MEETING A REQUEST FOR A READING LIST: My old colleague and comrade Burton Joseph asked me on FB to please provide some references or a reading list. Not an easy task by far and of course to get to the narrative that I relate I cannot even begin to put down all of the references. Also it is not as easy as suggesting one or two books where you will find my perspective. I cross reference and hunt down small pieces of information within texts and it is often from looking at the same information that others have cast their eyes and minds on for years that by using a different eye one sees the hidden gems.
I am often asked to share some of the reading matter or research publications which form part of informing the history and heritage narrative that I relate when telling the stories of our past and reaching some of the conclusions that follow.
I see my role as a heritage activist, story-teller and interpreter of the past rather than an academic. For much of my 60 years, even going back to my school days I read a lot and absorbed history. You will see from the reading list that I share with you that by approach to research and crafting my stories is multi-disciplinary – history, culture, heritage, anthropology, sociology, psychology, global or international studies, archaeology, politics, built environment, science, military studies, criminology, legal studies, migration, and literature all are brought together to interrogate a subject to arrive at an outcome which I share as my version or take on history and heritage. The reading list (only partial) presented here was also part of my personal library built up over the last 40 years. Unfortunately during the upheavals of my life over the past two years most of my books were stolen. They were to have become the library in my Heritage Centre here at home for the greater public good.
My magnificent obsession with slavery and Cape slavery as a subject began at around the age of 8 when a German Holy Cross nun from Nile Street District Six, Sr Mary Martin would have me kneel with her before the statue of a black man dressed in Dominican attire as she asked for advice and protection from this 16th century black Saint – the son of a slave woman – San Martino de Porres. It was also the time that I first awakened to the fact that my maternal grandmother Francina Haddon, who was referred to in our family as a Creole and had been born into a freed slave community. These two factors led to me reading everything on the subject that I could lay my hands on. In time over the next 52 years, particularly from my 20s onwards, I pieced together my family tree and found that I had a mix of 22 slaves in my family line, 4 Khoena and a cross section of Europeans.
As time marched on my reading moved on away from the basic slave history narratives which in South Africa were often skewed and filled with information that undermined the story rather than enhance it. I began to discover serious researchers and found that they held different opinions and often also contradicted themselves but herein lay the exciting world of discovery. I would continuously discover new angles and then later discover their negation and the birth of totally new information from overlooked or sub-scripted titbits that would open up new vistas. Often academic works were never read outside their circles, wonderful as that research may be. The academic circles were incestuous and were largely closed to external critique and public gaze (vital critical component to knowledge development). I progressed from being a reader to a critique and from a critique to developing a different narrative, respectful of academic contribution, but going much further by applying historical knowledge to current identity, heritage, political, and psychological burning issues of our day.
To meet the request for a reading list I cannot possibly be comprehensive and list all of the literature that I have been exposed to and which has informed my ideas and narrative. But what I can do is share some of the book titles to encourage people to further explore and also to show you that although I generally write off the cuff, it is informed by a sound wealth of literature. Some of the books that I will suggest are really basic outlines of slavery at the Cape or Indigenes at the Cape and are full of discrepancies served up emphatically by the writers, but when you read a basket of literature you will discover for yourself what stands up to scrutiny and what does not: What I can refer you to in terms of a means to navigate the tons of research information making up the Slavery literature is a comprehensive index of such literature produced by Dr Robert Shell and Mogamat Kamedien entitled Bibliographies of Bondage – Selected bibliographies of South African Slavery and Abolition.
Firstly I am informed by particular schools of thought on the subject of identity which I do not see as singular nor ethnic and on a particular orientation on what in liberation-speak we called the ‘National Question’. Here two authors stand out in influencing me – Amin Maalouf (On Identity) and Mzala Jabulani Nxumalo (as can be found in ‘The National Question in SA’ edited by Maria van Diepen – and other writings). Associated with these schools of thought and variations is a whole lot of works on nations, nationalism, and the notion of so-called race and racism which flows from race identification.
