The Slave and Khoena Ancestors in my Family Tree

Over some 35 years I have been building my family tree and continue to enhance it by visiting and revisiting new information as it comes available. I encourage others to do the same. Today when many make wild claims about their past heritage, FACEunfortunately often with some opportunistic material claim in mind, or others still peddle the false Apartheid and Colonial narrative, I can recommend that there is so much more information out there based on impeccable resources, available to substantiate ones narrative, than when I started out on this quest more than half a lifetime ago. When I first started out on this journey to meet my ancestors, I did not even know who my father was and did not know more than half my 13 siblings. Not only did those questions get answered, I also tracked my ancestry for over 400 years.

Before going into my ancestral heritage I must first give credit to the small but dedicated community of researchers who have made the journey easier. My own painstaking search, particularly in the earlier ‘pre-online’ years has made me truly appreciate the dedication and hard work carried out by scholar researchers of our (much distorted) early history in South Africa. Distortions past and present have made the journey more difficult as one tries to navigate fact and fiction. At times I may disagree with the perspectives held by some researchers and, I have discovered that some researchers themselves now disagree with earlier work of their own. Its all part of the journey. The plurality of perspectives and versions of the past is a reality which will live on forever. Indeed all historical narratives are versions.

The research works that I must here accredit for this short summary just of my Slave and Khoena ancestors (sans an array of French, Dutch, German, Nordic and English/Scots forebears) include:

Names, dates and places: Robertson, Delia – The First Fifty Years project. http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/; and http://www.geni.com; and CC de Villiers& C Pama – Geslagregisters van ou kaapse families, (Cape Town /Amsterdam); Cape Archive Repository; GISA – South African Genealogies, JA Heese & RJT Lombard;

Narrative sources: Van Riebeeck Society (1958) – Journal of Jan van Riebeeck, Edt HB Thom, Balkema, Cape Town; Mansell G Upham (2012) – Uprooted Lives: Unfurling the Cape of Good hope’s earliest colonial inhabitants 1652 – 1713; Made or marred by time (The other Armozijn & the two Arabian ‘princesses’ at the Cape of Good Hope in 1656); Mansell G Upham (2015) – For Eva’s sake who speaks for Krotoa; Maurice Boucher (1981) – French Speakers at the Cape, UNISA, Pretoria; Karel Schoeman (2009) –  Seven Khoi Lives, Cape biographies of the 16th Century; Karel Schoeman (2007) –  Early Slavery at the Cape of Good Hope 1652 – 1717; Cape Archive Repository Mellet, Huntley, Haddon docs; Patric Tariq Mellet  (2012) – ‘Drawing the Longbow’ at the Cape – Krotoa http://www.camissapeople.wordpress.com/profiles 

The work of Mansell G Upham is invaluable for both verifying factual information and in getting ones head around the early Cape settlement and many of the various characters that appear in my family tree. He is an exceptional pioneering researcher of primary resources who has beaten a path, holding no holy cows, to give us an amazing different picture to that which we associate with conventional history taught in schools, or the ideological bent that tinges much of what is read. (we all succumb to the latter in some way) I encourage all to go a read his work (available online) and be awakened to a whole new world. The snippets of my own family story informed by his work is just a taster of the gems his work holds and the challenge that it provokes for one to think. The raw and sometimes clumsy information that I gathered over the last 35 years of putting my genealogical record together has been greatly enhanced and at times corrected by comparing my data gleaned from other sources against the more thorough detail and perspective and argument that Upham provides.

PART 1:  THE KHOENA CONNECTION

Five personalities in my family tree of ancestors emerge from the indigenous Khoena people of the Cape rooted in the Goringhaicona and Hessequa clans. These are Krotoa Goringhaicona, Pieternella Goringhaicona Zaaiman, Caatje Hottentotin Mauritz Voortman, Susanna Fortman le Cordier and Anna Maria Fortman le Cordier.

