Slavery in South Africa

The Slave Lodge Hospital

The hospital in the eastern wing of the Slave Lodge treated slaves and Khoi women who suffered from venereal diseases. Slaves who suffered from leprosy were sent to a house on the seafront to prevent the spread of the disease to other slaves. Sailors and soldiers were treated in a different hospital, opposite the Slave Lodge.

 

The Slave Overseer supervised the doctor even though the hospital was administratively not part of the Slave Lodge. Dr Thiele was reported in 1805 as not fulfilling his duties, including not reporting regularly. A commission of enquiry consisting of the Attorney-General, G. Beelearts van Blokland, a clerk, R. De Klerk Dibbetz, and a certain Wedeman were appointed to look into the administration of the hospital. They found that Thiele was an alcoholic who neglected his duties.

 

A new doctor, Dr Dunlop was appointed by the new British government in 1806. Dunlop complained that the hospital was very dirty and requested that it be cleaned. He also ordered new bedding. Dunlop also had to attend to slaves at various work stations throughout the Cape Colony. He soon complained about his salary of 24 rixdollars per month and his, allegedly, useless assistant. The assistant was fired and his salary of 15 rixdollars added to that of Dunlop’s. Dunlop’s salary was later increased by Lieutenant-General Grey to 77 rixdollars per month.

 

It seems as if the hospital was kept in a better condition under the British than by their predecessors. Dr W.H. Lys succeeded Dunlop in 1813.

A plan of the Slave Lodge. Notice the llunatics, prison and hospital ward.