These Oppressions Won’t Cease

The Political Thought of the Cape Khoesan, 1777–1879 An Anthology
Author(s):
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156mm; Available in paperback and ebook Extent: 288pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-180-7
  • eBook EAN: 978-1-77614-182-1
  • PDF EAN: 978-1-77614-181-4
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 380.00

Internationally reknowned Robert Ross is arguably the pre-eminent historian of the preindustrial Cape, acclaimed for the meticulousness of his archival research and the expressive clarity of his prose … this is a highly pioneering study; there is really nothing like it in the field …
Bill Nasson, distinguished professor at the University of Stellenbosch, historian and author of History Matters: Selected Writings 1970-2016 (2016).

This is the first book to allow indigenous inhabitants of the Cape to express their own voices … it unearths material little known both to specialists and to the general public. It is thus not a mere ‘collection of documents’ but a powerful statement of the adaptation of indigenous thought and knowledge to colonialism … This book will swiftly become a classic.
— Nigel Worden, professor in the Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town and author of The Making of Modern South Africa; Conquest, Apartheid and Democracy.

The Khoesan were the fi rst people in Africa to undergo the full rigours of European colonisation. By the early nineteenth century, they had largely been brought under colonial rule, dispossessed of their land and stock, and forced to work as labourers for farmers of European descent. Nevertheless, a portion of them were able to regain a degree of freedom and maintain their independence by taking refuge in the mission stations of the Western and Eastern Cape, most notably in the Kat River valley. For much of the nineteenth century, these Khoesan people kept up a steady commentary on, and intervention in, the course of politics in the Cape Colony.

Through petitions, speeches at meetings, letters to the newspapers and correspondence between themselves, the Cape Khoesan articulated a continuous critique of the oppressions of colonialism, always stressing the need for equality before the law, as well as their opposition to attempts to limit their freedom of movement through vagrancy legislation and related measures. This was accompanied by a well-grounded distrust, in particular, of the British settlers of the Eastern Cape and a concomitant hope, rarely realised, in the benevolence of the British government in London. Comprising 98 of these texts, These Oppressions Won’t Cease – an utterance expressed by Willem Uithaalder, commander of Khoe rebel forces in the war of 1850-3 –contains the essential documents of Khoesan political thought in the nineteenth century.

These texts of the Khoesan provide a history of resistance to colonial oppression which has largely faded from view. Robert Ross, the eminent historian of precolonial South Africa, brings back their voices from the annals of the archive, voices which were formative in the establishment of black nationalism in South Africa, but which have long been silenced.

Key points
• Meticulous work of archival research by an eminent pre-colonial historian.
• A rare anthology of texts of the Khoesan people mainly from the Kat River settlement (Winterberg area in Eastern Cape province).
• The anthology captures the voice, the agency and the testimony of the Khoesan people’s struggle and oppression under colonial rule.

List of abbreviations
Terminology
Preface
Introduction

Part One: The incorporation of the Khoesan into the colonial body politic
Chapter 1: From the earlier history
Chapter 2: In the aftermath of Ordinance 50
Chapter 3: The beginnings of the Kat River Settlement
Chapter 4: The politics of vagrancy
Chapter 5: Stoffels in London
Chapter 6: The interbellum
Chapter 7: The War of the Axe
Chapter 8: The business of life
Chapter 9: The Kat River Settlement under strain
Chapter 10: Madolo and his people
Chapter 11: Freeman and the church

Part Two: Colonial crisis and the establishment of a new order, 1848–1853
Chapter 12: Convicts and the franchise
Chapter 13: Rebellion in the Kat River valley
Chapter 14: The rebellion spreads
Chapter 15: The franchise
Chapter 16: Uithaalder’s vision of the rules of war
Part Three: Post-rebellion politics
Chapter 17: Contesting reconstruction
Chapter 18: On the politics of the church
Chapter 19: On the rights of burghers

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Robert Ross recently retired as Professor of African History at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is the author of numerous books on the history of southern Africa, notably the Cape Colony, including most recently The Borders of Race in Colonial South Africa: The Kat River Settlement, 1829–1856 (Cambridge, 2014). He was also one of the editors of both volumes of The Cambridge History of South Africa (Cambridge, 2010 and 2011).

Internationally reknowned Robert Ross is arguably the pre-eminent historian of the preindustrial Cape, acclaimed for the meticulousness of his archival research and the expressive clarity of his prose … this is a highly pioneering study; there is really nothing like it in the field …
Bill Nasson, distinguished professor at the University of Stellenbosch, historian and author of History Matters: Selected Writings 1970-2016 (2016).

This is the first book to allow indigenous inhabitants of the Cape to express their own voices … it unearths material little known both to specialists and to the general public. It is thus not a mere ‘collection of documents’ but a powerful statement of the adaptation of indigenous thought and knowledge to colonialism … This book will swiftly become a classic.
— Nigel Worden, professor in the Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town and author of The Making of Modern South Africa; Conquest, Apartheid and Democracy.

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