n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Suid-Afrika se eerste waarheidskommissie?

Volume 42, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


The purpose of this article is to analyse the proceedings of The Select Committee on Aborigines (British Settlements). This was a Parliamentary Committee appointed by the House of Commons in July 1835 on a private motion of T.F. Buxton. Although the British government supported its appointment, it was not an official Committee of Inquiry, but a private investigation supported by powerful political groups closely associated with the anti-slavery campaign and missionary and evangelical influence in British politics at the time. The Committee identified the dispossession of "aborigines" and the violent treatment that they were exposed to as the main features of the "colonial system". Their instruction was to investigate the treatment of "aborigines" in 10 overseas colonies. The Cape Colony, however, was the main focus of their interest. An analysis of the Committee's strategy for conducting the investigation shows clearly that they had preconceived ideas about colonial policy and the treatment of the "aborigines".They were more interested in establishing support for these views than producing an authoritative and impartial report on colonial conditions. The Committee cannot, however, be regarded as a truth commission. Their main interest as reflected in their final report was not to establish the truth, but to force the hand of the Colonial Office to introduce a particular policy.

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