chapter  1
9 Pages

Slavery and South African Historiography

WithFred Morton

Europeanization, race and ethnicity, liberalism, Afrikaner nationalism, African resistance, capitalism, and class formation have in rough sequence claimed priority, all without noting the causes, patterns, and extent of frontier enslavement. Though attention to south African slavery began more than a half century ago with the appearance of Isobel Edwards' Towards Emancipation: a Study of South African Slavery, scholars have yet to determine the extent to which the institution was practiced. Three generations of frontier historians have passed over the slavery question, combing as they were the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for incipient forces that ultimately shaped modern South Africa. For, in areas controlled by a Boer central government, just as in areas contested by Boer frontiersmen and indigenous African politics, captive laborers remained in demand. Raids for captives were commanded by elected state officials as often as they were by local frontiersmen.