WHAT IS TRUE & FALSE IN THE LIESBEEK LLPT SITE NARRATIVES – NAVIGATING TANGIBLE & INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE

It is what we say it is, because WE say it is so!

Self-declaration by a small band of people that they are a traditional community or that they are leaders and representatives of 17th century traditional formations and, making pronouncements on what is and is not authentic heritage sites, and what nay or may not have happened there, does not make it true, never mind whether such claimants are sincere or not. No individual or a group of individuals acting together, are able to make such claims simply without validation that would have any legal standing.

Like everything that proceeds from the SOCIAL COMMONWEALTH OF HERITAGE, there has to be VALIDATION that what is claimed to be inherited from past generations (ancestors) is indeed so.

Furthermore, there is always an interplay between the TANGIBLE and INTANGIBLE…. and no modern day person or group of people can lay exclusive claim to cultural heritage as though it is solely theirs to claim, based on revived memory. This would be violation of the basic human rights of others who may well have the same heritage.

INTANGIBLE HERITAGE is not stories made up in contemporary times. The INTANGIBLE are traditions and living expressions inherited from ancestors and passed on to descendants through customary practice and oral record.

DEFINING CULTURAL

The legacy of physical and non-physical attributes of social groups that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations

Cultural Heritage is the physical and non-physical expressions of the ways of living developed by communities and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, built environments, creative expressions, value systems, beliefs, traditions and lifestyles that traces from antiquity to the recent past.

DEFINING TANGIBLE HERITAGE

Tangible heritage that can be seen and touched. This is perceptible by physical evidence, visual presence, touchable and it is able to be mentally grasped. It is the palpable, ponderable, and sensible.

Sites and Places, Physical Natural Features, Buildings, Built-environments, Monuments, Artworks, Craft, Artefacts, Documents & Records, and other Resources constituting palpable physical evidence inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.

DEFINING INTANGIBLE HERITAGE

Intangible cultural heritage is commonly defined as not having a physical presence. It is the traditions and living expressions inherited from ancestors and passed on generation to generation socially to descendants through customary practice.

Intangible heritage includes traditions, social and spiritual practices, oral traditions, language, traditional skills, techniques and knowledge, dance, stories, crafts, healing arts, indigenous sciences etc. This includes association of these with places as kept alive within communities.

Intangible heritage involves ancestral legacy or transmission over time as a distinguishing feature from simply being a contemporary belief or conviction. Intangible cultural heritage is by nature communal as distinct from a set of individual beliefs, convictions, interpretations, or practices and therefor requires validation

DEFINING VALIDATION

Both tangible and intangible heritage involves validated and verifiable testament arising out of long established communities rooted in an ancestral tradition with multi-generational trajectories from the past to present which can be verified by means of social record, oral traditions, collective consciousness, social and spiritual practices,  beliefs, expressions, and convictions rooted in history –  tracing from antiquity to the present.

Ancestral in the context of community implies social transmission over time, and thus is integral to heritage. There also always will be an interplay between tangible validation and intangible validation. In cases of ‘revival of distant heritage’ this will always arise out of communities rather than individuals, and will involve negotiation with such traditional communities which survived over time despite impediment and persecution, and with other claimants, within the parameters of traditional custom and law and non-duplication.

Specifically, this also involves local, national, and international laws that protects social identities from crimes against humanity such as forced assimilation on the one hand or cultural and identity theft on the other; or from marginalisation and discrimination.

APPLYING THESE DEFINITIONS & PRINCIPLES TO THE LIESBEEK LLPT SITE

With these definitions and principles in mind there are a basket of claims made as well as some not examined that requires comment in terms of claims made about the LLPT SITE alongside the Liesbeek River. Some of the claims are spurious, distortions or simply false. By making such claims it is disrespectful and undermining of Khoe and San peoples and descendants as it subjects genuine claims to ridicule and as such is an extension of marginalisation and discrimination faced by traditional indigenous African communities of the Cape and all of those involved intricately in the struggles over the past four decades to have San, Korana, Nama, Griqua and Cape Khoe communities recognised in law – a process that has involved engagement with the UN, ILO, AU, WIMSA, and has reached a crucial stage in a globally brokered recognition process. Here are some of the issues and the facts pertaining to them – both tangible and intangible.

1. The first old trans-riverine passage and cattle track into Peninsula for the transhumance winter-summer cycle is a factor that should be taken into account over the broader heritage area of the southern suburbs. So too are the OUTSPAN sites near to the city, in Maitland and in Brooklyn-Ysterplaat. But it does not include the LLPT Site.

There is NO TANGIBLE existing evidence today  of the Vaarsche Drift river crossing nor the short Varsche Vallei passage and the Khoe cattle-tack in the 16th and 17th century.

But there are written records and successive maps showing the topography of the Salt River Estuarian environment and Liesbeek and Black Rivers which have changed configuration multiple times in 370 years, through human interventions by colonists. This involved widespread land infill and building of superstructure on top of what once was, including road, rail, bridge and mass business and housing premises.

An INTANGIBLE reference today for the oldest Khoe and Colonists roads are Voortrekker Road, Lower Main Road, Main Road, and Albert Road. It is a common assertion in SAHRA architectural submissions on heritage that the Khoe cattle tracks from Salt River to Rondebosch was the route of Jan van Riebeeck’s first wagon road and that generally European colonists created roads like Voortrekker Road, Lower and Main Roads, and Albert Road through to Rondebosch and beyond on the cattle-tracks of the Khoe. It is a good example of the interplay of the tangible in informing the intangible. These tracks skirt the marshes, floodplains, wetlands, and bogs. It is also INTAGIBLE to accurately pinpoint the exact location of the River Ford (Vaarsche Drift) and there are no visible signs of the crossing nor the narrow passage known as Vaarsche Vallei. But the rough location for the passage  is between Voortrekker Road and the northern railway line and the location of the ford crossing  is roughly just a little way from the existing bridge over the canalised river. We also know from record that these skirt the marshes, floodplains, wetlands, and bogs.

[eg: Wagon routes followed these cattle tracks, and later contemporary roads were constructed along the same paths. Dr Ute A Seemann, Heritage Archaeologist & Consultant was commissioned by Nick Steytler of KHULA environmental consultants on behalf of their client, The Cruithne Trust, to undertake an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA)].  “Old Cape Highways” by Dr EE Mossop;  Maskew Miller (1927) and A brief history of transport infrastructure in South Africa up to the end of the 20th century Dr Malcolm Mitchell- Professional Advisor South African Road Federation both refer to the practice of roadbuilding over “Hottentot Cattle Tracks”. (who were more skilful than a pastoral people like the Hottentots in finding the safest  passages across the mountain barriers for their cattle?)        

Validation – There were two directions taken by the Khoe on passing through the Vaarsche Drift and Vallei passage – RIGHT TO TABLE BAY & GREENPOINT or LEFT TOWARDS RONDEBOSCH. 

Written record validates that there was a large open area to the right ( From Brooklyn to Ysterplaat) and left (Maitland) before entering through the Vaarsche Drift and these were Khoe OUTSPAN AREAS, as was the area to the right before the dunes near to the mouth of Salt River Estuary and in the direction of Table Bay acted as the first Khoe outspan area on the Peninsula (up to within a half cannon shot from the fort.)  (Moodie 22, 47, 76 gives detailed descriptions of these encampment. – Moodie, D, 1838. The record: a series of official papers relative to the condition and treatment of the native tribes of South Africa. Cape Town (1959)

The Khoe cattle-tracks to the left were the basis for the Old Wagon Road built by the VoC and this follows the Lower Main Road and Main Road through to Rondebosch. Described by Mossop and Mitchell.

2) The 1510 Francesco d’Almeida site of violation at a Khoe village was not on the LLPT Site, nor was it a site of a Battle between the Portuguese and Khoe.     

There are NO TANGIBLE sites or artefact evidence whatsoever for this event. There is also NO EVIDENCE to assume which Khoe social group – Cochouqua or Goringhaiqua were the social group that fought d’Almeida.

There are five differently authored Manuscripts, each not by an author with any 1st hand experience and all written four decades later that discuss the defeat of the Portuguese by the Khoe in 1510. There are great variations as to where exactly the location was on the Cape Peninsula, but through a process of elimination and concurrences in manuscripts and a dominant traditional narrative many historians agree on the sight of the final battle being at the beach next to the mouth of the Salt River.

There is no dispute about the battle and casualties having taken place. But there is marked variation of the narrative. There are only two vital clues about the sites of conflict and final battle.

The beach and dunes at Salt River estuary mouth is generally accepted as the final defeat site. And the location of the Khoe village is given (by Barros) as being around 1 league – 6,2 kilometres from the beach to “behind the Mountain” (referring to the Devils Peak Ridge), indicating Mowbray to Rondebosch and that the Portuguese retreated before the Khoe cattle giving chase. The cattle-track route was not anywhere near the LLPT Site as these roughly follow today’s main Roads and we also have documented evidence that the Khoe engaged in an attack on the Reijniers farmhouse which was at the top-end of the farm where the cattle-track passes. It is not likely that anything happened in the marshy and dangerous area for cattle and people far away from the livestock tracks. We know that the livestock were used skillfully like cavalry in the driving off of the Portuguese aggressors. The false claim about the LLPT Site being a battleground or alternative the site of a village, is an attempt to destroy this important intangible heritage story which has a totally different narrative and trajectory.

INTANGIBLE argument is based on the only indicative measure in the narratives of fie Portuguese writer-historians written 40 years after the event – Fernão Lopes de Castanheda; Damião de Góis; Gaspar Correa; João de Barros; and the poet Luis Vaz de Camoes. Many others of different nationalities have also written accounts but all are based on these.

Barros presents the location of the village where the conflict started, as being one League or 6,2 km from Salt River estuary mouth (which would have been around the N1 highway just after the Paarden Island Drive turn off.) in a relatively straight line following the cattle-tracks and skirting the marshes would be between Mowbray and Rondebosch, which is also “Beyond the Mountain” the other side of Devils Peak Ridge.

Wind-sheltered Rondebosch which the VoC decided was the best land for the very first Free Burgher farms in 1657 itself has intangible stories that have been around for long about being the site of a Khoe village.

These validations back the INTANGIBLE BELIEF that the village-based conflict took place somewhere in this vicinity and that the described running-battle or chase proceeded from here to the dunes and beaches of Salt River, which no longer exist because of landfill and modern superstructure.

Mossop (pg 8) says “in 1510 strewed sixty-five of D ’Almeida’s company along the Liesbeek between the river mouth and Mowbray”

There is no likelihood from either the written accounts or from the topography of the time that any aspect of the battle was at the LLPT Site, nor was it possible for there to have been a village at that site because it was impregnable, impassable and uninhabitable. The intangible story of the origins of Ronde Dooringbosch (Rondebosch) is that the actual round circle of trees grew from stakes marking out a Khoe Kraal, which had sprouted.

3.  First Forced Removal of Khoe and the first resistance to the Dutch settlement was not on the LLPT Site. It is a complete fabrication. Another Lie of 1652 created by mischief in the 21st century. Indeed the LLPT Site was not a site of forced removal at all. The mischief is an attempt to remove culpability, blame and the sites of expropriation and resistance from the colonial Southern Suburbs to a peripheral piece of wasteland. 28 years after 1994 the Southern Suburbs crimes of forced removals has still not been addressed and effectively a so-called greenbelt is nothing other than Jan van Riebeek’s First Barrier Frontier in another guise.

The first forced removal did not take place in 1657 but rather from 1652. This occurred in Table Bay at the site of the Golden Acre Centre. The TANGIBLE evidence is the ruins of Wagenaars Aqueduct and dam, where the Camissa River fresh water was first dammed. This was the original site of the ǁAmmaqua (Watermans) a name which the record reports was the name they preferred to use for themselves. Here I am referencing the traders settlement of Autshumao, upon which Jan van Riebeeck built the first Fort de Goede Hoop.

The TANGIBLE aqueduct ruins together with the record in Jan van Riebeeck’s journal to the forced removal and to Autshumao’s claim to the site and the trade, provides a basis for the INTANGIBLE memory and belief that this is a site of habitat and a spiritual place of remembrance and the site of the most valuable resource – WATER, from which the ǁAmmaqua trader community called Strandloopers disparagingly by the Dutch and equally disparagingly “Goringhaicona” meaning outcasts and drifters by the other Peninsula Khoe, who also referred to independent Khoe farmers and to the Khoe who lived among the Sonqua line-fishermen by the same term. Validation of the Forced Removal of the trader community to “behind the Lion’s Rump” (Green Point) is contained in the Journal of Jan van Riebeeck.

Autshhumao’s defiance to having his community removed, by remaining encamped at the site even after the Fort was built  is recorded by Jan van Riebeeck. ( Van Riebeeck J; Page 37-39)

Autshumao’s insistence of the claim to having first started the trade with passing ships, is recorded by Jan van Riebeeck in his journal. (Van Riebeeck J; Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope; Journal of Jan van Riebeeck Part 1; PP 36 – 39; HVC Leibrandt; WA Richards & Son; 1897)

4.   The first Free Burgher Settlement. In RONDEBOSCH in 1657

The first settlement outside Table Valley was at Ronde Dooringbosch, later known as Rondebosch; where a round grove of trees stood, and the South Easters were less severe than in Table Valley. It was the very first site of the 1657 first Free-Burgher Farms. Of course the first Free Burgher Farms, were not the first colonial farms on seized land. The VOC Company in Table Bay had already establish a company plantation and other farms. It can only be colonial mischief afoot that history is being distorted by the Observatory campaigners.

The Rondebosch land was the best for grazing of Khoe cattle and for the colonial settlers it constituted the best land for growing wheat, fruit and other crops, because in other areas the Southeaster Wind was too destructive. The legend had it that the round clump of bushes were actually originally the staked area of a village where the stakes took root and left the mark of the village.

Theal, George McCall; History of South Africa, 1486-1691; Page 82; London. Swan, Sonnenschein, Lowry and Co. (1888)

This and other substantial records offer tangible evidence of Rondebosch being the most desirable site along the Liesbeek for both Khoe and colonists. In terms of INTANGIBLE HERITAGE there has never been a trajectory from the past into the present where any people or communities or people made any claim of INTANGIBLE HERETAGE for the LLPT Site based on San, Khoe, or Enslaved persons. Aerial photographs in the early 20th century and in 1937 show a desolated infill area with little sign of any environmental value,.