Krotoa Eva Goringhaicona van Meerhof (Havgardt)  1642 – 1674 is one of my 9th great grandmothers. Kratoa (bn 1642) was born into the Goringhaicona clan of maroons made up of drifters from other clans (Goringhaiqua, Gorachoqua, Cochoqua) who settled at the Camissa River mouth in Table Bay to trade with passing ships under the leadership of her uncle Autshumao (bn  ). She also enjoyed a special relationship with the clan that her sister married into – the Cochoqua. The Khoena trading settlement around the Camissa dating from around 1630 represents the earliest foundations of what became the City of Cape Town. It is possible from the description of Kratoa’s appearance that she had paternal or ancestral links with a passing European seaman. She was taken into the fort de Goede Hoop by the van Riebeeck family to be a servant at the age of 10 years. By the age of 15 and for the next six years she worked as an interpreter and emissary for the VOC commander in his interaction with the Khoena. Over 200 times in 65 entries in the Journal of Commander Jan van Riebeeck there are references about her or attributed to her. Her life was a complex one. For a teenage woman at that time she played a remarkable role in a man’s world, besides the fact of her mastery of language. While at first the Commander praised her work, later he suspected her of treachery and aiding her people by providing him with dubious interpretation and information and possibly providing useful information to his enemy. He accusingly referred to her as “drawing the longbow” a reference to misleading him in favour of her own people, and their relationship soured. In 1662 she was baptised as a Christian and married a Danish employee of the VOC -Pieter (Havgardt) van Meerhof in 1664. They were then bundled off to live on Robben Island seemingly to get her out of the way. Mansell Upham, who has been doing some of the most comprehensive research on Krotoa shows that four, possibly five of her eight children were born on Robben Island. In the last ten years of her life and especially after her husband died away in Madagascar in 1668, she was marginalised, ostracised and vilified by the settler community and she became an alcoholic, leading a wretched existence. She had given birth to two children in her teens in 1661 (Jacobus) and in 1663 (Pieternella) before she was married, the first fathered by unknown official and the second likely to be the daughter of Pieter van Meerhof. Historian Mansell G Upham’s research shows that in 1664 Krotoa had a third child who died in infancy and in 1666 she and Pieter van Meerhof had a fourth child Salomon and a fifth child who also died as an infant. After van Meerhof’s death Kratoa had Jeronimus van der Kaap (1670), another child who died as an infant and Anthoniij van Meerhof (1673). The last third of her life clearly seems to have been filled with multiple layers of unfulfilled dreams and trauma. Contradicting voices emerge from accounts of personal interaction which suggests that everything may not be as clear as some would like to believe. Hers is an unfinished story. A few years before her death, her children were removed from her by the church authorities who had deceived her. She had faced incarceration on many occasions and on having her children removed from her she was banished to Robben Island until her death. She died in 1674, only around 32 years old. My family line traces through her daughter Pieternella Saayman (bn 1663).

