oa Historia - Die Voortrekkers en die ingeboekte slawe wat die Groot Trek meegemaak het, 1835- 1838

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The Voortrekkers and the indentured slaves which accompanied them during the Great Trek, 1835-1838. In 1833 the Imperial Government in London decided to abolish slavery throughout the Empire. As a result of that decision the slaves in the Cape Colony were freed on 1 December 1834, but were indentured for the next four years with their previous masters until they would finally be set free on 1 December 1838. After the decision to emancipate the slaves became known in the Cape Colony, the trekboers -who must be distinguished from the Voortrekkers -continued to take their indentured slaves with them when they crossed the northern boundary in times of drought to find temporary grazing for their stock. Thereupon the Colonial Government prohibited the removal of indentured slaves from the Colony. These prohibitions were still valid when the Voortrekkers left the Colony and took their indentured slaves with them. Only after the philanthropists and the British Government had realized the full implications of the Great Trek and the final date for the emancipation drew closer, they started having misgivings about the Voortrekkers freeing their indentured slaves before or on 1 December 1838. Therefore Fieldcornet Gideon Joubert of Colesberg was sent to the Transorangia and Natal to bring them back to the Colony. Gideon Joubert was a loyal supporter of the Colonial Government and a known opponent of the Great Trek. That was why his report on his mission carried much weight with the Colonial and Imperial Governments. This report showed that the Voortrekkers had no intention of keeping their indentured slaves in bondage �thus correcting the impression which existed in philanthropic and government circles about the Voortrekkers in this regard.

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