Along with the initial false story even more grossly false stories started coming out of the Observatory Lobby campaign.

FALSE STORIES – are NOT Intangible Heritage . There was never any HOLOCUAST or GENOCIDE that happened on this site as claimed, nor has there been claim or findings of this being a burial site.  It also does not represent the EPICENTRE of the 1657 – 1660 period of settlement, war and forced Removal. All of these false intangible claims have a very recent genesis.

Some of the claims indeed have an element of lunacy and wickedness, such as a claim that slaves were secretly murdered on site using lethal injections and then cremated. This insult, falsehood and distortion of the truth about the oppression of the African-Asian Enslaved undermined the public orgies of humiliating tortures, and executions like crucifixions, impalements, and dismembering of limbs is just wicked. A major part of this public approach was that these were declared to be deterrent actions. Even after death, bodies were put in public places and highways “for the bodies to rot and be eaten by birds”. Striking fear and deterrence into the Enslaved Population is well recorded. To try and suppress this well recorded history by replacing it with WW2 style executions and suggesting that these killings were hidden rather than public affairs blatant false propaganda and marketing for a modern day Southern Suburbs cause. Its a blatant attempt to try and hijack the term “Holocaust” for publicity value.

The first 1657 colonial settlement along the Liesbeek was at Rondebosch, and over 1657 – 1658 and then through to 1662 the first settlement spread out.

The INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF RONDEBOSCH BEING THE EPICENTRE OF KHOE HABITATION is validated by this observation by –

“a landmark which was to give a name to the locality of his first permanent settlement; it was a curious formation of trees in a round cluster which he named “Het Ronde Doornbosjen”. This clump of thorn trees had probably grown from a Hottentot stockade around one of their cattle kraals and the situation of this celebrated grove at whose shrine we may well hold a tercentenary dedication can be determined with fair correctness.”

A brief history of transport infrastructure in South Africa up to the end of the 20th century DR MALCOLM MITCHELL- Professional Advisor South African Road Federation both refer to the practice of roadbuilding over “Hottentot Cattle Tracks”. (who were more skilful than a pastoral people like the Hottentots in finding the safest  passages across the mountain barriers for their cattle?)

5. There is a Question of where exactly was the farm of the duo Jan Reijniersz and Wouter Mostert situated – later called Den Uitwijk and transferred back to the VOC headed by Commander Jan van Riebeeck who originally provided a financial loan for the duo to acquire the grant in 1657. A false picture about this property is inspired by an erroneous set of maps drafted in the 19th and 20th century. The erroneous maps present a false scenario by presenting a 17 Morgen piece of VOC land that was added to the returned farm to the VOC Commandeurlanden after the conclusion of the first Dutch-Khoe War for the purpose of establishing the new First Barrier Frontier.

After the Reijniers-Mostert farm was destroyed in the war in 1659, JvR called in his loan which the duo, each with a half-share, could not repay. To be able to repay the loan the Commander on behalf of the VOC bought the farm from Jan Reijniersz. Mostert sold his half share to Cornelis Claasz, who in turn within the month sold the halfshare back to the VOC. At that stage the VOC added the further 17 morgen on the east side of the river, where the VOC used this as a natural barrier as part of the first phase of the First Barrier Frontier line which was then brought down at right angle in line opposite the farm of Boom, next door to Den Uitwijk. This was the end of the first farm on the Liesbeek being a Free Burgher Farm. It joined seven other pieces of VOC Company land classed as “Commandeurlanden”.

It is eroneously projected that Jan van Riebeeck had personal property farms. The “Commandeurlanden” were VOC Company Properties. Company Officials could not own property without permission of the VoC. Jan van Riebeeck may well have broken these rules as he had done in Vietnam before, but the fact that documentation clearly notes these as “Commandeurlanden” seems to indicate otherwise. The unauthorised Potter Map of 1661 provides clear evidence that this was neither a Mostert Farm, nor was it Jan van Riebeek’s private farm. It was a VOC company property and the extension was part of the important First Barrier Frontier project.

TANGIBLE EVIDENCE exists in the form of the official VOC Surveyors Map of 1658 by Pietter Potter. The 1661 MAP which some selectively use is logged as an UNAUTHORISED MAP. But a close look at the 1661 MAP shows that it is a copy of Pieter Potter’s 1658 MAP, with alterations drawn over it. . The 1661 Unauthorised Map was graphically enhanced with incorrect information in 1928 by Eric Stockenstrom..

It is absolutely clear from the only authorised Map of the First Farms by the VoC Surveyor Pieter potter that there were only two farms opposite the LLPT Site and that neither crossed the Liesbeek River west bank to the east bank side. The Unathorised Map of 1661 is evidence of the building of the first phase of the Barrier Frontier only 337 metres from the foot of the original Reijniersz-Mostert farm. At that time the Liesbeek was not running where it is today. It ran through today’s Malta Park sports fields (in the 20th century moved some distance across the road to make way for the Liesbeek Parkway Road.

There is no credibility to the story that Mostert had a separate farm grant from Jan Reijniers. The new 17 morgen established after the war was not a Free Burgher Farm. The impenetrable and dangerous nature of that land is clarified in records.

“After great trouble it has been ascertained that the Fresh River Liesbeek is so deep, and the banks so steep, from the house of Jan Reyniers to the crooked tree (Kromboom Rondebosch East) above that of Jan Martens of Vrielants, inclusive, if only cleared of the rushes, that no cattle can be driven through, except at three or four narrow places, which may easily be deepened, and the Hottentoos thus compelled to cross between the sea coast and Reynier’s house”

The location of Reijniers farm is spelt out….  As around “500 Roods from the sea.” Then the position of the palisade and natural  barrier location is addressed….. “ (properties of others) and Jan Reijniers’ – in all about 170 morgen in the line of this fence, 100 roods from the Liesbeek and Salt River”. It clearly states that “it is 100 Roods from the Liesbeek, which had steep banks, 12 feet wide, very deep and covered in reeds.”

The LLPT Site was unoccupied. Resolutions, C.1, pp 238-241

6. The fortification of/and borderline of the first colonial ‘Cape District Barrier Frontier’  is THE ONLY MOST COMPELLING REAL EVIDENCE THAT A PART OF THE LLPT SITE IS OF HHIGHLY IMPORTANT SIGNIFICANCE IN THE CULTURAL HERITAGE ARENA. Nobody has raised this most important fact. The stretch of borderline between Keert de Koei via the LLPT SITE and ending at the edge of the 17 morgen at the foot of Boom’s Farm has high significance in the discourse about land restitution – and this demands an appropriate response by the landowners about surrendering this small bordeline portion in the centre of development, by title deed to a PBO Community Trust of the Hoe-San Peoples.

The only TANGIBLE EVIDENCE of this are records, sketches, and in a different area, that section of the fortified borderline known as the WILD-ALMOND HEDGE.None of the built REDOUBTS (Fortified Towers) and palisade barriers still exist and it is difficult to pin-point their exact locations because of the totally reconfigured environments.Because we know the distance of the barrier is a 100 roods (337m) from the old banks of the Liesbeeek (Malta Park and that it passed between the two rivers at a narrowing of the distance between the two rivers, this LLPT Site is the one place where we can be most certain as to the site of the fence at least for this piece of ground. From all of the descriptions of the site it effectively was the BARRIER itself – a natural barrier.In Raven-Hart, R.: Cape Good Hope 1652-1702, Jan van Nieuhof in 1654 notes that the river was  twelve or fourteen feet wide ….. but is very deep. In “The first fifty years of Dutch colonization as seen by callers” Volume 1; pp 13 -16: Balkema, Cape Town, (1971), it records the river being so thickly grown with sharp nipah, water plants and wild rushes up to two fathoms high, that a proper inspection of the river itself was not possible.At least two drownings in the river were recorded by Van Riebeeck: in 1658 a farmer drowned while trying to place a fishing net in position in the river, and in 1660 Corporal Elias Giers and his horse were drowned – Van Riebeeck Journal, 18/1/1658, Volume 11 p 215. Van Riebeeck Journal, 8/8/1660, Volume 111 p 248          The one and only INTANGIBLE claim for the LLPT site that can be held up as an incontestable fact is that the fortified borderline of the first Cape Colonial District (THE FIRST FRONTIER) did pass through the middle of this site according to sketches, and written accounts.The impassable and uninhabitable marshy, bog site, described as being ‘snake infested’ actually provided a natural barrier for penetration from outside of the peninsular, similarly to the ‘Wild-Almond Hedge’ further along the frontier-line.VALIDATING Sketches show that there were three East Embankment Fortified Redoubts – Duynehoop, Coornhoop and Hout den Buyl, roughly equi-distant from each other at Salt River Dunes, Mowbray Coornhoop VoC Farm, and around Kirstenbosch.Then there was the fortified First Frontier  which started with a redoubt name Kijkuit Tower which stood on Paarden Island opposite Duynehoop Tower. The next redoubt was strategically placed to guard the crossing ford called Vaarsche Drift at the crossing and beginning of what would in later years be called Vaarsche Vallei. But it also had a name providing validation for the intangible. It was called KEERT DE KOEI or “Turn around the Cows” as the extended territory beyond, including the LLPT site was dangerous to people and animals. Drowned cow carcasses were seen in the bog.Another fortified Redoubt Tower  Ruyterborst was possibly located on the Observatory Hill with line of sight to Keert de Koei, Coornhoop Redoubt Tower and Ruijterwacht Redoubt Tower.The next redoubt tower was at Ruiterwacht in line with Rondebosch but exactly between the two-river system. Between KERT DE KOEI and RUITEWACHT were natural barriers and erected barriers and later this would be supported by cavalry after a bridge was built across the river.

7.   The 1st Khoe-Dutch War 1659-1660 and its epicentre was NOT on the LLPT SITE. This is a fabrication with evidence to support that it was not  a site of any war battles. The top end of the Reijniersz-Mostert property where the house of Jan Reijniersz stood was the war site, far away from the LLPT Site.  The Khoe-Dutch War traversed the area of Table Bay through to Kirstenbosch and beyond. In terms of the EPICENTRE of this WAR it certainly was not the peripheral LLPT Site and as clearly shown on the accompanying map of the 1657 settlement farms, there is no doubt that the EPICENTRE is RONDEBOSCH.

It is extremely important that 21st Century falsified claims should not be seen as INTANGIBLES as it undermines and falsifies the entire story of the Khoe-Dutch War and gives the colonial descendent property owners of the Southern Suburbs a way out for their ancestors culpability in the war and absolves them for any obligation to Restoratrive Justice and Restitution. Effectively those promoting this false account that shifts the dispossession and war to the periphery are selling out the cultural heritage of the Khoe-San.

By falsifying the story of the first struggles and locating it on a small peripheral piece of land, it disempowers any future land claims or cultural heritage claims over the much broader terrain of struggle and thus becomes another colonial lie.

There is already a colonial misrepresentation which says that the fortifications and barricades were not there to expel the Khoe and keep them and their cattle out. Colonial historians who plug this line will be most pleased to have legal rulings declaring that the epicentre of the Khoe struggle was on a peripheral piece of marshland. This is a travesty of justice and defies all that is known about the War.

Validation can be found by a study of my multifaceted Map attached.

THERE ARE SO MANY MORE INTANGIBLES AND TANGIBLE EXAMPLES OF THE REAL HERITAGE OF THE DESCENDANTS OF KHOE AND ENSLAVED AFRICANS & ASIANS IN THE ARENA OF THE TRUE BROAD RESISTANCE STRUGGLE HERITAGE SITE.  The only argument for the small peripheral piece of land is one of its proximity and symbolic value to the bigger picture.

Historians may place different emphasis on one issue or another but are in general agreement as to what are the TANGIBLE and INTANGIBLE when it comes to the LLPT Site. Those who are falsifying our history and heritage are doing incalculable harm to the cause of Khoe and San people and to descendants of various indigenous Africans and African-Asian descendants of enslaved, and of countless people who suffered Forced Removals in our life-times. Fakery, lunacy and preposterous attention seeking claims are damaging the interests of those who were always victim to divide and rule strategies by vested colonial interests.

I here below just highlight a few issues of importance, not least of all the last point as it shows where the mischief in all of this dividing of oppressed peoples really lay.

8. Modern day forced removals sites. Observatory, Mowbray, Rosebank, Rondebosch, Newlands, Claremont, Bishops Court, Kirstenbosch are all sites of FORCED REMOVALS in the 1960s and 1970s. Pockets of land including so-called environmental land should be used to build homes that will integrate black people of the Cape Flats back into the Southern Suburbs which still bears the legacy of exclusion. It should also include sites of memory of Khoe and African-Asian Enslaved descendants which remember specific identifiable stories. of Forced Removals during the 1960s-1980s. This also requires sites of memory.

Much evidence exists to this effect with many of the victims still alive.

Between 1958 and 1968 radical reconfiguration of the Liesbeek River resulted in one arm getting cut off right through to the 1990s and even with some rehabilitation in the 1990s  on the old arm it has not been returned to what it once was.

INTANGIBLES here include digging up the natural environment and shoring up a newly built Liesbeek confluence channel, by trucking in landfill made up of railways scrap, toxic waste, and rubble from Forced Removals. This happened in the lifetimes of many who were forcibly removed and are still alive. This dirty Cape Town secret was covered over by colonial veneer environmentalism 

EXAMPLES OF OTHER TYPES SITES OF HERITAGE IMPORTANCE WITHIN THE BROADER EARLY RESISTANCE HERITAGE ARENA OF THE RIVERINE ARENA

A. Places of execution & punishment: The Driekoppen Site in Mowbray & the Fort Knokke place of Execution                       

B. Mapping the heritage of the KROOMEN Builders at the Royal Observatory and many other micro-history stories   The West African Kroomen Settlers of Simonstown were brought to build part of the Royal Observatory because local builders were afraid of snakes and wildlife in the marshes and bog around the Royal Observatory —- namely the LLPT Site.  