Pieternella Goringhaicona (van Meerhof) Saayman 1663 – 1713 is one of my 8th great grandmothers. She was the daughter of Krotoa Goringhaicona born the year before she married Pieter van Meerhof, who is likely to be her father. According to the research of Mansell G Upham, in March 1669 she and two of her siblings were wrested from Krotoa and given over to the care of a VOC official Jan Reiniersz and his wife Lijsbeth Jans by order of the Dutch Reformed Church Counsel because they believed Krotoa was no longer able to care for her children. Krotoa was arrested later in March and banished until the end of her days to Robben Island. Reiniersz in turn passed the responsibility for the care of the Meerhof children on to an associate, the notorious Barbara Geems. Far from being the ‘honest and godly people’ so described by the Church Counsel, Reiniersz was a notorius livestock thief and his associate Geems was accused of being a whoremonger and running a brothel. In 1677 Pieternella and her brother Salomon van Meerhof were shipped off to Mauritius as wards of Theuntje Bartholomeus van der Linde and her husband Bartholomeus Borns on the ship ‘De Boode’. The older brother Jacobus was later also sent off to Mauritius to join them. He would later be sent back to the Cape but died mysteriously on the return voyage. The records are quiet about the fate of Krotoa’s other two children Jeronimus and Anthonij except for the fact that Anthonij died in the smallpox epidemic of 1713. Pieternella was to return to the Cape with her husband Daniel Saayman after the Dutch East India Company (VOC) abandoned Mauritius. She died aged 50 in Stellenbosch in that fateful year of the smallpox epidemic in 1713. Daniel died the following year. Krotoa’s descendants can be traced through four of Petronella’s 8 children – through Catharina Zaaijman Diodata and her daughters in Jakarta; through Magdalene Zaaijman Bockelenberg; through Maria Zaaijman de Vries; and through Pieter Zaaijman (bn 1686) and their offspring. Four other children died young. My lineage flows from Pieter Zaaijman (bn 1688 in Mauritius) and Anna Maria Koopman (bn 1690) and their son Bartholomeus Zaaiman (bn1717) who was married to Anna van Biljon (bn 1724). Their son Bernadus Lambertus Zaaiman (1752) was married to Gertruyda Johanna Willemse (bn 1752) and were the parents of Bartholomeus Saayman (bn 1781) who married Aletta Johanna Cecelia van der Vyver (bn 1781). Their son Barend Saayman (bn 1810) married Gertruida Willemse (bn c 1815) whose daughter Elizabeth Saayman (bn c 1838) married Jacobus Johannes Mellet (bn 1822) and were the parents of my great grandfather Petrus Francois Mellet (bn 1864). Notably through Gertruyda Johanna Willemse (bn 1752) this is another of my slave heritage lines (see… The Slave Connection).

Johanna Catharina (Tol) Mauritz van der Kaap (bn c 1700) (aka Caatje Hottentotin Mauritz or Catharina Hottentotin Mauritz) (probably Hessequa) was married to Heinrich Voortman from Hamburg in 1759 but they had already had 8 children between 1735 and 1756).

Two of their daughters Anna Maria Fortman vdk (bn 1735) and Susanna Fortman vdk (bn 1745) married two le Cordier brothers – Johannes le Cordier (bn 1725) and Jurgen le Cordier (bn 1731) respectively. Both sisters and both brothers feature in my family tree. The le Cordier boys were the sons of Philippe le Cordier (bn 1698) and Elizabeth Malherbe (bn 1697).  Philippe le Cordier was the son of Huguenot refugees Louis le Cordier (bn 1656) from Orleanais in France and Francois Martinet (bn 1679) from Champagne-Ardenne in France. In the Cape the French language was discouraged in favour of Dutch so many of the French names changed. In the case of le Cordier variations such as Cordier, Cordeur, and Cortje were used.

Caatje Hottentotin (Johanna Catharina Tol Mauritz vdk is one of my 5th great grandmothers. Both of her daughters are amongst my 4th great grandmothers. All three represent Khoena heritage in my family tree along with that of one of my 9th great grandmothers and 8th great grandmothers Krotoa and Pieternella Goringhaicona. Caatje (Catharina) is likely to be of Hessequa lineage as her place of abode was in the Roodezand (Tulbagh) district.

Susanna and Jurgen le Cordier had a son Anthonie Louis le Cordier (bn 1789) who married Anna Hartman (bn  ). Their son Josef Michiel Anthonie le Cordier (bn 1829) married Anna la Grange (bn  ). Their son in turn, Anthonie le Cordier, was my paternal great grandfather  – my grandmother Elsie Petronella le Cordier’s father.

Susanna’s sister, Anna Maria Fortman vdk and Johannes le Cordier had a daughter Susanna Cordier (bn 1761) who married John Jacob Ziegler (bn c 1752). Their daughter Susanna Catharina Ziegler (bn 1780) married Johannes Ernst Volschenk (bn 1771) and their daughter Sarah Adriana Volschenk (bn 1804) married Jan Christiaan Steyl (bn 1793). Their daughter Maria Christina Steyl (bn 1824) married Willem van der Vyver (bn 1823). Their daughter Johanna Louisa van der Vyver (bn 1838) married Hermanus Joacobus Johannes Steyn (bn 1840) whose daughter Susanna Catharina Francina Steyn (bn1869) was my great grandmother (paternal lineage) who married my great grandfather Petrus Francois Mellet (bn 1864). Their son Pieter Francois Mellet is my grandfather and my father too was named Pieter Francois Mellet.

