1887

n Historia - : unmarried mothers, moral regulation and the Church at the Cape of Good Hope, circa 1652-1795

Volume 53, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
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Abstract

This article explores the treatment of unmarried mothers by the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) at the Cape of Good Hope during the VOC period (1652-1795) in the belief that by concentrating on this exceptional group of people, much is revealed of normative practices. For most of its history at the Cape during this period, the DRC was not overly biased against unmarried mothers and their illegitimate children, continuing to baptise such children and never acting against the mothers. This changed in the 1780s when the Church started to deny access to its two sacraments - baptism and Holy Communion - to illegitimate children and their parents. Through a detailed exploration of baptismal petitions for illegitimate children and censure cases involving unmarried mothers, this article reveals the growing obsession with regulating the conduct of single women. It is suggested that the origins of this movement lie both in local Cape developments, namely the socio-economic upheavals caused by the revolutionary wars, and - perhaps primarily - in changing attitudes towards motherhood created by Enlightenment ideas and Pietistic religion. At the Cape this new ideology was disseminated by the DRC minister H.R. van Lier, who used existing Reformed dogma about the sacraments to regulate the morals of unmarried mothers.


Hierdie artikel is 'n ondersoek na die behandeling van ongetroude moeders deur die Nederduits-Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) aan die Kaap de Goede Hoop gedurende die VOC-tydperk (1652-1795) met die veronderstelling dat 'n mens deur op 'n groep buitengewone mense te fokus, juis heelwat oor die algemene normatiewe gebruike van die tyd kan aflei. Vir die grootste gedeelte van sy geskiedenis gedurende hierdie tyd, was die NGK nie juis bevooroordeeld teenoor ongetroude moeders en hulle buite-egtelike kinders nie. Dit het sulke kinders bloot gedoop en nie teen die moeders opgetree nie. Die houding het in die 1780's verander toe die Kerk begin het om toegang tot sy twee sakramente - die doop en Nagmaal - aan buite-egtelike kinders en hulle ouers te weier. In hierdie artikel word die groeiende obsessie met die regulering van die gedrag van enkellopende vroue deur 'n gedetailleerde ondersoek na doopaansoeke vir buite-egtelike kinders en sensuurgevalle aangaande ongetroude moeders aangedui. Daar word geargumenteer dat die oorsprong van hierdie beweging beide in plaaslike Kaapse ontwikkelinge, naamlik die sosio-ekonomiese omwentelinge wat deur die revolusionêre oorloë veroorsaak is, én - miskien primêr - in die veranderende houdings tot moederskap wat weens die idees van die Verligting en die Piëtisme ontwikkel het, te vinde is. Hierdie nuwe ideologie is aan die Kaap deur die NGK-predikant H.R. van Lier versprei, wat bestaande gereformeerde dogma oor die sakramente gebruik het ten einde die moraliteit van ongetroude moeders te reguleer.

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/content/hist/53/2/EJC38324
2008-11-01
2016-12-11

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