C. The site of the finale clash of the 1808 Slave & Khoe Jij Rebellion and execution sites.  The Vaarsche Drift crossing and outspan areas was the site of the finale of the 1808 Jij Rebellion of Slaves and Khoe, number 346 who had taken over 40 farmers and families prisoner over a three day uprising starting in Malmesbury and Tygerberg. Lord Caledon du Preez sent the Dragoons garrison out to attack and stop the two columns of rebels led by Louis van Mauritius and Abraham van der Kaap. The court records of the largest treason trials ever are recorded in detail as TANGIBLE RECORD. Five of the leaders were publicly executed and their bodies left in chains at the various main roads including Koeberg Road as a deterrent. The site of the final attack by the Dragoons, and the Fort Knocke and Castle sites are also Tangibles, but overall there is no other Tangible evidence.

D. THE 2012 ASSAULT ON KHOE and MANNENBERG LAND RIGHTS PROTESTORS AT RONDEBOSCH COMMON by property owners a environmentalists of the Southern Suburbs such as those representative bodies in TRUP.

DIFFERING BETWEEN STAKEHOLDERS & VESTED INTERESTS

Property owners, Ratepayers Associations and Business Owners are vested interests. Conservationists as distinguishable from genuine environmental concerns is a vested interest. The UCT as a major property and investment player is a vested interest. TRUP TRUST and PROJECT is a vested interest which has invested much finance and energy in their project. The Black River Park Business Centre, its businesses and board of executives is a vested interest. The Observatory Sports Grounds are a vested interest. Businesses on the East Side of the Liesbeek such as Hotel and the Fig Restaurant are vested interests. Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust is a vested interest. All of these are financially vested in property with heritage value.

Indigenous Khoe-San social formations, Africans of all indigenous social formations, all subjected to forced removals, the homeless communities and backyard/shantytown dwellers are all people who have a cultural heritage of dispossession and need to be distinguished from lobbies by vested interests.

VESTED INTEREST PROPERTIES WITH KHOE-SAN VALUE and VALUE TO OTHER OPPRESSED

These are numerous across the arena of the RIVERINE BROAD EARLY DISPOSSESSION & RESISTANCE HERITAGE ARENA. The truth is being obscured about sites of heritage and then replaced by the peripheral land at LLPT SITE distortedly called the AMAZON.COM SITE.

1.In the immediate area of the LIESBEEK LLPT SITE there are three vested interest properties that  are of much greater interest to the Khoe, San and African-Asian enslaved descendants than the greater part of the LLPT SITE, with the exclusion of the small central Frontier Barrier Site within the LLPT SITE.The real site of the VOC Commander’s Den Uitwijk and site of battle at the top end during the Khoe-Dutch War, which was developed into a high rise business centre only in 1999 with no protest – Lion Match Factory Site, St Michael’s Church, Residential Properties and particularly the Black River Business Park, its businesses and board of executives. (there was no opposition to development of this site in 1999)

2. Malta Park and Hartleyvale Sports Fields.

3. Then there is the strategically placed UCT Commercial Investment Property on the East Bank of the Liesbeek and a real site of the FIRST FREE BURGHER FARM IN 1660 on the Eastbank of the Liesbeek before the earlier established Rondebosch Sites. This is now a commercial Protea Marriot Hotel hotel and Wild Fig Restaurant. It is a large piece of land long in commercial hands and with a greater history of importance to the Khoe-San and descendants of enslaved African-Asians. There was no opposition to this important cultural heritage site for the Khoe-San and UCT and campaigners withold this information in campaign protests.The Van Deventer (Willemze) – de Jongh farm was actually the first settler farm on the east bank of the Liesbeek but has been presented as though it was just part of the much later Valkenberg farm.) This large commercial property and venture is a UCT Financial Asset – “The Protea Hotel Mowbray and Fig Restaurant is part of an important Khoe-San heritage precinct owned and leased by UCT where the university significantly benefits from the profits. The Observatory Campaign and the self-styled new Khoe group allied to it have hidden this from those it asks to support their campaign in which UCT is a player.

4.Then there is the case of Rondebosch Common, long protected by Southern Suburbs residents and white business interests and is a central cite for restitution claims by the Khoe. In 2012 there was an occupation of the site by Khoe protestors and Homeless people from Mannenberg. None other than the same constituent bodies of the TRUP organised the violent disruption of this Khoe protest campaign and got SAPS to arrest the Khoe protestors and demolish their structures. Suddenly by 2017 the same anti Khoe evictors were now defending Khoe rights at the Liesbeek LLPT Site.

5. Station Road Site:. Opportunity existed for Observatory Residents and Campaigners to establish a Khoe-San Memorial in Station Road on the open site on its left looking down to the Liesbeek. Instead money and energy was expended to relocate a colonial monument from Hospital Bend to erect it at this important site for the Khoe -San. There were no protests.   

       

The only explanation for all of this suppression of Khoe-San and other interests of the broader dispossessed is that not everything about this entire Indigenous Peoples Heritage Protection Campaigning by the Observatory led lobby is that dishonesty, mischief and vested interests are behind the false stories about heritage.  This entire issue needs much more closer scrutiny.

Our approach has to be informed by all of the issue of the BROADER HERITAGE AREANA and not simply by the vested interests groups and allies involved in this dispute.

       

            

TOPOGRAPHY OF THE RIVERINE SYSTEM FROM TABLE BAY THROUGH TO KIRSTENBOASCH

The original topography and changes per century from the 17th – 20th century to the two rivers and the Salt River Estuary needs to be looked at carefully. Where were the original rivers estuary and Island in relation to todays landfill street maps? Where were the impassable marshlands and bogs, and the floodplains? Where was the actual Drift in the 17th century as it continuously was changed?

In the broader sense of Tangible and intangible in terms of what can be seen and touched as different to what cannot, there could be an argument that says because this environment has been so radically altered, there is little that is left that is tangible.

The combination of looking at all of these will bring us closer to an answer to the heritage matters. But the one thing we can be pretty sure of is that we cannot undo 400 years of tangible change that we see around us. Restorative Memory in this case is not going to bring back what was. What Restorative Justice can accomplish now is a nuanced and negotiated way forward to achieve Restorative Justice. And this does not need lies and falsifications which ultimately undermine the struggles of Khoe-San and Camissa Africans.

In this context the greatest tangible sign of Restorative Justice is Restitution to Land Rights and Resources for the descendent communities of those dispossessed. The best means of Restitution is Empowerment in Law by transfer of title deed (to community trusts and trusts of Traditional Societies – indigenous communities) I advocate that the Observatory Lobby has been mischievous and has promoted division and the interests of colonial descendents by exploiting the name of the Khoe and San.

The Real fight should be around having part of the LLPT LAND ceded by Title Deed to the Khoe-San as well as to agree to building a centre of memory and understanding on that part of the site that carries the one and only significant Cultural Heritage Value that is vitally important in the memory of all so-called frontier wars – wars of land dispossession. The fact that this originally was a prime piece of state-owned land that was sold off way below nmarket price only adds motivation as to why TITLE DEED FOR LAND RESTITUTION TO THE KHOE-SAN should be a central part to any JUST AGREEMENT.

Rigid environmental, political, residents and business associations, lobbyist , or landowners or property-developers, issues should honestly work toward common cause approaches to resolve difference of opinions in the cultural heritage arena without rancour and insult. Where the issue involves land where ancestral heritage rights are involved the solutions cannot be limited to a memorandum of understanding. There must always be an element involving transfer of at least a portion of the land, by title-deed to legitimate claimants from traditional societies and formerly black oppressed civil society organisations. This cannot simply be transfer to individuals and must be into public benefit Community Trusts established as Non-Profit Companies.

We really need to go back to the drawing Board, where there should be a strong voice of the black dispossessed and the Khoe-San in particularly. A negotiated win-win solutions needs to be found and at its heart must be real elements of land restitution and title transfer.

My critique of the LLPT is that they got STATE LAND on the cheap. This entire conflictual episode in my studied opinion is not about development or non-development; it is not about the environment; and it is certainly not about Khoe and San Cultural Heritage being violated.

The real issue for me is that this site because of its proximity and its slender ties to the greater heritage arena which is a concern of the Khoe and San and descendants of African-Asian Enslaved, there is relevance to Restorative Memory that leads to Restorative Justice. There is an underlying LAND RESTITUTION ISSUE. One would have thought that not just a memorandum of understanding about having an interpretation centre for Khoe and San Heritage at the centre of the LLPT Site, but there should be an actual ceding by TITLE DEED OWNERSHIP to a Khoe and San TRUST for that central piece of land be given as restitution. This would then be a secured agreement. It would also have set a precedent and example and challenge to other developers.

The real symbolic relevance of that central piece of land around which the commercial development is taking place, is that it was there that the first fortified barricaded frontier line passed through all the way from Salt River Beach to the full length of the 1657 colonial farming settlement.

The LLPT Site itself is not a complex one to deal with. Its value is limited to Khoe cultural heritage and history, but the one thing that stands out as important – the definable site of barricade and frontier fortification passing through its centre – is so immensely symbolic as an issue of INTANGIBLE HERITAGE. An agreement with the Khoe and San and all of South Africans who faced Colonialism and Apartheid to give back the Title Deed for the central part of this development where a Khoe – San Interpretation Centre and National Monument as a place of Memory, would give much greater legitimacy to an agreement. That is my own critique of the LLPT.

Thus while I have to critique the fakery coming out of the TRUP lobby and vested interests dressed up as a Khoe Struggle with much dishonesty about Indigenous Peoples history and heritage, my critique is that the agreement does with the people of South Africa does not go far enough, given the symbolic importance.

I recognise that there is no compulsion in law to enter such an agreement, it is the moral thing to do, and it would send a positive message to all in South Africa on what nation building is all about.  TRANSFORMATION and LAND.

IDENTITY & SOCIAL IDENTITY

SOCIAL GROUPS

As far as who are recognised legally as social communities and representatives of any of the 15 traditional South African social communities and substructures, (including the Five San & Khoe families of peoples San, Nama, Korana, Griqua and Cape Khoe-San revivalists and sub-structures) is contained in the legal framework of the Traditional and Khoe-San Leadership Act. Whatever its imperfections and there are imperfections, it still is a progressive advance and victory for Khoe-San peoples which resulted from Khoe-San Activism over the last four decades.

To protect against identity theft, misrepresentation, and potential of existing conflict between claimants, legislation allows for all traditional societies to make submissions to be recognised based on verification and validation of communities who have over the past, record, and structures of such ancestral legacy.

Self- identification does not stand on its own as claim to being a legitimate legacy community or to being a legitimate leader of such a community with multi-generational trajectories from the past to present. Validation of such has to be verified by independent means from a range of sources of social record, community affirmation, and record of multi-generation claim to identity and practices. Oral traditions, consciousness of social group values, social and spiritual practices,  beliefs, expressions, and convictions rooted in history –  tracing from antiquity to the present should we considered as intangible contribution to claims.

And independent investigation commission established by legislation will receive claims, testimony, and proof of validation for investigation and verification and look at these against claims of others, duplication, and historical record, as well as how such social groups and claimant leaders are organised and seen by others within the traditional societies. The Commission on Khoe – San Matters will make submissions after due investigation, to the Minister and House of Traditional Leaders for consideration.

Transmission of custom, organisation, practice, and leadership over time is integral to any claim being rooted in ancestral heritage and in cases of ‘revival of distant heritage’ this will always involve negotiation with other traditional communities which survived over time despite impediment and persecution, and with other claimants, within the parameters of tradition law.

Only when a traditional social formation and its leadership is validated and verified as such according to legislation, can such society legally represent those entities.

INDIVIDUALS

All individuals have the right to self-determine and give expression to the identity of choice   – social, spiritual, cultural, or sexual and this is protected by the Constitution, but this cannot be at the expense of the same rights of others.

Claims of primacy of rights or “FIRSTISM” over that of others is both historically nonsense and is unconstitutional. Identity is recognised to be complex and in itself will always have diverse contributions that have come together over time. Any person may chose, to celebrate their heritage whether with singular focus or plural, and have the right to do so without insult or injury.

Individuals may associate with others of similar affirmation, formally and informally, subject to the social group rights and the right that these have not to be subject to identity theft or forced assimilation. Such associations do not necessarily constitute legal right to recognition as representatives of legitimate Traditional Social Formations, nor make claims in the name of legitimate Traditional Social Formations.

Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act 3 of 2019 – Traditional Societies and Law as legislated is the only means to address rights of Traditional Social Formations and Leadership, as well as collective rights of legitimate traditional societies.

Constitutional Rights to equity, human dignity, life, freedom, and security of persons; freedom of religion, belief and opinion; freedom of expression; freedom of association; freedom of language and culture; all provide guidance on INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY.

Constitutional Rights also establishes legal parameters to limitations of rights, and that no rights can be at the expensive of the rights of others most especially the advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that would constitute incitement to cause harm, propagate war, and incite imminent violence.

Debunking the fiction of a so-called “Mostert Farm” on the East Bank of the Liesbeek River – Patric Tariq Mellet

I took a decision this year to break my self-imposed silence after observing and hearing through the media, many distortions, spurious claims and falsehoods about the LLPT Site – aka the Liesbeek River Club on this matter. It also came after hearing that my name and my book – The Lie of 1652 – was being used in the propagation of the Observatory Liesbeek Action Campaign, implying that I support the TRUP campaign, whereas I do not, because i see it as an extension of colonial dispossession. On the other hand I also had a different critique of the LLPT Developers approach too – though I d not believe that this scenario is a matter of development vs no development. I also do not think that this is a scenario with a valid environmental concern at its base.

As I was a councillor for the SAHRA (SA Heritage Resource Agency) I as aware of the fact that council would play a role in developing an impartial submission as to whether this was to be declared a National Heritage Site. Thus I took a decision and communicated to council, where it was accepted, that I recuse myself from all deliberations and decision making on this issue, so that I may be able to engage in public debate, and also to make a contribution-submission as a member of the general public with expertise on these matters. I am also critically non-partisan to both polarised positions, but for different reasons in each case.

declaration – Patric Taric Mellet

Historians tend to liberally talk about Jan van Riebeek’s farms, of which there were six, but in fact Jan van Riebeeck as a VOC official was not allowed to own property as it was a conflict of interest for the company. So, the correct term, which can be seen on documentation including maps is – “Commanduerslanden”. This denotes that it is official VOC land as represented by the Commander. One could describe it as the corporatized equivalent of Public Works land for official purposes.