Two more lines within this section of my family tree go back to slave ancestors – Volschenk/van Graan and Steyn. (see under section on slave ancestors)

THE SLAVE CONNECTION

The slaves in my family tree are from diverse origins. The earliest of the slaves in my heritage were two sisters Lijsbeth and Cornelia Arabus, two royal children 10 and 12 years respectively who came from Madagascar from a royal family with roots first in the horn of Africa and Arabia who then migrated to Sulawesi in Indonesia and then onto Madagascar. Then there was Lijsbeth Sanders van der Kaap; Gerbregcht Herbst;Tamara of Madagascar; Armosijn de Groote van der Kaap; Armosijn de Cleine van der Kaap; Marij of Angola; Maria Lozee van der Kaap; Jacobus Steyn van der Kaap; Maria Groothenning van der Kaap; Anna Groothenning van Bengal (bay of Bengal captured from Myanmar); Anna Verkouter; Johannes Vosloo; Mosesz van Makassar (captured in South Sulawesi); Sara van Makassar (captured in Celebes); Rebecca Mosesz van der Kaap; Maria Cornelisse Claasen van der Kaap; Catharina van Malabar/Coromandel; Lijsbeth van Bengal; Anna Pieterse; Darius van Bengal; and Francina NN (my maternal great grandmother). These 23 personalities are in my direct line of decedents from Africa, Madagascar, South East Asia and India. By association there are many more slaves in my indirect family line.

The earliest of my slave ancestors worked in the van Riebeeck household alongside my earliest Khoena ancestor Krotoa. Lijsbeth Arabus born in Madagascar in 1645 and Cornelia  Arabus born in Madagascar in 1647 are both 8th great grandmothers in my family tree. The Dutch husband of one of my other earliest direct slave ancestor’s Catharina van Malabar was also the father to Cornelia’s daughter. Because of this intricate connection these are the only great aunt and offspring that I include in immediate family. Should I include other slavery-rooted aunts, uncles and cousins the list of 24 would grow dramatically.

In 1656 two enslaved child captives from the Madagascar Zafaraminia royal line going back to Sumatra/Arabia/Abyssinia, were originally gifted to Maria van Riebeeck by French Admiral de la Roche – St Andre of a visiting French fleet of four ships – la Duchess, St Joris, La Erman and La Marechale. This fleet was part of a broader French Fleet intending a major occupation of parts of Madagascar.

But in 1659 the visiting VOC Commissioner Rijckloff van Goens ordered that the gift to the van Riebeecks was not to be interpreted as personal and, that the two girls were possessions of the Company (VOC).  Van Goens gave permission for Lijsbeth to serve in the home of Geertruida and Pieter van Stael the sick comforter and Cornelia to serve in the house of Meijnsje and Frederick Verburgh. Later Lijsbeth was reallocated as a slave to VOC gardener Hendrik Hendrikz Boom and then to successive VOC gardeners Jacob Rosendal and his wife Barbara Geems, and later to Herman Gresnicht. For a while in 1666 Lijsbeth was the slave of Barbara Geems (the widow of Jacob Rosendal) who remarried to Hendrik Gulix. Geems was said to be running a brothel after the death of her husband (ref Upham and Schoeman)

On the available evidence Lijsbeth Arabus was the mother of  Aromosyn (de Groote) van der Kaap (1657 – 1713); Lijsbeth Sanders (Everts) van der Kaap (1658 – 1744); and Pieter Willemz (Africano / aka Tamboer)(1660 – 1729)

Lijsbeth Sanders van der Kaap is one of my 7th great grandmothers.

