The Cape of Good Hope was but a small part of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) territory where chattel slavery was institutionalised during the seventeenth century. In view of the need locally to understand early slavery at the Cape in its broader universal context, this article focuses largely on Dutch slavery in the greater VOC empire during that time. The most important issues discussed here include the empire's need for unfree labour, the overall nature of slavery in VOC territories, and the reasons for the shift of the slave trade from the Far East to particularly Africa.
Statistics show that very few black students of history complete their research projects on post graduate level in South Africa. By using the University of the Western Cape as a case study this article attempts to look at the phenomenon of a very low percentage of M.A. and D.Phil, students who successfully complete their degrees. The article does not attempt to make an in depth analysis of the reasons for this phenomenon. In stead, advice is given to students as how to approach historical research. Particular emphasis is placed on the planning and design of research with special reference to a time schedule, choice of a supervisor, and the research proposal. In conclusion, the article points to the dangers for black students should they be overtly ideologically biased in their historical approach.