In debunking the assertion that Mostert had a farm of his own on the east bank of the Liesbeek one has to consult two maps, both produced by Pieter Potter. The first is the official survey map, and the second is an unauthorised map of the same, but with further diagrams and notes in the hand of someone other than Potter, dated 1658 and 1660 respectively, both in the Netherlands Archives.

1658 Official VoC Surveyors Map of first Free Burgher farms by Surveyor Pieter Potter where the first two farms along the Liesbeek is only on the west bank of the river. The actual very first farms were those in Rondebosch west of Rondebosch Common – Rondebosch was the epicentre of the first farming settlements.

1660 unauthorised map also by Pieter Potter. This records that the Reijniersz-Mostert farm was no longer a Free Burgher farm after the war, but now once more a VoC Property (Commandeurlanden) directly under Jan van Riebeek, with another 17 Morgen added across the east bank of the river for the purpose of creating the First VoC Frontier barrier 337 metres from the old east bank of the Liesbeek River sometimes mistakenly referred to as Mostert’s farm or Jan van Riebeek’s farm

Pieter Potter was the official Dutch Surveyor and there is only one genuine formal surveyors map for the original Free Burgher Settlers farms drafted in 1658 by Pieter Potter. Potter drew various other sketches each with a different purpose, from Saldanha Bay to Table Bay. He has a distinctive style. Potter is also known to have had serious disagreements with Jan van Riebeeck.

A second sketch of the layout of farms, noted as an unauthorised map, clearly now states in written label that the Reijniersz-Mostert property is no longer Free Burgher property and together with the further 17 Morgen on the east bank these are both now “Commanduerslanden” . This sketch also indicates the main purpose for this extension, and it is not farming. It illustrates the first phase of the VOC creation of a fortified and barricaded frontier line as a response to the war. This was the extension of a combination of palisade (fence) barriers and natural barriers between Keert de Koei Redoubt Tower (a redoubt is a form of fort) and third Redoubt Tower (Ruytersborst) on the high ground from Slangkop (where the Royal Observatory was later built) and then coming down to the east bank of the Liesbeeck (opposite Hartleyvale sports ground) opposite Boom’s Farm on the west bank of the Liesbeek.

That part of the east bank of the Liesbeek was only moderately marshy and Jan van Riebeeck, experienced about rice farming from his Vietnam days, experimented successfully with planting rice there in 1657. So, the secondary purpose of this 17 morgen was most likely to be used for growing rice, but just further downstream from the dense impassable marsh opposite the Reijniersz-Mostert farm. On the old Reijniersz-Mostert Farm the VOC successfully harvested barley in 1661 under Jan van Riebeeck on that company land, then called Uitwijk.

It is important to note that this map was drawn after the Khoe-Dutch War and after the Khoe had been expelled from grazing their cattle on their traditional lands. This was also after Jan van Riebeeck had bought up the original farm of Jan Reijniersz and Mostert. (The farm was completely destroyed in the war and Jan Reijniersz was penniless and in huge debt. The farm was also strategic to the VOC and had to be brought under company control because Reijniersz had been guilty of causing trouble with the Khoe and others at this strategic intersection of roads and river crossing a little way off at Vaarsche Drift.

This second and unauthorised map was replicated by many others in a number of styles with varied information which clearly was wrong. Most notable is the version that Nasionale Pers and Dr Anna Böeseken disseminated and is most used erroneously today. It is the 1922 Eric Walker map variant which was drawn by Eric Stockenstrom in 1928 for the “Histories Atlas van Suid Afrika”; Pro Ecclesia; Stellenbosch.

Other notable versions is that of WD Howie and James Walton. It is easy to see how all of these based on the second unauthorised Potter Map of 1660 developed the glaring mistake – notably demarcating a “Mostert’s Farm” on the east bank of the Liesbeek. But there never ever was a Mostert’s Farm and also the half-share that Mostert had in the single farm with Reijniersz had been sold in 1659 already. Thus, it is a complete fiction that there was a Mostert’s farm on the east bank of the Liesbeek on the contested LLPT Site during the war and thus there was no conflict on that site.

The specifications, descriptions, and the transfers of the farm

There was only ever a single farm that Wouter Mostert and Jan Reijniers had been in partnership from April 1657 – August 1659. The Reijniers-Mostert joint farm was transferred in ownership to the VOC as Commandteurlanden” presided over by Jan van Riebeeck, since September 1659 and was then named “Uitwijk”.

The location and extent of the Reijniersz-Mostert farm granted jointly to the two men in 1657 is covered by this historical record:

  1. “On 15 April 1657, Jan Reijniersz and Wouter Mostert were granted land 100 by 200 roods. The grant was signed by Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck.” (16,666 Morgen)
  • On 30 August 1659 Jan Reijniersz from Amsterdam, in deep financial stress due to heavy debt (225 carolus gilders) transacted with the VOC represented by VOC Commander Jan van Riebeeck, the sale of 16.666 morgen of land as stipulated in his Land Grant of 15 April 1657 on which there was now a derelict house, erwe, kraal, and damaged farm implements. The land and house was located at the “voet of pas” between False Bay and the Table Bay harbour, east of Windberg (Devil’s Peak), to its east was the fresh water river Liesbeek, to its west the Hereweg [main road], to its south Hendrick Hendricksz Boom’s developed land, and to the north the Company’s wild and undeveloped land.

He was paid f 525.3.6 in cash which went toward unpaid taxes and debt, except for f 125 in half compensation for two unnamed absconded slaves, and one unnamed deceased female slave, as well as f 100 for a female Angola slave, presumably Isabella van Angola, for whom he was still indebted to the Company in the sum of f 225 – this amount also included 2 sheep and some of the implements/tools.

He had owned the property in partnership with Wouter Mostert, but in a transaction on the same date, the latter’s half-share was sold to Cornelis Claasz who, on the 16th of the following month sold it to Jan van Riebeeck.

(Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope, Letters Despatched 1652-1662 to which are added land grants, attestations, Journal of voyage to Tristan da Cunha, names of freemen, &c. Vol III, H.C.V. Leibrandt; (Cape Town, South Africa: W.A. Richards & Sons, Government Printers, 1900), p.263. Also – J.L. (Leon) Hattingh, “Kaapse noteriële stukke waarin slawe van vryburgers en amptenare vermeld word (1658 – 1730? 1670)”, Kronos – Kaapse noteriële stukke waarin slawe van vryburgers en amptenare vermeld word (1658 – 1730? 1670) 15 (1988): 30.8.1659 (pg.140)  Access Ref: Robertson, Delia. The First Fifty Years Project. http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/g7/p7839.htm)

It is clear from these historical notes that the single farm jointly owned by Jan Reijniers and Wouter Mostert, each with a noted half-share was both sold on 30 August 1659 – one half to Jan van Riebeeck and the other to Cornelius Claasz who then sold his newly acquired half to Jan van Riebeeck of 16th September 1659. The record notes clearly that to the east of the farm, lay the Liesbeek River, at that time from other descriptions having a steep bank, 12 foot wide, very deep, covered with reeds and impassable.

Specifications and distance of the palisade and natural barrier and when it started.

The decision to erect a long barrier to isolate the first colonial settlement from intrusion of the Khoe was taken on 4 August 1659 “ so as to prevent the Hottentoos from driving any cattle away, much better than any ditch or intrenchement … .” (Moodie 1838: 186-187)

On 15 September 1659, the day that the VOC Commander bought Mosterts half-share of the original farm from Cornelis Claasz who had acquired it a month before  – “After great trouble it has been ascertained that the Fresh River Liesbeek is so deep, and the banks so steep, from the house of Jan Reyniers to the (Kromboom past Rondebosch) crooked tree above that of Jan Martens of Vrielants, inclusive, if only cleared of the rushes, that no cattle can be driven through, except at three or four narrow places, which may easily be deepened, and the Hottentoos thus compelled to cross between the sea coast and Reynier’s house [around 500 or 1,8 km] (Moodie 1838: 187)

“… it will include no other corn land than the Company’s, Stevens’, Vredens’, Boomtien’s, and Jan Reyniers’ – in all about 170 morgen In the line of this fence, 100 roods in from the Liesbeek and Salt River [377 metres or 0,37 km = 100 roods] (Moodie 1838: 187)

This information together with the 1660 Map provides the most compelling argument where INTANGIBLE HERITAGE is validated by TANGIBLE DOCUMENTATION to inform the message of “TAKE BACK THE FENCE” symbolically reclaiming a RESTORATIVE MEMORY space for RESTORATIVE JUSTICE, that announces an end to over 370 years of dispossession of the land and a beginning of a comprehensive land restitution process across South Africa. The symbolic importance of this cannot be over-emphasised. HOW THIS IS DONE should not simply be a memorandum of understanding – The actual central piece of land in the middle of the LLPT SITE where a Khoe Memory Centre may be established should be ceded to a Khoe Trust as Title Deed, and should then be recognised as a National Heritage Memorial as this has much more broader meaning for South Africa, than just the Khoe communities. This one factor trumps all other issues of heritage and environment which for this piece of land is not a factor.

The first road system from the fort to Rondebosch intersected by the only route across the rivers called Vaarsche Drift, and later the road and bridge crossing at Rondebosch (Ronde Dooringbosch) site of the early Khoe villages.

THE ROAD SYSTEM IN PLACE DURING THE WAR:

Mossop’s diagram of Jan van Riebeeck’s original Wagon Road through from Table Bay, splitting at Salt River to Vaarsche Drift.

Then in Rondedooring Bosch splitting across the river to the east bank of the Liesbeek and moving forward on the west bank to Bosheuvel, and into the mountain forests.

The roads followed the old Khoe Cattle Tracks. This demonstrates the epicentre of the conflict over the land and the first Khoe-Dutch War. One can see clearly the distance of the road from the West Bank of the Liesbeek until the Westerford Bridge over the river.

The Reijniersz-Mostert Farm, later the VOC’s  “Den Uitwijk” farm was at the strategic crossroads of the first wagon road from the Fort in Table Bay to Rondebosch in one direction and to Vaarsche Drift in the other Direction.

Detail of the 1658 official Surveyors Map of Pieter Potter clearly shows that the Reijniersz-Mostert Free Burger farm did not cross the river at the time of the Khoe Dutch war. The farmhouse and equipment well into the heartland of Observatory was actually completely destroyed and thus resulted in debt for Reijniers and was sold back to the VOC in two transactions covering each of the two half-properties, so that it was no longer a Free Burgher property by September 1659.

This is an unauthorised map, clearly also drawn by Pieter Potter with its distinctive style.  It is not a surveyor’s map, but seems to be a planning map focussed on projects. It carries a different writing style to the official survey map.

The section here marked 33 (morgen), in part depicts the initial property of Reijniersz and Mostert, after the VOC represented by Jan van Riebeeck, bought it from Reijniersz (his half-portion), and then bought Mostert’s half-portion a month later from Cornelius Claasz who had only a month earlier bought Mostert’s half.

On acquiring both halves, the extent was then increased to another 17 morgen referred to as “Commanduerslanden” (total 33m) and 100 roods or only 337 metres from the east bank of the river running parallel to the river a demarcated VOC palisade and natural barrier line was instituted running the length of 17 morgen and then at a right-angle it came back down to the river.

The reason for this 17 morgen extension of Company designated land was two-fold.

  1.  As illustrated by a dotted line running from Uitkijk Redoubt and Keert de Koei Redoubt on the map detail, the first part of the barricaded palisade borderline was erected to line up with the Keert de Koei Fortified Redoubt, and the first more Redoubts – Ruyterborst Fortified Redoubt was established.  This palisade first borderline would quickly be extended all of the way via Ruterwacht 2 Redoubt to Bosheuwel, another of the “Commandeurslanden.”

This borderline of redoubts (fortified towers) was created as a result of the war and during the latter months of the war. It had two purposes – the keep settler’s cattle within the colony and to keep Khoe and their cattle away from the ploughed lands of the settlers. The nearest Fortified Redoubt Tower was called Keerte de Koei (turn the cow around). The first part of this added 17 morgen of land created a natural impassable barrier up to Slangkop (just to where the Observatory is situated) on higher ground surrounded by marsh. Here the first junction (Ruyterborst 1) of the initial frontier-line was situated, and as shown by a dotted palisade line back to the river. The second phase of the palisade (barrier) would continue to be erected over 1660 – 1661, starting with Ruyterwacht 2 near to Rondebosch Common.

  • The second reason for the “Commandeurslanden” extension by 17 morgen was that an earlier experiment in 1657 was carried out, to see if the moderately marshy land away from Slangkop on the east bank, could be used to successfully grow rice. A successful harvest was achieved in October 1657. Hendrik Boom’s property was opposite. The extension down river of this land would in 1661 be granted to Willem Willemsze van Deventer. It is that farm that would be the first Free Burgher farm on the east side of the Liesbeek (now a Hotel and Restaurant). The additional 17 morgen of “Commandeurslanden” fell away after Jan van Riebeeck left, as it was largely useless, and this can be seen in the 18th century map attached.

( Van Riebeeck J; pg 156; Journal vol. II, 7 October 1657. In 1661 Jan van Riebeeck successfully harvested a crop of barley. (Journal Van Riebeeck, vol. II; 15 November 1661, p. 435)

An 18th century map shows that the 17 morgen extension for the palisade frontier-line had long fallen away and that the original farm “Den Uitwijk again stopped before the west bank of the Liesbeek.

SOME OF THE MANY VARIENTS OF THE 1660 MAP THAT RESULTED IN THE FALSE PRESENTATION OF A “MOSTERTS FARM” are shown here.

The Walker map – 1922 (1) and James Walton map (2) variants.

What the variants all go on to show is the full fortification lines, which is on neither the Surveyors Map of 1658 nor the Project Planning Map of 1660. The original Potter 1660 Map simply shows the very first phase of the fortification first frontier-line. What these later reproductions do is to show the full frontier-line which had not yet been completed at the time of the original Map.

WHAT THE 1660 POTTER PLANNING MAP ACTUALLY PROVIDES PROOF OF IS THAT THE LLPT SITE IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE ONE CAN, AT ITS CENTRE, SHOW WHERE THE FIRST COLONIAL FRONTIERLINE ACTUALLY PASSED. Because the map shows the line passing centrally between the two rivers and the site is not of great distance, the centre-point of this site has significant intangible heritage meaning for Cape Indigenous People and all Africans in South Africa, as it marks the beginning of border-making and land dispossession. There is only guesswork when it comes to where any of the other length of the second phase of the frontier-line was actually located.

