisters waiting to fight another day. From this time and through 1728 the Sandveld slowly began emerging as the new target for settlement.
By this time migrants of colour, forced through slavery, banishment, convictions by VOC courts, or voluntary travellers now slightly outnumbered the European migrants at the Cape Colony. Migrants of colour in the census are recorded at this time as Company slaves, privately owned slaves, Free Blacks, Exiles and Convicts. In the census of 1731 Europeans number 1544 and Migrants of colour 1613 in a total Cape Colony population of 3157. There however was a huge omission from the census – that of privately owned slaves of Company Officials. Given the large imports of slaves which is at odds with the figure in the census, there is a likelihood of the omission of at least 800 slaves. This means that there were 2,413 persons of colour out of a total population of 3957 – the Europeans being only a third of the population.
The Khoena remaining as labourers in the Cape Colony are not recorded at all. The trend of people of colour outnumbering whites continued to increase.
During the entire period of the destruction of the Cape Khoena and the Cape San in the Western Cape there was only one attempt at missionary activity in 1737 and this was quickly halted by the VOC. This was the first attempt by the Moravians, under George Schmidt and it was abruptly shut down in 1743. It would only re-open in 1792 when a spate of missionary activity was initiated by the Moravians, Rhenish, and London Missionary Society as an acculturation and pacification campaign for the new onslaught against the Khoena in the Eastern Cape, Gariep, Transorangia and Namaqualand.
There is often a projection of a false argument that the Western Cape Khoena tribes and clans were rescued as refugees by missionaries. There were no missionaries to do this for the first 136 years of war, except for the failed case among the Hessequa who in 1737 were still numerically strong but already impoverished and subject to Dutch control. Many Hessequa more did not become farm labourers fled to join the Khoena in the more populous area beyond Swellendam and inland where the resistance was strongest. Resistance in the mountainous regions and on the eastern frontier continued relatively unabated right through to the first decade of the 19th century but the social group demarcations between the different Cape Khoena faded over time and the names of many clans were lost or barely kept alive in oral tradition.
Missionaries did not come to save or give refuge to the Khoena when they did arrive. They came to pacify the Khoena and integrate, assimilate and steer them away from conflict. This was not always successful as in some communities later there would arise a ‘theology of liberation’. A few of the very early missionaries, like Dr Johannes van der Kemp also did not follow the pacification line but he only reached a few of the Khoena largely among the amaXhosa of Ngqika. His own brand of radical theology had but a minor impact on the rebel Khoena forces of the Stuurmans and Makhana. His greatest impact was in dealing with aberrations against enserfed Khoena on farms and his stand on emancipation of slaves. The mission station at Bethelsdorp was part of a direct strategy to divide resistance in the Zuurveld district.
For the Khoena who were enserfed on white farms and in small settler towns, and even those refugees in the far flung missionary catchment areas far north of the Western Cape – the Eastern Cape, Gariep, Transorangia and Namaqualand, whose social cohesion had been eroded by colonialism, the response to missionary pacification and acculturation was positive, but among the free and as yet unaffected Khoena communities there was little interest in the missionaries. Rebellions in the mission stations would also occur later. The wave of mission stations established in the Western Cape only flourished under British rule, long after the conquest, ethnic cleansing and pacification of the Khoena and genocide against the San, in preparation for the emancipation of slaves and those mixed Slave-Khoena enserfed on farms.
The missionaries have often misrepresented their work in communities of colour in the Western Cape, but the historical record of their origins are there to see.
Post 1792, this chronology will show the complimentary role of missionary pacification alongside military conquest.
The Sixth War of Resistance of the Khoena and San: The war of 1739 actually began in dribs and drabs from 1731 starting in Piketberg and throughout the western frontier district. The Burgher Commandos, many informal, carried out attacks on indigenes with loss of life usually around disputes about land and livestock.
Having established Stellenbosch District and Swellendam District, this was the ‘mopping up’ war. But the conduct of war, particularly the resistance was radically changing.