Cornelia Arabus (bn ) was allocated to VOC Secunde, Roeloff de Man, and later possibly went into the service of VOC Secunde, Abraham Gabbema. On the available evidence Cornelia Arabus was the mother of Armosyn (de Cleinje) van der Kaap (1661 – 1733) and Claes Cornelius van der Kaap (1663 – 1719).

Cornelia is my 9th great Aunt. Her daughter Armosijn de Cleine vdk is my first cousin 9 times removed. Armosijn de Groote vdk is one of my 8th great aunts.

Lijsbeth Sanders van der Kaap was a child who was passed around from pillar to post until she was purchased  in 1671 at the age of 12 by the stepson of Barbara Geems, Adrian Willemz van Brakal.

Lijsbeth had remained with her mother in her early childhood, while her mother worked for the gardeners from the Staels to Barbara Geems, but is noted to have been sold from the VOC into private hands in 1665 at 8 years old to Mattijs Coeijmans who was also the owner of Anna van Guinea who effectively then became the foster mother to Lijsbeth (with Swart Maria Evert being her foster sister). Evert van Guinea who was the de facto husband to Anna, had been given his freedom by Jan van Riebeeck, also purchased Anna’s freedom from Coeijmans 1671.

It can be deduced that Lijsbeth was a rebellious teen who was prone to getting involved with bad company. In 1678 she was arrested with two young men for breaking into the house of Louis van Bengal and stealing a gold ring and silver buttons. As a result of her conviction she was legally ceded by her owner Brakal, to the ownership of Louis van Bengal in terms of reparation as a result of her criminal action against him.

At 19 Lijsbeth Sanders vdk now the slave of Free Black citizen, Louis van Bengal who effectively became her fourth owner and her de facto husband and, father to three of her children. Louis gave Lijsbeth her freedom after 5 years when she and her two enslaved children were manumitted by him in 1683. In 1687 she and Louis entered into a formal recorded engagement to be married, according to Lijsbeth, on condition that he stopped beating her. In the course of her living with Louis, she had three children with him – Elizabeth Louisz (1680), Anna Louisz (1683) and Maria Louisz (1686).

But in 1685 after having an affair with an English farm hand who was employed by Louis, Willem Teerling, she had another child Willem Teerling jnr, but continued to reside under the roof of Louis and indeed had her third child with Louis. The affair with Teerling continued under Louis nose and in 1688 Louis twice took Lijsbeth to court for infidelity and breaking her formal promise that they would be married. But it was Louis that had dragged his feet in not already having married her. His excuse was that she was not yet a Christian. On the second occasion in court he sued both Lijsbeth and Teerling but Louis came away from court with an order that favoured Lijsbeth in that he had to pay costs for the upkeep of Lijsbeth and the Teerling child. He had asked the court to reinstate her into slavery and that was not granted. In 1689 Lijsbeth had another child with Teerling, Clara, sometime before moving on to her next relationship.

In 1696 Lijsbeth was again caught for burglary and stealing and given a sentence whereby she was flogged and given over to undergo 3 years of hard labour in chains. At the age of 37 and already having 3 children Lijsbeth had reached the lowest point in her life.

Sometime after being released in 1699, having completed her sentence, this 40 year old woman began a new life with Jan Herfst and had her last child Gerbrecht Herfst (Herbst) in 1702. Jan had also had a previous relationship with a slave by the name of Cecelia van Angola and they had a child Angenietie van der Kaap the sister of Gerbrecht.

Gerbrecht Herbst married Johannes Vosloo son of Johann Vosloo and a slave, Tamara van Madagascar.

Johann snr had relationships with five different slave women from which six children were born. Helena van Malabar (child – Jannetjie vdk); Nasana van Madagascar (child – Helena Vosloo); Tamara van Madagascar (children – Johannes Vosloo & Maria Vosloo) Some references show Helena van Malabar as mother to Johannes; Apollonia van Bagada (child – Casper Vosloo);  Catrijn van Madagascar (child Catrijn). Records show that these were slaves whom were owned by Johann snr, some of whom, with their children were given their freedom.