THE ERIC STOCKENSTROM 1928 MAP – ERONOEOUSLY LABELLING THE PIECE OF KOMMANDANTENLANDEN AS MOSTERTS FARM.

The fact is that the Mostert Farm on the East Bank of the Liesbeek where the LLPT Site is situated never existed ever. During the FIRST KHOE – DUTCH WAR there was no occupation by Khoe nor European on that site.

After the War, in 1660, the VOC had bought the Jan Reijniersz-Mostert Farm late in 1659, rebuilt and farmed barley on the original Reijniersz-Mostert portion and Jan van Riebeeck renamed it “Den Uitwijk”. On the further 17 morgen portion across the east bank this primarily became a strategic defence site for the VOC. The entire 33 morgen was no longer a Free Burgher Grant site, but rather “Commandeurlanden”.

What we do know to be a fact was that the first Free Burgher farm on the East Bank was the Willemsz van Deventer farm established where the Hotel and Fig Restaurant now stands. The colourised and plagiarised version, by BOERENATION as it appears on WIKIPEDIA.

This diagram shows the EPICENTRE of the colonial farm settlements and the resistance struggle as RONDE DOORINGBOSCH where the two ellipses of settlement overlap. It is also the site of the very first Free Burgher Farms and the favoured place for the Khoe settlements. Rondebosch Common became the site of the Ruiterwacht Watchtower and cavalry militia. The full Barrier Frontier is marked clearly too. The small peripheral area of the LLPT SITE is shown in yellow. The original river lines in the 17th century for both rivers were not where they are today. The edges of the yellow demarcated LLPT SITE on either side shows the new confluences of the early and later 20th century confluences. Cattle tracks are shown as green dotted lines.

The True Environmental & Khoe Cultural Heritage Story of the Liesbeek & Black River – BEWARE THE LIES OF THE 21st CENTURY

The Salt River Estuary, Liesbeek & Black Rivers have been totally cut up , buried, repositioned and reconfigured over 370 years of colonialism. The environment has been raped and replaced by cosmetic veneer environmentalism. The LLPT Site, originally a dangerous marshy swamp and bog, impenetrable, unpassable and uninhabitable in 1657 became a key part of the first phase of a frontier barrier line of the VOC in 1660 (shown clearly in an archive map of that year). The frontier barrier was later extended all the way to Bosheuwel near Kirstenbosch. The first frontier barricade had 4 components – Watchtowers (redoubts) at intervals, constructed palisades, natural impenetrable barriers and a planted wild almond hedge.

From 1900 the old Salt River Estuary had been filled in to a large part and the previous main branch of the Liesbeek was cut off and now the minor branch which formed a confluence with the Black River was gradually pushed back. In the 1920s – 30s the Liesbeek was radically altered and canalled as a result of complaints from Residents and Business Associations from Newlands through to Observatory, “because of flooding”. The river was just not the same since then. By 1937 as the map shows, a recognisable new confluence shape had also emerged. Between 1937 and 1952 due to new road infrastructure, the black river was brought westward, and the Liesbeek River pushed over eastward, straightened and in places widened. By 1958 where the Liesbeek use to run, we had a line of sports grounds from what was called Malta Park , Hartleyvale and up to the present swimming pool. A road and new Liesbeek bank appeared. Also an area across from Hartleyvale was dug out as a quarry and then flooded to create a wide boating pond. From 1960- 1968 a new canal trench was dug between the quarry-pond and the Black River running past the Royal Observatory. This cut through what use to be the marshy swamp land, which by 1937 had become a dump and wasteland void of anything remotely environmentally friendly. By 1939 a recreation club for white railways workers was built. This what would later be called the River Club.

Before being flooded the whole area around the new trench for the canal and the broader site too, had to be firmed up, and for that purpose industrial waste from the SA Railway Works, and rubble from the mass demolition sites in Mowbray, Upper Observatory, right through to District Six was dumped into deeply dug pits where the mud and soil was removed. The environment was raped…. in the name of environmental beautification – colonial veneer environmentalism. Over the dumping, topsoil was added and grassed in a cosmetic exercise.

Where Jan van Riebeeck had once built the first barricade frontier the concrete Liesbeek had now become an “Environmental Barrier Line” between poor black Cape Town and elite white monied Cape Town, with colonial environmentalists as the watchkeepers. In 2012 an almighty clash took place between the constituent organisations that created the Two Rivers Urban Park Concept along Jan van Riebeecks Barrier Frontier, against an alliance of Khoe-San activists and Mannenberg Activists championing the homeless. One of the watchtowers of Jan van Riebeeck’s Barrier Frontier was at Rondebosch Common where also after 1660 a cavalry militia was stationed to patrol the weakest areas without natural barriers. The Khoe-San and Mannenberg activists occupied Rondebosch Common and built a small symbolic Khoe settlement. The Southern Suburbs Resident-Ratepayers and Business Associations and colonial environmentalists were outraged and ensured that the campaigners were violently set upon, removed and jailed.

Just six years later suddenly these same aggressors became champions of the Khoe-San whose heritage was woven into the cosmetic environmental activities. These were new Khoe-San organisations and personalities who had never previously over the last 4 decades been involved in national and international campaigns for the rights of San, Korana, Nama, Griqua and Cape Khoe. Namely a body with an ever changing name, now called the Goringhaicon Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council headed by so-called Paramount Chief Aran and his High Commissioner of the Goringhaiqua Tauriq Jenkins. (Notably such titles are foreign to Khoe culture and there never was a “Goringhaicona” people back in the 17th century. The term is a 17th century derogatory name for a range of people outside of tribal structures, meaning outcasts and drifter-deserters. It was used by other indigenes, for different peoples during Jan van Riebeek’s time, and then for other people during Van der Stel’s time. Effectively this group has become a front for the interests of the TRUP Trust and the Observatory Civic Association Liesbeek Action Campaign.

And with this appearance of these new voices at the latter part of the second decade of the 21st century also came distortions, spurious claims and falsehoods about Khoe-San history, culture and heritage, unrecognisable to many who have long been heritage activists on this front. Vested interests had done a complete somersault in six short years.

Effectively the land dispossession from the 17th century through to the forced removals in our lifetime, and all of the sites at the epicentre of our ancestral struggles was being sold out in a process that created a little bantustan “homeland” heritage site on the periphery of the real epicentre of struggles which is the heartland of the wealthy plush environment of the Southern Suburbs built on blood and sweat of the oppressed.

Its a modern case of THE LIES OF THE 21st CENTURY and many gullible people have been taken in by much fakery. The real issues have been muddied by a range of complete nonesense. There is one extremely important factor in this entire conflictual scenario – A small specific part of the LLPT SITE is the only area where we can almost exactly place the first frontier barrier line according to a secondary copy of Pieter Potter’s VOC Survey Map of 1658, where in 1660 a few additions are made denoting new post-war projects. This symbolicly makes it the most important heritage site in relation to the LAND QUESTION in South Africa. On this map a further 17 morgen of land is added to a farm bought back by the VOC from joint owners Reijniersz & Mostert after it was destroyed in the war. This total of 33 Morgen became official Commandeurlandedn and the extra 17 morgen was specifically used to incorporate the natural barrier that made up the end part of the first phase of the Frontier Barrier. A third Tower was placed just beyond and in front to the side of where the Royal Observatory and Valkenbeerg now stand, coming down at a right-angle back to the River across from the end of Boom’s farm where Hartlevale Sports ground is situated. The Liesbeek of course was running through Hartleyvale and Malta Park grounds at that time and not where it is now.

Because this is a narrow well marked-out area one can almost exactly show that to have been the first frontier barrier line. No other spot nor the tower positions can be exactly located. It is this small part of a relatively small waste site, and this alone, that is INTANGIBLE HERITAGE that is validateable in terms of a much larger African Liberation Heritage Site that runs from Salt River, Maitland, Ndabeni, through the entire Southern Suburbs with Rondebosch as the epicentre and Rondebosch Common an important part thereof. One cannot over-emphasise the importance of this central identifiable line within the LLPT SITE. In my opinion all the bull-dust should be set aside and this one issue be dealt with in a substantial way. It is a site of great importance the Khoe and San, and indeed to all indigenous Africans in South Africa. As such it is my belief that a formal ceding of this central piece of land by title deed to a Khoe-San Trust Public Benefit Organisation for the purpose of a memory and learning centre of the Kwa Tthu type to be established there.

The issue is not one of Development vs Non-Development, nor is it about the Environment, nor about all sorts of false stories and embellishments on Khoe-san history and heritage and intangible site value. My critique is that such an important Cultural Heritage landmark as the FIRST FRONTIER BARRIER of colonials, which then would be moved further and further through 19 wars of conquest over 250 years, is the number one issue for consideration and negotiation with the developers. A simple Memorandum of Understanding is not good enough. As for the Southern Suburbs home and business owners and environmental organisations, they are just defending the same old frontier barrier mentality and should be ashamed about using DIVIDE & RULE TACTICS and abusing Khoe-San issues through front people for their own vested interests. There are clearly two vested interests pitted against each other where indigenous peoples issues is being used in a proxy conflict. I believe an opportunity exists for a hardball negotiated settlement that should involve the transfer of Title Deed for the identified central area of land significant to this important identified cultural heritage site, in addition to developing this as a site of memory and learning for Khoe-San and all Africans who have lost land as a result of ever new wars and frontiers that went into establishing a European Colony.

Patric Tariq Mellet – Author OF – THE LIE OF 1652

THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES ON THIS IMPORTANT SUBJECT CONCERNING THE TWO RIVERS URBAN PROJECT/OBSERVATORY LOBBY vs THE LLP TRUST DEVELOPERS and THE KHOE-SAN PEOPLES THAT ARE CAUGHT UP IN A PROXY SCENARIO OF CONFLICT WHEREAS THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED.

THE RESEARCH BEHIND THE FOUNDING OF A PROTO-PORT OF CAPE TOWN BEFORE 1652

Part of the story of the researching and writing of my book – “The Lie of 1652” – involves how I went about doing the research (methodology) of particularly the key historical information that challenges the distorted and sometimes false historical claims that frame the “white South Africa foundation construct” that downplays the role of indigenous Africans. I here would like to illustrate my research concerning the claim that it is a false historical narrative that states that only a few European ships stopped at the Cape of Good Hope (Table Bay) between 1600 and 1652.

Richard Elphick in his book “The Khoikhoi and the founding of White South Africa” says that there were only 42 ships that stopped at the Cape of Good Hope between 1617 and 1652. Others would argue that there were even fewer and that “real trade” only started with Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival. It is argued the Van Riebeeck is the founder of the Port of Cape Town and founder of South Africa. THE LIE OF 1652 argues that this is not only false but ideologically driven by a white-supremacist colonial and Apartheid approach to history which ideologised the view of the past which is really much more nuanced.

The cornerstone of my book is the sub-title “A decolonised history of land” and I put forward a figure of 1071 European ships that did the sailing route from Europe to Asia via the Cape. I posit that most of these ships stopped over at the Cape for up to three weeks and sometimes longer and that the ships that stopped over carried over 120 000 people who visited the shores of Table Bay. I point out that the implication of this mass visitation had a considerable impact on the local indigenous Africans and created a new set of economic and social relations associated with port-business. This it is argued has purposefully been edited out of history taught in South Africa under Apartheid nationalist education because it would have contradicted the ideologically constructed history which has Jan van Riebeeck in the role of founder and indigenous Africans only as incidental to that propaganda narrative.

In telling my story of the foundation of the Port of Cape Town I embraced a broad outlook to how a port was defined in the 17th century and referred to the pre-1652 foundational period as “a proto-port” in Table Bay. In doing so I took cognizance of the etymology and evolution of the term ‘port’. I consulted the work of Catia Antunes, Professor of history of global economic networks, at the Institute for History at Leiden University in the Netherlands. In her work, Early Modern Ports, 1500–1750, she explains that the term port comes from the Latin “portus”, which means gate or gateway. Catia Antunes identifies these by their genesis as places where trade activity was located either on the shores of a major river or on the sea. She defines these as gateways for the exchanges of goods, people, and ideas and as bridges between different peoples and cultures. She further defines a port as a settlement of people engaging as interlocuters between vessels and people and suppliers in the hinterland. By implication, a harbour of built infrastructure and facilities are but features of an evolved developed port. It is this definition that I use to explore and argue that what existed before 1652 was an evolving proto-port that was the foundation of the Port City of Cape Town rather than some of the less comprehensive dictionary descriptions of what constitutes a “Port”. Professor Sarah Palmer of the Greenwich Maritime Institute, University of Greenwich in the Journal for Maritime Research in a paper (1999) “Current port trends in an historical perspective” makes a vitally important point on ports in saying “the operation of a port was, and is, never to be wholly comprehended within the confines of the dock wall or the perimeter fence. Ports are not only interfaces between land and water. They are sources of national wealth, pride, and concern. They are, or have been, points of interaction between cultures and peoples. But above all they are places; places have history and the past of a place affects its present. For ports, in short, history matters.”

But central to proving this, was to show that there was not simply a casual calling at Table Bay of a mere 42 ships over the best part of a half-century, but that Table Bay involved the systematic regular use of shipping stop-overs by several nations ships in great numbers over five decades. Also that this involved engagement with local indigenous Africans with large numbers of Europeans and that therefore the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck was not a novel and starling experience for both indigenous Africans nor Europeans.

The first part of this research exploration was brought about by noting a line in a work by Robin Knox-Johnson, “The Cape of Good Hope – A Maritime History”.  Up to this point my mind was aware of Richard Elphick’s statement that only 42 ship’s called at the Cape between 1617 to 1652, but in Knox-Johnson’s work the figure was mentioned of 1 730 Dutch outward-bound ships that had gone to South and Southeast Asia from 1610 – 1700 and he suggested that furthermore there were at least another 10% of this number of English vessels doing the same. So, the first thing that I thought to do was to find out what was the actual numbers of English, Portuguese, French, Danish, Spanish, and other nations ships calling at the Cape? Then the big question was how many of these visits occurred prior to 1652? I was further interested in how many homeward bound ships there might be and what ships were carrying each way? Part of this was also to question how many people were these ships carrying? Furthermore, I wanted to know what the standard protocol was for stop-overs at the Cape and what was the extent of compliance to this protocol. This was motivated by an oft argued rigid position that ships only called at the Cape three times per year in specific months and indeed too that most ships did not call at the Cape at all.