From reading relating to the National Question in South Africa and globally my next reading framework involved understanding global slavery in all its facets but especially the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and The Indian Ocean Slave Trade. Allied to the latter it was further important to get a handle on the social, political and economic history of India and Southeast Asia and particularly the conduct of the rival European East India companies in that part of the world. It was also important to get more information on voyages of exploration of Arabs and Chinese and not simply to be focussed on the European voyages of exploration. Again there are too many works to be cited here but let me suggest just a few – Contingent Lives; Social Identity and material Culture in the VOC World edited by Nigel Worden; – The World’s Oldest Trade; Dutch Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the 17th Century by Marcus Fink; – A history of Early Modern Southeast Asia 1400 – 1830 by Barbara Watson Andaya and Leonard Y. Andaya; – 1421 The Year China Discovered the World by Gavin Menses; – The Slavery Reader by Gad Heuman and James Walvin; The Slave Trade with Madagascar; the Journals of the Cape Slaver Leijdsman 1715 by Piet westra and James Armstrong; -Slave Routes and Oral Traditions in Southeastern Africa by Benigna Zima, Esward Alpers and Allen Isaacman; – A Short History of Slavery by James Walvin; Written Culture in a colonial context: Africa and the Americas 1500 – 1900; – Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch east India Company by Kerry Ward.
Then there are just some very basic South Africa history books introducing slavery and Indigene history most of them simply scratching the surface or focus on a single subject within the field, with one exception – an old but invaluable and exceptional old book namely that of Victor de Kock (Those in Bondage – An account of the life of the slave at the Cape in the Days of the Dutch East India Company). Sometimes these also perpetuate myths. But nonetheless they are extremely valuable for getting a foothold into understanding this subject and its complexities. This category of books includes – Up from Slavery: The Slaves at the Cape, their origins, treatment and contribution by Richard van der Ross; – An Unsung Heritage by Alan Mountain; – A history of South Africa by M Wilson and L Thompson; – A New History of South Africa by Herman Gillomee and Bernard Mbenga; Cape Town Making of a City by N Worden, E van Heyningen and V Bickford-Smith; Cape Town in the 20th Century by the same previous authors; – First People of the Cape by Alan Mountain; Martha by Winnie Rust; The Black Countess by Richard van der Ross; and there are many others. Two of my earliest influential history books on SA were Time Longer than Rope by Edward Roux and Class and Colour by Jack and Ray Simons. I believe that these are fundamental to laying a groundwork for further research. Add to this two other books that although they have flaws are comprehensive and probing of the story of those labelled ‘Coloured’ – Between the Wire and the Wall by Gavin Lewis and In our own Skins; A political history of the Coloured People by Richard van der Ross.
Then there are a range of books which with a historical backdrop interrogate current issues from a sociological, cultural and psychological perspective and are invaluable when coming to grips with either primary texts or research works on Slavery in the Cape, the indigene story or the making of the City. Not White Enough, Not Black Enough by Mohamed Adhikari; – Straatpraatjies, Language, politics and popular culture 1909 – 1922 by Mohamed Adhikari; – The Afrikaans of Cape Muslims by Achmat Davids; – Racism: A very Short Introduction by Ali Rattansi; – Kramats of the Western Cape by Mansoor Jaffer; – Groep Sonder Grense by HF Heese; Cape Malay by ID du Plessis; – Coon Carnival – New Year in Cape Town, Past and Present by Denis-Constant Martin; – Colourful Heart of Cape Town by Michael Hutchinson; – Outcast Cape Town by John Western; Imagining the City: Memories and Cultures in Cape Town by Sean Field; District Six by Adam Small and Janse Wissema; The Spirit of District Six by Cloete Breytenbach; Recalling Community in Cape Town by Siraj Rassool and Sandra Prosalendis; – Group Portrait South Africa – Nine Family Histories by Paul Faber and Annari van der Merwe; – Lost Communities, Living Memories Remembering Forced Removals by Sean Field; The Cape Coloured People by JS Marais; — Sugar Girls and Seamen: A journey into the world of Dockside Prostitution in South Africa by Henry Trotter; – The Angry Divide: Social and Economic History of the Western Cape by Wilmot James and Mary Simons; The Shaping of South African Society 1652 – 1820 by Richard Elphick and Hermann Gilomee; – National Liberation by Rostislav Ulanovsky; Every Step of the way: The Journey to Freedom in South Africa by HSRC Press and Ministry of Education; Ethnic Conflict and Political Development; – Colonial South Africa and the origins of the racial order by T Keegan; Contingent Lives: Social Identity and Material Culture in the VOC World Edt by Nigel Worden….. there are just so many more of this type of literature that is vital to a discourse that helps one see historical texts with different eyes and helps one to zoom in to look at overlooked pieces of text. Part of my journey here was also to get involved in producing productions with a huge amount of oral input – a 6 part series with Elna Boesak for radio – Os Geskiedenis Tussen die Kraake; – Afrikaaps: The multimedia stage production; Krotoa – Perspectives on her life and so on.