An added element now became the more frequent theft of guns from settlers when cattle raids took place by indigenes. The resistance by indigenes upped tempo and settler farmers began deserting their farms. The tables had been turned with an indigene advance and Europeans looked as though they would be the refugees. A state of war ensued with gun against gun and the colonists also began to disregard the VOC authorities rules in the ferocity of their attacks on indigenes.
In the midst of this war the authorities also had to deal with a non-conformist white rebellion led by Etienne Barbier who led poorer colonists against the more wealthy cattle baron colonists and against the VOC gentry in Cape Town. Lines of war became blurred for a while because of the Barbier affair but nonetheless this war was probably the bloodiest of the resistance wars so far and certainly had more battles in a shorter period of time.
With Barbier captured and brutally executed, the focus of the colonial forces was fully on the indigenes with full- scale attacks on indigene kraals. Over one hundred indigenes were killed in the final battles and the leaders hunted down. Afterwards the settler ‘refugees’ were able to go back to their farms. The remaining Khoena and San were now broken and the VOC anointed new compliant leaders with the ‘Staffs of Office’. The trek-boers moved into the Onderbokkeveld, the Hantam and the Roggeveld and this underlined that power had shifted from the Dutch VOC to the colonists.
The commando system at this time became the real power. The Khoena in the Cape Colony by 1740 were a spent force, defeated and depleted considerably. Those who did not take the Freedom Road to the Gariep to take refuge with their Namaqua and Korana kin, or who joined the resistance bands just away from the reach of settlers commandos, were compelled to join the slaves on farms as exploited labour. There were very few Khoena in Cape Town with most that remained as labourers being integrated into far flung rural farms. The arena of war now shifted to the Eastern frontier Khoena and also to the San in the arid Cape interior and mountains. Rebellions would continue over the next 30 years and the fight was far from over. In the colony the numbers of slaves steadily increased either through procreation or by new imports and they became the majority population of colour outside of the eastern and western frontier regions
After the Sixth War of Resistance by the Khoena and San, 88 years of continuous resistance had gone by. But this only represented the halfway mark in Cape Indigene warfare of resistance and the depths of the worst colonist violence against indigenes was yet just in its opening phases.
With the Khoena largely subdued or expelled from the Colony boundaries (Cape of Good Hope, Stellenbosch and Swellendam districts) of that time, colonists began to focus on dealing with the Cape San within the Western Cape. who remained a threat to farming expansion, and also with the tensions on the eastern frontier. The white colonists embraced genocide to deal with the San who were exterminated as though they were vermin in a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign. This will unfold in Part 2 of this chronology.
The San unlike the Khoena did not entertain peace treaties and fought to the bitter end. Commandos killed all adults taking no prisoners but young women and children. These too increased the labour pool alongside the slaves as ‘indentured’ labourers. The Sneeuberg Camdeboo and Swart Ruggens saw the greatest indigene resistance of all time. It became the killing fields of the Cape Colony that went beyond any definition of war. This carnage is what gave birth to the modern Western Cape and its trauma has been passed on from generation to generation. The same genocide would later be adopted against the southern amaXhosa where all adults were shot and all crops and livestock burnt in a scorched earth approach adopted by the British in the early 1800s.
This chronology of the resistance to colonialism by the Cape Indigenes will continue up to the adotion of Lord Caledon’s Hottentot Code, the last great uprisings under the Stuurmans and the adoption of Ordinance 50 in 1828 which was a flicker of freedom similar to that of the emanicpation from slavery 6 years later for slaves…… But far from Freedom.
THIS CONTINUES IN PART TWO OF THE CHRONOLOGY.
Please note that this chronology acts as an education tool, to simplify much detailed academic work that exists on this subject and is not new research. Readers are encouraged to read the in-depth studies of Penn, Leggasick, Leftwhich, Adikari and so many others. I here act simply in the role of teacher and heritage activist providing a flow and simplication of the accounts of wars for freedom.