So, I turned to the most notable best maritime history works and databases on shipping associated with Leiden University in the Netherlands. I am a retired most senior officer who was commanding officer for maritime and aviation ports in South Africa and I was familiar with recording, databasing and movement control record-keeping systems for incoming and departing craft, crews and passengers in contemporary South Africa. I turned to the Huygens ING Research Institute into history and culture database of all Dutch East India Company shipping between the Netherlands and Asia 1595-1795 per vessel. I also turned to the maritime experts from Leiden University on shipping movements, as well as experts on one of the biggest areas of trade – the trade in enslaved people. The following works were consulted:

•       Gaastra FS & Bruijn JR; ‘The Dutch East India Company’s shipping, 1602-1795, in a comparative perspective’, in Bruijn, JR (ed.), Ships, sailors and spices. East India companies and their shipping in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, pp. 177-208, NEHA, Amsterdam. (1993)

•       Parthesius R; Dutch ships in tropical waters : the development of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) shipping network in Asia 1595-1660; Amsterdam. (2007).

The work of maritime experts from Leiden University on shipping movements provided much detail on European shipping – the ships, modification of ships, routes, what they carried, passengers carried – Europe to Asia via the Cape and Inter-Asian shipping routes. These studies provide much primary research data in terms of numbers of ships, numbers of crew and numbers of passengers, trade products carried, attrition rates, routes etc. They also were illuminating on the protocols of stopping at the Cape of Good Hope, when these began and deviations from these. These works contradicted the rigid and simply false claims by mainstream South African historians about what transpired before 1652.

Firstly the protocols or standing orders about stop-overs at the Cape were important for me to understand, if I was to counter the claims by those who say that very few ships stopped-over at the Cape and that these stop-overs were restricted to a few months of any one year, and that the standard was not to stop-over at Table Bay.

Gaastra and Bruijn (Chapter 7, pg 188 – 192) state clearly that from 1616 it was prescribed that masters should call at Table Bay on their way to Asia and that the ‘Seynbriefs’ from 1617 onwards state this to be an order. My reading on English East India Company shipping shows that they followed the lead by the Dutch on this protocol. It is noted by Gaastra and Bruijn that the average stay at the Cape was 24 days in the 17th century. Here are some direct quotes from their text on what was the practice:

“The southerly route (preferred by the Dutch) was discovered by Henrik Brouwer (in 1610)… from the Cape to Bantam within two and a half months time, demonstrated the advantage of this route, that since 1617 was obligatory for all the VoC’s ships heading for Sunda Strait.”

“Anchoring at the Cape from mid-May to mid-August was considered too dangerous” but they go on to say that ships did come to the Cape during those times too but dropped anchor in False Bay or alternatively dropped anchor in Saldanha Bay.

They say “the Dutch Company sent most of its ships to Batavia ad that this port could be reached by the prescribed route (as per Seynbriefs) throughout the year. Hence the VoC was less tied to seasons than its competitors”. Gaastra and Bruijn note that there was general adherence to the Xmas Fleet – Dec/Jan, the Easter Fleet April/May and the Fair Fleet Sept/October, but they go on to say …. “This concentration on certain moths did not mean that shipping to Asia was at a standstill at other times of the year. The great and growing number of ships to be dispatched to Asia forced the Chamber on the long run to spread activities in this respect throughout the year.”

So, this this cleared up that the rigid assertions by mainstream colonial distortions about ships only visiting Table Bay three times per year was nonsense.

Now my mind turned to looking first at how many ships of all nationalities went to Asia via Table Bay between 1600 – 1652. Gaastra and Bruijn provide a number of tables for the shipping per national flag for that period per decade right across the 17th century.

This Table shows the number of Dutch ships for outward-bound for 1602 – 1650 it is 655 ships. This table also shows 338 VoC ships traveling homeward bound. There are detailed reasons given as to why there are so many less going home.

This table shows the English East India Company and the French ships between Europe and Asia going via Table Bay/Cape of Good Hope. Which are 286 and 24 respectively and when adjusted by adding the two years to 1652 it is 301 and 25 respectively. When we add this to the outward-bound VoC ships (655) we have 981 ships going to Asia via Table Bay.

This third table shows the figures for the Portuguese and the Danish. There are unfortunately no reliable figures for the Spanish. There are thus another 197 vessels but this is the total up to the year 1700. Given that after 1652 there was more shipping movements, I added just 90 of these to come to a total of 1071 ships going to Asia via Cape of Good Hope.

I subsequently in further checks against the constantly updated Huygens Shipping database when physically counting every VoC ship from 1600 to 1652 came up with 793 records rather than just 655 as per the first table (also noting that the years 1600 – 1602 and 1650 – 1652 were not counted in that table. Thus 138 Dutch more vessels could be added to the 1071, but because I had already concluded my script I remained using the earlier figure erring on the side of caution.

The evidence was thus conclusive in showing that the figures for shipping having stopovers at the Cape were ridiculously low to the point of being false in traditional mainstream colonial literature and even in most of the progressive research literature that had moved beyond the ‘Terra Nillus’ fabrication in colonial history books.

I then took this evidence in the tables and further tested it against the Huygens database of 8195  United Dutch East India Company’s ships between the Netherlands and Asia for the years 1595-1795, segment of 1600 to 1652. This database is a constant work in progress drawn from each listed vessel’s logbooks archived. About 10% of all of the ships information has been verified for the period I was scrutinising. The archive is edited by J.R. Bruijn, F.S. Gaastra and I. Schöffer, with assistance from A.C.J. Vermeulen and E.S. van Eyck van Heslinga. 

For the period 1600 – 1652 there is record for some ships where it clearly states their average stopovers, others where they still do not have that detail transcribed to the database, and a few where the vessel did not stop at the Cape.

So far in the research there is only 34 Dutch ships out of 793 from 1600 – 1652 that have verified logs of no-call at the Cape. There are 261 Dutch ships that have positive verified logs of calling at the Cape of Good Hope. With 37.7% of the archive verified for stop-over or non-stop-over only 4,4% are verified as not stopping over at the Cape of Good Hope. Based on verification thus far if we apply the same ratio on the research still to be done less than 15% of Dutch ships did not call at the Cape. Thus my not adjusting the Dutch figure given in the first table above with a further 138 ships reveal by Huygens balances out the non-stopover figure of up to 15%.

This screenshot of the Huygens database illustrates how the database is organised, with each field being searchable. You will see too that there is a field for arrival and departure at Table Bay in the Cape. This very similar to movement control systems that I worked with in our modern-day ports. Where there is a blank means that there is ongoing verification or log entries still to be found. It does not mean that there is no stop-over. The latter will be illustrated in the third screen-shot.

This screenshot shows a well populated database record but where just a little more detail is still to be found or verified. Eg. For the ship MEDEMBLIK entry 0242.1 the Ship’s Master is yet to be identified, and the actual date for arrival at Table Bay is still missing even though the departure is recorded, but indication from the other sister ships all out of Texel is that they all seem to have arrived two months earlier. That means that they remained at Table Bay for much longer than the average of 24 days. It also contradicts the denialist mainstream historians views of minimum contact between indigenous Africans and Europeans.

The following screenshot shows an example of a database entry where it indicates clearly that there was no stopover at Table Bay/Cape of Good Hope. This shows that there is no ambiguity arising out of using the database as a research tool, and thus no justification for misrepresenting the facts as many of the colonial-Apartheid minded historians do to promote ideologically impregnated versions of history in South Africa. This screenshot shows all three scenarios…. NO INFORMATION YET; A VERIFIED STOPOVER; and A VERIFIED NON-STOPOVER. Then when one goes into the detailed section of the archive one sees the reasons as to why no stop over. The ship had taken two months to get to Brava Island (Cape Verde) where it stopped over for just a week and then went straight on to the west coast of India. Notably this ship never returned to the Netherlands.

Once my research had yielded all of these answers, I wanted to also know how many people they carried, because this would indicate how many travelers may have step ashore at the Cape. The following tables indicate the numbers of people on board of these ships.

For the period 1602 – 1650 for Dutch ships alone there were 114,200 people on board ships outward bound and a further 36 400 homeward bound. If we added those on the 410 ships of other nationalities (just the outward-bound figure) one could add at least another 65 000 people bringing the two figures to 215 600 travelers coming to the Cape of Good Hope. In my book I conservatively stated“ over 120 000 travelers had come to the Cape, taking into consideration that 15% of the ships are likely not to have stopped at the Cape given the evidence outlined in this paper.

In concluding my research on pre 1652 visitation to the Cape of Good Hope by Europeans I was also interested in getting a researcher’s viewpoint who had also used the same research resources that I had used. I thus consulted a work by Robert Parthesius, Leiden University, Archaeology Department, who is a prominent researcher on Dutch shipping –  Parthesius R; Dutch ships in tropical waters : the development of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) shipping network in Asia 1595-1660; Amsterdam. (2007).

Contrary to what some white South African historians who argue that only a few ships actually stopped at the Cape, Parthesius, states clearly that the normal practice was that, “on most voyages between Europe and Asia, ships made a stopover at the Cape of Good Hope” and he gives reason as to why this was the case. “By 1620 the VOC had established the fastest route over the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope and the route to Java over the southern part of the Indian Ocean. If the skipper followed the prescribed course and if no extraordinary setbacks were encountered, a voyage from the Netherlands to Batavia could be made in a minimum time of four to five months.

Some ships made the trip to Java without a stopover, although passing the Cape of Good Hope without taking on refreshments was not without risk. For instance, in January 1627, the Wapen van Delft (ID:273) arrived after a voyage of 8 months with 183 deaths. In May 1646 the ship Nieuw Delft (ID:711) left the Netherlands and passed the Cape without taking on refreshments. It then proceeded to sail along Madagascar and Mozambique, finally arriving in a desolate condition on the west coast of Sumatra. 165 people had died including the merchant, the skipper and other officers. (Pg 92).”

I further wanted to get some idea of non-Europeans going back and forth via the Cape as part of these shipping movements and this consulted the works of prominent historians dealing with the Indian Ocean Slave Trade – namely Markus Vink and Richard B Allen. There are two works of Vink that gives one an excellent picture of the world of the Indian ocean arena and what went on in the 17th and 18th century. The mainstream South African historian presents an inward-looking bubble version of history that defends an ideological laager mentality. One can only really understand what was going on at the Cape of Good Hope when one looks at the context of world events in the broader Indian Ocean arena. The two works are – Vink M: The World’s Oldest Trade – Dutch Slavery and Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the Seventeenth Century”. Journal of World History 14, No:2 (2003) and Vink M: From Port-City to World-System: Spatial Constructs of Dutch Indian Ocean Studies 1500- 1800; Itinerario 28, No:2 (2004). From these works I can glean that the Cape of Good Hope’s strategic importance had been realised and used long before 1652.

The English East India Company’s attempt to colonise Table Bay with Newgate Convicts in 1614 and the English annexation of Cape of Good Hope/Table Bay in 1620 which failed to get ratification by the Crown emphasise this understanding of its strategic value. In 1620, Andrew Shillinge and Humphrey Fitzherbert, commander of the tow fleets of English East India Company on their way to Surat and Bantam, landed on Table Bay and claimed possession of the Cape in the name of King James 1. They planned to establish a plantation to supply refreshments to British ships on their way to India. When the British first took possession of the Cape in 1795 the raised this fact of their original annexation in 1620 which though not acted upon by James 1, had not been forgotten.

More importantly the relegation to subscripts in the European stories of two important historical facts, and personalities, Xhore and Autshumao, whose travels with the British (to London and Java) and acting as their agents from 1613 – 1626 and 1630 – 1652 respectively also indicated mischief in the historical record. Both indigenous Africans had encountered many nationalities and the practice of enslavement on their journeys and were wise to the Europeans ways.

In the case of Richard Allen’s work his many detailed tables of shipping movements and the transportation of hundreds of thousands of enslaved persons all over the Indian Ocean arena and beyond to the Americas, St Helena, the Cape of Good Hope and Europe tells us that Indigenous Africans would have been aware of the slavery system before the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck and the introduction of slavery by the Europeans at the Cape. They also would have been aware of diverse other peoples, other than Africans and Europeans. Richard Allen’s book is – Allen R B; European Slave Trading in the Indian Ocean 1500 – 1850; Indian Ocean Studies – Ohio University Press; Athens; Ohio (2014). Allen shows that there were up to 65 000 movements of enslaved persons by European ships in the Indian Ocean arena and to Europe and the Americas in the 18th century period. Of course, this is a fraction of the Indian Ocean slave trade by Europeans in the 18th and 19th century, but when looked at in comparison the Europeans transported on the high seas it is a significantly large figure of human movement.

Then there is also the matter of who crewed these European ships. Various sources indicate the manning of European ships included Chinese, Arabs, Southeast Asia, Indians, and Africans alongside Dutch and other European seamen. Gaastra and Bruijn mention that in the first half of the 17th century up to 50% of the crews of VoC ships were foreigners. They mention that this lowered later in time but in the late 18th century that East Indiamen ships requiring over 100 seamen were then made up of 75 – 85 Dutch to 25 Chinese. Thus, it is important to note that ships staying for lengthy periods at Table Bay and having mixed European and non-European crews would have seen engagements with local people not too much different to those witnessed today. As a former head of port movement control in our seaports I have a pretty good idea of what happens in terms of human engagements between visitors and humans in ports.

Finally, while we have already seen proof that ships remained at Table Bay for between three weeks and two months, there are at least two occasions when this was for much longer. In 1644 the Dutch Ship Mauritius Eylandt was shipwreck at Cape Town, leaving 326 marooned at the Cape of Good Hope for 4 months before all could be picked up. At that time three other ships including an English ship also happened to be around and came to the aid of the shipwrecked. This case illustrates two realities. The first is that Table Bay was much busier a proto-port than recognised. It was not just happenstance that four vessels were near each other. Secondly, four months for 326 Europeans to be living at the Cape surely would not have gone unnoticed by indigenous Africans nor would there have been no interactions nor no trade in food. In another shipwreck in 1647, that of the Nieuwe Haerlem, 60 persons remained at the Cape for 9 months. This was a well-documented stay at the Cape where a favourable account had been given by Captain Leendertz Janzsens on their time at the Cape and on their interactions with indigenous Africans. The fleet that picked them up were 12 ships in all. Even by today’s standards this is a large busy visitation.

