chapter  10
19 Pages

Slavery in South Africa

WithFred Morton

In 1869 in the Zoutpansberg 560 miles southwest of Ngamiland, hundreds of VhaVenda women and children were captured for sale in one raid alone. Any figure is unlikely to compensate for the dearth of detailed references to most known raids or satisfy those convinced that many raids were carried out for which no clear reference survives. Throughout the period, the enslavement of indigenous persons was legally prohibited by governments claiming jurisdiction over the territories involved. The origins of inboekstelsel are closely related to the manner in which Cape settlement was expanded. In contrast to other plantation economies in the Atlantic world, the Cape's export economy lost steady ground to its internal economy. In south Africa, slavery was adapted to expand into areas where large-scale agriculture was impractical. The degree of control over subject African communities was relative to the ability of Africans to retain control over their own means of reproduction—cattle, lands, and the freedom to maintain and increase production.