In looking at Indigene Khoena, San and amaXhosa history and heritage there are many thesis papers and other research which is invaluable but not very accessible to the person on the street and hence it would be useless and time consuming on my part to note these here. One can explore some of these sources by reference for instance to a broad sweep on relevant texts such as ‘Notes towards a history of Khoi Literature’ by Hermann Wittenberg (UWC) but there are many conference papers and research documents that only painstaking reading in libraries and repositories can fulfil. Besides the many individual research papers poured through and hours sitting in the Cape Archives pouring through primary documents important basic texts dealing with indigenes which are a must read are – The Van Riebeeck Diaries (3 volumes) edt by JB Thom Van Riebeeck Society; The Record by Donald Moodie; -The Khoi Khoi and the Founding of White South Africa by Richard Elphick; The Cape Khoisan in the eastern districts of the Colony before Ordinance 50 of 1828 by VC Malherbe; – The KhoiKhoi Rebellion in the Eastern Cape 1799- 1803 by VC Malherbe an S Newton-King; – Shaping of South African Society 1652 – 1820 by Richard Elphick and Herman Gilomee; – The House of Phalo: a history of the Xhosa people in the days of their independence by J Peires (and other valuable works by this author); – Voices of the San by Willemien le Roux and Allison White; Borderline by William Dicey; The Forgotten Frontier by Nigel Penn; – Rogues, Rebels and Runaways by Nigel Penn; The Sunburnt Queen by Hazel Crampton; The King of the Hottentots by John Patrick Cope; – David Stuurman: Last Chief of the Hottentots by VC Malherbe; The Island: History of Robben Island 1488 – 1990 by Harriet Deacon; – Seven Khoi Lives by Karel Schoeman; Khoisan resistance to the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries by Shula Marks; – The Griqua Captaincy of Philippolis 1826 – 1861 by Karel Schoeman and at least 5 other works by Schoeman on various aspects of the Griqua story. A more creative and entertaining version of Griqua history employing much imagination but nonetheless fairly factual is ‘Children of the Mist’ by Scott Balson; Krotoa by Trudie Bloem (fiction but worth the read); – The Khoisan Peoples of South Africa by Isaac Schapera (a dated and highly inaccurate account that resulted in the popularising of the inaccurate term Khoisan); The Cape Herders by Emile Boonzaaier; – The Hottentot Venus: Life and death of Saartjie Baartman by Rachel Holmes; — The Bushmen of Southern Africa: Slaughter of the innocents by Sandy Gall; Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa: A Comparative Ethnography of the Khoisan Peoples by A Barnard (another of the books that perpetuates some Khoisan myths and stereotypes now embraced by some as though fact as well as a number of works based on the same erroneous notions); A History of the Xhosa of the Northern Cape 1795 – 1879 by Elizabeth Anderson; – The Struggle for the Eastern Cape 1800 – 1854 by Martin Leggasick; – Adam Kok’s Griquas by Robert ross; – Masters and Servants on the Cape Eastern Frontier by S Newton-King; The Career of JT van der Kemp and his role in the history of South Africa by WM Freund; The Return of Makhanda: Exploring the Legend by Julia C Wells; – Even the Cows were amazed: Shipwreck Survivors in South-East Africa 1552 – 1782 by Gillian Vernon….. there are just so many avenues of reading that one must travel down and cross reference to find the hidden history that falls between the cracks.