In conclusion my research methodology not only on this aspect of THE LIE OF 1652 but also on the string of falsities and distortions in the name of ideology that we were brought up with under the Apartheid Education system, and propagated by those who call themselves historians, is here demonstrated by just one issue. If there was this huge amount of traffick and engagement at the Cape of Good Hope, and it had become a proto-port as per the definition given at the beginning of this paper then other role-players were the founders and not Jan van Riebeeck. He certainly is the father of the European colony but his ten-year stay at the Cape, which was not hugely successful when one closely examines the project financially cannot be granted the title “founder” of the port nor “founding-father” of South African. The African indigenous peoples are the ones to be bestowed with those titles. Van Riebeeck spent three years at Malacca after the Cape with no promotion, and then ended up at his own request to be the holder of an even lower post in Batavia as a clerk. A young man with a promising future, fluent in the Vietnamese tongue, as a result of sneaking out at night in Tonkin (Hanoi) to illicitly conduct business for his own pocket in violation of company rules, was dismissed and recalled to Batavia. There he was convicted in court and given a sentence of a fine, and banishment back to the Netherlands. Initially because he was refused another position, he then resigned from the company. Later he made a play for the post of commander at the Cape of Good Hope. His smooth tongue and the promises he made (but failed to deliver on in his ten years at the Cape) secured him the post of Commander, somewhat different to the genteel post of Factor or Director of a going VoC concern.

All of these issues are overlooked by the propagandised version of Jan van Riebeeck by white-nationalist ideologues presenting themselves as historians. Besides researching the shipping at the Cape pre-1652 I also did some in depth research on the embellished figure of Jan van Riebeeck. It is well worth reading this analysis of Jan van Riebeeck in “Malacca Under Jan Van Riebeeck” by W. Ph. Coolhaas and other authors like Hoang Anh Tuan professor of history, chair of urban history, and acting rector of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Vietnam National University, Hanoi). He is the author of “Silk for Silver: Dutch-Vietnamese Relations, 1637-1700” (Brill, 2007), World Trade and Vietnamese Integration, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries (VNU-Hanoi Press, 2016), in which he gives an account of Jan van Riebeeck in Vietnam. Hoang Anh Tuan is also visiting professor at University of Montana (2009) and Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main (2012-2013). He has also taken several academic counselling positions such as member of SEASREP Foundation board of trustees (since 2012), Gerda Henkel Foundation’s country representative (since 2012), Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Ambassador Scientist (since 2017). As you read THE LIE OF 1652 take some time out to visit the citations/references and introduce yourself to the many works that you can source to make your reading even more exciting and personalised. Every person looking at a source text is bound to discover something new.

GENEALOGY SERIES: Bay of Bengal Roots

Two of my ancestors were noted as being from Bengal – Darius van Bengal and Lisbeth van Bengal. The toponym ‘Van Bengal’ used as surnames in records is very broad in interpretation. In the case of one of my other ancestors with this toponyms, dna shows her to trace back to the border region of Myanmar-Laos-Thailand, known as the Golden Triangle. Without dna tracking for other slaves with this toponym we can only assume that these slaves were either from Bengal / Bangladesh or from the broader Bay of Bengal.

The Bay of Bengal includes the territory of India known as the Coast of Coromandel, Bangladesh (Bengal), Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Without dna tracing Darius and Lysbeth may have come from any of these areas. The Dutch had slaver stations in Sri Lanka, Coast of Coromandel, Bengal and at Arakan (Rakhine province in Myanmar).

Darius van Bengal (bn1677 was one of my 7th great-grandfathers) had a daughter with Anna Groothenning van Bengal (bn circa 1674) slave from Golden Triangle – Myanmar-Laos-Thailand). Their daughter Maria van der Kaap (bn 1703) married Frans Verkouter (bn 1660). Their daughter in turn Anna Catharina Verkouter (1737) married Arnoldus Vosloo (bn 1724), the son of Johannes Vosloo (bn1694, slave son of  Tamara van Madagascar) and Gerbrecht Herbst (one of my 6th Great Grandmothers who was the daughter of one of  my 7th great grandmothers Lysbeth Arabus a royal slave from Madagascar, of Sumatra and Ethiopia lineage.)

Arnoldus Vosloo (bn 1763) who was married to Anna Spies had a daughter Martha Vosloo who married Johannes la Grange whose daughter Anna la Grange married Josef le Cordier, father of my paternal great-grandfather Anthony le Cordier, father of grandmother Elsie Petronella (le Cordier) Mellet (bn 1900). My paternal grandfather Pieter Francois Mellet snr settled in District Six with Elsie Petronella and my father was their first-born in 1922

Lisbeth van Bengal (bn 1643 one of my 9th great-grandmothers) was another of the earliest slaves at the Cape who is a 9th great grandmother in my family tree. She was captured in the Bay of  Bengal region, brought to the Cape and sold to Jan van Riebeeck by Rear Admiral Pieter Kemp in 1657. She had around 8 children by different fathers. Her fourth child born around 1663 was fathered by a Pieter NN and the child was named Anna Pietersz. Anna was born into slavery as her mother and herself were only freed ten years later in 1673.

Anna later first married Anthonij de Later van Japan a fellow freed Japanese slave. Anna then later married Matthys van Wijk (bn 1645) and had a daughter Elizabeth van Wyk (1679).

Elizabeth married Nikolaus von Wielligh and their daughter Johanna von Wielligh (bn 1716) married Mattheus Willemse (bn 1711). Their daughter Gertruyda Johanna Willemse (bn 1752) married Bernardus Lambertus Zaaiman (bn 1752 descendent of my 9th great-grandmother Krotoa of the Khoi Watermans or //Ammaqua) great grandfather to Elizabeth Saayman (bn c 1838) who married my 2nd great-grandfather Jacobus Johannes Mellet (1822).

GENEALOGY SERIES: African-Creole slaves in my roots

In my direct lineage family tree there are thirteen first generation slaves who were captured from Africa, India and Southeast Asia and brought to the Cape, and there are 26 slaves in my family tree, 5 Khoi and 19 Europeans making up my roots. Other of my slave ancestors are covered in this series from Angola; Madagascar-Sumatra-Ethiopia; Kerala India, Bay of Bengal; the Golden Triangle – Myanmar,Laos, Thailand; and Sulawezi.

All across the African island countries like Cabo Verde, Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion, Sao Tome & Principe, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Mauritius and in mainland African countries, especially in – Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Cameroon, Angola and Mozambique there are African-Creole populations, languages and cultures. The port of Cape Town was no different and the creolisation that first appeared at the Cape of Good Hope spread across South Africa.

Even before Jan van Riebeeck took over and colonised the Indigene run proto port of Cape Town, there were African-Creole people at the Cape. From 1600 – 1652, with 1071 ships dropping anchor at the Cape on their way to Southeast Asia, China and India, and a further over 800 ships on return voyages, something like 150 000 Europeans, Asians and African would have stopped over at Table Bay for periods of between three weeks and one year. Jan van Riebeeck was neither the founder of Cape Town’s port nor the first resident from abroad.

As in any port around the world sexual relations occurred and children were born. Children born of such relations between the Watermans (or //Ammaqua) also referred to locally by the depreciative term goringhaicona (our kin who left us or were expelled) would have been the first African-Creoles. But the explosion of the African- creole population began in a big way after the first generation of locally born slaves. By 1760 the majority of slaves were African-Creoles.
 
The term CREOLE and CREOLISATION is not always well understood and can mean different things to different people. For instance, in the USA, it is simply seen as part of the population of Louisiana that have French, indigene and slave ancestry.
 
The real basic meaning of the term CREOLE derives from French ‘créole’, Spanish ‘criollo’ and Portuguese ‘crioulo’ all coming from the Latin root ‘creare’ meaning a new creation or referring to ‘locally born’. This referred mainly to the first generation of slaves who were locally born to slave parents or slave-indigene parents or to slave-European parents. The full cycle of creolisation occurs when the children of the first locally born slaves are born. Creole people, creole languages and creole cultures exist and are recognised as such across Africa. It is only here in South Africa that the notion of a ‘Coloured Race’ emerged through its creation and enforcement by Europeans.
 
Dr Robert Shell argues (in Children of Bondage; 1994; Wits Univ Press) that there is a point or moment of Creolisation premised on more than 50 % of locally born slaves making up the slave population. In other words, when the character of Cape Slavery was such that it could reproduce itself, then one could talk of Cape Slavery being predominantly comprised of African Creole slaves. Dr Shell quotes the German colonist Otto Mentzel saying in the 1740s that “the majority of privately owned slaves have been born in the country (the Cape Colony)”. This differed with VoC Company slaves at the Slave Lodge where the imported slaves remained in the majority until the end of the life of the Slave Lodge. By 1806 Cape Slavery was a mix of African Creole slaves and new African slaves (Masbiekers & increasingly ‘Liberated Africans’ who were technically apprentices). Few slaves from the old countries of origin (other than Madagascar) such as those from India and Southeast Asia were now being brought to the Cape by 1808 and very quickly it stopped altogether.
 
It is from 1702 through to the 1780s that the 16 African Creole slaves feature in my family tree both as first generation locally borns and as second generation locally borns. Some were married to each other or to Free Blacks and some to Europeans and Khoi. Some were not married but had concubine relationships with Europeans. All African Creole children born of slave mothers would be slaves. Only if a slave fathered a child with a European woman, would that child not be a slave. Enslavement was always passed through a woman. These are my African-Creole slave and Free Black ancestors:
 
Armozijn de Groote van der Kaap 9th great aunt (African-Creole slave)
Armozijn de Cleine van der Kaap 9th first cousin (African-Creole slave)
Lijsbeth Sanders van der Kaap 7th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Gerbrecht Herbst van der Kaap 6th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Johannes Vosloo van der Kaap 6th great grandfather (African-Creole slave)
Maria Groothenning van der Kaap 6th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Anna Verkouter van der Kaap 5th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Rebecca Mosesz van der Kaap 8th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Maria Cornelisse Claasen vdk 7th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Maria Lozee van der Kaap 8th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Jacobus van der Kaap Steyn 7th great grandfather (African-Creole slave)
Anna Pieterse van der Kaap 8th great grandmother (African-Creole slave)
Francina NN Hadden vdk maternal 1st great grandmother (African-Creole slave)

 

Imported African and Asian slaves, Creole slaves, Free Blacks, Masbiekers, Liberated Africans, Kru, Sidees, Lascars, Saints, Manillas, Perankan Chinese, Indonesian exiles, Chinese, other migrants of Colour San, Khoi, Gqunukhwebe, Xhosa, BaSotho, BaStwana, non-conformist Europeans and many more infusions all contribute to those of us who descend from the earliest African-Creole people… who today refer to ourselves as Africans of Camissa heritage.

 
Pic: Cabo Verde Children (Photo by: Lauren Millar Pintintrest)

GENEALOGY SERIES: Malabar Coast, Kerala, India roots

Many slaves brought to the Cape of Good Hope were KERALAfrom the southwestern Malabar Coast of India which after 1956 with the combining of the Malayam-speaking regions of India, became the State of Kerala with its capital city being Thiruvananthapuram. It also incorporates the old Kingdom of Cochin.

One of my 8th Great grandmother’s was Catharina van Malabar (circa 1650) who locates as being taken captive on the southwestern Malabar coast, in today’s Kerala state.

Before India became independent, under British rule the northern part of Kerala was part of the Madras province of British India. The culture of Kerala is a syncretic mix of Aryan, Dravidian, Arab and European culture which developed over millennia. From its inception Kerala has been a socialist stronghold (Communist Party) in India, and is one of the most successful economic regions with well-developed infrastructure, social cohesion and social services.

In 1498, the Portuguese began to dominate eastern shipping, and the spice-trade in particular. Francisco de Almeida the greatest Portuguese General of that time was appointed as Viceroy of Portuguese India in 1505, and his headquarters was established at Fort Kochi (Fort Emmanuel) in the Malabar region where he established fortresses all along the Malabar Coast. In 1510 this great Portuguese General was defeated in battle by the Khoi at Salt River in Table Bay. D’Almeida and 60 of his senior officers were killed in that battle by Khoi armed with cattle, spears and archery. Later in 1571, the Portuguese were defeated in the region and the United Dutch East India came into ascendancy and gained control of the spice trade over the 1600. It was during this period Dutch exported slaves from the Malabar Coast and the Coromandel coast across the global Dutch footprint including to the Cape of Good Hope. Most who were sold into slavery were war captives and refugees. Some too were natural-disaster refugees or captives of pirates. Some were taken in payment for debts, in a practice known as debt-bondage.

Within 160 years the Dutch like the Portuguese before them were weakened by constant battles with Marthanda Varma of the Travancore Royal Family, and were defeated at the Battle of Colachel in 1741. An agreement, known as ‘Treaty of Mavelikkara’, was signed by the Dutch and the Travancore in 1753, according to which the Dutch were compelled to break off from all political involvement in the region. The British East India Company then expanded into India when in 1766, Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore invaded northern Kerala. His son and successor, Tipu Sultan, launched campaigns against the expanding British East India Company, resulting in protracted wars which resulted in northern parts of today’s Kerala being ceded by Tipu to the Madras Presidency of British India in 1792.

By the 1770s already the export of slaves by the Dutch from India, the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia drastically tumbled and died out with the majority of slaves at the Cape from the 1760s to 1860s being imported from Africa. Up until 1834 the majority of new first generation slaves were African and after 1834 the ‘prize slaves’ known as Liberated Africans followed (as forced apprenticed labour) until 1870.

Grandma Catharina van Malabar had a daughter with a Dutch man Cornelius ‘ Kees de Boer’ Claasz. Their daughter Maria Cornelisse Claasen van der Kaap (1678) was one of my 7th great grandmothers who would marry into the lineage of one of my 9th Great Grandmothers the Khoi interpreter Krotoa of the people who called themselves //Ammaqua (Watermans) and other Khoi disparagingly referred to them as Goringhaicona – our kin who left us or were expelled.

