Sunday, September 10, 2006
The photographs alongside the paintings and graphical images within this collage are all of people who were emancipated as slaves in 1834 in Cape Town. While emancipation occured on 1 December 1834, it only took effect from 1838 due to a legal clause bonding ex-slaves to 4 years of sevitude. Masters were also financially compensated while slaves were given no assistance to embrace their 'freedom'. By 1838 the last 38 427 slaves were freed. Since then descedants of slaves have celebrated 1 December as Emancipation Day.
Until that day, the only hope of freedom came from three practices - running away, revolt or manumission. Each is a story in itself and will be told in blogs. While 63 000 new slaves were brought to the Cape in small groups over a long period, it must be remembered that their many thousands of children, grand-children and great-grandchildren were all born into slavery and suffered the indignities of bondage, forced labour, punishment, and being bought and sold at the will of their masters.