Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The third owner of the Groot Constantia wine estate was a free slave woman


Anna de Koningh, herself a free slave, was the daughter of Mooi Ansiela of Bengal a freed slave known as free black in the population register. Anna came to own Groot Constantia after her husband Olaf Bergh died. Bergh was the owner of Groot Constantia after the death of Simon van der Stel.

Klein Constantia was also later to come into the hands of Johannes Colyn, a grandson of the prosperous one time slave, the free black woman Maria Evert who was the first title deed owner of land in Camps Bay. Maria was the daughter of two West African slaves from Benin, Ann and Evert of Guinea. Johannes Colyn descended from African slaves was the most renowned winemaker of the 1700s.

The Free-Black population many of whom had been manumitted slaves were a powerful class in the Cape until the smallpox epidemics ravished the Khoi, Slave and Free-Black population groups.


Unknown said...

Dear Patric

Very interested to come across your blogs. Though English, I am proud to have recently discovered that I'm a direct descendant of Anna, Evert, Maria and Johannes Colyn. I would be very keen to research the documentary evidence into Maria's ownership of land in Camps Bay, and indeed find out as much as I can about my rich and diverse South African heritage.

Anna and Evert are my 8x great grandparents and my link is through William Dickson, a Scot who founded the Cape Town merchant and insurance firm of Nisbet and Dickson in the 1820s, and married Johannes Colyn's granddaughter.

I have other personal connections with Africa, having been a volunteer teacher in Ghana in 69-70 not so far from the Little Popo, the Benin port Anna and Evert were taken from.

I have just arranged to visit Cape Town in February 2008 with my mother, wife, daughter and would be very grateful for any advice or suggestions where to find out more.

Tim Newton
Ipswich, Suffolk, UK

Unknown said...

Hi there,

I'm busy doing some research to add to my family tree. I am a descendant of Charles Pillans and Alida Colyn.... daughter of Lambertus Colyn and Mary Blunt.

What was the name of the original freed slave?

Kind regards
Juliet Belasyse-Smith
JHB, South Africa

Unknown said...

Hi Patrick. Can you help to find my ancesterol link in cape Town? Father surname Gordon, mother Hoffman. Thx Julian Williams