chapter  7
19 Pages

Captive Labor in the Western Transvaal After the Sand River Convention 1

WithFred Morton

Following the 1852 Sand River Convention, at which Boer leaders agreed to prohibit slavery and slave trading north of the Vaal river, slave raiding on the peoples of the Transvaal border continued as did the institution of slavery at least up to 1870. Scattered references found mainly in travellers' accounts published in books and in contemporary newspapers in the Cape, Natal, and Transvaal suggest that slavery was more important than previously thought. At Sand River, Great Britain and the Transvaal Boers under Andries Pretorius readily agreed to prohibit slavery north of the Vaal because both parties knew the prohibition would be a dead letter. The Boers of the Rustenburg district participated in nearly all of the recorded commando raids that resulted in young captives, and they were customarily assisted by armed regiments provided by BaTswana dikgosi. Most slaves, when adults, were incorporated into African societies in the Transvaal, especially after the mid-1860s.