You are on page 1of 4

HOW SLAVES WERE TREATED If a slave drank out of a dipper (water fountain), the foreman would slap them

. At night the master would make the slaves steal from the other slave masters. A little-known aspect of Indian-South African relations

Soon after Jan van Riebeeck set up a Dutch settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, , people from India were taken to the Cape and sold into slavery to do domestic work for the settlers, as well the dirty and hard work on the farms. The archives indicate that Mary, the first known Indian slave, was found in bed with a constable, Willem Cornelis, in 1660. He was fined and dismissed from his post but she was apparently not punished. Van Riebeeck and his family probably took her with them when they moved to Batavia in 1662. Van Riebeeck sold Angela, who had taken care of his children, to Abraham Gabbema, his deputy and law officer. Gabbema granted freedom to Angela and her three children before he departed for Batavia in 1666. She integrated easily into the white community even while continuing relations with her friends who were still in slavery. She asked for and obtained a plot of land in the Table Valley in February 1667. Next year she obtained a slave from Malabar on hire. In 1669 she married Arnoldus Willemsz Basson, with whom she had three children. Her daughter from the first marriage also married a Dutchman. When her husband died in 1689, Angela took charge of the estate which had a considerable value when she died in 1720. Some of these early slaves - especially women from Bengal who were acquired by senior officials of the Dutch India Company for domestic work - were relatively fortunate. The great majority of those enslaved in the Cape, however, lived under miserable conditions. The number of slaves exceeded the number of white settlers by early 18th century and they did the hard work of developing the land. Most of the Asian slaves worked on the farms and were treated as cruelly as the Africans. There were almost as many, if not more, slaves from India as from Indonesia.

Places of Origin

far too many of them were children.so called as Malayo-Portuguese was the lingua franca in the Asian ports at that time ..Africa (mainly Guinea and Madagascar) and Asia (India. and broken alive on the wheel.The slaves were almost invariably given Christian names but their places of origin were indicated in the records of sales and other documents so that it is possible to get an idea of the ratio of slaves from different regions . even less than ten years old . it eventually charged only the leaders of the resistance. He wished to commit suicide as that was the only way he could obtain freedom and deprive his owner of his possession. Alexander. bonded or otherwise. branded and sentenced to hard labour in chains. Sri Lanka). there is reason to believe that many of the slaves .had been kidnapped in India. In 1739. however.and their descendants later came to be identified as "Cape Malays" (Cape Muslims) as the Muslim community expanded. He said he resented the work and the lack of freedom which he had enjoyed in his own country. The government sent troops and over 300 were captured.. branded. rebelled and joined a peaceful march from Swartland (near Malmesbury) toward Cape Town to demand freedom. . Warren Hastings. 1947: ". has long prevailed in this country. Cupido was overcome before he could stab himself. a slave from Malabar. dispersed and lost their identity in the course of time.. At least two attempts were made at mass rebellion. He was flogged. the practice of stealing children from their parents and selling them for slaves.. To avoid wider repercussions. The most remarkable was on October 27. and has greatly increased since the establishment of the English Government in it. but domestic servants. the British Governor-General of India." Brutal oppression and the spirit of freedom Individual slaves ran away from the harsh conditions on the farms and lived as fugitives. when hundreds of slaves. The slaves were. from Bengal. ran away and was captured in the 1730`s. however. threatened his mistress with a knife to force her to listen to his story. Most of them were caught: they were flogged. had not been slaves at all in India. In fact. Cupido. pilloried under the gallows and sentenced to 25 years of hard labour in chains... thus being subjected to slow death. The Indians became part of the "Malay" community . Kidnapping Many of those sold in the Cape. Numbers of children are conveyed out of the country on the Dutch and specially the French vessels. wrote in a Minute on May 17. 1808. Indonesia. including many from India.

Traditionally. including the white settlers. Being a slave was a hard. Whole families would be taken from their homes in Africa against their will and moved in dreadful cramped. and work really hard for up to 18 hours a day in terrible conditions. Marriages between the Dutch and slave women were prohibited in 1685 but persons of mixed perentage were allowed to marry anyone. although slavery was a punishment for criminals. diseased conditions on ships. Inter-racial marriages. they were. in fact. miserable life. in the main. slavery was used as a punishment for serious crimes. just like you would own a bicycle or a car. .and become the property of someone. They had no rights at all. often walking for miles in the hot sun and living in rough huts and sleeping on a dirt floor. The people would then be sold as slaves . It was a very hard life as a slave and very difficult to imagine now. Many white settlers married or lived with Asian women and their children were accepted in the white community. This would mean they might have to change their name to that of their owner. Miscegenation Sexual relations between whites and Asian slaves were quite common in the 17th and 18th centuries.separated from their family . He was broken on the wheel after eight pieces of flesh were pulled out from him with red-hot tongs. and several studies show that half or more of the children of slave women had white fathers. treated fairly well by their masters.He managed to escape and was captured again in 1737. They had a poor diet and no care for their health. If the plantation was run by a church they usually died after three years. Black Peoples of America Effects of Slavery on Africa Slavery was not new to Africa. Many died during the voyage. increased from that time. Once a slave started work on a plantation they usually only lived for about seven years because they were worked so hard. Hard life Masters would control their slaves by whipping them. This was not the case once trading in slaves became 'big business'. However.

Fear of the slave trader led many Africans to move to remote areas where the soil was not so good and they were unable to grow enough crops to feed themselves. began inventing new crimes for which the punishment was slavery. Slaves were in the fields from sunrise to sunset and at harvest time they did an eighteen hour day. coastal Africans were using guns to raid inland villages for the slaves that the Europeans wanted. Sometimes this could take many days or weeks. eager to possess guns which would give them power over rival chiefs. As the demand for slaves grew. were whipped. or showed any sign of resistance to the traders. Slaves who did not move fast enough. Those who resisted capture were killed. war. Women worked the same hours as the men and pregnant women were expected to continue until their child was born. At the same time. Africa became a continent of violence. Europeans had begun capturing slaves and taking them to work in the Americas. Those who were too weak or sickly to complete the journey at the required pace were left to die. They were easily able to do this because their weapons were much more powerful than the Africans' traditional spears and shields.From about 1510. . Slaves were chained together and marched to the coast. fear and famine. They exchanged guns for slaves and African chiefs. the demand for slaves by Europeans grew.