Jacob van der Heiden, a political prisoner, spent part of his confinement in April-May 1706 in a dungeon in the Castle in Cape Town, which he shared with Ari van Bengalen, described as a "jail-bird", "murderer and incendiary". This burgher took a liking to his brown companion and on the very day of his release handed in a written testimony about him.
This poor slave had been picked up by the Hollanders when as a boy he was playing with other children on the beach west of Surat; this was one of the ways they recruited their slaves in the 17th century. He had been sold from one master to another. He was so harshly treated by his last master (Jan Lourens van Rostock) and his wife that he had become "weary of his life" and had run away. He became a fugitive and horrible punishments awaited him if he was caught. So at night he slipped from one farm to another to find food. Two other fugi¬tive slaves gave him bread and tobacco; he ate grapes near another wine-farm. Finally he met with three slaves eating grapes in a third vineyard. They were also fugi¬tives and started a chat. They become friends. They burnt a farm, stole some food and ran away. Ari was caught the next day.
If he escaped the death sentence, often executed with the most refined tortures, Ari owed it to his white friend. (Valkhoff, pp. 45-46)
- Valkhoff, Marius F. New Light on Afrikaans and "Malayo-Portuguese, pp. 45-46. Louvain: Editions Peeters, 1972.
REFERENCES TO SLAVES IN COURT AND OTHER RECORDS:
(from Nigel Worden, Slavery in Dutch South Africa
In 1681, Cupido van Bengal was hung for having sexual relations with his master`s daughter and with another European woman, before and after her marriage, many times. (page 148 and fn.)
In 1714, Maria Mouton, a white woman of Cape Town, plotted with her slave, Titus van Bengal, to murder her husband and escaped with him. (page 134 and fn).
In 1717, Aaron van Bengal committed arson after being beaten by his master and escaped. When he was later found in nearby fields, he killed one of his pursuers in resisting arrest. He was sentenced to be half strangled, and then burnt to death. (page 133 and fn).
Reijnier van Madagascar lived with a female slave, Manika van Bengal, on a farm in Drakenstein in the 1730`s. They had a daughter whose beauty at the age of 14 attracted the master and provoked the jealousy of the farmer`s wife. Unable to persuade her husband to sell the girl, she beat the girl often. Once while Reijnier was away at work, she beat the girl brutally and rubbed salt into the wounds. When he returned and discovered what had happened, Reijnier attacked his master in rage. Then, fearing punishment, he ran away and was able to hide in the hills for eight years before he was captured and hanged. (pp. 95-96 and fn; also p. 125 and fn).
In 1738 Cupido van Bengal tried to escape. (p. 124 and fn).
January van Nagapatnam, Jourdaan van Bengal, Limoen van Macassar, Fortuijn van Mandaar and Amsterdam van Timor - five slaves from India and Indonesia - escaped from a Drakenstein farm in 1738. Three of them later returned and two were captured. (page 125 and fn).
Case of Cupido van Malabar in 1739 in Drakenstein:
"... a Malabar slave threatened his mistress and her child with a knife and then said he would kill himself since slavery had deprived him of all desire to live. He particularly resented not only the imposition of work, but also the lack of freedom to go where he wanted, to wear his own clothes and to have female company; all benefits which he had enjoyed in his own land. Since his master owned everything he had, including his life, he explained that he could only achieve freedom by escaping that life and thereby depriving his owner of his posses¬sion. After threatening to kill his master`s family, he was finally overcome before he could stab himself. He got his wish of death, if not in the way he could have desired; he was broken alive on the wheel." (page 136).
In 1741 Jacob van Bengal was tortured to make a confession. The confession was found to be false when the real culprit was found by chance. (page 117 and fn).
In 1761, Julij van Bengal, a 16-year-old slave boy, committed suicide because he was afraid of being flogged. (page 135 and fn).
In 1767, Jacob van Malabar was severely whipped by his master for trying to escape and ordered immediately after to get on with the ploughing. When he collapsed from pain, he was whipped again. (Testimony of January van Bengal). (page 106 and fn).
Fortuin van Bengal was convicted in 1770 and sent to Robben Island for life on the unproved suspicion of causing arson. (page 117 and fn).
A Malabar slave, Sing Sonko, was sold in Batavia in September 1771 and resold in the Cape in February 1772. (p. 48fn)
Robert Ross, Cape of Torments: slavery and resistance in South Africa. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, ?
Early in the 18th century, Simon van Mallebaar, a runaway slave was handed over by the Klein Nama to the Dutch and hung. He had stolen silver from his master. (Refer to book again, find footnote 20 on page 76 in chapter on "The slaves and the sailors" for date etc.)
In 1746, Thomas van Mallabaar confessed to having gambled and drunk away the Spanish reals he had stolen from his master - with soldiers, free blacks and other slaves. (Ibid. pp. 79-80, footnote 38).
In 1709, a Sinhalese slave, Jacob Smit gathered together a group of 45 slaves - including two women and a baby - from farms in and around Stellenbosch. They managed to steal some guns to hunt for food and went towards the Khosa area to escape. The expedition was stopped by a flood in the Breede river and some of the group deserted. The rest were able to hide for some time, but eventually gave themselves up or were cap¬tured. Jacob was tried. (Ibid. footnote 5 on page 83 in chapter on "The slaves and the Africans").
There was a remarkable outbreak by the slaves in October 1808, when hundreds of slaves rebelled, tied up their masters and joined a peaceful march from Swartland (near modern Malmesbury) toward Cape Town to demand freedom. Adonis of Ceylon, who had run away from his master two weeks earlier, was one of their leaders. The marchers numbered over three hundred, including women and children and some Khoi. They included a number of slaves from India. The rebellion cost no lives. The news of their uprising reached Cape Town and Caledon ordered troops to intercept them. They were intercepted at the Salt River and 326 were captured. After interrogations, only the leaders were tried. Adonis was sentenced to imprisonment on Robben Island. (Ibid. footnotes 6 to 20 of Chapter on "The impossibility of rebellion, pages 97-104). The historic march was on 27 October 1908. (It was one of two mass slave rebellions)
In the years 1724-1737, a number of runaway slaves established a colony at Hanglip. Robert Ross could find some particulars on only fifty of them. In most cases, the country of origin is not available. The following are from his data on the "Hanglip Maroons". They include several from India and Sri Lanka. There must have been many more. (The dates of birth are approximate).
Alexander. Born in Bengal around 1703. Was with runways, 1733-35. Was captured in Cape Town and sen¬tenced to be flogged, branded, be pilloried under the gallows and then confined to 25 years` hard labour in chains. He escaped in September 1736 and went to Han¬glip, He was captured again in 1737. Sentenced to be broken after having eight pieces of flesh pulled out wityh red-hot tongs.
Alexander. Born around 1705 in Malabar. Captured, flogged and sent home in 1730.
Joseph, Born 1697 in Malabar. In Hanglip in 1734. Captured in 1737, hung.
Meij. Born in 1698 in Cochin. In Hanglip from 1731, captured 1733, sentenced to work in chains until others caught, presumably dead by 1737.
Perra. Born in 1702 in Malabar, slave in Cape Town. Went to Hanglip in July 1736, gave himself up in 1737 after group had broken up, hung.
Philander. Born in 1705 in Ceylon. Went to Hanglip in 1726, captured in 1730, broken with coup de grace.
Pieter. Born in Malabar in 1702. Captured in 1730, hung.
- From appendix to the book, pp. 122-24).