Iziko Slave Lodge
Slavery in South Africa

There are a lot of books about Cape slavery. But where did the writers get their information from?

It is not easy to find first-hand information on slavery at the Cape. Some people who were enslaved in the United States of America left oral histories, letters and even books behind telling people about life as a slave. In South Africa, very few sources describing history from a slave’s point of view have survived. No books, diaries or letters have survived. In the time after the emancipation of slaves, nobody took the trouble to write down the memories of slaves.

There is one exception, the story of Katie Jacobs. Katie Jacobs was interviewed in 1910, seventy years after slaves were emancipated. She was 96 years old when interviewed. Information on Cape slave history can be obtained from:

The shortcoming of all these sources is that they tell the story of slavery either from the point of view of the authorities, owners and free people or give only indirect glimpses of slave life. One can therefore easily overlook the experiences of slaves.