n English in Africa - Sentencing slaves : verdicts of the Cape courts, 1705-1794

Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



Colonial societies are generally committed to the maintenance of inequalities between the colonizer and the colonized, and the discourse of the powerful within such societies will reflect this. Inequalities will be justified in language, where beliefs are expressed and applied. I am concerned here with an extreme example of this inequality, that between free citizens and slaves. The case I shall consider is that of the dominant 'white' group as they were represented by officials of the Court of Justice in the eighteenth century Cape of Good Hope when dealing with the large numbers of slaves who were brought before them on criminal charges.

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