The literature on Cape Slavery and the shaping of Cape Town through slavery is extensive. It is amazing that this subject which has been suppressed for years and laboured under all sorts of mythologies could be so hidden from public gaze regardless of the wealth of resources that cover the subject. People often ask me “where on earth do you find this information?” My response is that it requires work but it is not so hard to find. Here are some of the resources to look at (by far not all): Children of Bondage by Dr Robert Shell; Early Slavery at the Cape of Good Hope 1652 – 1717 by Karel Schoeman; – Portrait of a Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope 1717 – 1795 by Karel Schoeman; – Cape Lives of the 18th Century by Karel Schoeman; Slavery in Dutch South Africa by Nigel Worden; Trials of Slavery by Nigel Worden and Gerald Groenewald; – Breaking the Chains: Slavery and its legacy in the 19th Century Cape Colony by Nigel Worden and Clifton Crais; – The Diary of Adam Tas edt by L Fouche; – The House of van der Stel by Ian Colvin; – Paarl Valley 1687 – 1987 by AG Oberholster and P Breda; – Nog Altyd hier gewees – Herman Gillomee; -Slavery, emancipation and Colonial Rule in South Africa by Wayne Dooling; The Dutch East India company’s Slave Lodge at the Cape by Helene Vollgraff; Echoes of Slavery by Jackie Loos; – Colour, Confusion and Concessions: The history of the Chinese in South Africa by Melanie Yap and Dianne Leong Man; – Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape by AJ Boeseken; Cape of Torments by R Ross, Routledge and P Kegan; – Slavery in South Africa: Captive Labour on the Dutch Frontier by Elizabeth Eldredge and Fred Morton; – Decline of urban slavery at the Cape 1806 – 1843 A Bank; – Tindals, Kroomen and Seedis (Simonstown Historical Society Bulletin); – The sea is in our blood: Community and Craft in Kalk Bay 1880 – 1939 (Manilla Filipinos of Kalk Bay) by A Kirkaldy; Aided immigration from Britain (including the poor of St Helena) to South Africa 1857 – 1867 by Esme Bull; The Black Atlantic Communications Network; African American sailors and the Cape of Good Hope Connection by Keletso Atkins; Kroomen: Black Sailors at the cape by Alan Davey; – these readings should be complemented with a visit to the Slave Lodge museum in Cape Town and must be cross referenced with some of the literature mentioned earlier to cross pollinate with cultural, sociological and psychological perspectives and perspectives around the areas from which slaves were taken.
Complementing history and genealogical studies there is a range of work that has been done in the realm of DNA studies…. Here I will mention just two – the Final Report LivingHistory Project June 2008 of Pro Himla Soodyall; – and Discoveries in South Africa for the Genographic Project by National Geographic Genographics.
Additionally there are readings of many government and global agency reports that can also influence perspectives such as – the United Nations ‘State of the World’s Indigenous Populations; the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous People; Observations on the state of Indigenous Human Rights in the light of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s – SA 2007.
Then there is some of my own work:
Does Afrika-tourism have a future in the Western Cape? The challenge for Black entrepreneurs and their Cultural Heritage niche tourism product focused on slavery and indigene heritage – dissertation 1999; Business Plan for the Transformation of the Cultural History Museum into the Slave Lodge Museum – 2004; Western Cape Heritage: The Stories your tour guide didn’t tell you – 2005; Navigating Cape Identities published in – 2007; Black Roots of the Vine in Fraschhoek and Environs: An untold history of dispossession in the Drakenstein – published 2008; Lenses on Cape Identities – published 2009; as well as 30 biographies on resistance heroes 17th Century – 21 st century (commissioned) some of which can be found with other writings on my blogsite http://www.camissapeople.wordpress.com
Nou hell maar Burton Joseph dit was baie werk. Now you have the reading list boet, you have a lot of homework to do. Lol.