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Slaves

Cape Slave Categories

The Cape slave society was made up of a very diverse group of people. Unlike many other slave societies which had a homogenous group of slaves, the Cape was a 'tower of Babel' society. Slaves from Africa, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and the Indian subcontinent

The slaves were also owned by three distinct deferent groups and they had a great diversity of experience.

A. THREE KINDS OF SLAVES
1. Company Slaves
They were slaves who belonged to the VOC

According to Armstrong between 1715-1792 only 86 Company slaves were set free. Robert Shell states that during the 170 year slaving period of the Company 108 slaves received their freedom. Shell also states that 103 of them were born at the Cape.

2. Company Official's Slaves
These slaves belonged to those in higher office in the VOC

3. Burgher Slaves
These slaves belonged to the free settlers

B. TRANSPORT TO THE CAPE
1. The Company slaves tended to have come by the shipload
2. The Officials and Burgher slaves tended to come to the Cape on the returning fleet in small numbers
3. Slaves from Madagascar and Mozambique came by the ship load and slaves from India and the Dutch East Indies tended to come in small numbers

C. RACIAL CLASSIFICATION OF SLAVES
With the union between slaves and slaves, burghers/VOC workers and slaves. Other forms of classification was also used.

1. Heelslagh Slaves
These were slaves who did not have European parents. Even if one parent was from Africa and the other from India they were still considered as heelslagh.

2. Halfslagh Slaves
One of the parents, usually the father, was from Europe.

D. PLACE OF ORIGIN OF SLAVES
1. Africa -
Angola, Madagascar, Guinea, Mombassa

2. Indian Subcontinent - Bengal, Malabar, Coromandel Coast, Ceylon, Arakan

3. Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) - Celebes, Bali, Rotti, Bima, Macassar

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