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Slavery in AfricaArchaeology and Memory$
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Paul Lane and Kevin C. MacDonald

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264782

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264782.001.0001

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Constructing and Contesting Histories of Slavery at the Cape, South Africa

Constructing and Contesting Histories of Slavery at the Cape, South Africa

(p.393) 17 Constructing and Contesting Histories of Slavery at the Cape, South Africa
Slavery in Africa

Antonia Malan

Nigel Worden

British Academy

This chapter discusses slavery in South Africa. Chattel slavery existed in early colonial South Africa from the inception of the Dutch permanent settlement in 1658 until formal emancipation of slaves in the British empire in the 1830s. More than 80,000 slaves were imported from throughout the Indian Ocean world during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although in the time of apartheid this slave heritage was buried in the public consciousness, since the 1990s museums, historians, and archaeologists have unearthed and published a considerable historical record, endorsed by new heritage legislation which gives special value to sites of slavery. Slave history is taught in universities and schools. However, especially for those descended from slaves in the Western Cape region, the evocation of a slave past has been a vexed process, with slave heritage serving as both a resource and a weapon in contemporary identity struggles.

Keywords:   chattel slavery, slave heritage, slaves, identity, Western Cape, Indian Ocean

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