Cape Slavery from Birth to Freedom
Celebrations in the Cape with the abolition of slavery
The earliest record of a child born at the Cape who had a parent who was a slave, is that of the former slave Catharina Anthonis and Jan Woutersz from Middelburg. Catharina was born in Zalegon in Bengal. She was brought to the Cape by Caspar van den Bogaerde. They got married 21 May 1656. Woutersz was appointed to serve on Robben Island, while there they had their child. Some have suggested that they were sent to the island because of prejudice against mixed marriage: "The first slave to regain freedom was Catharina Anthonis, who was born in Bengal, and liberated because Jan Woutersz from Middelburg wished to marry her - this was in 1656. Soon after the wedding Woutersz was promoted to the position of supervisor on Robben Island. This was not due to merit, but was rather a way of putting the couple out of sight, for he was later found "unsatisfactory" and sent to Batavia." see Armstrong JC "The Slaves 1652 - 1795" in Elphick and Gilliomee (editors) "The Shaping of South African Society 1652 - 1820" (Cape Town, Longman 1979). It is implied that they were sent to the island as a way of putting the couple out of sight.
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