Gerbrecht daughter of Lijsbeth Sanders van der Kaap married a man born out of a similar tumultuous scenario of multiple relationships amongst slaves and freemen as dominated her mother’s life and grandmother before. Lijsbeth Sanders vdk lived a long life until the age of 85 when she died in 1744. We can only assume that the lack of any further records of a criminal or relationship nature means that she finally found peace and settled down.

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) – origin Myanmar or Laos. She was bought or taken captive by Cornelis Keeleman skipper of De Spiegel in 1698.

Arnoldus Vosloo and Anna Catharina Verkouter had a son, also 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 paternal great-grandfather Anthony le Cordier, father of grandmother Elsie Petronella (le Cordier) Mellet (bn 1900).

Mosesz van Makassar (captured in South Sulawesi) (bn 1651) was married to Sara van Makassar (captured in Celebes) (bn 1667) and had a daughter Rebecca Mosesz van der Kaap (bn 1683) who married Otto Ernst van Graan (bn 1651). Their daughter Sara van Graan (bn 1709) married Evert Jansen Volschenk (1705) the son of Johannes Ernst Volschenk (bn 1755) and Catharina Johanna Vermeulen (bn 1744). It is their daughter in this section of my family tree – Sara Adriana Steyl nee Volschenk (bn 1804) who traces back to the Indonesian slave ancestors and she is one of my fourth great grandmothers. Her forebears – Mosesz and Sara van Makassar, are two of my 9th great grandparents.

Maria Lozee van der Kaap (bn 1666) was a creole slave born at the Slave Lodge (Lozee) in Cape Town to Marij van Angola (bn c 1638) and an unknown father. She married Douwe Gerbrand Steyn (bn 1660). Maria and Douwe only had a female child together – Antie Steyn (bn 1692), but Douwe adopted Maria’s son Jacobus NN van der Kaap (bn 1683) and gave him the name Steyn. We do not know who the father of Jacobus was. He could have been another slave or a European. All of this branch of the Steyn family (there are later European Steyn arrivals) have Jacobus son of Maria Lozee vdk as their progenitor. Maria Lozee Steyn married again after Douwe Steyn’s death to Paul Heyns.

Jacobus Steyn married Maria Potgieter (bn1687) in 1704 and from this union most Steyns in South Africa are descended. (A number of other later Steyns also married free slaves). The child of Jacobus and Maria Steyn from whom I am descended was Jacobus Steyn jnr (bn 1723) who married Susanna Fourie (bn c 1730) and their son Douwe Gerbrand Steyn (bn 1759) married Maria Malan (bn 1763). Then their son Hermanus J Steyn (bn 1794) married Susanna Steyn (1796) and they had a son Hermanus Hendrikus Steyn (bn 1816) who married Christina Lourens (bn 1822) and their son Hermanus JJ Steyn (bn 1840) was my great great grandfather who married Johanna Louiza van der Vyver (bn c 1845). Their daughter Susanna Catharina Francina Steyn (bn 1869) married my grandfather Petrus Francois Mellet (bn 1864).]

Catharina van Malabar / Coast of Coromandel (bn 1650) was one of two slave partners of Cornelius ‘Kees de Boer’ Claasz from Utrecht, Netherlands (the other being Isabella van Angola). They were the parents of Maria Cornelisz (Claasen) (bn 1678) who was married to Gerrit Willemse (bn 1670) who were the parents of Mattheus Gerhardus Willemse (bn 1711) married to Johanna van Wieligh (bn 1716). They were the parents of Gertruyda Johanna Willemse (bn 1752) who married Bernadus Lambertus Zaaiman (bn 1752) whose son Bartholomeus was grandfather to Elizabeth Saayman (bn c 1838) who married my great great grandfather Jacobus Johannes Mellet (bn 1822).

