Slavery in South Africa

Slavery at Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia is an important South African heritage site. In 1685 the farm was granted to Simon van der Stel, Commander of the Cape Colony, by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Van der Stel’s post was later upgraded to Governor. After Van der Stel’s death in 1712 ownership of the farm changed many times. Olof Bergh, a wealthy businessman and fellow VOC official who was close to Van der Stel, and his wife Anna de Koningh, a former slave, owned Groot Constantia from 1714 till their deaths in 1724 and 1734 respectively. In 1778 Hendrik Cloete owned Groot Constantia, marking the Cloete era.

 

Groot Constantia has remained one of country’s best-known farms ever since, producing world-renowned wine. For 150 years, the farm made extensive use of slave labour.

 

Today, the farm still produces wine and the homestead is a museum under management of Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Cover photograph of the Groot Constantia (1685 -1885), it's owners and occupants booklet by Matthijs PS Van Der Merwe.