Imprisoned for life in the
Robben Island prison colony, Sila talks in her mind with her dead son, Baro,
and later with a whole host of spirits from her past. She remembers her
love and desperate grief for Baro, and for her other children mostly lost to
her: Carolina, Camies, Pieter, another boy "who came and went too quietly for a
name", Meisie, Catherina and Debora - all the result of rape either by her
former owner or by prison guards, but intensely loved nonetheless.
Through her lyrical, rambling voice that reveals her mental state to be closer to madness than sanity we slowly learn of her life, from when she was stolen as a small child by slavers in Mozambique, through her ownership by a variety of masters, to the ultimate irony of her present life as a freed slave (slavery having been abolished) condemned to life imprisonment.
As she breaks stones in ...
A Short History of South Africa (map)
The Dutch-East India Trading company, led by Jan van Riebeeck accompanied by 82 men and 8 women, were the first to colonize the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. Cape Town was a useful supply point for the company's ships on their journeys from Europe to Asia.
Rapid development required a dramatic increase in the labor force, especially when Dutch settlers started to arrive together with other Europeans, including a large group of French Huguenots (French Calvinists). Originally slaves came mainly from West Africa, particularly from Guinea and Angola. Later, they were brought from Mozambique and Madagascar. Slaves were also brought from Indonesia, Malaya, China and India.
Soon the settlement started to spread inland on to land formerly occupied by the Khoikhoi. By the early 19th century, the Boers (Dutch colonists) had ...
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