1887

n South African Journal of Cultural History - Slavery and the church in the Stellenbosch district during the eighteenth century

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Abstract

Two of the many consequences of the expansion of Europe during the early modern period were the spread of Christianity to areas outside of the Mediterranean world and the large-scale forced migration of enslaved people to work in European colonies. How did the institution of slavery impact on the practice of Christianity in a Protestant colony such as the Cape? This article investigates this question with a study of how the larger context of church practice and dogma influence the reality of a slave-owning society in the district of Stellenbosch during the VOC era. It shows that although a few slave individuals were baptised in the Dutch Reformed Church, only a very small number of them became actual members of the Church. This, it is argued, was related to the inherent contradiction between the requirements of the Church - that its members be knowledgeable and lead moral lives - and the reality of a slave's existence - which allowed little opportunity for free time and study and made relationships between men and women technically illegal by not allowing formal marriage. It is for these reasons that so few slaves could be Christians - at least in the eyes of the official Church - in eighteenth-century Stellenbosch.


Twee van die vele gevolge van die uitbreiding van Europa gedurende die vroegmoderne era was die verspreiding van die Christendom na areas buite die Mediterreense wêreld, en die grootskaalse gedwonge migrasie van slawe om in Europese kolonies te werk. Hoe het die instelling van slawerny die praktyk van die Christendom beïnvloed in 'n Protestantse kolonie soos die Kaap? Hierdie artikel ondersoek dié vraag deur na te gaan hoe die groter konteks van kerkpraktyk en -dogma die daaglikse realiteit van 'n slawegemeenskap in die distrik Stellenbosch gedurende die era van die Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) beïnvloed het. Die artikel wys daarop dat hoewel 'n paar slawe deur die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk gedoop is, slegs 'n baie klein aantal van hulle volle lidmate van die Kerk geword het. Daar word verder geargumenteer dat hierdie stand van sake die gevolg was van die inherente onversoenbaarheid tussen die vereistes van die Kerk - naamlik dat sy lidmate kennis moet hê en sedelike lewens moet lei - en die realiteit van die slawebestaan - wat weinig geleentheid vir vrye tyd en studie gebied het en die verhouding tussen mans en vrouens tegnies onwettig gemaak het deur geen formele huwelike tussen slawe toe te laat nie. Dit is om hierdie redes dat so min slawe Christene kon wees - in elk geval in die oë van die amptelike Kerk - in agtiende-eeuse Stellenbosch.

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/content/culture/24/2/EJC30782
2010-01-01
2016-12-07
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