Lisbeth van Bengal (bn 1643) 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, most likely Myanmar, taken to Batavia (Jakarta0 and then 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 her were only freed ten years later in 1673. She later married Anthonij de Later van Japan a fellow freed slave. Anna Pietersz (bn 1663) married Matthys van Wijk (bn 1645) and their daughter Elizabeth van Wyk (1679) married Nikolaus von Wielligh. Their daughter Johanna von Wielligh (1716) married Mattheus Willemse (1711) and their daughter Gertruyda Johanna Willemse (bn 1752) married Bernardus Lambertus Zaaiman (bn 1752) great grandfather to Elizabeth Saayman (bn c 1838)  who married my great great grandfather Jacobus Johannes Mellet (1822).

Twenty-eight Khoena and Slave Personalities in my family tree

  1. Kratoa Goringhaicona (Eva van Meerhof) 9th great grandmother (Khoena)
  2. Pieternella Saayman 8th great grandmother (Khoena)
  3. Johanna Catharina Mauritz (Caatje Hottentotin) 5th great grandmother (Khoena)
  4. Susanna Fortman 4th great grandmother (Khoena)
  5. Anna Maria Fortman 4th great grandmother (Khoena)
  6. Lijsbeth Arabus 8th great grandmother (Slave Africa/Sumatra/Madagascar)
  7. Cornelia Arabus 9th great Aunt (Slave Africa/Sumatra/Madagascar)
  8. Armozijn de Groote van der Kaap 9th great aunt (Slave Cape Creole)
  9. Armozijn de Cleine van der Kaap first cousin 9 times removed. (Slave Cape Creole)
  10. Lijsbeth Sanders van der Kaap 7th great grandmother (Slave Cape Creole)
  11. Gerbrecht Herbst van der Kaap 6th great grandmother (Slave Cape Creole)
  12. Tamara van Madagascar 7th great grandmother (Slave Madagascar)
  13. Johannes Vosloo (van der Kaap) 6th great grandfather (Slave Cape Creole)
  14. Anna Groothenning van Bengal 7th great grandmother (Slave bay of Bengal Myanmar/Burma)
  15. Darius van Bengal 7th great grandfather (Slave Bay of Bengal Myanmar/Burma South E Asia)
  16. Maria Groothenning (van der Kaap) 6th great grandmother (Slave Cape Creole)
  17. Anna Verkouter (van der Kaap) 5th great grandmother (daughter of freed Slave Cape Creole)
  18. Mosesz van Makassar (Sulwesi) 9th great grandfather (Slave South Sulawesi South E Asia)
  19. Sara van Makassar (Celebes) 9th great grandmother (Slave Celebes South E Asia)
  20. Rebecca Mosesz van der Kaap 8th great grandmother (Slave Cape Creole)
  21. Catharina van Malabar/Coast of Coromandel 8th great grandmother (Indian Slave)
  22. Maria Cornelisse (Claasen) 7th great grandmother (Slave Cape Creole)
  23. Marij van Angola 9th great grandmother (African Slave Angola)
  24. Maria Lozee (van der Kaap) 8th great grandmother (Slave Cape Creole)
  25. Jacobus (NN van der Kaap) Steyn 7th great grandfather (Slave Cape Creole)
  26. Lijsbeth van Bengal 9th great grandmother (Slave Myanmar South E Asia)
  27. Anna Pieterse 8th great grandmother (Slave Cape creole)
  28. Francina (NN van der Kaap) maternal 1st great grandmother, (daughter freed Slave Cape Creole)

My generation and the younger generation in our family continued to rebel against imposed conventions and disregard boundaries of ethnicity, colour, culture, language and faith differences in choosing their partners in life and thus children continue to be born with more and more cultural diversity added to the mix. Today’s generation in our family include European, Camissa (‘coloured’), Indian, Griqua, Nama, amaXhosa, Euro-African…. but to us its just family, like its always been.

That first Camissa footprint that emerged strongly over more than a century between the 1615 and the 1750s and then steadily continued at a less visible pace over the years since then has got new life since the demise of Apartheid. The community that sprung up around the Camissa River mouth both before and after 1652 offers a beacon to all that the notion of race, race exclusivity and racist practices and its prejudices belongs in the rubbish bin of history.

 

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