Slaves like Maria and others in my family tree who have the name van der Kaap are what are called Creole slaves. Creole simply mean locally born or a new creation. To illustrate how slaves were named we can see that as a first generation slave from Malabar Catharina was given the surname ‘van Malabaar’. As a child born to a slave woman, Maria was also a slave, even though her father was European. As a second generation creole slave Maria had the surname van der Kaap, but she also had her father’s names as baptism names (Cornelius Claaz) Cornelius se kind/ Claasz syn kind. So her name was Maria Cornelisse Claasen van der Kaap. In the third generation only the surname Claasen would continue. This was one of a number of different naming traditions foisted onto slaves. The names of the month, biblical names and names from Roman and Greek classics were also among the traditions. Slaves had little control over their names or anything personal.

A so it came to pass that Catharina (we don’t know her original name) came to be totally divorced from her rich Kerala traditions and culture and she and her descendants would only know Africa as their home. Into her cultural stream would flow the streams of other Asians and Africans and local Khoi as well as Europeans. Her descendants would be a new syncretic African people who would first suffer almost two centuries of slavery and colonial dispossession, and then de-Africanisation and Apartheid… all crimes against humanity, but with great fortitude rose above adversity, resisted these evils and fought for freedom and dignity.

In this short series that I have been posting I have shown the diversity of slaves from Africa, India and Southeast Asia which came together with Indigenous Khoi Africans and with non-conformist Europeans to give birth to an African-creole people who I refer to as Camissa and the state refers to as Coloured (the colonial and Apartheid brand forced on a range of peoples after 1904.

GENEALOGY SERIES: Madagascar Roots

Madagascar has a Malagasy population made up of diverse roots – African, Austronesian and Southeast Asian in the main, but with Somali, Arab, Indian, Chinese and some small European admixture. These constitute many kingdoms. This mixing goes back to migrations between 200BCE and 500 CE.

The Sub-Saharan African Bantu-language speakers were settled in Madagascar by 500 CE. Malagasy slaves are in diaspora across the world as a result of the slave trade. Madagascar is a member state of the Southern African Development Community SADC.

Madagascar was a major source of slaves at the Cape of Good Hope. The complexity of Malagasy society is matched only by the complexity of Cape Slave society. The roots of my Malagasy slave ancestors shows that these slaves brought from Madagascar like the two Arabus sisters – Cornelia and Lysbeth go back to Sulawesi and to Ethiopia, even although they were children from a royal family in Madagascar. The two young girl slaves were initially gifted to Maria van Riebeeck by a visiting French Captain but were handed over to the VOC as company slaves. Lysbeth Arabus is one of my 8th Great Grandmother and her daughter Lysbeth Sanders van der Kaap is one of my 7th Great-grandmothers. Cornelia is one of my 8th Great Aunts. The two Arabus girls were 10 and 12 years old when they arrived at the Cape and were contemporaries of Krotoa of the //Ammaqua (Watermans) aka Goringhaicona.

Another of my 8th Great Grandmothers was Tamara van Madagascar. Tamara was one of five slave women who had children by Johann Vosloo their owner, Johann eventually freed his offspring born into slavery.

Tamara’s freed-slave son, Johannes Vosloo, married one of my 7th Great Grandmother’s (Lysbeth Sanders van der Kaap) freed-slave daughters – Gerbrecht Herbst. (Gerbrecht’s grandmother was Lysbeth Arabus).

Lijsbeth Sanders van der Kaap was quite a character in early Cape society. She lived a long life until the age of 85 when she died in 1744.

The son of Gerbrecht Herbst and Johannes Vosloo (bn 1694) by the name of Arnoldus Vosloo (1724) married Anna Catharina Verkouter (bn 1737) the daughter of Frans Verkouter (bn1660) and Maria Groothenning.(bn1703) – (daughter of Darius van Bengal (bn 1677) and Anna Groothenning van Bengal (bn 1676) – whose story of origin goes back to Myanmar-Laos – Thailand’s golden triangle…. As per an earlier post on this another of my 8th Great Grandma’s.

This illustrates a web of slave ancestry involving Madagascar, Ethiopia, Sulawezi, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and the African-Creole offspring at the Cape.

There is a wonderful Madagascar Music group called Tarika whose many songs speak of the ancestral mix of Sumatra and Sulawezi and East African roots. Our cultural heritage like that of Madagascar is a beautiful tapestry of over 150 tributaries, but unlike the Malagasy we do not tap into this rich heritage and most are unaware of their heritage. Os Is! Is ja! Camissa!

GENEALOGY SERIES: Sulawezi Indonesian Roots

Remember when the adults would say “Da Bogeyman gonna come ‘n getcha!” Well it emanates from a large island in Indonesia where two of my ancestors originate; the island of SULAWEZI also known as the Celebes. One of the peoples of Sulawezi are the Buginese – the Bogey Men.

The Island has a peculiar shape with four peninsulas and with some small islands along its coastline. The major centre of Sulawezi was the town of Makassar where there was a huge slave trading market which imported 106 000 slaves and exported 155 000 slaves over 60 years from 1720 – 1780.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the Dutch fought on three fronts against the Portuguese, the Muslim Arab Sultanates and against Indigenous kingdoms. Each of these groups also battled with each other to convert people respectively to Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam. Religious converts were then turned into soldiers. The only united approach by the three imperial forces was against the old indigenous faiths and cultures which they all stomped upon.

The Dutch destroyed the Makassar Sultanate by 1669 and dominated the slave trade there for almost a century. Sulawezi has nine ethnic groups, one of which are the Bugis (Boegies) peoples. The original Bugi-man was a notorious pirate from the region. Besides the Buginese, the other ethnicities are the Makassarese, Mandar, Minhasa, Gorontala, Toraja, Butonese, Bajau, and Mongondow. It was captives from these traditional societies largely un-converted to the European Christian or Arab Muslim faiths who were sold to slavery at the Cape. (When Sheigh Yusuf of Makassar was exiled to the Cape his mission to the slaves won many of these ethnicities to Islam)

Sulawezi was a place of many wars between the Europeans and the various ethnic principalities and between the Europeans themselves. War captives and pirate captives resulted in many people being sold into slavery and a number of slaves at the Cape are recorded as ‘van Celebes’, ‘van Sulawezi’, van Makassar and ‘van Boegies’. Among these slaves were two of my 9th Great Grandparents – Mosesz van Sulawezi (1651) and Sara van Makassar (1667), both from Southern Sulawezi (aka Celebes).

The island of Sulawezi was first colonised in part by the Portuguese in 1523, then the Dutch 1623 and then also by the English. During the 16th century the Topasses (black Portuguese or Indo-Portuguese) dominated many of the islands and were also a force to be reckoned with across Southeast Asia. One of the most powerful Black-Portuguese Topasses families were the da Costas who originated from Portuguse relationships with Indian slaves. Maai Monica da Costa of Goa was the Indo-Portuguese mother of Simon van der Stel’s mother Maria Lievens.

Grandpa Mosesz and Grandma Sara were taken as slaves by force and sold through the port of Makassar as slaves destined for the Cape. The long journey to the Cape was broken by the compulsory stop at Mauritius which was the embarkation point for slaves going on to the Cape of Good Hope. My two 9th Great Grandparents would arrived at

Grandpa Mosesz was at least 15 years older than Grandma Sara, who was the second of his three wives. He also lived ten years longer than Sara. They had only one child together and that was Rebekka van der Kaap who married Otto van Graan. Sara van Makassar died in 1710 while Mosesz van Sulawezi died in 1721. During their life and until the 1780s there was quite a large Sulawezi community in Cape Town.

Over time the sands have blown over the Makassarese and Buginese cultural footprints of these our ancestors, but their spirit is still conveyed on the winds that blow from afar. Sulawezi ancestral and cultural influence are also strong among the people of Madagascar. In both the Cape and Madagascar the Sulawezi cultures and ancestry have mixed with African and other Asian countries as well as some European resulting in African-creole cultures. This also occurs strongly in Mauritius which was a stop-over port. Few among our Camissa people know and appreciate the diversity of these roots. Sulawezi has a rich a deep history and culture which at least in part is relevant to descendants today.

PICS – What Mosesz and Sara would have looked like. Old photos of traditional Sulawezi people

GENEALOGY SERIES: Angola roots

One of my 9th Great Grandmothers was Marij van Angola who was born around 1641 around the time the Dutch with the help of Queen Njinga Mbande overthrew the Portuguese Colony of Luanda in Angola. They controlled Luanda for only eight years when the Portuguese again seized control of the Colony City that they had founded in the 1500s.

At the heart of this fight for supremacy in Angola was the lucrative slave trade. The Dutch allied with the famous warrior Queen Njinga (Donna Ana de Sousa) of the Mbundu people in the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms, a legendary military tactician who led her forces into battle resisting the Portuguese at every turn including allying with the Dutch temporarily to defeat the Portuguese.

Finally thwarted from establishing their base in Luanda, the Dutch decided on establishing their much needed base at Table Bay, four years after their defeat in Angola. In the early 1600s as a result of the Portuguese foothold in Congo and Angola there was also much travel by Angolan nobleman as in one of the attached pictures. With the huge amount of sea traffic, including Portuguese, stopping at Table Bay (over 1071 outward bound + 800 homeward bound), it is more than probable that these African noblemen would also have visited Cape Town before Jan van Riebeeck too….(before 1652 around 150 000 travellers would have visited Table Bay since 1600)

People of Sub-Saharan African roots, speaking what we know to be branches of the Bantu family of languages have a long history in Cape Town going back to the Khoi-Xhosa mixed-society known as the Chainouqua, before the Dutch Colony was established. But when the Dutch were first setting up the colony in 1658 two events occurred that resulted in a mass migration of sub-Saharan Bantu-languages speakers to Table Bay. (NOTE: Over 400 different ethnic groups covering much of three-quarter of the territory of Africa speak some forms of Bantu languages. Bantu is no a people or ‘race’ – it is a family of languages). Both events occurred in 1658.

The story of Great Grandma Marija (Maria) involves one of these forced migratory events.

In 1657, the 16 year old girl Marij was captured inland in Angola and marched to Luanda, forced onto a ship with over 500 others bound for the Portuguese colony of Brazil. Out on the high seas the ship was intercepted by a smaller Dutch vessel, the Amersfoort , which quickly took over the slaver vessel after a short fight. The Dutch found the ship overladen with a slave cargo of mainly children from Angola. Between 1500 and late 1800 Angola was literally denuded of its children taken as slaves to the Americas, mainly Brazil.

The late great historian Karel Schoeman provides us with the factual data. The Dutch removed 250 children from the badly disabled slaver ship, leaving the rest of the slaves adrift. Marij van Angola was one of the 250 seized as prize cargo and taken to the Cape of Good Hope. Only 174 of the 250 slaves taken on board survived the journey to the Cape. Another 32 of these children died within the next six weeks at the Cape. It was then decided that 92 would be taken to be sold in Batavia (Jakarta) and probably 50% of these died before reaching the end of the journey. Then 24 of the child slaves were sold to Free-Burghers, and 26 were retained as Company Slaves, but 7 of these escaped to seek refugee with local indigenes and were not recaptured.

Marij van Angola was sold to Jan van Riebeeck and became part of his household for just a few years before being sold again when Jan van Riebeeck left the Cape to Batavia.
In the second forced migration of West African slaves 271 slaves, again mainly children but also some very old people, were bought from those who had captured them in Guinea, marched them to Grand Popo and then after negotiations over the per head price, they were loaded on board the Dutch ship the Hasselt.

The attrition rate was heavy on the sea route to Table Bay as 43 of the slaves on board died on the journey. Of the 228 landed at the Cape, 80 would be sent on to Batavia (Jakarta) which was the seat of the VOC Governor who ruled over the Cape and its Commander van Riebeeck. Again around 50% of these died along the way. Of those remaining 52 died and 41 were kept by the Company as slaves and 55 were sold to Free-Burghers.

This African slave population (146) by end of June in 1658 was almost as big as that the European population (166) of 95 Company Garrison and 20 Dutch women and children, 51 Free-Burghers, 15 Asian slaves and 7 Asian Exiles (Free Blacks). Together with the Asian slaves and exiles there was just one more of the forced migrants than the VOC and Free-Burghers. A company of Amboyna soldiers among the VOC population resulted in there being more migrants of colour than Europeans in 1658, with Africans being the largest ethnic group.

Those that falsely spread the nonsense that people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, speaking Bantu languages, are recent arrivals in Cape Town and disparagingly referred to as Eastern Cape refugees by the likes of Helen Zille, are simply ignorant or racist, or both.

He then 17 year old (9th great) Grandma Marij who probably looked like the Angolan lass in the picture had undergone a harrowing journey and was lucky to be alive. When all the emaciated and sick children landed, Jan van Riebeeck and his brother in law decided that there was only one way to control the young slaves and this was by issuing them with rations of alcohol and tobacco every day. No wonder so many of these traumatized children died.

In this largely male colonial scenario the young Marij had two children, both girls, who by birth to a slave also became slaves. One of these girls, named after her mum, was my locally born slave ancestor Maria Lozee who, like her mother Marij van Angola, is one of the direct ancestors of my father’s grandmother.

All of the different women who were my root (or progenitor) ancestors at that time knew each other and interacted, sometimes living with each other. Among them were strong connections with the Guinea slaves. The daughter of one of the Guinea slaves died as one of the richest women in Cape Town in 1713 leaving an exceptional will. Besides other farms that she owned she was the first owner of the farm that became Camps Bay. She was also known as Maria. They called her Zwarte Maria Evert – Black Maria the African. Her one son became the greatest winemaker at the Cape in the 18th century. He owned part of the Constantia Estate. Another Free Black woman, Anna de Koningh owned Groot Constantia after Simon van der Stel. Her husband had bought the farm and soon after he died and she inherited it.

So many Marias…. Whenever I hear one of my favourite pieces of music, it is these women all named Maria that I think about – AVE MARIA!

Marij is one of 26 enslaved ancestors in my family tree from Angola; Madagascar; Ethiopia; India; Myanmar-Laos-Thailand; Sulawezi; and Makassar; and the others who are locally born African-Creole slaves. There are also 5 Khoi ancestors and 19 root European ancestors.

I celebrate them all as part of my Camissa heritage as an African and South Africa. There is much to learn about the survival, fortitude, innovation, resilience and resistance in this heritage of rising above adversity – the adversity of colonialism, dispossession and crimes against humanity such as genocide, slavery, de-Africanisation ad Apartheid. Os is! Is ja! Camissa Os is!