Slavery in South Africa

Personal histories

Very few sources describing history from a slave’s point of view in South Africa have survived In the time after the emancipation of slaves, nobody took the trouble to write down the memories of slaves. However, there is one exception - the story of Katie Jacobs. Katie Jacobs was interviewed in 1910, seventy-six years after slaves were emancipated. She was 96 years old when interviewed.

 

An Afrikaans account of the life of Martha Solomons and Harry Grey is also available. This is unfortunately not a direct account from Martha Solomons or Harry Grey him/herself.

 

Many sources on South African slavery tell the story of slavery either from the point of view of the authorities, slaveholders and free people or give only indirect glimpses of slave life. One can therefore easily overlook the experiences of slaves.

Katie Jacobs and her family.